Still image from Vimeo video by Laura Newman Last month, director Josh Fox premiered his new documentary film “Occupy Sandy: A Human Response to the New Realities of Climate Change” against the wall of a building above the Mobil gas station at Avenue C and Houston Street in lower Manhattan. The flash mob of viewers who packed onto the concrete below had only received the exact location of the “guerilla” screening 15 minutes before its debut, following succint instructions to “text @climatecrime to 23559 to stay in the loop”. Read on for some highlights from the new film, which chronicles the efforts of the Occupy Sandy movement after the storm.
The 20-minute film featured interviews with residents, volunteers and activists at Occupy Sandy headquarters and in some of New York’s worst affected disaster sites – the Rockaways in Queens and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. The film’s director, Josh Fox, is also the creator of Gasland, the film known for bringing light to the controversial environmental health issues caused by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In this latest work, he connects Hurricane Sandy to global climate change, and calls for fossil fuel companies to own up to their responsibilities and for a clean energy revolution. During one on-screen interview, Bill McKibben, the man behind the environmentalist 350.org movement, suggests that Hurricane Sandy be renamed “Hurricane Exxon.”
After the film, Joan Flynn, a resident of 40 years on the Rockaway Peninsula (an area heavily damaged during the hurricane and the site of much Occupy Sandy volunteerism), spoke about her traumatic experience during the peak hours of the storm. See the video clip below, where she tells premier goers about the high waters, the fires, and the overwhelming smell of gasoline that swept the Rockaways that night. “I charge the government and the corporations as responsible,” she announces, “and it needs to stop. Alternative energy, clean safe alternative energy is the only answer for our future.”
Next Vivian Troung spoke, representing the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence, the organization responsible for the bulk of relief assistance in Chinatown post-Sandy. Like volunteers in the Rockaways, CAAAV volunteers canvassed door-to-door to bring food, supplies and medical aid to those in need while FEMA was missing in action.