Kopkind Colony features videos from the frontlines of the Egyptian revolution

Thursday July 14, 2011

GUILFORD -- This year began with something no one in the U.S. expected: a revolution in Egypt that not only toppled a government but influenced protest movements around the world and demonstrated more dramatically than ever the transformative potential of new media.

This Sunday, the Kopkind Colony will open its summer season with an evening of video made in and inspired by that breathtaking Egyptian experience.

Titled "Live From the Media Revolution!: How Young Egyptians Changed Their World ... and Ours?", Kopkind's free Movie Night, will feature filmmaker Gregory Berger, whose work has been screened at museums, galleries, and town squares on five continents, including in Mexico City's Zocalo and at the Guggenheim, The Getty Museum, the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Berger, who is based in Mexico, is also a journalist and professor of film in the Art Department of the Autonomous University of Morelos. For 15 years he has reported on political movements in Latin America. He runs the website www.gringoyo.com, which produces satirical video on the toxic effects of U.S. policy in Latin America. He has also worked with Al Jazeera English and the Caracas-based network Telesur.

In February he traveled to Cairo in collaboration with the online publication Narco News to produce a series of short videos for online distribution focusing on how the Egyptian civil resistance was successfully constructed and how media, used creatively and strategically, had an impact on the conditions that made the revolution possible.

He will show some of those videos on Sunday at the Organ Barn in Guilford, 158 Kopkind Road. The evening will begin with a potluck barbecue at 5:30 p.m.; the screening will begin at 7 p.m.

"We want the videos we're making on Egypt to serve as a manual that can inspire people in other parts of the world," Berger says. "Our first video is on Aalam Wassef, a blogger, videomaker and musician who attracted hundreds of thousands of followers online and succeeded in radically transforming the way foreign media reported on Egypt. His videos are funny and fantastic and he began producing them years ago out of the anger he felt that the foreign press was talking about Egypt as a democracy, ignoring the dictatorship and routine torture that Aalam and his fellow citizens suffered.

"They also helped build a revolutionary consciousness in the country, again beginning years ago, as they started to get attention in Egyptian newspapers and became currency in the daily exchange of views among the country's people.

"In Mexico," Berger adds, "media activists have been learning from people like Aalam during our current and quite difficult struggle against the drug war and the militarization of Mexican society. That struggle has recently found new expression after years of complacency through a broad and creative nonviolent civil resistance movement. Many of the key young video journalists covering the movement are borrowing strategies learned from Egypt."

"Learning From the World" is the theme of this year's first summer session at Kopkind, which brings together media makers and activists for a week of seminars, political and cultural exchange and rest. The project is a living memorial to the late journalist and Guilford resident Andrew Kopkind, who wrote on politics and culture with a matchless style and depth for national and international publications until his death, in 1994.

This is the 13th summer for the project. It will also present a Speaker's Night on Friday, July 22, featuring noted international writer and Guilford summer resident Maria Margaronis on life and debt in Greece; and a Grassroots Film Festival on Aug. 5-6. These events are all free and open to the public.

For more information, contact 802-254-4859, stonewal@sover.net or jwyp@earthlink.net.


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