Thursday, December 22, 2011

Velcrow Ripper charts "humanity's immune response to a planet in crisis" in Fierce Light & Evolve Love

Velcrow Ripper  has been charting psychological resilience and nonviolent faith-based social change movements since the start of the millennium, as if anticipating the Occupy Movement, which he has been filming from its start. This year, the Canadian filmmaker has been sending out major soul force along with Naomi Klein and the millions of others who support the Occupy Movement.

Here's a recent interview from his latest website, Occupy Love
ALIVE MIND: Occupy Love is the third film of the “Fierce Love Project.” It comes after Sacred Scared (Special Jury Prize of the Toronto Film Festival), an uplifting pilgrimage through war-torn places around the world, followed by Fierce Light, a film about bringing together spirituality, and activism. Is there a logical progression to these films? How would you relate Fierce Light to Sacred Scared and Occupy Love?

VELCROW RIPPER: Indeed there is - the films are about about the “Heart of the Times” of this unique period in human history, from the millennium to 2012. It is a time of enormous crisis, and enormous possibility. The overall theme is, how can the global crises that we are facing lead to the evolution of humanity?

Scared Sacred takes us on a journey to ground zero’s of the world – places like New York City during 9.11, Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Bosnia, Cambodia, Israel and Palestine. In each of those places, I discovered some of the most remarkable individuals I have ever met. I found that there were two things that the survivors all had in common, that helped them get through the crises they faced with their spirits transformed, not crushed: having a source of meaning, which was different for each of them, and taking action.

This lead to the second film, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action, which explores the relationship between spirituality, and activism. There has long been an artificial divide between these two important aspects of human society, and this film explores the power that is released when the two come together.

In Occupy Love I ask the question: how is the economic and ecological crises we are facing a great love story? I have gone beyond the word “spiritual” to the deeper, and more universal word, “Love.” The last lines of “Fierce Light” are, “Another world is here, right now: listen.” On the sound track you can hear the rumblings of a volcano, the sleeping woman – who is now wide awake.

Occupy Love explores this awakening, this revelation of our shared heart, and our shared oppression, and the process of working together to transform the bankrupt system of today into a world that works for all life. The Occupy movement, and the related movements that are erupting around the world, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, are all a part of this awakening.

I recently showed Fierce Light at Occupy London and people were really struck by how the movie predicted the arising of Occupy. The films truly have their finger on the pulse of the times. In fact, Fierce Light was a little ahead of it’s time...

ALIVE MIND Commenting on the protest that spurred in Quebec City in 2004 against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, you are asking “What would I do if I did not have a camera in my hands? Would I want to pick up a rock and throw it right back at these dehumanized Plexiglass faces?” What stance do you adopt when you shoot in the midst of demonstrations? Does being an engaged filmmaker mean taking a step back from neutrality in those situations?

VELCROW RIPPER I don’t believe in neutrality. That comment, which was a rhetorical question, was answered by the film: I would do what Carly Stasko does at that moment – she dances.

My response to repression, violence and corporate dominance is to be as contrasting to that as possible – liberated, non-violent, and creative. That is the way to transform violence, not by speaking it’s language back at it...

ALIVE MIND On Sept 17, 2011, at Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street, you’ve asked a giant FDR dime, “How could the global crisis we are facing become a love story?’ You made a short-film out of it, entitled Summer of Change: Occupy Wall Street.

Have you been personally involved in the movement since then? What are your future plans?

VELCROW RIPPER I have fallen in love with the Occupy Movement. I was at Occupy Wall Street since day one, travelled to Occupy Oakland for their epic general strike and just returned from Spain, where I was filming with the Indignados, Egypt, where I was covering Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Revolution, and Occupy London. I was looking at the roots of the movement, tracing it back from the European summer, to the Arab Spring, and looking at where the movement has evolved. The film is now called “Occupy Love.” The original project, Evolve Love, may come out after, or will be integrated into this movie.

Two years ago I asked writer Naomi Klein, “How could the crisis we are facing on the planet become a love story?” And she laughed, and said that her and I do the opposite – she points out how bad things are and I look for the love. Last week I saw her at an action and she gave me a big hug and said, “History has re-arranged itself to prove your thesis.”

The Occupy Movement, and the much bigger, and deeper global spirit of transformation from which it arises, is the love story I have been looking for, all my life. In Fierce Light I reference Paul Hawken, who in his book Blessed Unrest, talks about a global movement of movements that is emerging all over the world, what he calls “humanity's immune response to a planet in crisis," the largest movement in history. And the remarkable thing about that movement is that it is self organizing, and it didn’t even know that it existed. The Arab Spring, The European Summer, and now the Occupy Movement, is that movement standing up, looking around, and discovering itself.

And right now, this is the greatest love story on earth. This movement is rooted in interdependence, and is the opposite of the selfish, lifeless, dog eat dog-eat-dog world promoted through the vast capital of the corporations. We need to do everything we can to nurture this evolving movement, our ever-evolving global society, and keep it moving always in the direction of love, in the direction of life. Love is the movement. We are the 100%
Read the interview and see videos (including Summer of Change: Occupy Wall Street at Occupy Love: Global Revolution of the Heart.

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