The Real People Behind the Our Voices Are Vital Film
by Molly Dorozenski
May 24, 2017
As an environmental advocacy organization, there’s one thing we know for sure at Greenpeace: being able to speak out is critical to protecting people and the planet.
Advocating for environmental protection is what we do at Greenpeace. But right now, our ability to speak out is under attack — Greenpeace is being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s a corporate attack, meant to scare us and other organizations into silence.
Now more than ever, we all need to speak up to defend our right to speak out. So Greenpeace teamed up with a group of artists and activists to show why freedom of expression is so important.
The script, developed by Steve Street at Brooklyn-based creative agency Big Spaceship, focused on the tiny, individual actions of different types of artists and activists, from a painter loading his brush with paint to a photo journalist changing his lens.
“It was important to use real people that rely on free speech in their professional and personal pursuits, whether that be journalism, acting, songwriting, or activism,” said Street.
Behind the scenes, they created a range of beautiful and realistic environments for the artists and actors to film in. “We worked with [Director] Claire Edmondson and Doomsday Entertainment to create environments that would inspire each subject and make them feel comfortable to be themselves for the camera,” said Big Spaceship Producer Jordan Makow.
Here are some of the incredible people featured in this film:
Chad Williams, the activist who is painting the banner in the first scene is an environmental activist with Greenpeace based in Los Angeles.
Joe Mohr is a political cartoonist who has made climate change and environmental cartoons for Greenpeace since 2011.
“There have been cartoonists jailed all over the world for being critical of leaders in countries without safeguards for free, critical speech. Images are powerful. Free speech is powerful. The combination can spread messages … around the world in minutes. It’s exciting to me; scary to fascist leaders.”
Joe also writes poems and songs for children, which you can check out at Robot+bike.
Jet Martinez’s incredible mural paintings “reinterpret the Mexican folk art of Amate paintings, which depict birds and other animals within bright botanical scenery” according to the Luna Rienne Gallery. He has an upcoming show at Athen B and you can see many of his murals in the Mission District, throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and at jetromartinez.com.
Complex Magazine named him one of 15 San Francisco Artists Running the Bay.
Antonia Juhasz is a journalist who covers oil and energy, and she is the author of three books: The Bush Agenda (2006), The Tyranny of Oil (2008), and Black Tide (2011). Her sharp, analytical and incisive work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Newsweek, NPR and others.
Jenny Binstock (right), who appeared in the women’s march scene alongside LA based activist Bianca Monique (left), works on local climate resilience issues — water, urban forestry, and urban heat. In her free time, she works with intersectional feminist activists and artists, doing local organizing around women’s issues.
David McNew is a photojournalist who was the first and only Getty staff photographer covering the American Southwest. His incredible photos document immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, wildfires and wildlife.
Luis Rodriguez is the former Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. He wrote, about his experience with gangs and gang violence, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing (Touchstone, 2012), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. The author of 15 books, and a peace activist (and great grandfather), his work has attracted fans like Bruce Springsteen.
Musician, artist and author Fay Wolf has had songs featured on Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars. Her first full length album, Spiders, came out in 2011.
Amir Talai is an actor, comedian and writer, appearing most recently in The Circle, and acting and voice acting in everything from The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011), and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008). He speaks out on issues like race, mass incarceration, and voting rights.
Lina Esco is an actress and activist who founded and directed Free the Nipple, which she calls a trojan horse to bring men and women together to talk about gender equality. She has appeared in TV shows like Cane, Kingdom, and Flaked.
Watch the full video, then take action! Call 213-335-2077 and record yourself saying “our voices are vital!”
Free speech is all around us. It’s in our music, our art, our social media, and our movies. Stand up and speak out with Greenpeace!