Let's Make History Repeat Itself
Filmmakers shoot documentary shorts on Occupy MovementALDEN BURKE
Martyna Starosta and Iva Radivojevic, first got involved with the Occupy movement down at Wall Street. The two filmmakers set out to make a short film documenting the historic event. Using two days of footage and a long ten-hour editing session, the filmmakers created an eight- minute video that has received more than 200,000 hits on YouTube, and translated into Spanish, Danish, Russian, German, and Japanese. The success of the video is in part due to its timing.
Starosta and Radivojevic had a desire to draw more people to the protest. The filmmakers felt it was crucial to capture a diverse representation of those participating in the demonstration. In doing so, they could appeal to as many people as possible.
Starosta recognized that the diversity they originally created was somewhat skewed, for the first couple of days of the movement, the protest failed to convey ethnic diversity as a sample in their video portrayed.
Diversity was the crux of their project. “It was crucial because this video was made with the intent to mobilize people, and to do so it was important to address different realities,” said Starosta
And just as it was crucial to get an assortment of people at the
demonstration, it was also important to ensure solidarity. “I think it’s important to have as many voices as possible, not only in front of the camera, but also diversity behind the camera,” said Starosta.
As Occupy Wall Street grew in popularity, it received an enormous amount of media coverage by both professional and amateur news outlets. In order to make sure their work was still relevant, Starosta and Radivojevic shifted their attention to Occupy CUNY, a movement that was both ignited and encouraged by the protests that had been taking place downtown. The filmmakers took interest in the idea of the student body finding their voice. But, there was a lack of media attention for these Hunter students. “We noticed that nobody was talking about it. People were talking about the movement at Wall Street, but nobody was talking about the general assemblies at Hunter, so we decided to cover that to raise more attention,” said Starosta.
Starosta and Radivojevic’s video of Hunter includes clips of general assemblies, discussions about the changes students feel are necessary, and how to go about getting these demands made. One of the most important aspects of the film, Starosta feels, is the information about CUNY protests in the past. A majority of the current CUNY student body is unaware that many of the privileges of being a CUNY student have been wonthrough struggle. For example, in 1969, African American and Puerto Rican students went on strike, demanding black and Latino studies and open admissions, which is an unselective and non-competitive way to gain admittance into college, allowing people from under privileged high schools access into the CUNY system. This then morphed into a citywide struggle.
“We are standing on the shoulders of former generation who had fought for things that we now have,” said Starosta,
This knowledge of CUNY history- the fact that students in the past have made a difference, gaining what they believed were their rights through protests and demonstrations allows
current students to the realization that they too can make that change, that difference.If any readers are interested in learning more about Occupy Hunter, be sure to watch Starosta’s and Radivojevic’s video, “The Time For Action is Now,” at http://vimeo.com/31285186, and to attend general assemblies at 4pm every Friday in the Hunter west lobby. You can also visit www.occupyhunter.com for more information about student demands, and how to get involved.