Monday, 18 June 2012

Voices of Dissent: Protest Works

 Protest Works is Open City Doc Fest's programme which looks at the things we stand for and what we don't. What happens when we're moved, out of desire and need to do something about it.

Amongst our screenings is Rouge Parole, looking at the Arab Spring and what is said and not said in a popular revolution when a young man sets himself on fire, Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad and The Politician telling of the impact of one fateful day in Eygpt told by three directors. Land In Focus presents the fight for the right to education in Chile with a series across formats and years, examining Pinochet's legacy.
Syrian Docs screens films reflecting on the ongoing dialogue for an national conversation that seems to be getting harder by the minute. This includes A Flood in Baath Country (2003, 46’) by the late master of Syrian documentary, Omar Amiralay.
Tamer Ezzat, Ayten Amin, Amr Salama / 2011 / Egypt, France / 90’
 The Real Social Network bring us closer to the home of Open City. Over six months' of government cuts, filmmakers accessed backroom meetings of a group of London student hacktivists, as they occupied universities and shut down banks. This screening followed by short documentaries from the ensuing global Occupy movements and a participative discussion on DIY media, re(presentation) and agitprop.
August 17th 2011, Tottenham High Street, London
 A Spark From Tottenham bring us a 'live documentary' performance to reflect on the events of 17th August 2011 in a retail park in London sparked by the contentious death of a young man, unleashing uncontrolled crime and violence in cities around the UK, in cases both saddening and bizarre.
Two local artists from Tottenham - photographer and filmmaker Don Omope and rapper and performance poet Alim Kamara, use storytelling, poetry, images and music to document and communicate their experiences of that night. This is followed by a discussion and tickets are here.

High Tech, Low Life Stephen Maing / 2012 / USA / 86’
'High Tech, Low Life'  is about censorship and the reach of the inter-generational citizen voices in an age of connectivity.
Directed by Steven Maing a Korean-American NY-based filmmaker, we get a glimpse of a China that is dealing with compressed change making the nation's current cultural output and commentary fascinating. Its title borrows from a William Gibson trope of 'cyberpunk'; the use of rapidly advancing infomatics and technology to achieve autonomy and radical social change.
This may well be the fear of the Chinese state policy on dystopic censorship has been evolving uneasily under the international eye.

High Tech, Low Life Stephen Maing / 2012 / USA / 86’

Using suppression with a ham-fist to inelegantly deal with its more public artists and figures, it leaves people such as Zola, a young vegetable seller from Hunan province and Temple Tiger, an older blogger-by-bike in Steve Maing's film almost unscathed to reach out and document their stories.
Armed with with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras they traverse the land as independent newsrooms, exploring the struggles of the hidden China deep within its countryside.

As the daughter of a human rights journalist who operated newswires in the region in the 80s and 90s, its an exciting look at how the ordinary Chinese citizens might now deal with personal and public change through self-broadcast now. China's digital generation do it by the grazing of fingertips on screen, not by anonymous fragments of paper hidden in missionary churches, as it was before.

This is one to watch, for a nation which hasn't even begun to leak its personal stories.

Buy tickets for this Saturday's screening here with a Director's Q&A.

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