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2006 CounterCorp Film Festival

2006 CounterCorp Official Selection Seal
Alternative Freedom — Examines the rise of the “free culture” movement in response to efforts by corporations to increase their control over information, culture, and creativity through the extension and abuse of copyright laws. Includes interviews with academics, artists, and activists who refute the widely held notion that "copy rights" — which are often signed over to corporations from a position of economic inequality (a form of modern indentured servitude) — were ever intended as a means to maximize profits, rather than their original purpose: to encourage creativity and the exchange of ideas.


Directed by Shaun Cronin and Twila Raftu (USA , 2006, 68 minuties)

Bhopal Express — A heart-breaking narrative (fictional) drama about a newly married Indian couple whose lives are forever changed by the American-owned chemical plant that dominates their city, and their lives. When Tara insists on visiting her village after the wedding, husband Verma leaves the factory early so they can spend more time together before she leaves. Verma's friend Basheer, who also used to work at the plant, takes them to the station and witnesses the couple's forlorn parting. He drags the dejected Verma to a bar to try to lift his spirits. Neither man can imagine what awaits them — or Bhopal. The realistic portrayal of Indian life echoes the work of Satyajit Rai, focusing on the love story while avoiding typical Bollywood dance numbers and happy endings. Directed by Mahesh Mathai (India, 1999, 100 minutes). Co-presented by the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival.
The Corporation — The definitive cinematic case study on the origins and rise to power of the dominant economic, political, and cultural institution of our time. If we assume for the sake of argument that a corporation can (and should) have the status of a legal "person", the film asks, what kind of person is it? It then applies standard psychiatric analysis to typical corporate behavior — for example, acting only in its own self-interest without regard or remorse for the effects on others; callous, amoral, and deceitful; ignoring legal and social legal rules to get its way (while feigning empathy, caring, and altruism) — and concludes that corporations are highly dangerous sociopaths. 

Directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott (Canada, 2004, 150 minutes).

The Forest for the Trees — On May 24, 1990, outspoken environmental activist Judi Bari was seriously injured when the car she was driving suddenly exploded in Oakland, California. Rushed to the hospital with a fractured pelvis and other extensive injuries, Bari was arrested hours later in her hospital bed after the FBI said she had been carrying a bomb which had accidentally gone off. The opening night film of the inaugural CounterCorp Festival tells the story of Bari's fight to save the last of the ancient redwood trees from corporate clear-cutting, the 1990 car-bombing, her suit against the FBI and Oakland Police for accusing her of being an eco-terrorist, and the efforts of famed civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham to posthumously clear her name.

Directed by Bernadine Mellis (USA, 2006, 60 minutes). The screening with be followed by a Q & A with Mellis, Cunningham, and Judi Bari's daughters.

The Future of Food — There's a revolution taking place on farms and dinner tables across North American that's transforming the nature of the food we eat. From Saskatchewan to Oaxaca, and everywhere in between, a complex web of economic and political forces is at work as huge private corporations seek to control the world's food production. An in-depth look at the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, genetically-modified food that has quietly filled our grocery shelves for the past decade that examines the impact of patented "techno-crops" on the lives and livelihoods of the farmers who grow them, the health of the people who eat them, and the government policies that are supposed to regulate them.

Directed by Deborah Koons Garcia (USA, 2004, 88 minutes).

Making Waves — What would the radio sound like if the public was actually able to take it back from the monopolistic clutches of the giant media companies? A group of so-called "pirate" (unlicensed) radio stations in Tucson, Arizona, find out when they attempt to broadcast over the publicly-owned but corporate-controlled airwaves. The 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton, removed the limits on how many stations Big Media could own, and drove independent radio off the air. In response, pirates began using cheap, low-power equipment to broadcast on unused frequencies, as a form of civil disobedience to protest the lack of free speech, diversity, and public input on commercial stations.
Directed by Michael Lahey (USA, 2004, 64 minutes).

Pirate Radio USA — Broadcasting live with a 4-watt transmitter from an "undisclosed location" (long before Dick Cheney got there), DJs Him and Her lead us on a trip through the underground world of rogue radio, where people all across America are defying federal laws to say and play what they want. Along the way, we witness the rise of Big Media — and of "citizen media" in response to it — and the showdown between the two as they report on the 1999 "Battle of Seattle" at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting. It’s not left versus right, but rather the public David versus corporate Goliath in a battle for the future of democracy.


Directed by Jeff Pearson (USA, 2006, 84 minutes).

SeveranceThe Office meets Friday the 13th in this British horror-comedy in the style of Shaun of the Dead, but in far more terrifying setting. Our centerpiece narrative (fictional) film follows the sales team from an international arms trading firm as they head off for a weekend of "team-building" exercises at an isolated corporate retreat in the Balkan countryside. But the accommodations are a bit more rustic than expected, and the participants begin to suspect they may have found the site of a massacre by Serbian soldiers during the Bosnian War. The office hierarchy goes out the window — along with their boss — as they find themselves being stalked and killed in ways that bring new meaning to the phrase "cutting staff ".

Directed by Christopher Smith (UK, 2006, 90 minutes).