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Vivien Lesnik Weisman
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Vivien Lesnik Weisman is a filmmaker, writer and political commentator.

She was born in Havana, Cuba. She graduated from Barnard College with a B.A. in Art History and New York Law School with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. She was then accepted to the New York Bar. She went on to receive an MFA in directing from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. She has received numerous awards for her films, including the prestigious UCLA Spotlight Award for Best Dramatic Short and a Golden Eagle for Excellence in Latino Filmmaking.

Her most recent film, The Man of Two Havanas, a feature length documentary, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to packed houses and standing ovations. The critically acclaimed documentary has gone on to win the most prestigious awards throughout the world, including the Grand Prix Documentary at the Festival Internacional du Cinema Latin de Paris, the IFP Fledgling Fund Award for Best WIP Emerging Latino Filmmaker, The Audience Award at The Vancouver International Latino Film Festival, the First Coral Award at the Festival de Nuevo Cine Latino Americano (Havana International Film Festival), the Grand Prix Signis at the Festival Internacional du Cinema Latin de Paris as well as the Social Justice Award Finalist at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
She has appeared on numerous television and radio news programs throughout the country and abroad including, DemocracyNow, WNBC, WCBS, Telemundo, Univision, MegaTV, WakeUp Call to name a few.
She is a contributor to the Huffington Post.
Ms. Lesnik Weisman resides in Santa Monica with her son, Richard Jr.
Vivien Lesnik Weisman

Entries by Vivien Lesnik Weisman

weev Wins Battle in The Hacker Wars

(2) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 11:43 AM

Last Wednesday, I was filming weev, Andrew Auernheimer, on abandoned railroad tracks in Brunswick Brooklyn when he read a tweet from his attorney, Tor Ekeland, which informed him that his indictment was dismissed, making him a free man. "Victory, I am free!" Fist up in the air, he laughed. Last week, Aurenheimer was released after serving 14 months in federal prison.

Earlier this week, the third circuit federal appeals court dismissed his conviction, deciding that Auernheimer should not have been tried in New Jersey because the state has no connection to his case. In other words, the case was dismissed on procedural grounds, not on the merits.

Auernheimer was convicted in 2012 of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after he exposed a security flaw on an AT&T website, giving him access to the personal email addresses of more than 140,000 iPhone users. He was so sure he had not violated a law that he publicized his exploit and gave high profile email addresses, including that of then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to Gawker, an online publication.

Since Aurenheimer's sentencing, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Harvard Law School, Stanford University Law Clinic, as well as a good chunk of the tech community agree that no law was violated.

Said Aurenheimer, "I have instructed the best legal team money can't buy not to raise the double jeopardy defense. I am willing to go to prison again to win this case on the merits and overturn the CFAA."

Aurenheimer, 17 pounds thinner than before his prison stint due to the severe conditions of his incarceration, makes the media rounds with The Hacker Wars, the soon to be completed film about hacktivists, the criminalization of dissent and the security surveillance state.

Follow weev @rabite
Follow me @VivienWeisman @TheHackerWars
FB Vivien Lesnik Weisman FB The Hacker Wars and
@AnonymousVideo and @YourAnonNews...

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A Conversation With Jeremy Hammond, American Political Prisoner Sentenced to 10 Years

(37) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Jeremy Hammond, the Chicago activist and hacktivist (an activist who uses computer networks for political protests and other actions), was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for hacking into the intelligence contractor Strategic Forcasting (or Stratfor) and other government, law...

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The Failure of the Rule of Law: Joshua "Skelly" Stafford Sentenced 10 years for Terrorism

(23) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 5:28 PM

Joshua Stafford, 25 known as Skelly, was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison and life probation for his involvement in a terrorist plot to blow up a bridge near Cleveland. His co-defendants, Douglas Wright, 28, Brandon Baxter, 21, Connor Stevens, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 37, pled...

