In late November 1999, masses are descending upon Seattle for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference, the first ever held on American soil. Beyond the several delegates, career protesters are also coming to Seattle, they who believe the non-elected organization only exists to support corporate interests at the expense of the poor, working class and the environment among other things. Before the conference, the lead known protesters vow that their demonstrations will be peaceful, while Seattle Mayor Jim Tobin promises that if that be the case that no arrests will be made and no aggressive action, such as the use of tear gas, will be issued. On day one of the conference, tensions on both sides escalate the confrontation between police and protesters, with many innocent people caught in the crossfire. As such, what was promised ends up not happening during the remainder of the conference, where many on both sides work not for the greater good of their side, but rather for their ... Written by
During the first phone conversation with Governor Gary Locke, Mayor Jim Tobin ends the conversation with, "Thank you John." not "Thank you Gary." See more »
Teamsters and turtles together! Come on, Teamsters and turtles together!
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A Special Thanks to AWI and Ben White (who passed away in July of 2005) for the creation of the sea turtle costumes and the coordination of their use in protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington in 1999. We are indebted to various non-profit organizations and individuals who aided with manufacturing the costumes, and to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Ben White for creating the idea for the sea turtle costumes. It was AWI's international coordinator, Ben White, who created those costumes and came up with the idea to put hundreds of people in sea turtle costumes on the streets of Seattle. We will miss Ben and his dedication to make the world a better place. See more »
There are many that will dismiss this film as boring, lame or whatever and I myself was a bit dubious as a Seattle native and somebody that worked downtown during the riots. However, after seeing "Battle in Seattle" last night in Los Angeles, I must say that I really enjoyed it. Working within the reality of the film business (the need of star power, dramatization, distribution and financing) I thought Stuart Townsend did a great job of telling a fictional story about people within the historical context of the WTO Seattle Ministerial. He was also able to connect the film to what is happening today through some factual statements in the prologue and epilogue that reminded the audience that the WTO is still a presence in everybody's lives (whether they know it or not). The film's website also exists to educate viewers on the WTO. There were a lot of subtle details that I remember from that week that he included that I was able to appreciate (especially the Pine/Broadway riot which I was an observer of from the Bauahus Cafe on Pine). Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron and Martin Henderson were also at the screening and talked for about 30 minutes about the film.
Stuart said that he was not trying to make a documentary about the WTO (since three already existed, one of which I've already seen ("30 Frames a Second: The WTO in Seattle") and wanted to make a film about people. Overall, I think he did a great job. The only minor, personal beef I had was the casting of Tzi Ma as Governor Locke. Locke does not speak with any trace of an accent and hearing Ma ranting on screen with a slight accent was just weird for me (being very familiar with Gary Locke...but nobody else will even bat an eye). A lot of people complained that the entire film wasn't filmed in Seattle, but that was the reality of financing. He mentioned that if he had to film in Vancouver to get the film made, so be it. Most of the key scenes/landmarks were shot in Seattle so you never really lost track of the Seattle vibe (believe me, I recognized every landmark on screen). Stuart mentioned that he learned a lot about the film making industry (from the point of a first time director) and how brutal it can be.
The WTO is obviously a topic most of Hollywood would not touch with a 10 foot pole. He also said that of the six or so years he spent on the project, only 29 days were actual filming days with the rest spent on research, production, editing etc. I have to give a lot of credit to Stuart for tackling this topic and seeing it to completion and fighting for distribution. It would be the equivalent of me trying to make a film around the Inniskillin Bombing which I do not remember when it happened back in 1987, but have heard of. I was able to shake Stuart's hand afterward and he was a very cool guy and tried to talk to everybody even as his publicist tried to drag him away after the screening.
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