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St. Louis International Film Festival screens ‘Copwatch’ documentary

Copwatch documentary
(photo provided)
Copwatch documentary

The St. Louis International Film Festival is underway through November 12 in venues throughout the city.

“Lots of international films, American independent documentaries and many shorts,” said Cliff Froehlich, executive director of Cinema St. Louis.

Among the many documentaries showing at the festival is “Copwatch,” which focuses on the efforts of the group We Copwatch to monitor and record police activity.

“What we forget about are the people who are actually recording those films,” said Rhaisa Williams, a postdoctoral fellow in Performing Arts Department at Washington University. “So the documentary “Copwatch” is very much about focusing on the people actually who did the filming and the fallout and aftermath that comes from doing that work.”

Following the showing of the documentary, Williams will facilitate a discussion about issues raised in “Copwatch.”

Related: St. Louis International Film Festival: 'Newest, freshest stories told from unique perspectives'

David Whitt is a member of We Copwatch and a prominent subject in the documentary.

“’Copwatch’ is really about citizens watching out for other citizens and the police knowing that you’re there to do just that,” Whitt said.

“Initially the police were very rebellious,” said Whitt about the police’s response to being filmed. “As we continued to push the envelope with us filming, they kind of had got the message that we’re not going anywhere so they just figured out how to just cope with that.”

Whitt said a lot of education and training goes into We Copwatch, as the organization attempts to both document and prevent violence.

“What do you do after you film something?,” Whitt asked. “In cases like that with police harassment you don’t want people to think this is a good opportunity to start attacking police verbally, abusing them.”

He said the goal is to gather evidence to provide in court, not necessarily to spread content on social media.


Related Events:

What: St. Louis International Film Festival Presents "Copwatch"
When: Nov. 5, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: Brown Hall at Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63105

More information

What: Cinema St. Louis 26th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival
When: November 2 - 12, 2017, various times and locations
More information

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