Visualizing Change

After watching the 1999 World Trade Organization protests unfold before their eyes in Seattle, Jill Dreier and some like-minded friends returned to Denver energized and ready to do something to further the message of the burgeoning anti-globalization movement. Dreier says that at any of these large protests, you can find small collectives of filmmakers and lone-wolf documentarians whose work never sees the light of day. To change that, her group set about establishing Visualized: Messages in Motion, a film festival dedicated to bringing the voices of those underserved by traditional media to a Denver audience.

Visualized will screen forty films in three Denver locations over the next four nights. There is no charge for admission; in fact, the entire festival is produced without a budget. Festival labor is volunteered, and films are collected through a submission process that spans the globe via the wonders of e-mail. The whole thing comes together because a dedicated network of folks who have each other's e-mail addresses believe that more people should understand the net cost of the way they live their lives and how that affects the globe. How cool is that?

But don't expect the same old staid and whiny Chicken Little guilt rhetoric. Dreier points to the name of the festival as an explanation of what is at work here. Not only are these moving images, but the films are truly messages in motion, cinematic signs from around the world that things are changing, and that visualizing that change is a powerful and positive act. From the one-minute McPusherman — set to a Curtis Mayfield soundtrack that takes a humorous tack on the marketing efforts of a certain burger chain — to a compelling twenty-minute doc about water in Malawi, these generally short films allow Denverites to do just that. Visualized opens tonight from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. Check out www.visualizedfilmfest.org for more information.
Thu., Nov. 1, 7-11 p.m., 2007

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Sean Cronin