In a climate where most news stories are lucky if they're remembered for fifteen seconds, let alone fifteen minutes, the OWS movement has refused to go quietly.
In fact, it seems, even though most of the movement's die-hard supporters were forced to physically pack up their tents and vacate Manhattan's Zuccotti Park months ago, they're still right there, in spirit, and -- given this Thursday's world premiere of While We Watch, the documentary which chronicles the Occupy Wall Street movement -- one could even argue, stronger.
Since that fateful day last September, when scores of people, who declared themselves the "99 percent," set up camp in downtown Manhattan, refusing to leave until changes were made to the lopsided social and economical system in the U.S., the movement has spawned copycat protests in over 82 countries and 95 cities around the world. The most famous being last November, when the movement was the inspiration of a group of students at U.C. Davis, who, upon refusing to leave their peaceful "sit-in," were pepper-sprayed by local police, setting off a viral storm of anger-turned-into-hilarity the likes of which the web had never seen.
You would think that after New York mayor, Mike Bloomberg, finally got his way, and the mainstream media increased their already commendable efforts to ignore the movement entirely, even at its most virulent, that we'd heard the last of this little "Engine that could." Well, think again.
Thanks to social media sites Snagfilms.com and Ustream.tv, as well as hundreds of other lesser-known outlets around the globe, While We Watch will be available for download to the entire world, Thursday, April 26, at 8 pm eastern and again at 8 pm pacific. A live discussion panel, from Manhattan's Paley Center, featuring director Kevin Breslin, along with the film's core creative/production team, will immediately follow. (The film will again be made available on May Day (May 1st), where it will remain exclusively on-demand on SnagFilms.com through Election Day.)
Breslin, son of legendary Daily News columnist, Jimmy Breslin, says he's in awe of the response.
"What's really impressive about this premiere, is that it's being done completely viral -- without any support from mainstream media." He goes on to say, "When you shoot an independent film, you're basically limited to showing it in a few artsy theaters and possibly a few festivals. And that's it. It's over. The fact that, from day one, social media has been the engine driving this thing, is really incredible. It proves that the movie's message is not something to be forgotten about by next week."
"It's been amazing," adds producer Karen A. Brown. "@Occupywallstreet has over a hundred fifty thousand followers on Twitter, alone, and they've been tweeting the story, non-stop, for days, so, this is truly the first viral movie premier. It's also kind of ironic that it would be OWS behind the first movie marketing campaign to launch without a single television ad or billboard of any kind."
The stats are truly impressive:
The Occupy movement has close to one million followers on Facebook, and nearly 300,000 on Twitter. Ustream.tv has over 50 million monthly viewers worldwide, ten million mobile app downloads to date, and a million and a half followers on Twitter. Snagfilms.com was co-founded by AOL founder, Ted Leonsis, and its content can be viewed on over a hundred thousand affiliate networks, such as, Hulu, Starbucks Digital, and IndieWire.
With friends like that, who needs the Times?
While We Watch will be available for download and embedding Thursday, April 26, at 8pm eastern and again at 8pm pacific on www.snagfilms.com and Ustream.tv
Follow David Fagin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nikchapman