film production + social action

How to Learn About Starting a Revolution

By Liz Warren

Lesson 1. Visit the reRun Gastropub Theater in DUMBO and purchase a ticket to their latest film How to Start a Revolution.

Lesson 2. Walk through the retro themed restaurant and bar (stop and have a drink if you’re there early enough) and enter the theater in the back. If you’ve purchased a ticket in advance they’ll look it up for you on their computerized attendance list.

Lesson 3: Chat with the friendly bartenders and quench your thirst by choosing from a panoply of specialty Belgian beers. *Note if you aren’t ready to order right away skip to Lesson 5. They won’t mind.

Lesson 4: Order popcorn smothered with duck fat, brown butter, bacon fat, or olive oil and spiced with paprika, garlic, or herb salt and an extra topping of love.

Lesson 5: Revisit your childhood and take a seat in one of the minivan bucket seats or benches. Meanwhile sip your beer and wait from them to hand deliver your warm, delicious, salty popcorn.

Lesson 6: Sit back and wait for this inspirational film to begin.

Lesson 7: Stop drinking beer, get out your notepad, and listen to Harvard Professor Gene Sharp’s instructions on how to start a revolution.

If you haven’t already guessed, besides number 7, these lessons summarize my most recent Thursday night where I watched the film How to start a Revolution. As uprisings sweep the globe, few have heard of heard of the mastermind behind the success: Gene Sharp. But he’s featured in this award-winning documentary currently being shown at reRun Gastropub theater. 84, frail, and humble in demeanor, Sharp spends much of the film tending to his orchids and is unwilling to take any credit for these revolutions. Although his Nobel prize winning handbook From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation has been translated into 40 languages and is said to have inspired uprisings in Eastern Europe, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, Sharp maintains, “oh no. It is the people taking part in these struggles who deserve the credit. Not me.” He’s right in a certain sense. Those who participate in protests exude commendable bravery, but Sharp’s 101 simple lessons provide the framework every successful protest needs: a plan. As I mentioned, I didn’t follow lesson 7 so I’ll leave it at that. Unfortunately I attended the last showing of How to Start a Revolution at reRun on Thursday, but it sounds like they’ve put out a Current TV version. Look for a show time here. Or just go see another flick, reRun’s lineup is filled with compelling indie films, and eat some of their delicious popcorn for me.


This blog is the premiere post for our newest intern, Liz Warren. Since she can remember, Liz has been documenting her stories in countless journals, notes, and scraps of paper which now collect dust in her mother’s garage. In recent years she transitioned this passion into the virtual world of documentary making and blogging. After spending two years working as a teacher and encouraging children to share their stories in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, she’s thrilled to now live amongst hot water, live music, good wine, and a panoply of inspiring change-makers in New York City. She currently studies International Affairs as a graduate student at the New School for Public Engagement.