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Here Come the Videofreex

Documentary about early adopters of video for independent news-gathering in late 1960s

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Jon Nealon and Jenny Raskin’s new documentary profiles the Videofreex, a New York-based art-and-news collective operating in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the crew were early adopters of the then-new video format. The cameras were portable, the playback was near-instant and suddenly, anybody could be a journalist. The Videofreex worked the crowd at Woodstock and, more significantly, were on the ground for women’s-lib rallies, anti-war demos and other radical-left actions; they scored a hard-to-get interview with Black Panther Fred Hampton. A collaboration with CBS reveals the limits of challenging the system, and later, the Videofreex relocate to upstate New York, where they set up a pirate TV station for the locals. A necessary corrective for folks who think citizen video journalism debuted with the iPhone.


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