The daughter of a Nebraska minister, Anna Louise Strong earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Chicago. But it was in the Pacific Northwest, where she witnessed the 1916 Everett massacre and chronicled the 1919 Seattle General Strike, that her political vision took shape. In Moscow she helped found the first English language newspaper, in Spain her many visits resulted in her book, Spain in Arms; and in China she interviewed Mao in a Yenan cave in 1946. She is buried in Beijing in a special cemetery for martyrs of the revolution.
Witness to Revolution is a 27-minute film (available on DVD) that portrays author and labor activist, Anna Louise Strong (1885-1970) who, as a partisan reporter, covered the major political revolutions of the 20th century - Russia, Spain and China. Witness to Revolution won a Student Academy Award, the Nissan Focus Award, a CINE Golden Eagle and was broadcast nationally on PBS as well as the Canadian Learning Channel and CCTV in the Peoples' Republic of China. Invited to FILMEX, American Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, Women's International Film Festival.
Witness to Revolution screened theatrically in Seattle, Washington in 1984 and garnered these accolades:
"Witness to Revolution is an impressive achievement...much to Ostrander's credit, the Seattle filmmaker does not try to glorify her subject as a model of political virtue. Rather, her work explores what caused a woman of comfortable middle-class origins to end up hobnobbing with Wobblies in Everett, teaching English to Trotsky in Russia, tromping around civil war battlefields in Spain, and - at the age of 61 - living in caves with Mao's communists in China...a showpiece of the documentary is Anna Louise Strong's 80th birthday party in Shanghai, where we see her feted by a smiling Mao Tse-Tung and toasted by Chou En-Lai."
-Doug Honig Seattle Weekly
"Witness to Revolution is a superb story...it's an excellent summing-up of a long and influential career, focusing mostly on Strong's beginnings in Seattle and her reporting on the Seattle General Strike in 1919 and the Everett Massacre...Ostrander creates a sense of Seattle's radical past that makes it easy to understand why this state was once known as "the soviet of Washington."
-John Hartl The Seattle Times
"The amazing story of Anna Louise Strong, a former Seattle journalist and radical leader whose life parallels the rise of communism in this century, is chronicled in Witness to Revolution, an excellent short documentary."
-William Arnold Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Witness to Revolution is a tightly written, extremely informative documentary portrait of a Seattle journalist and political activist...Ostrander has imparted her film with a journalist's passion for fairness and balance, a rare virtue in an age of partisan documentaries."
-Brent Northup Bellevue Journal-American
Witness to Revolution is available for purchase on DVD for $50.00 public library edition, and $75.00 college/university edition.