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Occupy Cinema to Screen "Punishment Park" in Zuccotti Park Tonight

Despite today's ouster of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Cinema will screen Peter Watkins' "Punishment Park" inside Zuccotti Park tonight. In a statement to the press, Occupy Cinema said:
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Despite today's ouster of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Cinema will screen Peter Watkins' "Punishment Park" inside Zuccotti Park tonight.

In a statement to the press, Occupy Cinema said:

We’re pleased to announce we have received the blessings and support of the remarkably talented, truly radical filmmaker Peter Watkins, who has accommodated a last minute request to screen his incendiary 1971 PUNISHMENT PARK inside Zuccotti Park this evening. The event will follow the 7PM Occupy Cinema working group meeting, which will take place at 60 Wall Street. Told in Watkins’s typical deadpan non-fictional style, the film features a non-professional cast of Vietnam protesters who have chosen to forgo prison sentences in exchange for participating in police exercises in the desert—in which they are brutally hunted down by a bloodthirsty pack of totalitarian thugs in uniform.

Here's a two-minute excerpt from the film.

The full statement follows.

Occupy Cinema was deeply troubled to hear of the NYPD’s surprise takedown of the Zuccotti Park encampment the early hours of Tuesday, November 15. Though the city did its best to instigate a media blackout, a number of our members were on the scene from the beginning or arrived shortly after, encountering a frighteningly martial scene. With little to no legal ground, Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD and private interests orchestrated a forceful takedown, effectively removing a great deal of the extraordinary infrastructure built inside the park over the last two months.

Our thoughts go to our fellow working groups that suffered losses. We were especially saddened to know the People’s Library, a remarkable resource that has received worldwide attention for its collection of over 5,000 donated titles, was tossed in the back of a dump truck. Based on eyewitness reports, the city’s assertion that the library collection is in fine condition and can be picked up Wednesday seems patently false. The People’s Library has hosted three of Occupy Cinema’s screenings so far, and its members’ tenacity and multidisciplinary commitment to enriching the cultural backbone of Zuccotti Park is an extraordinary asset and inspiration. Meanwhile, the city’s 2012 budget cuts over $4 million in funding for its public libraries (granted, before citizens took action, the initial proposal was to remove $40 million—our voices do make a difference).

It’s no hollow circumlocution to say there is a positive side to this: today, in New York City, one scarcely detects a feeling of defeat, but rather a renewed commitment to the ideals that have taken root in our own beloved city and inspired a worldwide movement. People’s responses have been constructive, positive and mutually reinforcing. The city’s actions have been galvanizing, and though Occupy Wall Street’s physical center remains uncertain, its core ideals have been strengthened.

Occupy Cinema was conceived from the get-go as a sustainable operation that could outlast any fluctuation in Zuccotti Park’s stability. Screenings inside the park—part recreation, part awareness—are only one part of our group’s mission, which encompasses the development of an open digital platform for media related to the occupation; facilitating speakers and discussions related to progressive and independent media; advancing alternatives to mainstream films produced through underhanded corporate
practices and by studios owned by corrupt conglomerates—and more. As long as there are protesters in Zuccotti Park, we will screen there. In the meantime, in addition to our weekly meetings, we are developing a number of screenings and events to take place at other venues with the goal of aiding and nourishing the occupy movement. We are an open
collective and invite others to join us.

A number of outstanding artists, distributors and institutions have pledged their efforts, catalogs and support. Sunday night we screened a program of recent works selected by Ken Jacobs from his own catalog. Tonight, we’re pleased to announce we have received the blessings and support of the remarkably talented, truly radical filmmaker Peter Watkins, who has accommodated a last minute request to screen his incendiary 1971 PUNISHMENT PARK inside Zuccotti Park this evening. The event will follow the 7PM Occupy Cinema working group meeting, which will take place at 60 Wall Street. Told in Watkins’s typical deadpan non-fictional style, the film features a non-professional cast of Vietnam protesters who have chosen to forgo prison sentences in exchange for participating in police exercises in the desert—in which they are brutally hunted down by a bloodthirsty pack of totalitarian thugs in uniform.

This article is related to: Occupy Wall Street





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