Jun 10 2013

Radical Resistance Tour

“The Radical Resistance Tour is an autonomous project by a group of Occupy Wall Street organizers. We’re touring the United States and interviewing activists, people participating in direct actions, and people working to create a dual power model. We want to show people who aren’t on the ground how people are being directly affected by decisions being made by corporations and governments that put profits over people and the environment. We want to inspire more people to fight back by featuring people who are already fighting back, and hopefully gain some shared wisdom by listening to how others are resisting.

All videos were shot on an iPhone 4S and an iPod Touch.

Contact: radicalresistancetour[at]gmail[dot]com

Please consider supporting our work!”

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 01: Coal River Valley, West Virginia

Episode 01: Coal River Valley, West Virginia focuses on the grass-roots struggle against Big Coal’s destruction of mountains and communities throughout West Virginia, poisoning the land and people’s health by blowing the tops off mountains in order to mine tons of coal.

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 02: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Episode 02: Chattanooga, Tennessee takes a look at the fight to maintain affordable public housing in the face of racist policing being used to intimidate and drive off communities of color and working class, low-income resident.

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 03: East Texas

Episode 03: East Texas joins landowners and climate justice activists on the front lines of the fight against the next wave of extraction industries trying to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from carrying destructive tar sands “oil” from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 05: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Episode 05: Albuquerque, New Mexico examines colonization, oppression, privilege, & power from the perspective of indigenous people working with white allies, struggling for consensus and redefining “Occupy” by renaming to “unOccupy.”

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 07: Los Angeles, California

Episode 07: Los Angeles, California looks at queer resistance within the Occupy Movement, a more radical and inclusive struggle than the mainstream LGBT movement’s fight for marriage equality.

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Radical Resistance Tour Episode 09: Montana

Episode 09: Montana continues looking at 2012 Summer of Solidarity resistance against the extraction industry focusing on the fight against Big Coal in Montana and the railroad links that would be built throughout the Pacific Northwest for transporting the coal for export.


Jul 31 2012

A Very Honest Post.

Powered By Cats was officially formed in the summer of 2010 after five years of working staff and permalance post-production jobs. Powered By Cats has pretty much always been just me, Brett, but it’s a memorable name with an eye-catching logo. Originally created to host my commercial reel and archive of narrative short films edited during and after my time at NYU film school, the intent was to help me get freelance editing jobs – to look more legit to commercial agencies and production companies – two types of employers I never thought I would seek.

I went to film school at NYU because I wanted to make narrative feature films. I loved telling stories, throwing my heart up on the screen and hoping it resonated with my audience. While at NYU I found that even more than telling my own stories, I enjoyed, through editing, helping others tell their stories. I love the excitement of watching raw footage. There’s always a moment where the story starts to shape itself in my head. Then the real fun begins.

I took the first job I was offered after graduation. Desperation and fear carried me into the realm of advertising; insecurity and fear kept me there for the next three years.

After I left that job in the fall of 2008, I worked the night shift for almost a year and a half on reality television, then short advertising gigs here and there, followed by a 6-month job editing interviews about healthcare for an interactive video installation. Almost all those companies had great people and atmospheres. It was the counterbalance to the corporate product we were creating.

In my own time, or when unemployed, I would try to work on side projects – a music video, a narrative, and a dream project – promotional videos for a collective of non-profit organizations doing humanitarian work in Mali, West Africa.

This was the project I never knew I was craving to work on. Once I did, it made working in corporate media that much more heartbreaking and soul crushing. Regardless of how nice the people were, and how high a day rate I could get the company to agree to pay me, the projects just weren’t worthwhile.

In the summer and early fall of 2011 I began planning to leave NYC, after living here for 10 years. I needed to find a way to combine my skills in media with my passion for human rights work. I looked into grad schools in London and progressive media companies in San Francisco.

And then Occupy happened.

When I first starting engaging with Occupy Wall Street, on October 18th 2011, there was no shortage of media being produced by and about the occupation of Liberty Square and the growing worldwide movement. I was glad there was not a need there that I felt obligated to fill. I was working on and off over the next month and just didn’t have the energy for a media project, regardless of how incredible the content would have been. Plus it allowed me to focus on other areas within the community that had a more pressing need, namely, Facilitation.

Fast forward to May Day 2012. The day was a mixed bag of overhype, successful pickets, unfulfilled potential, underreported numbers at mass rallies and marches, and an over-reactionary paramilitary crackdown on a peaceful assembly. One of the biggest takeaways of the day was that under no circumstance could Occupy depend on the mass media to accurately represent us, let alone tell our story. My interest in media began to respark. Discussions of what a 24-hour Occupy television network might look like began, but have stalled due to the overwhelming time commitment just to figure out what steps would have to be taken to begin such an endeavor.

