5:04 pm Dec. 9, 20111
"We do not need the regular media to get this out, at all. We are creating our own media."
So says one of the subjects in #whilewewatch, Kevin Breslin's new film about Occupy Wall Street, which will get a screening in the Financial District next Wednesday a few blocks from the former encampment that was the genesis of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Citizen journalism seems to be the focus of the 40-minute documentary, which Breslin (son of Jimmy!) directed this fall during the protests that began in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 16 and spread across the globe in the weeks that followed. His Vimeo page calls it "a gripping look at the media revolution that emerged from Zuccoti Park in New York City."
The description continues: "It is the story of how many people came together in the sun and rain, day and night, broke and loaded with energy and hope to get their story out to the world. ... When regular media paid no attention to this movement they decided to tell the world their story."
(Here's a trailer for it.)
News coverage of Occupy Wall Street was slow but steady at first. By mid-October, a month after protesters first laid down their tarps and sleeping bags, the New York-centric protests had become a major national story. Media interest spiked the week of Nov. 15, when police and protesters clashed following the early morning eviction of Zuccotti Park, and it has persisted to a lesser extent ever since, even though there is no longer a go-to spot where journalists can reliably find an Occupy-themed story on any given day.
Mainstream reports, meanwhile, have been supplemented—or, some would perhaps argue, surpassed—by the independent and amateur media that cropped up to document the movement on its own terms, sometimes through an obviously sympathetic lens: The Occupied Wall Street Journal, for instance; or Tim Pool's 24-7 livefeed.
"There's no reporters," says another #whilewewatch subject. "It's just, check it out: footage, footage, footage, footage."
Judging by the trailer, Breslin also managed to capture some of the alleged police "abuses" to which journalists were subjected while reporting on the demonstrations in New York. In one scene, the cameraman (presumably the director himself?), repeatedly tells an officer that he's carrying press credentials. "Not anymore," the cop replies, as another threatens him with arrest. (Breslin, we've been told, was one of the few people who managed to obtain close-up footage of the Zuccotti Park raid, which the city restricted journalists from observing.)
Wednesday's private 7 p.m. screening appears to be for press. But others can tune in via livestream. Breslin will moderate a panel discussion with Jesse LaGreca of the progressive blog Daily Kos and Priscilla Grimm, co-editor of The Occuppied Wall Street Journal. There will be a Q&A session, too.
"We will talk to the #OccupyWallStreet media team, reps from #OWS media and mainstream media," says a press release circulated yesterday evening. "Documentary Subjects will be available through the Live Stream and in person to answer questions."
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