After Occupy, Reform or Revolution? | American Autumn Excerpt

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A year after the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City, writer, director and producer Dennis Trainor, Jr. made a full-length feature documentary capturing the fervor and passion that spread through the nation in fall 2011, fueled a street revolution and introduced the concept of “the 99%” to define the corporate greed that has crippled the U.S.

American Autumn lets the protestors and organizers tell in their own words why they joined the protests and what they hoped to accomplish.

Shot at the birthplace of the Occupy movement at Zuccotti Park in New York City, as well as on location at protests in Washington, D.C., Trainor offers a Ground Zero view of the movement and its participants. On camera, protesters strive to define the goals of Occupy as well as how to achieve them. “Imagine that a single voice carries as much weight as the CEO of Goldman Sachs” the film posits, distilling one of Occupy’s core beliefs.

Protesters adopted the phrase “Place human need above corporate greed” encapsulating their view that the interest of big business has superseded the needs of the individual, and stacking the deck against an average middle-class citizen’s chance to enjoy a simple, debt-free existence.

The influence of Occupy is still felt. The Movement changed the conversation by raising issues like wealth inequity, health care reform, predatory bank practices, and the war on unions, among other issues. In doing so, Americans were forced to grapple with the reality of the downward economic and ethical spiral into which they were locked. Occupy has also revolutionized the way dissidents organize their protests. As Medea Pink, co-founder of Code Pink observes, there will be no more Saturday afternoon gatherings in a deserted Washington, D.C. where everyone marches in a circle and then leaves. Instead, Occupy brought the protest to the town square and “occupied” the space in a very public way. Although Occupy has waged a campaign of civil disobedience and nonviolence, the film includes scenes of brutal police practices such as indiscriminate pepper spraying and physical aggression that were used against the crowd. About 7,000 protesters were arrested within the first six months of the movement, including Trainor, who was jailed twice.

Narrated by Trainor, the documentary features speeches and interviews from filmmaker Michael Moore, Dr. Cornel West (Princeton University), comic/author/activist Lee Camp, journalists Nathan Schneider (Harper’s, The Nation) and Naomi Klein (The Nation) and more.


American Autumn: An Occuduc

Documentary full-length feature
Running time: 1:15:14
text animation & graphics by AJ Russo

original; music by Goldi

written and directed by Dennis Trainor, Jr.

atv reform or revolution