And now today. Two very close friends are just over one week into a six-week road trip around the perimeter of the United States. The Radical Resistance Tour will stop in nearly 20 cities to interview people – radicals, anti-capitalists, environmentalists, occupiers, homeowners, etc., who are fighting to improve their communities. While they are on the road, I am in NYC collecting their footage and editing web-episodes of each city. The first stop, in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, has resulted in a rough cut about 25 minutes long. The interviews with six folks fighting the coal industry and mountain top removal extraction procedures are incredible and inspiring. Future episodes will feature anti-Keystone XL Pipeline activists in Texas and South Dakota, police repression and violence protests in Anaheim, foreclosure defense in Minneapolis, and so much more.

This project is everything I have ever wanted to work on. It has the potential to be weeks, or months of work, and will hopefully result in nearly two-dozen episodes for the web. We are tentatively talking about a feature length documentary that could combine all the cities into one piece.

In November I worked an 11-day freelance job for Google. My last day of work was November 18th. My supervisors were sympathetic to my involvement in Occupy and didn’t mind when I emailed at 6am on November 15th to say I’d been up all night and wouldn’t be coming in, and gave me November 17th off with only a few hours notice before the end of the day on the 16th. Since November 18th, I have been employed one day. It was for an ad agency.

I’ve been able to sustain myself by deferring my student loans and giving up my apartment on December 16th 2011.

After spending a few weeks with Occupy, and made concrete on November 15th, I knew there was no going back. I knew I had to dedicate my time and my life to Occupy Wall Street, to the struggle for social and economic justice with the most incredible, diverse, complicated, and passionate community I had ever been a part of.

Over the last eight months I have benefited from, and depended on, the generosity of my friends, both new from OWS and longtime back as far back as NYU. I’ve slept on couches and floors, cat/dog/house sat for a few days or weeks at a time. I’ve gotten by on a modest savings. Not having to pay nearly $1800 a month on rent and student loans makes belt-tightening a whole lot easier.

But that savings is starting to run out and credit cards are not a sustainable option. My smartphone is an essential part of my lifestyle with activism. A Metrocard is a requirement for getting to housing, meetings, and actions. And now I’m trying to fulfill my dreams for what Powered By Cats has always wanted to be – a mobile video post-production company solely focused on supporting and furthering the work of people and organizations dedicated to social and economic justice in their communities.

With great humility and respect, I ask for your financial support. I ask that you help me do this work. Help me make Powered By Cats also powered by everyday people and not a dependency on corporate media. Every penny donated will be openly accounted for in a monthly financial report-back. No donation is too small or unappreciated.

I cannot wait to continue working on The Radical Resistance Tour and eagerly anticipate what other projects will manifest in the future. Please consider supporting independent media with a donation to Powered By Cats. I thank you in advance for your support.

In solidarity, with love and rage,

Brett


Jun 15 2011

KP Center for Total Health

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From November 2010 through April 2011, Brett acted as Media & Transcription Lead on a massively scaled interactive video installation designed and created by the incredible team at animation/design studio, Brand New School. Commissioned by Kaiser Permanente to be the center-piece of their new headquarters in Washington, DC, the Center for Total Health.

Brand New School built the installation from the ground up, combining software coders, animators, on-set production, compositors, original sound design and more, resulting in hours of delivered content playing across three zone’s including six pairs of multi-point touchscreens and an 80-foot long, nine-foot tall interactive wall.

Brett edited, subtitled, and conformed nearly 100 short documentaries, ranging from 10 seconds to over five minutes. Check out this page for a behind the scenes video and more information on the project, and the Center for Total Health website for additional information on the site and media content.


Dec 29 2010

PBC & Generate.Change

Summer 2010 PSP Official Visit – Video of In Progress Work

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This video describes the work in progress that Practical Small Projects is implementing in Mali, West Africa. For the past 6 years PSP has been increasing health, education and income generating opportunities through the provision of potable water, basic infrastructure and solar electricity. In this video we go to the village of Diban to see the work in progress for the 2010 Addax Foundation Grant. We re-visit Meridiela to see the projects completed from last year’s grant. Then we travel to Damana (funding provided by Roots and Shoots at Central Middle School), Dogo (private donors), and Bougoula (funding provided by the Gigliotti Family) to see the past work and what needs to be done in the future.