on anniversaries and what it means to keep going

So, this post will be a personal rant, which is no different from the rest of the postings on this blog,
yet, this very one comes along as a side stepping exercise.


squatfest 2009

This coming Sunday will be the 10th year you and a bunch of collaborators put on a short film festival: SquatFest.
The event started 10 years ago in a highly publicized and political environment, the Broadway Squats..
Lots have been written and said about what happened there in a brief 6 months of ‘public’ occupation,
but to keep the subject to SquatFest you paste down here the Media Release as it was readjusted
from Mickie Quick last week (the one you got ready was deemed, rightly so, a bit too ‘militant’,
nevertheless it got some media response last year, like this article on the Sydney Morning Herald).

But anyway, here it is below:


SquatFest the “anti-Tropfest Fest” celebrates 10 years!

This Sunday! Secret Exciting Location!

What begun in 2001 at the infamous Broadway Squats as a singular act of defiance against the scale and commercialism of TropFest, SquatFest – the “anti TropFest Fest” – has continued to run every year since, always on the same night as TropFest

Utilising a different empty building in Sydney each year, SquatFest has reached its 10th anniversary, with organisers promising a special daring venue for this year’s event!

Last year’s SquatFest saw 400+ eager underground film buffs crammed into an empty warehouse in Annandale, and organisers are anticipating an even bigger crowd for the 10th anniversary this year.

The event has grown so big, that the SquatFest website now claims “the wave of anti-TropFest feeling is almost as big as TropFest itself”.

The organisers of SquatFest are particularly critical of the way that TropFest lost touch with its origins as local community event held in the close confines of the Tropicanna Cafe, in Darlinghurst. Unlike the behemoth TropFest event, there is no selection process of films shown at SquatFest, film-makers simply bring their film along on the night.

“Just before each film we get the filmmakers to stand up from their seat and identify themselves, and maybe even say a few words” says Mickie Quick of SquatSpace. “Members of the audience usually crane their necks to lay eyes on the film-maker, and we believe this acts as the best defence against film makers submitting bad films!” Quick adds that, “You see, if the film is bad, that filmmaker has to suffer in the silence punctuated by groans, with everyone knowing whodunit!”

But now that SquatFest has itself become quite large, and sometimes unable to screen all films brought along on the night, has the “anti-Tropfest Fest” become a contradiction of itself?

“Well perhaps it has”, admits Simon Daring also from SquatSpace. “In fact, we have a radical proposal to put to our audience and participants this year, as to the future of SquatFest”. He adds that, “after-all, we know of weekly and monthly film-nights being held in squats around Sydney, and we are a bit reluctant to be seen as the glammed-up, scaled-up cousin of that kind of community event, so we are going to do something about it.” However, Daring admits, “but not until we glam it up one more spectacular time!”

SquatFest is held on the same night as TropFest, this Sunday Febraury 21 at 7:30pm, at “a secret exciting venue”, to be announced on the day at www.squatspace. com/squatfest

Contact: Mickie Quick on xxxx xxx xxx

Other details:


The films at Tropfest are bad and you have to sit through countless offensive ads and embarrassing b-grade celebs, desperately trying to come up with something good to say about rubbish attempts by misguided young filmmakers eager to claw their way to the bottom rung of the Hollywood sweatshop. Fah-geddaboudit! You know you want to, so tell your friends:

“Sorry guys, this year it’s SquatFest for me!”


SquatFest happens every year at the same date and time as TropFest. While the hopeful entrants for TropFest are fretting about whether they’ll get the chance to move up a rung in the Hollywood Sweatshop, artists and activists from ’round Australia are living it up, projecting films and videos in an inspiring squatted venue.

SquatFest began at the Broadway Squats in 2001, and has since made appearances at the Midnight Star Social Centre, the Sydney Park Brickworks, the Sydney Dental Hospital, under the grandstand at Erskineville, and many other amazing venues! Our film programmes have toured to Newcastle, Melbourne, Perth, and Indonesia, Italy and Canada

10 years
As far as anniversaries we should also talk about 10 years of Indymedia, read a fantastic article by Zanny Begg here speaking of the media phenomenon which erupted in the hey-days of No-Corporate-Globalisation movement, starting from Seattle, November 1999.

Those years shaped a generation, who found themselves in the streets with protective gear marching towards Riot Police Units..

Seems out of time nowadays to talk about protest and civil disobedience, yet those bursts of common goal, direct action and down right defiance against the imposed decision-makers shaped much of what you still doing here, now.

Despite the retaliation that happened soon after, with the terrorists years, when all at the sudden all demonstrations were outlawed and new laws and limitation put in place, we still kept going.
To this date, 10 years on and we still put together a film festival in a reclaimed space.
Find out where by subscribing to the free messaging system, go to http://squatspace.com/squatfest/sms.html.

Have a browse through a selection of previous years entrants on Engage Media.

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