3/30/23: Virtual Talks with Video Activists: “CamNet”

A screening/discussion about the groundbreaking 1990s "camcorder series" CamNet, with producer Judith Binder and scholar Leah Shafer

A full replay of the March 30 event.

In the 1990s Judith Binder and Nancy Cain produced the LA-based cable program CamNet: The Camcorder Network, which gave Cain and Binder and many collaborators a forum for video journalism, all of which was produced on consumer-grade camcorder cameras. CamNet – which they dubbed “the people’s CNN” – was broadcast in eight cities around the country on a loop for two weeks each month, a realization of many of their guerrilla television principles: they had taken control of the airwaves, bringing their work to anyone who cared to watch it. CamNet expressed and embodied their lifelong belief that people should be active participants in the media, and that everyone should feel like they too could be producing or appearing on the programs broadcast on their TV sets. 

Note: Live captioning will be available. Please email [email protected] with additional accessibility requests.

Judith Binder

Raised in Los Angeles, Judith became interested in video production while her daughters were teenagers. She first worked at the American Film Institute’s Women in Film program, and then she began producing videos of performance artists in the downtown L.A. theater scene, which can be seen at the Getty Museum. In the 1990s, Judith formed a company with video pioneer Nancy Cain, and they began producing content for The 90’s, a PBS show. The show’s producer, Tom Weinberg, provided video editing hardware, which enabled them to start a show called CamNet. Rolling Stone picked CamNet as the 2nd best show “that didn’t suck” and called it “a brilliant and democratic vision.”

Leah Shafer

Leah is Associate Professor and Chair of Media and Society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She also serves as Associate Producer and Associate Programmer of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. A maker and scholar, Shafer has screened experimental documentaries and video essays at juried festivals. She was the recipient of Hobart and William Smith 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award. She has published widely on television, advertising, new media, and media literacy and pedagogy in Routledge Handbook of Medicine and Media, Refocus: The Films of John Hughes, Feminist Interventions in Digital Pedagogy, Film Criticism, Teaching Media Quarterly, The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to War Films, Cinema Journal, and On Media Res. She is a regular contributor to The Edge.

This event is free to attend. Media Burn is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and we depend on donations to continue our work. Please consider making a donation along with your ticket signup, or at https://mediaburn.org/donate, or by texting MEDIABURN to 44321



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