October 16, 2013
Media Contact:
Evan Greer, Fight for the Future
Phone: 978-852-6457 or 614-465-6371

Hundreds gather in Manhattan for debut of new NSA video narrated by Evangeline Lilly — projected onto the side of a building

New York, NY — A crowd of nearly 300 people gathered in Washington Square Park at 9:00pm last night when Internet freedom groups Fight for the Future and Demand Progress unveiled their new crowdfunded video about NSA surveillance by projecting it onto the side of a building in bustling Manhattan.

The video, which is narrated and executive produced by actress, activist, and author Evangeline Lilly lit up the side of a large building as hundreds of supporters and interested bystanders packed the sidewalk and spilled out into the street at a busy intersection adjacent to Washington Square Park.

Watch the video here:

See photos from the launch event here:

See a video of the launch event (not posted by the organizers) here:

Pedestrians stopped what they were doing to watch the spectacle, as volunteers from Restore the Fourth roamed the crowd handing out free movie popcorn and flyers for the Stop Watching Us rally in Washington, DC — a protest scheduled for the anniversary of the Patriot Act, October 26th, that has been endorsed by a coalition of more than 100 groups from across the political spectrum. The massive projection was done in coordination with The Illuminator, an NYC collective that uses huge projections to make political statements.

“I want to live in a world where people are free to express themselves without the fear that the government is constantly monitoring them,” said Evangeline Lilly, who is a longtime supporter of Internet freedom and privacy, “Mass government surveillance is a dangerous form of Internet censorship, and I hope this video will encourage everyone to hold governments and corporations accountable when they violate our rights.”
“The NSA and their defenders in Congress have been lying to us nonstop,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign manager, “We wanted to make a video that explains how the NSA’s spying programs really work, and does it in a way that’s funny and accessible enough to send to your mom or your a-political cousin.” The 5 minute video is a rollicking movie montage that details the NSA’s abuses while weaving together scenes from popular films like The Big Lebowski, E.T., and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Evangeline Lilly’s voice-over in the video explains that spying is not just a privacy issue, it’s a free speech issue. “This open ended surveillance system is illegal and operates in total secrecy…” says Lilly in the video, “Spying on our internet usage gives the government power over our lives. What happens to free speech, free association, or a free press when everyone is under constant surveillance, even in our most private moments?”
“The NSA was hoping they could wait out the public’s attention by using esoteric buzzword-y jargon and trying to obfuscate the full scope of its nefarious dealings.” said David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, who partnered with Fight for the Future to make the video, “But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, the more people find out, the more upset they are. We made this video to give those people a weapon to educate and inspire others, pointing towards the Stop Watching Us rally in Washington, DC. on October 26th.”

Fight for the Future has a history of making viral videos about Internet freedom, having released a definitive video on SOPA / PIPA that accrued more than 7 million views online and helped change the conversation about the bill and rally the Internet for the SOPA blackout in January, 2011. The group launched an IndieGoGo campaign after the NSA revelations stating their intention to crowdfund a video about NSA spying. They raised nearly $8,000, and were able to team up with seasoned filmmaker Mata Wata to produce the film with Evangeline Lilly’s narration.

Organizers with the groups said they intended to organize more video screenings later this month to continue building support for the October 26th Rally Against Mass Surveillance, which is expected to draw thousands to Washington, DC on the anniversary of the passage of the Patriot Act.


Video of the NYC Launch (posted by WeAreChange):

Photos from the NYC Launch (available for use my the press:)

Photo credit: Kyle Depew, The Illuminator

Crowd of hundreds gathered at the intersection of Washington Square Park South and East 4th Street

Supporters initially gathered at The Arch in Washington Square Park and then walked together over to the projection site.

Organizers encouraged the crowd to attend the Stop Watching Us Rally Against Mass Surveillance, planned for October 26th in Washington, DC

For high-resolution photos, please contact:

Happy movie-goers crowded onto a New York sidewalk. Photo credit: Sydney Brownstone