The Life of the Film
SCREENINGS around the world
The Take had its world premiere at the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema on April 18, 2004. The theatre was half-filled with the workers and their families, and they got a long standing ovation from the film festival audience at the end.
Three days later, there was a 'Workers' Premiere' of The Take in the street outside the Brukman factory, on the one year anniversary of the brutal eviction and police repression there that is portrayed in the film.
With the workers back in the factory one year later, the screening turned into a huge public celebration and victory party.
The Take went on to have its Canadian premiere on April 24th, 2004 at the Hot Docs documentary film festival: three sold out screenings totaling some 2000 people. In October, 2004, The Take was released theatrically in Canada by Odeon films, and the launch was accompanied by a 10 city tour of activist fundraisers. Almost $50,000 was raised for local social movements in Canada.
In the Spring of 2005, The Take was released in theatres in France and Italy, and is now available there on DVD. In Fall 2005, The Take was released theatrically in Australia and Spain.
U.S. PREMIERE--New York
On August 27, 2004, The Take had its U.S. theatrical premiere at Film Forum in New York City. After good reviews in the New York Times the New Yorker, and other New York press, 3500 people saw the film there in 2 weeks.
On September 3, 2004, The Take had its European premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. This surreal mainstream cinematic experience was balanced by an activist screening on an occupied stretch of beach nearby that was turned into a temporary autonomous community. The counter-festival was called Global Beach, and had a wonderful lineup of political films, music, and discussions.
Photos of Global Beach:
American Film Institute Award
On November 6, 2004, The Take played at the American Film Institute Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it won the International Documentary Competition Grand Jury Prize. The film went on to open theatrically in more than 40 U.S. cities.
In the Spring of 2005, The Take was released in theatres in France and Italy, and is now available there on DVD. In Fall 2005, The Take was released theatrically in Australia and Spain, and is now available there on DVD. And, in September 2006, The Take (Die Übernahme) was released theatrically in Germany, in Berlin, Munich, Freiburg, Cologne and Hamburg by the distributor Kinostar.
The Take movie poster in Barcelona subway, 2005
The Take and Activism
But beyond the commercial life of the film, The Take has a parallel story in the world of international activism. Here are a few examples:
Film Screening in the Just Garments factory in El Salvador:
Just Garments is the only worker-controlled business in a free-trade zone anywhere in the world that we know of. The Take helped make connections between this workers' struggle in El Salvador and the Canadian labour movement, raising some $20,000 to help the factory remain under worker control. http://www.justgarments.net
Italian Social Centre tour:
Social movements in Italy have self-organized a national tour of The Take in cinemas and social centres around the country, raising money for activist causes and having discussions about worker control and other Argentine social movements.
Australian Trade Union movement:
The Take launched in Australia right at the time when the Howard government was pushing through a package of far-reaching right-wing labour reforms called the Industrial Relations Reform Act. It includes replacing the right of collective bargaining with a system based on independent contracts, and allowing business owners with fewer than 100 employees (i.e. the vast majority of workplaces in the country) to hire and fire at will.
Our activist premiere in Sydney was co-hosted by the Sydney Social Forum and APHEDA Union Aid Abroad, the foreign aid arm of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Some sectors of the union movement in Australia have embraced the film as an organizing tool and discussion-starter in the massive campaign being launched against the government's labour reforms.
South Africa screenings:
In July 2005, The Take had its African premiere at the Durban International Film Festival. While we were in Durban, we did a series of grassroots screenings in collaboration with the Centre for Civil Society at the University of Natal. One was at the Kennedy Road settlement in Clare Estate outside of Durban, a community of 5,000 people with 5 toilets, living next to a garbage dump. The screening took place shortly after an unprecedented mobilization against a local ANC councilor, and helped maintain the momentum and spirit of that local struggle. Indymedia photos of their march: http://southafrica.indymedia.org/news/2005/05/8176.php
After seeing The Take at the ICA in London, England, Apolonija Sustersic, a Slovenian-born artist and professor at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm organized a series of screenings in Slovenia and Albania. Connecting the film to communities that are losing their industrial base right now, she produced a series of posters that re-contextualize the film for its local audience.
Arabic language version:
Another person who saw the film in London was Ewa Jasiewicz, the UK Contact of the General Union of Oil Employees in Iraq, who held an anti-privatisation conference in Basra in May 2005. Ewa and a network of indie media activists worked tirelessly to produce an Arabic version of the film, and showed portions of it at this landmark conference. The Arabic version is now being completed by Molly Abaza of the Anti-Globalization Egyptian Group. She saw the film in Soweto, South Africa, and is now bringing it to globalization activists throughout the Arab world.
Norwegian Paper Factory:
The Take was presented at Kino 1 cinema in Skien, Norway, on Saturday September 17th at 15:00. The leaders of workers' union for the Norse Skog Pulp and Paper mill gave an introduction to the film. The Pulp mill is slated for closure, despite its profitability. Link to media report about the closure: