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11th TDF: PRESS CONFERENCE - WHO’S AFRAID OF CATHY ACKER? - FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRITS MEETS ACTION - VICTIMS OF OUR RICHES (3/20/2009)

PRESS CONFERENCE
WHO’S AFRAID OF CATHY ACKER? - FIERCE LIGHT: WHEN SPIRITS MEETS ACTION - VICTIMS OF OUR RICHES

A press conference was given on Friday, March 20, at the Ianos bookstore by the directors: Barbara Casper (Who’s afraid of Cathy Acker?), Velcrow Ripper (Fierce Light: When spirit meets action) and Kal Toure (Victims of our riches), as part of the 11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century.

Barbara Casper, with her film Who’s afraid of Cathy Acker?, which is on the life of controversial writer Cathy Acker tries to revive the work of the provocative artist who has left her mark on New York’s underground scene. “The film is a mix of animation and documentary. My goal was not to present a biography of Cathy Acker, but to keep her legacy alive”, the director said and added: “My interest was piqued by her free and colorful speech, a rare phenomenon for a woman in the conservative USA of the ‘50s and ‘60s. I didn’t take a feminist view of Cathy Acker. For me, the goal was to show that through the power of our voices we can accomplish some things. This is true for all of us, men and women”.

Velcrow Ripper in his film Fierce Light: When spirit meets action explores the meaning of “intellectual activism”: “I searched the whole planet for stories of intellectual activists such as Martin Luther King, archbishop Desmond Tutu or Mahatma Gandhi. These people who were both impetuous and compassionate, as strange as this combination might sound”, the director explained and continued: “In a world that keeps getting worse, there are forces that push us toward the opposite, positive direction. I’m referring to spiritualism, which has nothing to do with religion. For me, the hope for a better tomorrow is a conscious choice and the reason for daily action. It is the element that gives my life meaning. This was my last question in all my interviews: What is the meaning of life, in each person’s opinion”.
In Kal Toure’s documentary Victims of our riches the relentless European policy towards Africa is exposed, as well as the harsh conditions faced by those who manage to get into Europe and find work.

There is a different mood in Victims of our riches, where Kal Toure presents the attempts by Africans to immigrate as well as the inhuman treatment they receive when they try to enter Europe. “It took me weeks to get the deported people to speak about such a harsh and unpleasant experience. This is a situation that has lasted 100 years, but I saw the terrible consequences up close”, the director stressed. As obvious from the film’s title, Toure believes that Africa is a victim of its natural riches. “Africa is an object for exploitation. This is why I don’t like it when I keep hearing the world ‘help’. There are many people who offer to help the African continent. But in reality, large corporate interests don’t want her progress, so that she will not become competitive”.


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