Digital equipment is breaking down the professional mystique around making films. Now you can fit a VHS-quality film like “Farenheit 9/11” on a CD. Worldwide film distribution is becoming more doable without any physical film prints and that's very exciting for low budget activist filmmaking. There'll be a huge amount of these things in circulation.
Can you give any more details about your Shannon film?
The Shannon film is to an extent driven by some of the strong characters involved in the Shannon Peace camp and Shannon Protests. It will be unlike any Irish film/documentary I’ve ever seen. It will be a tragicomedy.
The film was turning into a huge thing because my idea was for the trials of Mary Kelly and the Catholic Workers to be its endpoint but they might not be over for two or three years. [Editor's Note: the Catholic Worker 5 are a group of people also called the Pit Stop Ploughshares, who disarmed a US military aircraft in Shannon airport. Likewise, Mary Kelly is facing trial for taking a hatchet to a US military aircraft in Shannon airport in direct action against the war on Iraq.] I'm editing the film at the moment and I decided that a good point to end the film would be Bush's trip to Shannon (June 25/26, 2004) and the protests. Somebody else from Indymedia, Wolf, filmed a small protest at Shannon during the time America was attacking Afghanistan. A load of protesters, including Mary Kelly, more or less came face to face with American soldiers in desert fatigues in the airport about two years ago. That was before there was any awareness in Ireland that the amount of use the US was making of the airport was growing and growing. I decided this was a story to follow, that it would turn into something big. And over the two years since it has. I'm going through hundreds of hours of footage. The film will be more fly on the wall than “Berlusconi's Mousetrap”, with no comment. Because of the access we've had to the people involved in civil disobedience and people who smashed up the planes, it's got a very frontline feel all the way through. I don't know of any Irish documentaries that have had this kind of access to politics in the street.
How would you describe your role in the making of “Berlusconi's Mousetrap”?
I am the editor of this film. No-one is listed as a director – I mean how could anyone 'direct' that many cameras? The mob of camera people were the 'directors' really. Indymedia Ireland produced the film and I got help from many people, all listed in the credits. Most of the gang are now involved in some way with Indymedia Ireland.
Is “Berlusconi's Mousetrap” art or documentary? Do you think the distinction matters or even exists?
The distinction does not exist. Hopeful
ly the film is both. I abstracted it a bit in the hope of giving it a longer shelf life and tried to foreground the process of representation throughout.
Did police tactics change in any way after Carlo Giuliani was killed?
They went from semi-covert assault on the general protester population to all-out-all-guns blazing militaristic repression. It really was an attempt to frighten the counter-globalisation / economic justice movement off the streets and screens of the world for good.
Tell me something about Guy Debord and “Society of Spectacle”
It’s a great book and is available for free at www.notbored.org I carried it around in my pocket in Genoa and thought it was eerily prescient about what was taking place in front of my eyes. He used to write about Italy with an Italian called Sanguinetti, who is well worth reading. I think his Comments on the Society of The Spectacle is based to an extent on events in Italy in the '60s and '70s and the 'strategy of tension' [Editor's Note: where the State carried out attacks against itself and attributed them to the new left, in order to justify repression of the left]. Both their writings are available at the same address above in the Situationist International archive.
How did you select the soundtrack?
Wormholes are my favourite Irish musicians bar none, so I used them a lot. 5-HT volunteered to do electronic music specific to a series of sequences and did a great job. The brass band music was recorded on the street at the protests in Genoa by Colm Olwill sticking the camera into the ends of as many brass instruments as possible.
Tags: silvio berlusconi