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New ‘Anarchy U’ film showcases violence, secrecy at pro-Palestinian UCLA encampment

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‘Universities are meant to be arenas for intellectual growth and respectful debate,’ documentarian says

A new film from The Daily Caller dives into the violence at pro-Palestinian protests at the University of California Los Angeles.

“Anarchy U” is a short documentary from the conservative news site and came out last week. The Daily Caller provided an advance copy to The College Fix for review. It is available now.

Footage shows that people were blocked from entering encampments and pro-Palestinian media representatives frequently refused to speak with Daily Caller reporters during the April and May protest.

“Universities are meant to be arenas for intellectual growth and respectful debate but what we experienced was a desperate attempt for control,” the documentarian team of Dayton Witouski, Rachel Page, and Mary McCants told The Fix via email.

“These students were well aware that the most important part of their protest was to control the message,” the team said. “They did this by harassing and censoring any media that questioned their message.”

The problems on UCLA’s campus are part of a larger societal issue, the filmmakers told The Fix.

“Unrest” on college campuses, “challenge[s] fundamental principles of free expression and civil discourse,” they said. It raises “questions about the role of universities in preparing future leaders.”

“Moreover, the lack of decisive action from institutional authorities reflects broader societal struggles with addressing divisive issues and maintaining social order,” the filmmakers said said.

“We don’t like white people,” one pro-Palestinian activist tells The Daily Caller during filming, before chanting “Free, free Palestine.”

“Anarchy U” host Cam Higby described the riot as a “medieval battlefield” in the film, where people were hit with mace and injured with weapons.

Higby also says there were “tens of thousands of dollars” of food, water, and hygiene items inside the encampment.

Elsewhere in the documentary he said about half of the protesters were outside activists. He said many of the people there did not know what they were truly protesting for. The documentary team faced silence when it asked activists who was funding the encampment.

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“The atmosphere on campus was tense, with efforts to block cameras and restrict access to certain areas where protests were most fervent,” the documentarians told The Fix via email. “It felt like there was a deliberate attempt to conceal aspects of the protest activities, despite the outward display of commotion and activism.”

They said further:

This posed ethical dilemmas for us as filmmakers, as we grappled with capturing the truth while respecting the boundaries and safety concerns of those involved.

Navigating these challenges required careful planning and adaptability. We had to adjust our filming strategies, sometimes filming from a distance or finding alternative vantage points to capture the unfolding events. The resistance from protestors not only added complexity to our production logistics but also underscored the contentious nature of the issues at the heart of our film.

The film team said that some of the activists were just looking for something to “latch on” to, underscoring comments made in the film by Higby.

“In many past protests, we’ve seen these patterns of people who weren’t interested in a subject ever before in their lives, latch on to the hippest and trendiest ‘save the world’ effort,” they said.

“In many cases, these people seem to care less about changing the world for the better and care more about simply being a part of something significant.”

Editor’s note: The attribution for quotes has been updated to include the three documentarians.

MORE: 10 of the most extreme acts of campus antisemitism in the 2023-24 school year

IMAGE: Daily Caller/Vimeo

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Eleanor Blair is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying Humanities and Catholic Culture.