Flying Focus Video Collective
April, 1999 Newsletter
Three Programs Focus on U.S. Policy in Iraq
As we prepare this newsletter, the United States has bombarded Iraq nearly 100 times since the severe bombing in December 1998. Meanwhile, over 4500 children die each month as a result of the U.S./U.N. sanctions.
The unthinkable nature of this dual policy that kills is the subject of three new programs from Flying Focus. Two programs feature Denis Halliday, former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, who resigned in protest over the sanctions policy, and Phyllis Bennis, a policy analyst with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. In the first, taped at Portland's First Unitarian Church, the speakers focus on the moral imperative of the U.S. to change the way they do business in Iraq and look at the history of the situation and of the U.S. in global affairs ("Morality, History and U.S. Policy in Iraq", VB #30.13, 30 minutes).
In the other, taped at Portland State University, Halliday expands his description of the effects of sanctions and mistakes the U.S. and U.N. have made in its dealings in Iraq, while Bennis looks at U.N. resolutions and military materials supplied to Iraq by the U.S. and its allies. ("Economic Sanctions, Disarmament, and U.S. Policy in Iraq", SE #93, 80 minutes).
The third program features three speakers with first-hand knowledge of Iraq: Donna Denno, a Seattle-based pediatrician whose family is from Iraq, and Joe Zito and Dan Handelman who both traveled to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness in 1997 and are currently facing fines of about $10,000 apiece from the U.S. Treasury. They all paint a picture of the country, and how the sanctions have devastated it, as well as offer some words of hope for people who want to change the situation. ("Dismantling U.S. Sanctions on Iraq", VB #30.7&30.8).
Former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Denis Halliday speaks of the devastation caused by sanctions and bombings in Iraq in VB #30.13 & SE #93.
Cyndy's Spice World
Feel like nothing can cheer you up? Maybe those three little words from that special someone would. It's "Cyndy's Spice World" (VB #30.3) from Cyndy Chan and Crispin Rosencranz. These mavericks show you a way of life endorsed by pop superstars the Spice Girls. Who says girls can't have role models? The audience will enter the minds of Spice Girls fans, answering questions about body image, abortion, disabilities, homosexuality, and bringing bubble-gum simplicity to these profound issues. The 15-minute video also includes analysis and commentary on Spice Girls videos, as well as snippets of auditions for a look-a-like contest at a Portland area mall--a must for fans and curious outsiders alike. This video won a top award ("Best Video") at Portland Community College's Art Beat.
Activist Cyndy Chan "kicks it up" to see what life is like as a Spice Girl in "Cyndi's Spice World" (VB #30.3)
Flying Focus has recently obtained an old Amiga 2000 computer, which can enable us to put Character Graphics on videos without using cable access facilities. In order to upgrade and "Get with the 90's" (now that they're almost over), we can do one of a few things: We can try to raise several hundred dollars and find a Time Base Corrector Card to put in the Amiga, as well as a digital editor like the Video Toaster, and a larger hard drive; or we could try to find about $10,000 to get all-new equipment where we could digitally store and edit programs, and maybe even upload them to the internet (which will be commonplace a few years from now we're told.) If you would like to make a donation of equipment, or money toward our equipment fund, please send it to us c/o 3439 NE Sandy #248, Portland, OR 97232 (This is a PO box not our street address). Of course, your donations are also welcome and help with our general operating expenses of $400 a month. Please support independent media.
Two Recent Programs Feature Animals
In "Farm Sanctuary" (VB#29.12) members Barb Greene and Dan Handelman of Flying Focus visit the shelter for abused and abandoned farm animals in Watkins Glen, New York. A volunteer guide introduces the cows, pigs, sheep, goats and fowl who currently reside there and explains their history, then Dan and Barb visit the educational center.
"SOS Sarajevo: War Hurts Animals, Too" (VB#30.1) includes footage of animals from Yvonne Simmons' recent trip to the former Yugoslavia. She explains what they have endured, how volunteers from Bosnia and other nations are helping them, and how the animals have helped people maintain their sanity in the face of warfare.
FFVC Audience Continues to Grow
In the past year, Flying Focus programs have been shipped out to all areas of the U.S. for use in classrooms and on cable access. Cities include Greensboro, NC (Greensboro College); Davis, CA (UC Davis); Philadelphia, PA (DUTV at Drexel U.); Olympia, WA (Works In Progress); Boulder, CO ("What's Left" cable access program); Pomona, NJ (The Stockton Channel), St. Louis, MO (HEC-TV); Fort Wayne, IN (Friends of the Third World); Corvallis, OR (OSU); and right here in the Portland area at Beaverton's TVCA (thanks to a supporter who put together a series of reruns on his own!).
We are proud to be able to provide people with information which mainstream sources fail or choose not to report. We also try to make connections which the media and the government hope you won’t make for yourself.
But a result of our growth, our mailing list has blossomed to a nearly unmanageable 900+ names. If you no longer wish to be on our list, please call, write or e-mail us!
All (Media) Power to the People
Lee Lew Lee, the director of such documentaries as "All Power to the People", a history of the Black Panthers, spoke at an Alternative Media Forum in Portland in May, 1998. The theme of the conference was "End Corporate Dominance," so Lee talked about how people in the grassroots could empower themselves to be filmmakers and avoid becoming part of the corporate media structure. In many ways, his talk gave us a lot of encouragement here at Flying Focus: Lee talked about getting the information out there was more important than having perfect technical skills. Since our Collective is made up mostly of activists who seek to use video for social change rather than professional film-makers, most of our work falls into this category. And this program is no exception--it's not slick, fast-paced, professionally lit, or in hi-fi surround sound. But you will be entertained and informed if you watch "Lee Lew Lee: Alternative Media Forum 5/98" (VB #30.11).
David Oaks and Lisa Clay, mental health activists, spoke at the "End Corporate Dominance Conference" at Portland State University in May, 1998, about the ways that pharmaceutical companies, psychiatrists, and others in the mental health system make money off the suffering of folks with mental or emotional difficulties ("Corporate Psychiatry: Torture in the USA", VB#30.5, 30.6). One example was doctors who prescribe drugs or shock treatments whose side effects are far worse than the symptoms they were supposed to fix. Particularly disturbing is news of pending legislation in Oregon for a forced-drugging law which would allow two people, such as a family member and a psychiatrist, to obtain a court order requiring another person to take psychiatric drugs whether they want to or not.
Watch the Flying Focus Video Bus weekly:
Paragon - Mon. 8 PM, Ch. 27 & Wed. 11PM, Ch. 33
City Wide - Fridays, 9:30 PM, Ch. 11
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