A pair of prankster filmmakers are coming to Alberta. The Yes Men are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano. They're known for using unconventional tactics to call attention to industry practices. They catch their hi-jinx on film and have released two films to date, The Yes Men (2003) and The Yes Men Fix the World (2009).
In their most recent film, the culture jamming pair pretend to represent the company Dow Chemical. In December 2004, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) interviewed one of the Yes Men believing that he was a Dow Chemical rep.
It was on the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster and on the TV program, BBC World, the supposed Dow Chemical spokesperson took full responsibility for the Bhopal disaster; something the real company hasn’t done. In fact, once the BBC program aired, the actual Dow corporation said they didn’t share the opinions of the Yes Men.
Now the Yes Men have been invited to Alberta by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC) to speak on Saturday night in Edmonton at the Garneau Theatre. The ACGC is a coalition of organizations working to achieve sustainable human development. The ACGC’s Executive Director, Heather McPherson, says the talk fits with what the organization does as they are “trying to get Albertans to think about the role we play as global citizens.”
The Yes Men will be giving a public talk called We All Must Be Revolting: Finding Your Place in the Global Revolution. McPherson believes the message the Yes Men have is one that Albertans need to hear, especially now with “fewer and fewer opportunities for civil society to express themselves. There are fewer and fewer ways that we can actually disagree with what’s happening. Organizations and Canadians in general are being silenced by our government. This is the time we do need to push back.”
All those in attendance at the Yes Men talk will be part of their new film. The pranksters are currently working on their third film. Those in Saturday’s audience could be filmed as their keynote presentation will be part of the future movie.
Albertans can see The Yes Men Fix the World the night before the public talk, as the ACGC is presenting a free film screening of the 2009 film.
The film that is being screened the night of the Yes Men talk, is one created by five local highschool students. Change Your World is the real-life footage of Alberta teens who visited international development projects in Peru this summer. The group traveled for two weeks as part of the the ACGC’s Change Your World Alberta Youth Leadership Tour to Peru. They saw first-hand the impact of Albertan international development NGOs are having. The short film focuses on how long term community development can be more effective than short term charity.
After the screening on Saturday, the five teens will be visiting Alberta schools to present their documentary and share their experiences with their peers.
Ultimately, ACGC hopes that the public talk and film screenings will help get more people in this province thinking and acting.
Film Screening | The Yes Men Fix the World
WHEN: September 21 at 7-9pm
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 2-190, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (11405-87 Ave) on the University of Alberta Campus in Edmonton
INFO: visit the ACGC website
TIX: free admission
An ACGC Evening Affair featuring The Yes Men Live
WHEN: September 22
6-7pm Reception and NGO Fair
7-9:30pm Feature Presentations
by Sarah Hoyles
featured on September 20, 2012