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The Strange Case of Barrett Brown Just Got Stranger

(42) Comments | Posted August 11, 2013 | 2:19 PM

The prosecution made a motion for a "Gag Order" (a motion to disallow media) in the case of Barrett Brown. Brown is one of the subjects of my film, The Reality Wars, which is about the targeting of hacktivists, activists and journalists by the US...

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Chicago Takes Prisoner in War on Activists: Jason Hammond Arrested

(21) Comments | Posted July 17, 2013 | 9:41 AM

Chicago, Courtroom, November 2010:

"I made a mistake," Jason Hammond, 24, told the Cook County Judge, before he was sentenced to one-year probation for his anti-Olympics shenanigans.

Hammond's twin, Jeremy, was sentenced to 18 months probation and 130 hours of community service.

"I accept full responsibility for my...

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Jeremy Hammond, American Political Prisoner

(93) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 10:39 AM

Jeremy Hammond is a well known Chicago (h)ac(k)tivist. Today he took a non-cooperating plea bargain of 10 years for his involvement in the intrusion of the private intel security firm Stratfor. He also pled to intruding into government, law enforcement and other corporate websites.

(H)ac(k)tivist is a combination of...

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Weev, the Hacker Who Didn't Hack AT&T

(19) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 10:56 AM

Andrew "weev" Auernheimer outside Newark Courthouse with supporters on the morning of sentencing (Screenshot from documentary film work-in-progress by Vivien Lesnik Weisman/Josh Kun DP)

In a Newark New Jersey courtroom last Monday, Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, 27, was sentenced to 41 months imprisonment due...

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President Hugo Chavez, a Non-MSM Primer

(25) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 3:01 PM

In order to understand the media coverage of the situation in Venezuela one must look at the antecedents. It is instructive to revisit this NYT editorial on the occasion of the 2002 coup.

April 13, 2002 "Hugo Chavez Departs"

With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chávez,...

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NYT Photos Don't Do Justice to Police Presence at Anaheim Protests

(24) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 6:56 PM


Credit: New York Times

A picture is worth a thousand words is often used as short hand for the power of an image to convey information and elicit emotion. But a snap shot in time...

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Pvt. Bradley Manning and the New York Times: Manufacturing a Villain

(57) Comments | Posted August 12, 2010 | 3:03 PM

In Early Struggles of Soldier Charged in Leak Case, the New York Times published a portrait of Private Bradley Manning reminiscent of the type of character assassination J.Edgar Hoover planted in newspapers in the hey day of the communist witch hunts. The government agencies routinely planted such misinformation to...

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Haitians Die As International Relief Organizations Can't Deliver

(16) Comments | Posted January 19, 2010 | 1:09 PM

As I watch CNN's Anderson Cooper discuss with Sanjay Gupta the lack of medical care and basic medical supplies, such as antibiotics, six days into the crisis in Haiti, I need to read between the lines to figure out what seems to be holding things up on the ground.

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International Rescue Workers Afraid of the Poor Black Haitians

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2010 | 12:17 PM

Last night as I watched CNN's Katrina coverage -- oops, I mean Haiti's earthquake relief efforts... Exactly! I am outraged at the lack of international relief workers on the ground 4 days into the crisis. CNN's Anderson Cooper continued to barrage a stunned and over extended Sanjay Gupta as he...

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Opportunity For New Beginning In US/Latin American Relations Squandered

(23) Comments | Posted November 30, 2009 | 4:10 PM

Oops, we did it again. The opportunity presented to hit the reboot button on friendship with Latin America by the Honduran coup which ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was a gift to our newly elected President. If he had made all the right moves, he would have created a...

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The Most Famous Woman in Afghanistan

(5) Comments | Posted November 7, 2009 | 1:20 PM

That's how CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans introduced Malalai Joya on Thursday, in the U.S. on a book tour for her memoir A Woman Among Warlords. A more telling modifier often describes Malalai Joya as the bravest woman in Afghanistan. After all, is she not the one-time youngest...

