The ZAD protests have received little in the way of mainstream media coverage, particularly outside of France, despite being the biggest Euro-Zone action camp in history. Citizen, independent and social movement journalists and documentary filmmakers are filling up this unsurprising gap in media coverage with footage of their own. ProtestCamps.org offers this brief round-up of some of youtube’s best videos on ZAD for English-speakers.
What is ZAD? “The ZAD is an aeroport protest site in the west of France about 15 miles north of Nantes. The aeroport project was first proposed over forty years ago and has faced constant local resistance ever since. The project is in the hands of the multinational company Vinci, who also provide us with such « services » as prisons, motorways and nuclear power stations.” For more check out https://zad.nadir.org
When the Trees Shake (French & English)
Documentary made by ZAD protesters that covers reasons for the protests, information about the land and shows footage of camp life and evictions. A good source for getting a feel of the diversity of people involved in this resistance and the connections between profit, corporate power and environmental destruction. You can watch it in 4 parts online. There is also a follow-up skill share video Quand les arbres fulminent
Notre Dame des Luttes (French & English)
The 52 minute documentary Notre Dame des Luttes by Jean-François Castell has now been translated into English. The film captures the early months of the mass action camp. It does a nice job giving voice to protesters’ stories and reasons for joining ZAD. Taking us into the forest, Castell captures the entanglements of living in the woods — the cold, the ropes, the tents, the fires are all characters in this film. Police violence and the state of ‘living in a war zone,’ as one participant describes it, are also present here. The camp becomes a site of violence and vulnerability, as well as a vibrant space of solidarity and skill-building.
ZAD – Zone A Défendre (French)
PIXSO’s edited footage for this short 8 minute documentary video does a nice job of showing the scale of these protests and the creativity of tactics being used to ‘defend the zone.’ While most of the video is in French, the visual narrative carries the film and is able to capture the spirit of ZAD. Footage at 6 minutes shows discharged canisters of tear gas being dumped out by the bagful, illustrating the extent to which this poisonous chemical weapon has been used against protesters. While it seems to have less youtube play than others, Zone A Défendre would be a great film to subtitle and further circulate.
More audio-visual resources in French are archived at https://zad.nadir.org
Additional footage of evictions, actions and campaign speeches can also be found in videos from webTV productions Rennes TV. Most of these films are roughly edited but lengthy, offering coverage of some major mobilisations as well as footage of more intimate moments.