Activist Karen Topakian has been arrested dozens of times for using nonviolent civil disobedience to protest nuclear proliferation, human rights abuses, environmental issues, and war. What drives her to repeatedly put her body on the line?


In turn lighthearted and moving, Karen's story speaks to the need for Americans, now more than ever, to exercise this important First Amendment right.


Total running time: 04:33

Dan Goldes

Director & Editor

Dan's first film, ub2, about language related to HIV, was an official selection of 40 U.S. and international film festivals, while his second, Equal Justice Under Law, about the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, played at 20 festivals around the world. His most recent short, Keeper of the Creek, was released in 2018.


Dan is currently in production on 5 Blocks, a long-form documentary about a San Francisco neighborhood undergoing its most dramatic change in 50 years. Dan is a graduate of the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking and has served on the screening committees of the San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. He is currently in the incubator program at San Francisco's Ninth Street Independent Film Center.

Karen was arrested on Jan. 25, 2017, on a crane near the White House as part of a Greenpeace action to hang a "Resist" banner. 

Karen received her MFA in filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. Before graduating in 1987, Karen began working at Greenpeace as a nuclear disarmament campaigner and remained until 1991. For 16 years, she served as the executive director of the Agape Foundation-Fund for Nonviolent Social Change that awarded grants, loans and fiscal sponsorship totaling $1.1 million dollars annually to California-based grassroots nonviolent social change organizations. In 2010, Karen founded Topakian Communications, a freelance writing and communications consulting business that works primarily with advocacy organizations, and became chair of the board of Greenpeace, Inc. 

© 2016 - 2018 by Dan Goldes