Pressure Point: Inside the Montreal Blockade

by Magnus Isacsson, Malcolm Guy & Anna Paskal
How a Montreal citizen's network led a blockade in 1998 against an international agreement that would have been the blueprint for global free trade.
1999  ·  53m  ·  Canada
English, French
French subs
About the Film

Opération SalAMI was a civil disobedience action in May 1998.

On this occasion, several hundred people surrounded the Sheraton Center in downtown Montreal for five hours, delaying the opening of the most important annual meeting of North America’s commercial, financial, political and academic elite dealing with globalization. The protestors were part of a citizen’s network called Opération SalAMI, opposing the free trade agreements; they demanded that Canada withdraw from the negotiations on the Multilateral Accord on Investments, the MAI (or AMI in French.) This accord was supposed to be the blueprint for global free trade which protesters saw as the corporate control of the planet. The action was one of the most important anti-M.A.I events in the world. These mobilizations on an international scale actually led to the shelving of the agreement. 

The Opération SalAMI movement was widely covered in the media and mobilized hundreds of participants, many of whom were arrested.It was a key struggle of the times, filled with lessons for activists. 

Upcoming Screenings

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Directors
Magnus Isacsson, Malcolm Guy, Anna Paskal
Writers
Magnus Isacsson, Malcolm Guy, Anna Paskal
Music
Les Colocs
Production Company
Productions Multi-Monde
Editors
Meiyen Chen, Louise Coté
Cast
Linda Hanna, Freya Mackenzie, Sébastien Rivard, Viviane White
About the Director

Malcolm Guy

Malcolm Guy is a director and producer of documentary and fiction films, President and co-founder of Productions Multi-Monde. Malcolm is active in immigrant rights organisations and in the independent film community. He contributed to establishing the international film fest Rencontres International du Documentaire de Montréal (RIDM), the Observatoire du Documentaire, the distribution company Les Films du 3 Mars, and is active in DOC (the Documentary Organisation of Canada). Malcolm’s films look at a variety of local and international issues, with a particular interest in the Philippines. He is a founding member of the Centre for Philippine Concerns in Montreal and is Secretary General of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.

 
Other films by Malcolm Guy

Magnus Isacsson

Telling dramatic stories which bring crucial social and political issues to the attention of the public – that was Magnus Isacsson’s objective as a documentary filmmaker. In the last fifteen years, he specialized in feature length “process films”, following conflictual situations over long periods of time. Power (Cineflix 1996), told the five-year story of how the Cree Indians defeated Hydro-Québec’s Great Whale megaproject. The film received the award for best documentary at the Paris International Environmental Film Festival in 1997 and the Grand Prize of the Lausanne festival in 1999.  The Choir Boys (Érézi 1999) about Montreal’s choir of homeless men, was nominated for several major Canadian awards and received the Golden Conch at the Mumbai International festival in 2000. The feature length View from the Summit,  (Érézi 2002) is a multi-faceted view of the politics of protest, which the Globe and Mail called “remarkable…riveting”.  Isacsson also co-directed Pressure Point (Multi-Monde 1999), a film on the same theme that received the Quebec Film Critics award for Best Documentary in 2000. Maxime, McDuff and McDo  (Virage), his second film on attempts to unionize McDonald’s restaurants, was nominated for three Gémeaux awards.  Isacsson’s most recent films are ‘The Battle of Rabaska’ ( with Martin Duckworth, ONF 2008) and Art in Action (Amazone Films 2009) which received the Prix Gémeaux for best portrait or biography in 2011. Isacsson received the 2004 Prix Lumières from the Quebec directors’ association. ( ARRQ.)

Magnus Isacsson was born in Sweden in 1948. He immigrated to Canada in 1970 and became a Canadian citizen in 1978. He is fluent in Swedish, English and French and understands Spanish. After studying political science at the Universities of Stockholm and Montreal, Isacsson started his career as a radio producer for Swedish Broadcasting and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1972 to 1980. From 1980 to 1986 he directed numerous current affairs reports and investigative stories for the English and French television networks of the CBC, for programs such as Le Point, Contrechamp and The Fifth Estate.

Isacsson taught audiovisual production at l’INIS, the Quebec film school, and at several universities, including Whitman College in Washington State, the University of Montreal and Concordia U. In the mid-eighties he taught video production in Zimbabwe and South Africa for Montreal-based Vidéo Tiers Monde (Third World Video). He directed an instructional tape on video production, which received the award for best audiovisual production from the Association for Audiovisual Teaching Techniques in 1991. He was a member and former co-chair of the Documentary Association of Canada (DOC), a member of the Association des Réalisateurs et Réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), and of SARTEC. He was also vice-president of the Observatoire du documentaire.

Isacsson passed away in 2012.

 
Other films by Magnus Isacsson

Anna Paskal

Anna Paskal is senior policy adviser with Food Secure Canada. She is also a consultant supporting collective policy development processes, organizational change, civil society advocacy, evaluation, strategic planning and facilitation.

In addition to directing Opération SalAMI: Les Profits Ou La Vie?, she has published The Water Gods: The Inside Story of a World Bank Project in Nepal (2000) with Véhicule Press, documenting a trek into Nepal’s Arun Valley, site of a proposed two billion dollar World Bank-funded dam.

 

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