Film as Geopolitical Intervention: a collaborative, transnational creative project

Authors: John Henry*, University of Kansas
Topics: Ethics and Justice , Media and Communication, Latinx Geographies
Keywords: film, video, countersurveillance, geopolitics, creative
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 48
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Not only are Cuban independent journalists, activists, artists, and regular citizens subjected to constant surveillance, but they are fined, threatened, and assaulted by the Cuban state for simply expressing themselves on social media. Cubans resist by utilizing countersurveillance, recording and publishing video footage of assaults and physical immobility. These videos spread through dissident networks and find audience within Cuban diaspora media. While media actors utilize these partial, unplanned videos from below for their specific audiences, these videos often lack context and spectacular visuality, hindering countersurveillant videos’ ability to emerge into dominant media spheres. Therefore, my film project seeks to intervene into hegemonic media spaces through utilizing resistance videos. My film weaves disparate experiences of activists and journalists into a singular time-space narrative to shed light on the Cuban Communist Party’s repression of speech and journalism.

This film is a creative, collaborative project between me, Cubans, and Cuban diaspora. The film’s intent is to elevate repressed voices to intervene into hegemonic discursive media spaces and broadly engage the U.S. electorate and political actors about alternative Cuban realities. Special attention will be paid to tracking engagement. This film project is connected to ongoing research which maps how countersurveillant videos spread through competing geopolitical discourses. The film seeks to embed viewers viscerally into experiential spaces as activists, artists, and critics turn their cameras on the Cuban state in order to educate the world about life in Communist Cuba.

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