In the year 2005, television was a platform largely devoid of hope. It lacked the kinds of real stories that inspire people – to do better, to rally their communities, to lend a hand to a stranger, to protect the defenseless, and to pay it forward.
Manifesto! was a source of hope — the anthemic, televised answer to this problem.
As we made We Want the Airwaves it became clear that the issues addressed in Manifesto! were comprehensive – the show tackled women’s rights, climate change, sex worker rights, animal rights, civil rights, etc. In doing so, it illustrated a societal problem – these stories were not being documented on television.
The very creation of Manifesto! brought these issues to the forefront regarding televised/streamed media:
Access: Who has access to the means of distribution? Who has access to the tools and infrastructure to make televised media?
Representation: Are diverse community stories being told? Who is telling those stories? Are the represented allowed a role in telling their stories?
Audience & Platform: Does a citizen’s platform exist? Does the audience have access to stories about their fellow citizens? The kinds of stories that break through biases and provide solutions?
Today, we have these voices online and increasingly in the news/on news channels, but the lack of urgency and functional calls to action are a very real problem.
Jane Goodall recently said it best:
“Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late. But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up.
Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope. If you don’t have hope, why bother? Why should I bother to think about my ecological footprint if I don’t think that what I do is going to make a difference?” – Jane Goodall Still has Hope for Us Humans, New York Times
A Generation X story to it’s core, We Want the Airwaves documents and addresses this problem while also capturing a rare moment in Hollywood: where the digital divide between standard definition and high definition and between broadcast and streaming all began.