When B.C. filmmaker Velcrow Ripper started making Occupy Love in 2009, some of his activist friends weren’t sure what to make of his questions. How can the crises we’re facing socially, economically and environmentally become – of all things – a love story?
Occupy Love is the culmination of twelve-years spent filming social movements for his Fierce Love trilogy (it’s the third installment, after Scared Sacred and Fierce Light), but Velcrow Ripper’s involvement with social activism started even before that, growing up in Gibsons, B.C. In high school he got involved with local environmental campaigns protesting the spraying of DDT, and he worked to establish a student-run broadcast cable channel that still exists today. In 1995 he filmed and participated in the environmental protests at Clayoquot Sound and he says the fact that he grew up in a province with such a vibrant environmental movement shapes what he does today. It’s certainly a part of this trilogy.
Despite the initial confusion on the love story question, Ripper continued filming social movements from the Arab Spring to the European Summer, Occupy Wall Street and environmental movements. And he started seeing a shift, with more and more people responding: “Of course it’s a love story.” What that means is that the social movements emerging in response to these crises are becoming a movement of movements, joining in interdependence and interconnectedness.
I asked Velcrow Ripper about the way we see these kinds of movements represented in the mainstream media, about how if you’re not actually involved on the ground you might think some of the movements are no longer active. Ripper replied:
“I think the mainstream media doesn’t understand social movements, they don’t understand the interconnections between movements. They think in terms of news cycles and they only respond to spectacles…They see things in isolation, which is a real problem in Western society in general…it’s only when movements really have this full bloom moment that they get noticed but movements don’t stay in that mode all the time.” Read more