New Doc Combines Art and Social Activism

Any form of communication that’s able to spread awareness of important social issues is well worth supporting. This week’s featured Kickstarter project, Art as a Weapon, is looking to use the crowdsourcing website to help inform its audience about the repressive junta ruling Burma and how art is being used, within and outside of the country, as a form of peaceful protest.

Art as a Weapon wants to show the immense possibilities afforded by creative expression motivated by a desire for poltitical change. It focuses on exploring, in its creators terms, “the connection between street Art, Buddhism and Democracy by using the closed country of Burma as a case study.” The film’s concept is a powerful one, especially in light of the innovative and peaceful forms that civil unrest has taken in Burma in recent years. From 2007’s Saffron Revolution to the success of 2008’s Burma VJ, nonviolent protest has been able to help the nation’s general population by raising international awareness of its fight for a democratic government in lieu of beginning an outright civil war.

Breadtruck Films and Jeffrey Durkin, the director of Art as a Weapon, have already completed a number of interviews for the documentary. These include subjects as diverse as Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese politician and Nobel peace prize winner), Shepard Fairey, street artists, Buddhist monks (including one of the Saffron Revolution’s leaders), an elementary school art class, musicians and others. The finished movie will use these various perspectives to show the considerable power that artistic expression can have in achieving something as enormous as instituting democracy from within a notoriously oppressive political situation.

The film’s creators need support from interested parties in order to complete their documentary and help spread the message it’s looking to put forward. Breadtruck has already been preparing to record more interviews for use in the film but require funding to travel to the Burma/Thailand border and finish the hard work of carrying out further interviews in the region.

For anyone intrigued by the premise, tossing a few bucks the projects way seems like a very good idea. The money raised via Kickstarter will help to give a wider audience access to information on modern Burma, the inherent potential in passionate artistry and the creation of, what looks to be, a fascinating movie. Art as a Weapon, in a conceptual twist, is also looking to have those who help fund the documentary give their input in the actual creative process. Contributors, aside from receiving the usual rewards (like copies of the film, silk screened posters, premier tickets, etc.), are also being encouraged to provide feedback on aspects of the production including interviews, video footage, website design and the final name of the documentary itself (Art as a Weapon is only the working title).

Learn more about the documentary by visiting its official site, Kickstarter page or Breadtruck Films’ Facebook and website. Further information on Burma, the Saffron Revolution and Aung San Suu Kyi is also available through links provided at the bottom of the Kickstarter page. Art as a Weapon will be funded on Friday, December 9th at 4.18pm EST if it reaches its $30,000 goal on time.