While I can't say my grassroots cinephilic political action has gotten the kind of wide-reaching attention as I had hoped, I'm happy to report that #OCCUPYTHECINEMAS was picked up by the Canadian press in recent days, in the country's largest urban weekly, the Georgia Straight, and Toronto's Globe and Mail. Why have the U.S. media not championed this Day of Action, in which moviegoers have been charged with giving their support to indie films and art-house theaters in protest of Hollywood and the MPAA's restrictive policies towards copyright laws, Internet piracy, movie ratings, international quotas and a host of Machiavellian strategies to dominate the media-sphere.
All I can say is that the press and citizens of the U.S.A. are a complacent bunch, and it takes a lot to jolt them out of their comfortable state of status quo. But as art-houses struggle to adapt to the unfair corporate mandate of digital exhibition (see Ira Deutchman's detailed must-read report "Indie Theaters Face Digital Mayhem") and the MPAA continues to advocate for tighter internet controls, there's never been a more important time to protest Hollywood's increasingly desparate attempts to fight down independent artists and venues.
The more I've thought about #OCCUPYTHECINEMAS, the more I'm willing to eat up this dish that I've created. For all the arguments against it — see the comments section on my original post — the more I believe I am able to offer some impassioned and convincing counterarguments. This kind of thing is necessary. The people–the masses, the 99%, whatever you want to call them–have the power to change the world we live in, and that extends from our derelict political process to our media environment. Let's show the powers that be what kind of practices we support, and what kind of world we want to live in.
Support non-corporate cinema in non-corporate venues today, March 2nd and Occupy the Cinemas!
While by no means comprehensive, a list on a recent blog post offers a few options for moviegoers.
So where will you be tonight and what will you be seeing? Please offer your indie alternatives in the comments section.