Free Expression vs Censorship, North Korea, RU & Chicago Indie Film
Controversy, Censorship, North Korea, RU and a Chicago Indie Film—how these https://www.youtube.com/user/madpalX
Due to the recent events with Sony’s Interview and the looming impact, I felt my personal story hits home, and felt I should share it. As an artist myself , I am thinking of reasons why my indie “Free Speech & the Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew, Street Artiist” (99 min) is controversial. And in general, Why film is such a powerful tool, and fighting self-censorship.
I believe sharing this info publicly is relevant to many who make films, read books, think true democracy is important and participate in freedoms that others do not agree with. Freedom of Expression is one of our rights, like Free Speech.
I wanted to tell you what happened shortly before the screening of my first indie film..which was very difficult to bear and hear. I still do not know the whole story of what happened—here is what is known.
Here is the brief scenario:
Jan 2014. Chicago. I finished my first indie documentary complete with official U.S. copyright. Chris Drew’s Legacy already had a following due to the social-political nature the media, local, national and international, as well as social media, was following his case steady from 2009-2012. Surrounding his challenge to the Peddler’s Ordinance (he sold Art for a Dollar) which unexpectantly turned into his 2.5 year court cases for Class One Felony Eavesdropping. He was facing 4-15 years in prison if convicted.
April 2014. Chicago. Columbia College School of Journalism (a visionary school with Dr.Barbara Iverson , professor and journalist) hosted (limited pre-screening of 60 invited guests) my indie film on Chris Drew. This went very well and I was grateful for this first event.
About 2 weeks following this, Roosevelt University (my undergrad alma mater) was to show the film as a “community event” (not open to general public, as RU community)
In brief, after what I was told by a person who stated “never saw anything like this before” (yanking a film with an alum for a one time event) there was a “heated discussion” the decision came down from the Administration to pull the screening . So a community event held within RU should have been a simple event ? what happened?..But one curious one was that most of the people making the decision did not even see the film, they only saw the trailer.
Admittedly, this film has some dangerous elements like the First Amendment. Free Speech always a challenge, and the court case which Drew’s pro bono attorneys Mark Weinberg, for Civil Rights and then, for Criminal Defense on the Felony charges, Josh Kutnick who won vs the State’ Attorney, Anita Alvarez, in the court of Judge Sacks, 2012. In this case, a documentary which is based on fact and truth.
But even a film based on fantasy has its own ball of tangled deep issues.
On the “Interview” Sony film controversy:
From an article in the New York Times:
“In a clear reference to Mr. Kim, he (President Obama) said, We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” That would encourage others to do the same “when they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like.”
Back home in Chicago, My first indie was, and still is, meeting challenges:
After months and many emails, I requested that Roosevelt Univ list my film. I thought this would have been easy, since I was an Alum. Finally, I did get a listing on prestigious Mansfield Institute for Social Justice, MISJT is located within Roosevelt Univ. Here is what the posting looked like:
Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and transformation
Free Speech and The Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew
October 13, 2014 2 Comments
Community screening of “Free Speech and The Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew” a film about a street artist and his pursuit of freedom of speech and the US legal system. When- Friday, November 14th at 7:30pm Where- Logan Theater, 2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL Trailer- and Interviews
(See- My Interview by Dan O’Donnell -for reference, not on original posting)
“Free Angela” Film Screening and Discussion with Director Shola LynchIn “Articles and Reports”
The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Internship ProgramIn “Articles and Reports”
Restorative Justice & Peace Circles: An IntroductionIn “Articles and Reports”
Filed under Articles and Reports
2 Responses to Free Speech and The Transcendent Journey of Chris Drew
- nancy bechtol says:
Thanks (herein, from the director) for listing this important and Chicago/Illinois film film. The Chicago Premiere is 11.14.14 at the Logan Theatre. Chicago. Indie film over 5 years in the making tells the story of Chris Drew selling art for $1 then unexpectedly charged with a Class 1 Felony for audio recording his own arrest, faced 4-15 years in prision. supported by 2 pro bono attorneys, Mark Weinberg-first on 1st amendment issues, then Josh Kutnick, for criminal defense. He won! and the Illinois Eavesdropping Law declared Unconsitutional. Come see. http://www.logantheatre.com Peace through Justice.
- nancy bechtol says:
Thanks for listing the Chicago Premiere-first public screening- of my indie doc.-99 min.(dir. Nancy Bechtol) Chris sold art for $1 to protest the Peddler’s License, but those charges were dropped and changed to a Class 1 Felony Eavesdropping, which in 2009, carried 4-15 years in prison, if convicted. 16 interviews, including Rep Elaine Nekritz, the 2 pro bono attorneys, and supporters/friends from American Indian Center, Occupy Chicago, Critical Mass and more. Come! 11.14.14 The Illinois Eavesdropping Law was overturned! 3/2014
Leave a Reply
….The Rest is for History to decide…
we all need to tell our stories.