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Flying Focus Video Collective

August 2006 Newsletter

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Bv     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321-5051    •    ffvc@flyingfocus.org


Flying Focus Celebrates 15 Years;
Looks Back at Variety & Geography of Shows

It's amazing: This year Flying Focus Video Collective turns 15. November 18th marks exactly 15 years since the Video Bus premiered. Annually since then, we have produced an anniversary show (the "Busiversary") to recap each year's programs and show the faces of the producers.

In addition to the wide variety of topics we have covered (animal rights, labor, economic and environmental justice, feminist issues, sexual orientation, alternative health care, war and peace, etc.), we also will look back at footage from some of the countries Flying Focus volunteers have visited with camcorders. Those countries include: Brazil, Bosnia, Chile, Croatia, Cuba, England, Iraq, Italy, Peru, Serbia, Sierra Leone, and Spain. In addition, we've covered issues in Afghanistan, Burma, Canada, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, South Africa, Tibet, and Vietnam.

To celebrate this milestone, Portland Comcast subscribers will be able to see all 14 past "Busiversaries" in back-to-back blocks over three weeks this fall.

Busiversary Retrospective – 15 Years of Shows

#1-3 (1991-1994) on Mondays October 23 (6 AM-Channel 23),
   October 30 (3 AM-Channel 22), and
   November 6 (Midnight-Ch. 11, Cable Access Network)

#4-6 (1994-1997) Tuesdays (10/24, 10/31, 11/7)
   same times/channels (6 AM/23, 3 AM/22, Midnight/11)

#7-9 (1997-2000) Wednesdays (10/25, 11/1, 11/8)

#10-12 (2000-2003) Thursdays (10/26, 11/2, 11/9)

#13 & 14 (2003-2005) on Fridays  (10/27, 11/3, 11/10)

Saturday, November 11 all the retrospectives will show in a 14.5 hour marathon back-to-back starting at 7:30 AM on Channel 22, culminating in the world premiere of this year's "Fifteenth Busiversary." We're planning a public screening for the last four hours at Portland Community Media (PCM) in NE Portland. We will let you know more as the time gets nearer. Special thanks to PCM staff for helping support our celebration--even as they commemorate their own 25th anniversary (see www.pcmtv.org for details).

In the day and age of mega-mergers, with news falling under the control of corporations heavily influenced by advertising, Flying Focus stands as one of the few commercial-free independent media outlets. While cable access itself is under threat of massive cutbacks (see the Alliance for Community Media site, www.alliancecm.org for info) we want to keep producing programs that you won't see anywhere else. Ideally, we will learn to digitize our programs and find ways to make them available on the Internet. Let us know if you watch television this way, and/or if you can help us make our shows available for streaming or "pod-casting."

We keep afloat on an extremely low budget (about $5000 a year) and an all volunteer effort. Please consider making a donation to Flying Focus for Fifteen years and for the Future!

Albany Events, National Conference Focus on Iraq War & US Policy

[NW Vets float] The NW Veterans for Peace had the only peace float at Albany's 2005 Veterans Day Parade in "Albany, Oregon: Two Peace Actions 2005" (VB #58.10)

In the relatively conservative city of Albany, Oregon (75 miles south of Portland), two actions showed inspiration in support for the message of peace in late 2005. A few months later, Amnesty International USA held its conference in Portland and featured a panel on negative aspects of the US invasion of Iraq and its "War on Terror." These various activities were captured in two recent programs.

"Albany, Oregon: Two Peace Actions 2005" (VB #58.10) features speakers and music from a Rally for Peace held Sept. 24th in Monteith Park, organized by Military Families Speak Out. Veterans, military families (some of whose relatives have been wounded or killed in Iraq) and others called to bring the troops home. It also shows the Northwest Veterans for Peace participating in Albany's Veterans Day parade on November 11. A large contingent of peace supporters joined them as they were greeted with cheers and jeers along the route.

"Exposing Human Rights Violations in Iraq and the 'War on Terror'" (VB #60.1) presents panelists Lt. Col Dean Hagerman of the Idaho National Guard and Tara McKelvey, an editor at American Prospect and Marie Claire magazines. While in Iraq, Hagerman revealed abuses involving Iraqi officials, where prisoners would "disappear." He describes the US linking 9/11 to the war in Iraq as "obfuscation." McKelvey talks about the hypocrisy of the press, who repeat anything from government or military spokespeople but approach people who say they are the victims of torture by the US or its allies with skepticism.

For a Better Environment

Flying Focus had "green fever" recently, producing two programs about appreciating and improving the environment.