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Please Mr. President, Stick To Your Guns and Don't Pull the Trigger on Public Option

(11) Comments | Posted October 26, 2009 | 7:10 PM

I don't know about you, but I have developed a case of chronic whiplash from following the about turns of our 44th president during the health care negotiations.

To think that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid feels that he is within striking distance of the 60...

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Where Are All the democrats in Congress ? Little "d" Intended

(34) Comments | Posted October 13, 2009 | 3:23 PM

What's missing from the Health Care debate is an honest assessment of our system of government.

Democracy is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as "1a: government by the people especially rule of the majority, b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised...

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My Man of Two Havannas Premiere

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2007 | 1:17 AM

My film premiered Saturday. In the audience were the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, his wife and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). It was amazing and we even had a standing ovation.

Sandra Levinson, from the Center for Cuban Studies in New York City came and sent me a...

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Killer Lives Happily Ever After, In Miami

(1) Comments | Posted April 27, 2007 | 3:14 PM

Killer lives happily ever after, in Miami of course

In my documentary film, The Man of Two Havanas, my father, Max Lesnik, says, "Miami is like a hell where everything is inverted, murder is characterized as heroic, acts of terrorism as acts of heroism..."

He is referring to Luis Posada...

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Tribeca's Opening Night Party

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2007 | 1:09 PM

On another note, the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival, featuring Al Gore, was a testament to what one individual can do with dedication, vision and well... he is pretty brilliant too.
As Martin Scorsese said as he introduced our former president, "Before Al Gore, global warming was an...

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Cuba's Effect On Families

(34) Comments | Posted April 21, 2007 | 10:32 AM

For Cinephiles Only:
My documentary, The Man of Two Havanas, is my attempt to understand why my dad always put Cuba and his public life above his family. Well, namely ME.
Well, that's not really all that it is about....
It is also about his friendship with Castro (they made a revolution together), his subsequent breakup and reunion.
Well that's not really all it's about either...
It's also about the fact that I grew up as the daughter of the number one target of the anti-Castro terrorists.
So why a movie? Why not an essay, a magazine article or even a book? Well, simply, because I can.
But wait just a minute. My film idols were never the Maysles Brothers, but rather Antonioni and Bunuel. Their films could not be further from the documentary form. Antonioni, with his cinematic or aesthetic climax, rarely coinciding with the dramatic one; and Bunuel...well, the Bunuel I love is poetry in motion...not at all suited for documentary treatment.
So what is a filmmaker trained at UCLA by Polish genius Jerzy Antczak obsessed with the art of the moving master doing with a camera glued to a tripod in a living room in Miami interviewing her dad?
Well, I'm doing the best I can.
My idea was this: let my father tell his story and see what happens. Not much of a plan. No storyboards, no shot list, no script. Jesus, no script!! What the hell am I doing? When is the director showing up? So this is documentary filmmaking?
After hours and hours of torturing my dad in our living room in Miami and following him around the two Havanas, I had 160 hours of footage and a Final Cut Pro that kept crashing and deleting. But I had a secret weapon: a kickass editor, Tirsa Hackshaw.
As my eyes glazed over watching the endless parade of pictures I had an aha! moment. We need a story to tell this story. We need structure. Oh right, we need a script. Hmm...interesting. But even with all of that there was still something missing.
The missing element was me. I was missing. The time had come to make this massive blob my own, to use all of my skills as well as Antonioni's and Bunuel's and the Maysles' Brothers and Warhol's and any other artist I had devoured, dissected and internalized. Hmmm... The director, working in a great partnership with the editor and a script, and viola, it's a movie!
Well not exactly. Many cuts later, 36 cuts, caffeinated nights and 1 & 1/2 years, something began to take shape. And finally, my movie is complete and ready for its world premiere, not sheltered by the mountains of Utah, but at the Tribeca Film Festival in front of the most film savvy, Film Forum attending, sophisticated and critical audiences in America.
And there's even a moving master, courtesy of archival footage from "I am Cuba" ("Soy Cuba" 1964). And because this blog is for Cinephiles only, I know I don't need to explain the reference.
Wish me luck!



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