On Purpose

Celebrating 35 years of activist filmmaking

A scene from North Korea: Beyond the DMZ
photo: Third World Newsreel
A scene from North Korea: Beyond the DMZ

As local channels further dilute the news and companies consolidate and homogenize our media, we look to documentaries like Horns and Halos, Bowling for Columbine, and The Fog of War for what goes on behind closed doors. Since 1967, Third World Newsreel has been promoting activist filmmaking—flicks with purpose. This all-day event celebrates those 35 years through four segments of panels and screenings. From noon to 2 p.m., "Activist Media: 1968 to 2004" offers a roundtable on progress and participation. Panelists include directors Christine Choy (Who Killed Vincent Chin?) and Tami Gold (Another Brother), who are followed by a screening of Spike Lee's We Wuz Robbed, about the 2000 election. From 2:15 to 4:15, "Neocolonialism, Imperialism, and Cultural Identity" discusses the on- and off-screen battle to reclaim national and cultural distinction with filmmakers Manthia Diawara (Bamako Sigi-Kan) and Ada Gay Griffin (A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde). "The War at Home and Abroad" at 4:30 looks at independent grassroots efforts in media and legal defense on behalf of those underrepresented in the "war on terror." Attendee Jason DaSilva's film, Lest We Forget, depicts 9-11's impact on immigrants living in the U.S. Finally, from 7 to 9 p.m., TWN considers the country demonized by Bush as part of his "axis of evil" in "North Korea: The Next War?" In North Korea: Beyond the DMZ, panelists J.T. Takagi and Hye-Jung Park paint a humanistic picture of North Korea through a young Korean American's search for long-lost relatives. Concurrent screenings run from 2 to 7 p.m. The whole thing is free; nothing can be more for-the-people than that.

 
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