Ripper records an awakening

Jan DeGrass/Arts and Entertainment Writer / Staff writer
January 11, 2013 01:00 AM

(r to l) Film-maker Velcrow Ripper and producer Nova Ami screen Occupy Love in Gibsons.

A profound shift is taking place, says film-maker Velcrow Ripper, one that may have its roots long ago, but was initiated by last year's Arab spring uprising. Humanity is awakening and is ready for a new paradigm - one that operates on love, however messy, imperfect and human.

Ripper's film Occupy Love, the third in his trilogy that began with Scared Sacred and continued with Fierce Light, was given a full house screening at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons last week as part of the Green Film series.

Ripper, who comes from Gibsons and honed his video talents at Elphinstone Secondary School, now lives in New York.

He was on the spot when the first Occupy movement set up camp on Wall Street, and he took his camera into the tents and along the front lines of riot police to talk to the people and record the mindful organization of a movement that swiftly travelled around the world.

In his intensely personal and roving video style, Ripper also recorded Occupy followers in other parts of the world, notably Vancouver. He journeyed to Egypt to speak with the people, and he took the camera along on such actions as a healing walk by First Nations through the wasteland of the Alberta tar sands.

Everywhere, he asked a question of some of the finest minds of the century - activists who work with climate change, poverty and equal rights: "How can this be turned into a love story?" At first some of them thought the question odd.

Judy Rebick, feminist activist, dismissed it, then later acknowledged she had come to understand its meaning. The movement was already a love story.

Occupy Love is an emotionally charged, transformational film, albeit with one flaw. It jumps about disconcertingly, perhaps because of the vast scope and volume of experiences captured on camera then packed into its 96 minutes.

Ripper and his partner and film producer Nova Ami told the audience that the Gibsons screening was a sneak preview, although the film has already been shown at a few festivals. They will launch it properly in April in a big, global way - like a big, global love letter for a new world in the making.

More about the film can be found at

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