Monday, September 19, 2011

A Movie For The #Hashtag Revolution

Moving closer towards the singularity, people have begun using the internet for things beyond shopping and porn. Social networking and blogging have not only given us a way to learn about global issues in real time, but also a means to protest in real time. The leaderless hacktivist collective Anonymous, as well as whistle blower site WikiLeaks, have inspired a new generation of protesters and organizers to not only take to the streets, but to their desktops and laptops. Is a company/government practicing unfair/illegal policies? Take them offline and tweet sensitive data. Want to be kept up to date on a protest that's not being covered by news outlets? Follow a hashtag and/or "like" a group. And, above all else, spread the word!
Anonymous with Guy Fawkes masks at Scientology...Image via Wikipedia
While I wholeheartedly agree with these organizations, I have to admit that I feel I haven't done enough to support them. I retweet, I share links (probably at the annoyance of friends and family), I use hashtags - but it doesn't feel like "enough". So, I'm about to use this blog entry to help out a bit more. To express an idea. An idea for a movie.

Hollywood, through V for Vendetta, can be partially thanked for providing modern protesters with the idea of wearing Guy Fawkes masks. I doubt, however, that most protesters would want their story told by a major studio. Sure, it would help bring attention to various issues, but it would not only be a conflict of interest (an anti-establishment film made by the establishment), but would probably become a mess. For this story to be properly told, we need a filmmaker who is young and independent of the system. More importantly, we need a filmmaker who understands the language that has helped coordinate and spread protests all over the world and is almost universal in understanding (except for the elderly). The language I'm talking about is that of the computer/internet. And the filmmaker that could pull off this movie is Eugene Kotlyarenko:

"The predominant screen of our time is the one you're looking at right now. We spend 1...2...4...10 hours a day on the computer; moving around windows, listening to music, processing hundreds of opinions, looking at others' adventures, discovering unknown worlds, making faraway friends, doing vanity searches, buying stuff, writing messages and entries and documents. This is our behavior. For better or worse, this is our life. All of it is now natural. No one gets confused as they sit in front of the computer and see and click and process everything, all at once. It becomes intuitive. It becomes a common language. Why not acknowledge that we are speaking this new language? Why not use this new language to tell a story? Why not tell the story on that other screen? That 20th century screen, the big silvery one, the one people go to and get their stories in one epic serving."

This director's statement, for his film "0s & 1s", is all you need to know that Eugene is the man for the job. He understands this generation and how we now process/deliver information. While I haven't yet viewed this film, I have seen his internet exclusive project "Skydiver". You would think that a movie, released in serial format, comprised of webcam chats via screen capture software, would be a tad boring. But, at no point did I feel like turning away and doing something else. Combining both the intimate photography provided by a computer monitor, as well as a clever move in tricking facebook users that this was a "real" diary series, "Skydiver" stands as one of the most memorable experiences I've had in streaming online content. No doubt, this is the kind of style needed for a film about modern online activism.

I imagine a film released for free (torrent, youtube, etc). This film could re-purpose news footage, political speeches and protest videos, and show them within an internet browser. It could feature a scene, with music, where a group of characters (visible only by their avatars), dialogue/emoticon with one another via tweet. Perhaps a sequence of computer hacking, followed by a news report regarding said hack. Webcam chats, featuring people with blurred out faces or donning Guy Fawkes masks (not all of them). And, of course, live streaming protest footage, shot using cell phones and tablets. 

This is what I can currently offer my generation of protesters and activists, besides my retweeting and sharing - an idea. An idea for a movie that captures this new movement. Until it gets made, I'll help spread the word - #OccupyWallStreet

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