For the past several months we have been working relentlessly on the creation of a documentary made for and by students about the student movement happening across the Americas; from Montreal, Quebec, to New York City, United States, to Santiago, Chile.
What’s Going On?
Students all over the world are experiencing very similar tuition increases in public higher education as their countries respond to difficult economic times, shifting the burden of cost for education from the state to students and their families. However, these students are responding to this crisis in a variety of ways. In Grève to En Toma, we are focusing specifically on the student struggle within Quebec, the United States and Chile. Within the framework of a comparative analysis, we will be exploring the historical, political, and economic similarities and differences between these three countries through the students own voices and actions.
Grève to En Toma literally translates to english as 'Strike to In Taking'. However it makes more sense untranslated, it serves as a symbolic nod as opposed to a literal translation.
The name of our film is basically “Solidarity!”
'Grève' is the french word for 'Strike' and is a popularly used word within the Montreal student movement, adorning posters, banners and one could think of it as the most functional word to use in summarizing the Montreal student movement, for going on 15 weeks almost every student has been on an indefinite strike.
'En Toma' translates in spanish to 'In Taking', however it can be understood also as 'occupied'. The student movement within Chile uses the word 'en toma' when referring to schools which they have taken over. As opposed to the Montreal student movement, where striking is the dominant tactic, the Chilean student movement had/and still is to some degree utilizing the physical act of taking back their educational spaces.
We had wanted the title of our film to capture as simplistically as possible the comparative approach we are taking on examining three distinct student movements.
For Montreal: 'Grève'
For the growing NYC/USA student movement who is still finding its feet, as it looks to struggles intertwined with its own to learn and build off of: "to"
For Chile: "En Toma"
The Importance of the Film
As many of you know there is a legacy of the erasure of radical histories. The importance of self-created media and documentation from those within movements is self evident. To be able to learn from and build upon the struggles of the past we must first have a clear understanding of them. What does civil disobedience look like? How has it worked in the past? How does effective organizing and mobilizing happen? These questions have been answered in the past, but how are we to know of this unless our history is recorded, documented, and then shown. We seek to document the mass student movement which is building and escalating by the day. Not only so that we, here and now, can better analyze that which is happening, but also so that future youth and students, know that we were here, fighting and struggling for what is ours. Our histories are intertwined and linear. We, the people, have a radical past, a radical present, and yes, a radical future.
How You Can Help
Recently we were graciously awarded the Brooklyn College Rosen Fellowship Grant to help fund our documentary, but unfortunately this grant will only be able to cover a portion of the expenses we are facing. We have already spent time in Montreal, Quebec filming and interviewing students and community organizers. The cost of this trip has been roughly $500. In late June we will be travelling to Santiago, Chile to speak with the students and film their actions. We’ll be requiring additional funding to help cover the cost of our expenses while staying in Chile for one months time.
With the money we were awarded along with our own funds we have been able to travel to Quebec and Canada and film for a total of three weeks. We have been fortunate enough to have met really amazing and active students, teachers, and community organizers and participants who have shared their experiences and thoughts about the strike and the conditions that led to it. During that time we’ve either stayed in hostels or friends’ apartments who were kind enough to host us.
We have booked our flight to Chile and will be there for the month of July! We have been in contact with student organizers who have been very involved in the student movement, along with interns working at the Chilean Times via e-mail and facebook. Nos hablamos un poquito español, but intend to find someone interested in being our translator so we may communicate about the subject in a nuanced manner without the possiblility of miscommunication. Also, Chilean spanish is a bit more difficult, so it would be incredibly beneficial for us to have a translator who understands the local slang. They will receive a credit in the film as well as a small stipend depending on our finances.
We plan on renting a room in an apartment or house in order to keep costs low and to be able to store our film equipment safely. The food cost below is taking into consideration that we will be cooking all of our own meals.
The projected costs of our stay in Chile are:
Entrance Fee into Chile for 2 people: $270.00
Food/ Groceries for 2 people/1 Month $400.00 (estimated)
Housing for 2 people/1 Month $600.00 (estimated)
Local Transportation for 2 people/1 Month $84.00
Pre-Paid Cell Phones for 2 people/1 Month $60.00
Translator - Still figuring out fair price
- (15 days)