27 July 2014

Redefining Black Independent Cinema

In August 1984, the Los Angeles Times first-string film critic, Charles Champlin, devoted his column to the subject 'A Black Film Bonanza Hollywood Ignored.' He--and the Los Angeles filmgoing audience--were discovering for the first time the wealth of Black cinema that had been produced in recent years. Beneath the facade of Hollywood'd glitter and Southern California's 'me' culture, Los Angeles is becoming a city of color. The largest ethnic group in its public schools is Latino, and it has one of the largest Asian populations in the US. It is a city with a long history of organizing for affirmative action in the workplace and schools. Los Angeles has been the source of some of the most pioneering and important independent works in recent years, much of which has been produced in these Third World communities.

09 July 2014

Microbroadcasting vs. the Media Monopoly

People around the world are becoming disgusted with the state of the airwaves. Despite threats of fines and violence, pirate radio activists are turning out and turning on their own stations in defiance of government broadcast regulators. Thousands of Taiwanese police blitzed 14 unauthorized radio outlets, many of which returned to the air following the raid. Twelve people were killed in a raid on a pro-democratic pirate station in Haiti, but the soldiers failed to seize the transmitter. A pirate station broadcasting from a traffic island in Mexico City was also shut down by a phalanx of police. Microbroadcasters in Canada and the U.S. haven't yet been subject to such brutality, but the battle to exercise their claimed right to the public airwaves is no less fierce. The movement's North American epicenter is the San Francisco Bay area where unlicensed FM stations offer a non-commercial alternative. It is also home to the movement's unofficial spokesperson, Stephen Dunifer.