After making a documentary about the changing role of fatherhood, I wanted to explore themes of parenting in a film, but couldn’t find a way into the topic that really engaged me. Then Occupy Wall Street occurred in September, 2011, and I was so excited because for the first time in a long while people were spontaneously getting together to give our citizenry a genuine voice.
On a whim, I googled “parents” with “occupy wall street” and up popped “Parents for Occupy Wall Street” – a group that had formed days earlier. They were planning a “family sleepover” in Zuccotti Park – an event that would have over 500 parents and kids attending. The idea that families would be willing to come with sleeping bags to such an event spoke to the potential of this movement.
Thus began a shooting period that would span over a year in which I followed the families involved with this group, collecting over a hundred hours of footage. The coverage is intimate and at points harrowing. My intention was to create an experiential film that would make you feel like you are in the middle of the action of Occupy Wall Street with these parents and their kids. Aesthetically, I chose against the use of a tripod or additional lighting to enhance the immediacy and rawness of the film.
I made this film because, like many suburban parents, I feel frustrated at the direction our country has been heading. I think for many parents, we would love to go save the country but between the carpools and the dance recitals and trying to make ends meet there’s not much left of us by day’s end. So, we succumb to armchair activism, grumbling about the idiocy of our celebrity culture and consuming the news through The Daily Show.
Shooting this film gave me an opportunity step outside of this pattern and meet some parents who were taking time out of their busy schedules to protest. What makes them heroic is their determination to battle complacency and injustice as a teaching lesson in civic involvement for their kids.
In this way, the film is much less about Occupy Wall Street and more about what it means to speak out against injustice and how these values can be passed down to our children. I feel extremely honored to have filmed these activist families and only hope that their example will help inspire more people to take a stand with their own kids.
Dana H. Glazer, Producer – Director