Retreat for Documentary Filmmakers

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

Kopkind, the magical retreat in Southern Vermont for journalists, activists and filmmakers, is headed for its 13th summer, and is calling for people who are interested in attending to send letters of intent. There are two sessions, one a political camp, from July 16 through 24; the other a film camp, from July 31 through August 7.

The project was started as a living memorial to the great radical journalist Andrew Kopkind. Since 1999 we have been bringing people together for a week-plus of political and cultural exploration, intellectual stimulation and rest, an experience of provocative ideas, delicious food and great company amid the pastoral beauty of Tree Frog Farm in Southern Vermont, where Andy spent twenty-five summers with his partner, John Scagliotti. The project that takes Andy’s name follows in his spirit of thinking deeply, living expressively and extending the field for freedom, pleasure and imagination.

People interested in the film camp, an intimate workshop/retreat for documentary filmmakers to show, share and critique their work, should go for full details to the website of the Center for Independent Documentary, our collaborator in that camp, http://documentaries.org/newsevents/kopkind-filmmakers-retreat-seminars/.

All others please read on.

The political camp brings together younger journalists, activists and other media makers together with veterans in the field, whom we call mentors, to consider the issues of the day, their own work and the larger question of justice, how to make a world fit to live in, in the light of a particular theme.

This year’s theme is Learning From the World.

In the midst of worldwide economic crisis, where are the centers of political energy? What windows do movements in other countries, and among immigrant workers in this country, open for how to think about capital, the state and self-organization? How do they shake up some long-held US left/liberal conceptions of resistance, of success? With capital increasingly organizing work and social life for alienation, with the state and mainstream organizations increasingly bankrupt or lost, can we envision alternatives? Can we expand solidarity and reimagine social happiness?

Marina Sitrin, editor of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, a remarkable oral history of the popular rebellion in Argentina and its process of creating direct democracy, worker-owned factories and new ways of speaking and acting individually and collectively, will be one of the mentors. She has written for numerous publications, is co-editor of Insurgent Democracies: Latin America’s New Powers, and is working on a book on contemporary life in Cuba. She has been working in Latin America for years, was involved with the Direct Action Network in the US in the 1990s and describes herself as a writer, lawyer, teacher, student and dreamer.

Greg Berger, also known as Gringoyo, a journalist and filmmaker based in Mexico, and a professor of film at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, will be with us in the early part of the week, the featured guest at Movie Night, showing new video he shot in Egypt during the great rebellion of January 25 and talking about what he witnessed in the Arab Spring.

Other details, with people involved with independent workers organizations and immigrant movements in the US, are still being worked out.

Program and Application:

We encourage young people to apply who have been at work for at least a few years as political journalists/media makers or organizers (or hybrids) and who are committed to this work. Although the average age tends to be about 28, age is not a hard and fast category, except that for legal/insurance reasons we cannot invite people under 21.

The program is entirely free, including transportation. (The 16th and 24th are travel days.) There are seminars every morning from 9:30 to 12:30, free afternoons, and evening discussions sometimes with special guests, two of which are free public events. The emphasis is on interaction and group enjoyment. Internet use is limited. People must be able to commit to the full program.

Participants stay in individual cabin rooms. We arrange for travel, as well as transport from airport or railroad station to Tree Frog Farm, as well as all meals, beautifully prepared and drawing on produce from Tree Frog’s lovely garden.

Interested applicants should send a letter of intent, telling us a little about their work, themselves and their politics, and explaining why they would like to come this year in particular. They should also tell us how they heard about the project.

Letters should be sent to JoAnn Wypijewski, president of Kopkind, at jwyp@earthlink.net. If anyone has questions, please don’t hesitate to e mail or phone 646.498.5810. Letters of intent should include all the applicants’ contact information, phones and mailing address, and must be in by Saturday, June 18, 2011.

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