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30 Frames a Second: Wto in Seattle (2007)

Rustin Thompson  |  NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Rustin Thompson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Passion River
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LV6ONA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,467 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "30 Frames a Second: Wto in Seattle" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

It was late November in Seattle in 1999. A global convention of trade delegates, known as the World Trade Organization (WTO), converged for their annual meeting in the city known for its welcoming and tolerant personality. Waiting for them in the streets were more than 50,000 demonstrators. What happened in Seattle that week made history. The demonstrators staged a popular uprising that shut down the WTO and changed the way police and governments deal with mass demonstrations throughout the world. 30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle, is a compelling first-person account of the events that unfolded during that week. It's told from the perspective of 15-year veteran network news cameraman Rustin Thompson, who covered the WTO as an independent journalist. It is the story of how Thompson's objective point-of-view evolved into a subject account of what became an unscheduled, unruly outbreak of democracy.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A study in civil disobedience May 5, 2007
In late November of 1999, the WTO (World Trade Organization) held their annual meeting in Seattle, Washington and they were met with considerable resistance. Before understanding why people were so emotionally motivated to demonstrate against this group, it's perhaps necessary to examine the WTO.

The World Trade Organization is made up of many delegates of numerous countries who debate global trade policies. This sounds innocent enough until you consider that they increase global trade by reducing tariff's and then ELIMINATE ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH, and SAFETY STANDARDS that they think are barriers to free trade. This in itself would be cause for concern for most people and even more decidedly so when the voice of the people does not figure into the debates. Just some of the concerns were child labor laws, outsourcing jobs to third world countries, importation of tainted goods into the United States, and poor representation for workers and animal rights.

Over a five day period, '30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle' examines how 50,000 demonstrators with similar concerns and emotions come together out of peaceful concern which then transforms into chaos. Although never becoming a truly riotous situation, it was nonetheless a quite volatile situation in and of itself. Video footage can be open to interpretation for anyone really but a critical eye might determine who was at fault for various things and what instigates certain events. It appears evident that Seattle police forces acted inappropriately at times and used questionable force to achieve crowd control. You might expect an even larger escalation of disorder because of these actions but surprisingly, the crowd showed restraint.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I was in grad school when the protests happened in Seattle, and I remember that one of my professors was arrested in the sit-in. I knew about the unusual alliances of the teamsters and other unions with environmentalists and social justice workers, but have always wondered about what happened on the ground. This documentary provides so much great information-- it is like a video diary of the event by a news photographer (also the filmmaker). the police violence that occurred is indeed frightening, and the filmmaker keeps a neutral perspective, condemning that violence but also showing that there were a few protesters (or others, not sure) who broke some windows, and he does a great job of empathizing with both sides showing the police getting nervous when they are outnumbered by 50 thousand people. Anyone who has taken part in a protest will recognize that the filmmaker was inside the protest itself, and you get a sense of the immediacy of the violence from this perspective. The chaos that another reviewer criticizes as like a cousins video of a U2 show perhaps has not been on a protest him/herself, as the video gives you a sense of EXACTLY what it is like. There are the coordinated chants led by the bullhorn, but there is also the milling about, hacky-sack, greatful-dead show parking lot, carnivalesque of the more theatrical protesters, and the masked faces of the sit-in protesters trying to hold the line by breathing through their improvised bandana-gasmasks. I've been teargassed and I know how hard it must have been for them to hold out there. This is a great film for undergrad classes on human rights, political economy, environmentalism, globalization and anti-globalization movements and histories of civil protest.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just video, not a documentary December 2, 2009
I wrote a review right after watching this documentary and it bothered me that I was left with emptiness, not full of emotion or critical thinking or trying to rationalize my value system in the face of interesting and compelling opposite viewpoints; just nothing. Then after a day, I started to realize why I didn't like it and why many people looking for true insight of these events will not like it - so this is the re-write. It doesn't tell a story. It has characters but you don't know who they are (lacks any names so you don't know if the camera is pointed at a homeless person caught in a crowd or the Trade Minister of some third world country). There is no discussion of any specific topic, no conflicting (thought provoking) viewpoints, it doesn't develop any philosophical conflict - it doesn't do the events of that week any justice. Except for listing Day 1 through Day 5 there is no beginning or end and you know it did not `start' on Day 1 - any story here started before that but that was not fleshed out. There is simply no compelling reason to watch this.

OK - there is one compelling reason to watch this. If you were a protestor, then you might want to look for yourself in the crowd shots.

It it very clear by the end of the film that it was just video shot with no story in mind. It would have been better to interview people in the original footage, get names and interview them later to better understand why they were there and if they felt they accomplished a goal. Maybe other sources should have been used to flesh out why there was conflict. This is just video with a voiceover, not a documentary.
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