From Occupy Wall Street Protester to Live Documentarian

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Amateur documentarian Thorin Caristo
has been livestreaming the Occupy Wall Street
protests since its first weekend in Sept. 2011.
(Photo by Emily Thomas)

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Occupy Wall Street in downtown New York City, you might’ve noticed the surplus of independent journalists and filmmakers capturing the events for the world to view online. Many of their works are coming online now, including Alex Mallis and Lily Henderson’s Right Here All Over (as of posting, the most-watched protest video on Vimeo) and Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme’s End the War, Tax the Rich, We’re the 99%, Occupy Wall Street.

Last week in the hub of the media center at Zuccotti Park, we met one of these filmmakers, Thorin Caristo, a 37-year-old antique store owner and amateur cameraman from Plainfield, Connecticut.

When friends in the nascent Occupy Wall Street media center approached the charismatic Caristo to film the protest for them, he accepted and was ushered into a crash course on livestreaming documentary video in the middle of social-media uprising.

He has remained at the locus of the movement since its first weekend.

POV: What equipment are you using down here?

Thorin Caristo: We’ve put the last of our money into our equipment. We use stuff like the DSLRs and Sony cams. We’re down to our last adapter that should allow us to shoot in HD, and we feed off of this HD webcam and hook an external microphone up to it for sound quality.

POV: What about when you go on marches throughout the city?

Caristo: We do things like carrying three lithium-ion packs in my pockets when we go on a march to keep our computers and phones charged. It’s like being a mobile one-man news team and streaming live to the world.

POV: Could you tell me about your filming process?

Caristo: I’ve been here since Day One and it’s definitely changed. We have two gentlemen here who taught us how to livestream. I personally have to give credit to Global Revolution for showing me the ropes. We’re still teeter-tottering along the process, but today is actually the first day the livestream is coming up strong.

POV: How is the process different from other events you’ve filmed?

Caristo: The process going on here is beyond unique. This is an amazing situation. We don’t have any leaders. If we want to go shoot, we do it.

POV: How did you get involved with the media coverage inside Occupy Wall Street?

Caristo: As far as being an interviewer, they (of the nascent Occupy Wall Street media center) approached me the first night and said, “Thorin! Want to be an interviewer? Want to represent us?” It’s probably because I’m 37 and I don’t carry any agenda except caring about the human race. I really do have a passion to make it a fair place.

POV: Have you faced any struggles or limitations with filming?

Caristo: No, none so far. My favorite part of filming so far on Livestream was this morning: We walked, interviewing different people around the park, and we got to the bottom. As we start to come back up there was a channel of people, so it was really tight. I saw a news reporter coming at me. And here’s my guy carrying the computer and I’m carrying the microphone. And here comes the reporter at me and it ends up being United Nations TV. We were stuck at each other. We both hold our mics up to each other, cross arms and start interviewing each other with our cameramen facing each other. We both were just smiling. This is a really cool moment.

View Thorin’s video as part of the continuing coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protest on occupywallstnyc’s Livestream page.

More links and videos for watching Occupy Wall Street:

Find more documentary news and features on POV’s Blog, or follow POV on Facebook or Twitter.

Emily Thomas
Emily Thomas
Emily Thomas is a Fall 2011 intern with POV Digital. She's interned at Esquire magazine and Vice magazine. Currently Emily is finishing her senior year at NYU, where she is double majoring in journalism and social & cultural analysis. She is also a freelance journalist and aspiring documentary filmmaker. Her top five documentaries are: 1. Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders) 2. Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh) 3. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff) 4. Dont Look Back (D A Pennebaker) 5. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)