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Legal Aliens in New York

by Enrico Aditjondro

Two EngageMedia men tried their luck in the Big Apple, attending conferences, talking and meeting with cool people, and spreading the spirit of video activism, EM Style.


I hope it’s not too late to talk about EM’s recent US trip. In late September, Andrew Lowenthal and I went to New York City to attend the Open Subtitles Summit and the Open Video Conference. It has become a regular event for EM as both Andrew and Andy Nicholson went to the same event last year.

This year’s event was my first, though, and on a personal note, it was the first time back to the Big Apple since 1992.

I stayed in the Spanish Harlem with my good friend Carlito Zesopol Caminha, a Timorese photo-journalist who has started doing flip cam journalism (Clinton Fernandes on International Tribunal for Timor Leste), while Andrew stayed in Brooklyn. A few have changed – buildings wise, era wise – but NYC is certainly still one of THE places to go in the world for talking and working videos.

Some of the people we met included Sam Gregory of Witness, Nathan Freitas of the Guardian ProjectPat Aufderheide of the Center for Social Media at American University, and many more. (Nathan’s chat with EM is published, the rest will follow).

Aside from the obvious conferences, Andrew and I went around town to meet with different kinds of people – Lauren O’Brian of Telegraph 21 (, OSIJoanna Levitt of IARWitness buddies, and many more. One of the highlights indeed was the meeting with the Human Rights Watch at the Empire State Building (too bad ALo has vertigo, so no video shots from the top of the once-tallest building in the world).

After NYC, I took a 5-hour bus-ride to Ithaca, courtesy of the FLEFF friends. It certainly wasn’t a regular bus-ride as it was ‘pimped-up’ with wifi, free drinks and free snacks.


A gloomy cloudy Ithaca welcomed me, but the warm welcome by Patty Zimmermann and Stewart Auyash made my day. Oh yeah, I also used to live in Ithaca between 1987 to 1992, so it was a surreal return.

The days in Ithaca was full as together with Patty we went to do informal video activism chats at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities, then off to Ithaca College’s Park Hall talk about EngageMedia’s works, chatting about climate change videos at Tom Shevory’s class, and eventually screening and discussing video campaigns in Stewart Auyash’s International Public Health class.

Along the way, I met a lot of amazing people doing amazing works, like JoleneShaianne, Tim Murray, Renate Ferro, Jen Zambriski, and many others.

Eventually, I had to wrap it up and return to NYC, then fly back to Jakarta. If I have to rate the trip, it was definitely a success and a memorable one.

Hope you enjoy all the EM in NY videos!