Futurist and journalist Richard Louv is the author of seven books on nature, family, and community and a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He came to Portland in April, 2006 to speak on what he calls "nature deficit disorder." Louv's book on how our society alienates us from nature and how we can remedy it is called "Last Child in the Woods"; and our program capturing his talk (VB #59.12) has the same title.

Kids now live a "denatured childhood," spending less time outdoors with a growing addiction to electronic media, while their parents have an exaggerated fear of natural and human predators. According to Louv, the replacement of open meadows, woods and wetlands by manicured lawns, golf courses and housing developments has led children away from the natural world with little opportunity for exploration, imagination or peaceful contemplation.

In "Greener Homes and Gardens" (VB #60.3&4), tablers at the Expo by the same name explain how we can help the environment--by putting biofuels in our vehicles, patronizing eco-businesses, using natural products for our homes, accessing solar power or other alternative energies, applying natural pest remedies, and more.

[Women at 
forum] Chilean Journalist Margarita Plaza Vargas and Mexico Solidarity Network organizer Christina Obregon are "Women Confronting Globalization" (VB #58.6.7&8)

Programs by and for Women

Three recent shows revolve around women actively making life better for other women and everyone.

In "Women Confronting Globalization" (VB #58.7&8) Latina women from Latin America and the US discuss how women are taking the lead in the struggle against corporate globalization and for an economy that respects women and workers' rights. The speakers are Margarita Plaza Vargas, a Chilean journalist and advisor with the Community Human Rights Network in Chiapas, Mexico, and Christina Obregon, an organizer from Chicago with the Mexico Solidarity Network. --Video----Clip--

"Women in Control of Their Lives" (VB #59.2) features the poetry of Portland author Judith Arcana. Judith is a former "Jane," or member of the underground feminist group that helped thousands of women and girls get safe illegal abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade. Hers is a passionate and humorous voice for reproductive freedom.

"We Can Change Anything" (VB #59.6) is a tribute to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and in particular its current work on the situation in Israel and Palestine. The program spotlights one of WILPF's national campaigns for 2006, "Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle-East" with interviews from WILPF women from around the country who are on the leadership team. Also included are video and interviews from the weekly Portland WILPF and Women in Black vigils.

Problems and Solutions in Peru

Portland activist Yvonne Simmons returned to Peru in December, 2005 for her third trip since establishing the Las Lomas Project. The Project and Flying Focus held a joint fundraiser in early June, drawing some 25 people to Hugo's Latin Cuisine to watch Yvonne's videos.

"Lima, Peru: Problems and Solutions" (VB #59.9) shows women in Independencia, a very poor neighborhood of Lima, initiating a project to improve the lives of families in the area where unemployment, domestic violence, unruly youth and poverty are rampant. A doctor shows us the primitive clinic in Las Lomas and talks about their needs, and at a University in Lima, caring volunteers rescue stray dogs.

In "Human Rights Day and Chocolatada for the Working Children of Peru" (VB #59.8), you will see the Las Lomas children celebrating and performing on Human Rights Day, sponsored by international and Peruvian Non-Governmental Organizations. Also featured is the Chocolatada at the Las Lomas school, a Christmas celebration where the children perform, drink hot chocolate, eat Peruvian cake, and receive presents. If you look carefully, you will see Yvonne, who is also a member of Flying Focus and captured most of the video, dancing with the children. Unlike some of our more serious programs, the tone of this episode is quite upbeat. You can enjoy the celebration even if you can't speak the language.

Southeast 'Asia: Human and Environmental Rights Needed

Two of this year's shows feature the subjects of environmental and other effects of war, militarism, and corporate exploitation in Southern Asia.

In "Update on Burma" (VB #59.4), Edith Mirante, author, human rights activist and internationally known expert on Burma, discusses recent history under the rule of a military junta that has oppressed its people and stripped its environment to feed the demands of its huge military. She discusses Burma's use of forced labor in collusion with western multinational corporations, and recent legal decisions that hold corporations accountable for such activity.--Video----Clip--

The second show focuses on Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War, and veterans and Vietnamese suffering its effects ("Vietnam and Agent Orange," VB #58.5). Three speakers from Vietnam stopped in Portland as part of their nationwide Agent Orange Justice Tour: Ms. Dang Thi Hong Nhut and Mr. Ho Sy Hai were exposed to Agent Orange during the war and spoke on their own health effects as well as that of the whole country. Dr. Nguyen Trong Nhan, the former President of the Vietnam Red Cross, spoke about the destructive effects of Dioxin in Agent Orange as well an ongoing lawsuit against the chemical manufacturers. This half-hour show reminds us that today's wars will have effects well into the future. --Video----Clip--


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