Underground Film Journal

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Short Documentary: Why Are You At Occupy Wall Street?

By Mike Everleth ⋅ October 5, 2011

Documentary filmmaker Michael Galinksy headed down to the historic Occupy Wall Street protests that have been going on for the past several weeks in NYC to ask the occupiers a simple question: “Why are you here?” While the “occupy” movement seemed to spring up organically without much formal organization, the interview subjects in Galinsky’s film are, for the most part, united in their desire to express their rage about the U.S.’s current economic situation.

Galinsky is, of course, no stranger to making compelling political documentaries, including this year’s smash film Battle For Brooklyn, about several residents’ seven-year-long fight to keep their homes and businesses from being taken away by questionable political practices. (Galinsky co-directed Battle For Brooklyn with Suki Hawley.)

New York City police officer

The key to Galinsky’s documentary work is the way he can quickly get to the heart of his subject through the human element. Battle for Brooklyn focused primarily on protestor Daniel Goldstein, who worked tirelessly to save his home for several years, during which time we see how his passion defined and guided his life on an intimately personal level.

While there’s not that much time to get to know the interview subjects in the above short doc, but by asking everybody the same, simple question we get to understand their mindset, from the police officers who refuse to answer out of fear of being reprimanded to the commodities trader who seems to have regret to the woman who lost her life savings on Wall Street to the one guy who bizarrely rants against foreign banks.

It’s a very clear, direct and moving piece, which will possibly be combined into a larger, feature-length collaborative documentary, which is currently raising funds on Kickstarter.

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