Several filmmakers and Occupy Wall Street supporters are criticizing the Tribeca Film Festival for its inclusion of Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, as a sponsor for this year's events.
The New York Times reports filmmakers Laura Poitras (“The Oath”), Zach Levy (“Strongman”) and Astra Taylor (“Examined Life”) have petitioned a letter to festival organizers voicing their disappointment and opposition to the sponsor. The open letter states:
We are troubled to learn that the festival has allowed Brookfield Properties to be one of its major sponsors this year and that multiple advertising trailers for Brookfield play in preshow programs.
Given Brookfield’s role in evicting the Occupy movement from Zuccotti Park, Brookfield hardly seems an appropriate sponsor for any festival that aspires to support new creative and cultural ideas. The company should not be given such a high-profile platform to help re-brand themselves as supporters of artistic expression and free speech.
In November, Brookfield owners were at the center of the controversial clearing of Occupy Wall Street's encampment in the Lower Manhattan park, in which a violent midnight raid was conducted by the NYPD, leading to hundreds of arrests and a "media blackout."
Shortly following the eviction, a poll found a majority of New Yorkers believing protestors had a legal right to stay in Zuccotti Park.
Recent documents from the city's Finance Department revealed Brookfield owners owed $139,000 in unpaid taxes, which led Councilman Jumaane Williams and Occupy Wall Street advocate to express, "Occupy Wall Street has been talking about economic disparity...and here's Brookfield Properties, which has worked with the mayor to keep the messengers out, not paying their share."