Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Patriot Act and Creativity

Reuters reports that NYC is being sued by Indian filmmaker Rakesh Sharma who was arrested and detained for four hours for filming the streets of New York. While not mentioned in any of the press that I have seen, this is not the first filmmaker to be stopped by the police for filming - just the first to file suit. Filmmaker Jem Cohen has been stopped numerous times for taking Super-8 footage of bridges and structures in New York, and he was pulled off an Amtrak train for shooting footage through the windows - a creative practice he has done for years.

Jem told me once that when he brought this to the attention of the New York Times, they told him that their photographers are stopped evey day by the police, so it wasn't news. I'm sorry, but that in itself is news. Artists and others are being stopped from practicing their art, reporting on news or simply practicing a hobby to "stop terrorism."

Recently, Creative Capital held a day-long seminar on the effects of the Patriot Act on creativity. I'll post more soon on the conversation, but it's not pretty - artists being arrested, organizations being asked to check terrorist lists before giving grants to artists, the list goes on and on.

1 comment:

The Sujewa said...

Nice post. I am going to blog about the Sharma case at Filmmaking For The Poor soon.