Hi my name is Franklin López and I’m the founder of subMedia.tv which launched in the year 2000. More than a website, subMedia.tv is an independent video production ensemble that aims to crank out anarchist, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial films and agit-prop. The films are not your run of the mill activist videos, but snarky music driven productions that emphasize humor and creativity and are unabashedly radical. We also make short documentaries, feature length films, hold free video production workshops and film screenings.
In 2004 we released our first anarchist film “Join The Resistance: Fall in Love!”, a poetic ode to living life in freedom without societal constraints. Much to our surprise, it was viewed by over 30,000 people at the time. This gave us a glimpse of what we could achieve via online distribution, even at a time when online video was in its infancy. Indeed there was an audience for radical videos out there, and we did not have to compromise our anarchist values in order to reach people.
In 2005 our post hurricane Katrina video mash-up “George Bush Don’t Like Black People” got over 1 million views, and our website crashed repeatedly due to the heavy traffic it was receiving. The following year, the influential technology magazine, Wired, named subMedia.tv one of the top online video websites alongside newcomer YouTube.
That same year we launched what is now our flagship project. A comedy news-vlog called “It’s the End of the World as We Know it and I Feel Fine!”. also known as “The Fuckin Show”. In it, the host named “The Stimulator”, reads the news with a smug sarcastic tone and his vocabulary includes more expletives than George Carlin it his prime. “The Fuckin Show” also features new underground music and interviews with people engaged in projects of active resistance. From time to time we would go to hotspots of revolt to report from where the action was happening. These include the 2008 Democrat and Republican convention protests, the anti-olympic convergence in Vancouver, the G20 riots in Toronto and the student strike in Quebec this year. “The Fuckin Show” enjoys a hard-core audience of tens of thousands and it comes out every other week to this day.
In late 2010 we released our first feature film entitled “END:CIV”, a critical look at the construct of civilization, pacifism, industrial capitalism, environmental NGO’s, techno fetishism and the failure of the North American left. That year we took the film on tour, circling the planet for the next two years. We screened “END:CIV” in over 170 venues in sixteen countries, in alleys, movie theaters, community centers, occupations, squats and universities.
Since completing “END:CIV” we made films about indigenous groups resisting tar sands oil pipelines and fracking, anarchism in Greece, the anti-nuke movement in Japan and a documentary about the 2012 Quebec student strike.
Last year we celebrated a decade since our anarchist filmmaking practice began, and to celebrate, we released a two hour DVD of our best work entitled “subMedia.tv: A Decade of Subversion” which can be downloaded for free on our website. In January of this year we published “To Change Everything”, a video and print project collaboration with CrimethInc, an anarchist writing collective in the US. “To Change Everything” is an accessible introduction to anarchism that includes a short video, and a pamphlet, both of which are free to download. Both the video and the pamphlet are available in over a dozen languages.
This year we are organizing the Anarchist Film Festival in Montreal and are continuing to crank out “The Fuckin Show”. Our future projects include short videos that teach tactical skills for radicals and a feature length film about anarchism around the world with the working titled of “¡Libertad!”
We have been crowdfunding subMedia.tv since 2007. We make a modest living through small donations and are mostly able to cover our operating expenses. Not having to serve ads, or ask foundations or governments for cash has given us the flexibility to say whatever we want without compromising our politics. A lot of our work has actually focused, on criticizing how foundation and government funding demobilize and pacify radical projects. This is why it was to our great surprise, that the Kindle Project gave us a one time grant with no questions asked and no expectations from us. It seemed too good to be true, but alas, what they promised is what they delivered.
Ironically the money went to pay for back taxes and debt incurred while running subMedia.tv. But it has given us a bit of mental space to not have tax and debt collectors breathing down our necks. A mental space that is invaluable when plotting to make media that aims to dismantle those same institutions, and for this we are grateful.
Franklin López is an anarchist filmmaker from occupied Borikén (Puerto Rico.) He has produced hundreds of videos and short films under the subMedia.tv banner, a website he has been curating since 2000. He currently resides in Montreal.