Battle in Seattle: Directed by Stuart Townsend, Starring Charlize Theron

The socio-political context of Stuart Townsend’s “Battle in Seattle” is far more interesting than the text itself–or its characters.

In 1999, five days rocked the world as tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle in protest of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Environmentalists, consumer advocates, labor unions, students, anarchists and pacifists all converged, bringing attention to how the WTO’s laws were affecting democracy around the world.

The narrative centers on three of them: Django (Andre Benjamin), Sam (Jennifer Carpenter), Lou (Michelle Rodriguez) and Jay (Martin Henderson). United in their desire to be heard and to make a difference, for these protesters, this is very personal and the stakes are higher than mere politics.

A peaceful demonstration to stop the WTO talks quickly escalates into a full-scale riot and an eventual State of Emergency results. The streets are mayhem, the WTO is paralyzed. Caught in the crossfire are Seattle residents, including its beleaguered mayor (Ray Liotta), a riot cop on the streets (Woody Harrelson) and his pregnant wife (Charlize Theron). The choices they make will change their lives forever and prove, ultimately, that ordinary people can change the world.

With his ensemble cast writer-director Stuart Townsend (real-life companion of Charlize Theron, who’s credited as producer) intertwines different points of view from a cross section of society, from protestors and police to delegates and doctors, who intentionally or accidentally find themselves on the streets of Seattle in those last days of the millennium.

Townsend merges footage of the real event with his fictional narrative and, ultimately, Battle in Seattle illustrates that, even against incredible odds, ordinary people can change the world.


Andre Benjamin, Jennifer Carpenter, Isaach De Bankole, Woody Harrelson, Martin Henderson, Joshua Jackson, Ray Liotta, Tzi Ma, Ivana Milicevic, Connie Nielsen, Michelle Rodriguez, Rade Sherbedzija, Channing Tatum, and Charlize Theron

Distributed by the small company, Redwood Palms Pictures, “Battle in Seattle” now gets limited theatrical release, after playing several film festival, including the Seattle Fest in May, where it won an award.

Producers: Kirk Shaw, Maxime Remillard, Mary Aloe, Stuart Townsend, Charlize Theron.