By Stephen Dotson
As I Occupied in Philadelphia, I came to believe that the People's Mic is a blessed tool of the Holy Spirit. I cannot think of anything more humanizing and compassionate than being willing not only to listen to one another, but to literally lends one's own voice to amplify the message of another. As a Quaker I've participated in many consensus-like group decision-making events, but none that demonstrated such faith in the gathered body. Today, I work to capture that experience of the People's Mic (and so many other moments) into the People's Story thru film, and to do so in a manner congruent with the spirit of those General Assemblies. Now, when people ask me if Quakers make oatmeal, I get to say, no I make movies, wanna help?
99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film is a feature length documentary film made collaboratively by more than seventy-five (and growing) independent filmmakers, photographers, videographers and editors across the country. We have come together and pledged our time, skills and energy to cover the events taking place in NYC and around the country as they happen. We are crafting this film with many diverse voices to tell a cohesive story about the Occupy movement, how it began, the people who are part of it and the economic, social and political environment that fostered and sustains it.
This film will be a compelling, cinematic, and honest portrait of the Occupy Wall Street movement, told from many perspectives, but unified and woven into a single, resonant portrait with a collaborative ethos that mirrors the movement itself. I became involved by sharing one small clip of 20,000 people in Times Sq. on Oct. 15th, lifting up a message of Light and hope in defiance of the lustful consumerism that surrounded us:
What do you have to share? Can you give a minute of footage? Can you give $10?
We will only do this together. Founded by filmmakers Audrey Ewell and Aaron Aites just weeks after the first encampment in Zuccotti Park, New York City, 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film now involves scores of filmmakers, editors, producers and many with other important skills from around the country. We were deep in the democratic processes of Zucotti Park when it was in full swing; we were there when tear gas canisters rained down in Oakland. We were there during the evictions in LA and NYC; we were there as thousands marched, prayed, and were arrested for the sake of their conviction. We have talked to organizers, economists, veterans, clergy, and followed individual stories throughout the tumultuous and important first months of this historic movement.
99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film will strive to capture the big picture of a movement that is one of the most important in generations and create a film that can reach across America and beyond. I would never have imagined that I would be involved in something like this, but it feels exactly right, and so I continue to walk, trusting that God will guide my steps along this mysterious and adventurous path.
Stephen Willis Dotson is a member of Goose Creek (Va.) Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He does youth ministry among Quakers in Philadelphia, is a volunteer videographer for the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), and serves on the boards of Friends Publishing Corporation and the Global Nonviolent Action Database project of Swarthmore College.