Opel’s documentary awarded for excellence

preempting bookAndy Opel, School of Communication Professor & Director of the Digital Media Production Program, has spent the last decade working on Preempting Dissent in one way or another. Both a book and award-winning documentary, Preempting Dissent follows the altering of public space since the advent of new policing strategies developed after the Seattle WTO Protests in 1999. Published in November 2008, “a large grant from social science and humanities council turned the book into a creative research project,” said Opel. The $149,000 grant was funded by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Council. The film was recently awarded a post-production grant from Council on Research and Creativity from Florida State University.

A guiding principle in the documentary was Lawrence Lessig’s idea “Rip, Mix, and Burn.” Lessig first criticized the conception of copyright in a 2004 speech at Harvard University. Since, Lessig’s notion of copyright denying creative potential has become known as “rip, mix, and burn,” encouraging the Free Culture Movement. With this in mind, the Preempting Dissent documentary was released under a Creative Commons license, which enables sharing and use of creativity and knowledge with proper credit given. “Because the documentary covers issues like civil disobedience, a good amount of the footage came from citizen journalists,” shared Opel. “We were promoting the sharing and repurposing of creative work.”

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/43609615" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/43609615">Preempting Dissent Teaser</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/preemptingdissent">Preempting Dissent</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

The documentary has been a great success, honored with Official Selections at the Human Rights Film Festival and International Film Festival. Screened 16 times this year, the film was shown last week in at the Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle, Washington. On November 7th, it will be the opening film at Media Democracy Days in Vancouver, B.C.  “It’s a true honor to be the opening film at Media Democracy Days,” said Opel.

Preempting Dissent has been recognized in 2014 as:

  • Official Selection, Unspoken, Human Rights Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Action on Film, International Film Festival
  • Official Selection, Social Justice, International Film Festival
  • Kelly Thomas Award, Best Social Commentary, Action on Film Festival

The film’s progressive angle at grassroots journalism is an eye-opening story that pushes viewers to combat the everyday injustices in society. Find more on Preempting Dissent in both print and on the screen, click here.