TAMPA---Anti-Occupy film "Occupy Unmasked," dubbed the final work of the late conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart, was screened Thursday at the Republican National Convention to a smattering of Breitbart fans, protesters, media and heavily armed police gathered in a giant tent.
The event could have attracted hundreds more, but the film's producer David Bossie said he was concerned about "fist fights in the theater" after his team was alerted to threats by Occupy protesters online.
Messages on Occupy Facebook pages about the film seemed mostly innocuous, but filmmakers said E-mails they received used more violent language. As a result, they turned away nearly 250 people who RSVPed.
The film, which was introduced by Minnesota Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann and will be released Sept. 21, portrays the Occupy movement as mostly anarchist, characterized by rapes, robberies and assaults. Bachmann did not talk about Occupy in her introduction but praised Breitbart as a "dear friend," and called the film his "legacy."
"The film speaks for itself," Bachmann told Whispers of her feelings on Occupy.
Breitbart is a constant, and sometimes angry, presence in the film.
"These people feel morally justified to commit crimes," Breitbart tells the camera as the film opens, before it cuts to images of violence, drug use, snake charmers and people in Anonymous masks. They are "raping pillaging and pooping," he says.
The film goes on to allege that the movement was highly organized by labor unions and other liberal groups, with support from the Obama administration. It's a claim many observers of the movement have denied, as the Occupy movement is believed to have started spontaneously and repeatedly resisted organized help.
But Breitbart is persistent, telling the camera: "They are trying to start a war on grounds of the Capitol."
Occupy protesters took up residence in parks and other public places in cities across the country over the last year, including Washington, D.C. But those occupations now are almost entirely shut down.
Protests at the Republican Convention here, headquartered in a campsite Occupiers call "Romneyville," have taken place almost without incident. A $50 million grant given to the city of Tampa for security has put police on nearly ever block close to the convention.
Although filmmakers turned away many protesters, a handful belonging to the pro-peace organization CodePink found a way in, and sat in a row close to the front of the tent. Among the protesters was prominent anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, who called the film "stupid" and said it "distorted" reality.
"Occupy was a peaceful movement that wanted fairness in this country," she said. "You can always find a small percentage of any movement that doesn't represent the views of the entire community."
But Benjamin and the film's creators agree on one thing: They don't think Occupy is over.
Benjamin thinks Occupy will keep "resurfacing in different forms," such as in people deciding to switch their money from big banks to credit unions. "Occupy is in this for a long haul," agreed "Occupy Unmasked" producer Bossie. "The anarchist movement is new to the U.S. It doesn't happen overnight."
The film is being distributed by Magnet Releasing, a company that belongs to billionaire business magnate Mark Cuban.