Launching the Cinema Politica Book
Above: from left to right, at the Cinema Politica book launch: Svetla Turnin, John Greyson, Thomas Waugh and Ezra Winton.
High up on the eleventh floor of Concordia’s EV (Engineering and Visual Arts) building in downtown Montreal 150 or so people gathered as a sun set reflected in orange hues across a range of high-rise buildings. In our own way we had organized an event that embodied the intriguing marriage of art and engineering, mostly expressed in the presentation by the unstoppable, insanely inspiring and altogether heroic human John Greyson (who in one part spoke of using GPS tracking devices to outline portraits of former fellow inmates by running through Toronto neighbourhoods).
We were gathered to hear John talk about his time in a Cairo prison and about art and solidarity and resistance, and expanding the narrative past himself and other “exceptional” news stories. We were also gathered to celebrate Cinema Politica’s tenth year of existence, not an easy feat in a climate where documentary funding and dissemination venues and windows seem to be closing at an alarming rate (and don’t get me started about our own funding struggles!). We were, lastly, also gathered to witness the launch of the first-ever Cinema Politica book, Screening Truth to Power: A Reader on Documentary Activism.
It was a magical, monumental and unforgettable moment in time.
The combination of John’s powerful, moving and provocative presentation, that crazy 11th floor urban vista-with-sunset and the excited energy around the book all combined to remind us once again of why we continue to “do” Cinema Politica, and why we love the communities we are so privileged to be members of.
Last Wednesday night on April 9th I felt what it is like to be part of something bigger than myself, and felt the power of a collective shared objective, one that is pointed toward a more fair, just and equitable future. I also felt the love that pours out of a collective when they gather to exchange, to inspire, to take part, to activate and to appreciate.
It was a night filled with an energy that speaks truth to power, that disrupts the dulling flow of the status quo, that orients individuals like me toward a family of sorts, and that affirms, once again, the need to keep on resisting organized politics and dominant ideologies and to keep on getting together in spaces where art and politics can thrive and paint the walls of our imaginations with promise, hope, solidarity, connectivity and community.
I’ll never forget it and I am so grateful to everyone who took part, and who continue to contribute.
Check out all the beautiful photos, by Mimi Zhou, from the event here.