Rafferty Baker and Matthew J. Van Deventer were BCIT journalism students when they set out to make a short film about Occupy Vancouver. The Occupation lasted 39 days and the level of intimacy the filmmakers are able to create makes you feel as though you are part of the scene. The duo shared writing, directing, shooting and editing duties, and the result is a very well crafted feature-length documentary.
The film focuses on the physical encampment and the struggle of the protestors to actually maintain occupation of the space outside the Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. Ironically, the issues of public health and safety trump the multi-faceted political issues behind the global movement.
Many of the occupiers don’t adhere to a mainstream lifestyle and seem to be a group desperate for belonging and acceptance. By the mid-point of the film things turn tragic. There are two drug overdoses — one resulting in the death of a 23-year-old named Ashlie Gough. At this point the story focuses on a young homeless man named Jeremiah “Germz” Baldwin who is struggling with addictions. He expresses his anger about the housing situation in B.C. By the end of the film the big issue becomes local, which seems to be the appropriate outcome of any occupy demonstration.
The physical encampments inspired in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street all over the world may be over, but with individual action, no matter how big or small, the impact will continue to reverberate globally. Eventually it will occupy political space and change will follow. Films like this are a great reminder to continue to fight for equality and justice. Thumbs up. M
Thurs., Feb. 7 • The Vic • 7pm
Review by local filmmaker Krista Loughton