Here Come the Videofreex

Today’s mobile media world, in which everyone has a camera in their pocket, started with the introduction of Sony’s Portapack five decades ago. In 1969, a CBS Television executive funded a group of young activists to capture counterculture stories that were being ignored by mainstream news, using the brand new medium of portable video. The network ultimately rejected their radical pilot, but the group, who named themselves the Videofreex, stuck together. The collective’s work—from interviews with legendary activists like Fred Hampton and Abbie Hoffman, to reports on the Anti-War, Black Power, and Women’s Movements, to the pirate TV station they founded in rural upstate New York—blazed a trail for truly alternative media. Tapping into a treasure trove of recently restored tapes, Here Come the Videofreex charts the path of this underground video collective, one of independent media history’s most influential groups, and their adventures as they attempt to harness the democratizing power of portable video. On hand to introduce the film on Sunday is Eugene video maker Steve Christiansen, a founder of TVTV (Top Value) Television, which, like Videofreex, was a pioneer in independent media journalism in the 1970s. “Should become mandatory viewing in journalism schools… an illuminating and moving portrait.”—The Hollywood Reporter. On hand to lend perspective on the history of the era is Eugene video maker Steve Christiansen, a member of TVTV (Top Value) Television, which, like Videofreex, was a pioneer in independent media journalism in the 1970s. Among TVTV’s influential productions were Four More Years, a behind the scenes view of the 1972 Republican National Convention that nomination Richard Nixon, and Lord of the Universe, which chronicled Prem Rawat’s (then, Guru Maharaj Ji) spiritual gathering “Millennium 73” at the Houston Astrodome

Appears in: Special Screenings

Genres: Documentary