In 1969, Academy Award winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler exploded the boundaries of American verite cinema with his quasi-fictional masterpiece, Medium Cool. Set against the chaotic and hyper-politicized backdrop of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Wexler’s narrative effectively blurred the lines between reality and fiction, forcing viewers to question the responsibility media has to its audience and the society as a whole.
Thirty years later, as anti-Bush activists and the New York police force prepared for their encounter on the streets outside the 2004 Republican National Convention, director Stephen Marshall took his cast and crew, including stars Rosario Dawson and Nathan Crooker, into the chaos. With Entertainment Tonight and New York Daily News in tow, the shoot was interrupted when six NYPD officers pulled up in a van and arrested Dawson and Marshall mistaking them for Black Bloc anarchists.
Conceived as a low-budget, hi-impact verite thriller for the political set, This Revolution, was developed, written, cast, shot (on 24P DV) and edited in 100 days, just in time for the Sundance deadline. The story follows Jake Cassevetes (Nathan Crooker), a network war shooter just back from Iraq who is assigned to cover the run-up to the RNC. When he meets and falls in love with Tina Santiago (Rosario Dawson), a young mother widowed after her husband was killed in Iraq, Jake is forced to question his world view. But it is not until he discovers his network has given his videotape of an anarchist Black Bloc group to Homeland Security that Jake decides to take action.
This Revolution had its world premiere at Sundance 2005. It was also an official selection of Milan, Santa Cruz, Taos, Munich and the True/False Festival where director Stephen Marshall won the True Vision Award.