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Story of Black Bloc’s Benedict Arnold Highlights FBI Surveillance of Activists – October 4, 2013

Film Review: Informant

Shortly before Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s all-pervasive Big Brother snooping, at least three print magazine published cover stories presaging his disclosures: Earth Island Journal’s “Prying Eyes” looked at how corporations and law enforcement agencies were spying on environmentalists; The Progressive uncovered “Spying on Occupy Activists;” and my front-page report in CounterPunch,Hollywood’s Year of Living Clandestinely” examined CIA’s influence in the movie/TV industry. Now Jamie Meltzer’s powerful new documentary Informant exposes FBI infiltration of a radical activist group – with a twist.

movie poster

If Elia Kazan was what Victor Navasky called in his book Naming Names “the quintessential… more

by: Ed Rampell

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‘SeaWorld Staff Have Become Master Storytellers Who Believe Their Own Tales’ – July 19, 2013

A Conversation with Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite

The riveting new documentary Blackfish, which makes a powerful argument that marine life parks are gulags for sea creatures run by corporations in order to reap profits, is sure to make a cinematic splash. Blackfish focuses on Tilikum, the 12,000 pound, 22-foot killer whale who killed veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010 at SeaWorld, Orlando. In the able hands of director and co-writer Gabriela Cowperthwaite the horrifying Florida incident becomes the launching pad for an investigation into the conditions of orcas and other marine animals held in captivity, and of their human trainers.

movie poster thumbnailThe film, which was nominated… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Tim DeChristopher’s Case Reveals Obama Administration’s Selective Prosecution – May 17, 2013

Film Review: Bidder 70

Bidder 70 poster

Bidder 70 is a stand-up-and-cheer documentary about an activist who made waves while sitting down. Shortly before the Bush regime left office W. leased vast swathes of federally-owned pristine acreage to developers for drilling and mining — an exploitation of public property intended to enrich energy companies. But there was an unexpected fly in the ointment: Due to what this documentary indicates was a case of mistaken identity by the authorities, Tim DeChristopher managed to infiltrate the December 19, 2008 Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas Lease Auction in Salt Lake City. Acting, he says, “on the spur of the moment,” the… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Anthropo-Screen – March 4, 2013

Ten Films That Shook The World

After Superstorm Sandy struck, Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, NJ, said: “The Hudson River came in and filled half of Hoboken like a bathtub. Indeed. If the 1954 Marlon Brando dockworker drama, On the Waterfront, which was shot on location at Hoboken, was made now, it might be called In the Waterfront.

Film, of course, cannot only record actual catastrophic events as they happen, but conjure up imagery and soundtracks that imagine and render calamities in fantastic form. Increasingly sophisticated big screen special effects can show a humanity out of kilter with itself and nature. In a dramatized, heightened ways the movie medium can express our dreams —… more

by: Ed Rampell

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Doc Tackles Red Hot Stuff: Franken-Foods and the Seeds of Resistance – August 24, 2012

Film Review: Genetic Chile

Genetic Chile cover

According to Chris Dudley’s new film Genetic Chile, something very disenchanting is taking place in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico’s iconic chile peppers, which help define the unique cuisine and culture of the state, appear to be under attack by Monsanto and the “seed police.” Although the state legislature failed to pass laws to protect its farmers from patent violation prosecution, it has provided $1 million to fund research at New Mexico State University’s Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory to create a GMO chile.

But while Dudley films locally, his documentary acts globally, exposing the purported planetary ramifications of genetically modified organisms,… more

by: Ed Rampell

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