Archive for June, 2006

Saturday at Silverdocs

I was able to see only two movies at Silverdocs on Saturday, and both films, by coincidence, put faces on subcultures that have typically been forgotten or ignored. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, in particular, provides a valuable window into a history that most people have forgotten, recalling the tragic end of the story when over 900 people were killed rather than the culture that led up to it. B.I.K.E. offers a glimpse of the Black Label Bicycle Club, a group of artists and activists who form a community around the pro-bicycle movement. It’s an interesting mix of politics and playfulness as the Black Label group competes in “bicycle jousts” atop six-foot tall bicycles.

The first film, Stanley Nelson’s Jonestown: The LIfe and Death of Peoples Temple (IMDB) relates the history of Peoples Temple and its charismatic leader, Jim Jones, starting with his humble youth in Lynn, Indiana, and running through the 1960s and ’70s, when Jones developed an enthusiatsic following with his message of social justice, to the very end in Jonestown, Guyana, when Jones directed over 900 followers to commit mass suicide. Nelson, who also directed The Murder of Emmett Till, presents an amazing wealth of archival material, including footage and audio of the meeting that culminated in the mass suicides, as well as interviews with several of the survivors and former members of Jones’ church (including Jones’ adopted son, Jim, Jr). While Nelson quickly establishes that Jones’ psychological problems likely stem form childhood, he also demonstrates, through interviews and archival materials, how appealing Jones’ message of social equality and community might have been for people shaken by the Vietnam War and racial inequality. Jones’ churches are a picture of diversity, with young white college students standing next to older black families, suggesting a sense of community that might otherwise have been unavailable (see Christina Talcott’s Washington Post article for more information on Nelson’s research).

To some extent, Jones himself remains unknowable, and I’m not sure that any amount of reporting could ever determine how the church leader saw himself or his congregation, but Nelson manages to unearth footage of a healing service in which a woman confined to a wheelchair miraculously begins to walk again. The woman was later recognized to be one of Jones’ secretaries wearing heavy makeup. The film features unforgettable footage from Jones’ church in San Francisco and eventually from Guyana itself where Jones fled with members of his congregation after an article in a San Francisco newspaper began to unravel problems within Peoples Temple. Jonestown is an important story, one that needed to be told, and Nelson’s film provides valuable insight into Jones’ charismatic appeal and the church’s eventual demise in what Jones described as “revolutionary suicide.” It’s clear, of course, as one of the survivors put it that “there was nothing revolutionary about it.”

Jacob Septimus and Anthony Howard’s B.I.K.E. focuses on the tight-knit subculture of pro-bicycle activists known as the Black Label Bicycle Club. The film focuses on the New York branch of the club, which consists priamrily of artists and punks, many of whom had known each other in the graffiti culture in the city (in fact other branches in the midwest tend to be much more blue-collar). The film focuses primarily on co-director Anthony (Tony) Howard’s attempts to join Black Label and the group’s repeated decisions to reject him, in part because of Tony’s “rock star” or individualistic style (which often came across as a bizarre art-school hybrid of Tony Manero and Insane Clown Posse. In this sense, B.I.K.E. pits indvidulism against the collective ethos of the bike club, in a storyline that probably should have been a little more explicit.

While Tony is trying to get into Black Label, a long-time girlfriend enetr rehab and eventually leaves him for another guy, he develops an admiring friendship with the leader of Black Label, an artist and champion bike jouster, and ultimately he starts a rival bike group to compete with Black Label. I’ll admit to being somewhat disappointed by B.I.K.E., but that’s probably due to the fact that I was more interested in the politics of Black Label and the pro-bicicyle culture in general, and the film underplayed that element. To be fair, B.I.K.E. does explore these questions to some extent, particularly the scene in which the New York chapter of Black Label travels to the national Black Label convention in the midwest, which depictis the limits of the group’s politics, as they load their bikes into their parents’ (?) Range Rovers and Mercedes in order to travel to the competition. This scene does not suggest that their politics are insincere, I think, but that the group isn’t completely removed from the bourgeois world that they seem to reject. I’m planning to see Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos, Walking to Werner, and Road to Guantanamo today.


Sunday Morning Reading

I’ll write about Silverdocs Saturday tomorrow morning (I only managed to attend two films, B.I.K.E. and Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple), but wanted to mention Shooting War, Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman’s online graphic novel about a reporter covering the war in Iraq in the year 2011, after it has been raging for eight years. I’ve only looked at the first few panels, but it looks like compelling reading. More on the docs tomorrow, and I’ve managed to obtain tickets for three films tomorrow, including Walking to Werner and Road to Guantanamo, so I’ll have plenty to write about the next few days. Not that I have anything else to do (I only move in eleven days). Thanks to Steve’s POV for the tip.


Friday at Silverdocs

It looks like I’m going to take most of Saturday off from Silverdocs. A colleague is hosting a cookout this afternoon, so while I’m planning to catch a couple of films tonight, the extra time will give me a few minutes to catch my breath and blog about the films and panels I caught yesterday. I never would have guessed that going to three films in one day could be so exhausting. After a late start on Friday, I met up with Sarah Jo Marks of Documentary Insider and we were able to catch the end of John Pierson’s “Doc Talk” panel, during which Pierson discussed his experiences in helping Michael Moore and Errol Morris find wider audiences for Roger and Me and The Thin Blue Line. But Pierson was even more compelling when he discussed the experience of being the subject of a documentary, in his case Reel Paradise, which focuses on Pierson’s family going to Fiji to screen films in an old theater on the island. He also described the responses of the Fijians themselves to the films that Pierson programmed, but I’ll save that discussion for later when I’ve had a chance to see the documentary (which I’m now curious to see). Side note: while attending th Pierson panel, I met another press person who tipped me off to the University of South Carolina’s “Orphan Film Symposium,” which focuses on lost, unseen, or otherwise obscure films. Columbia is a short drive from my future home in Fayetteville, so it might be worth checking out in the future.

From there, I found my way to Air Guitar Nation (Silverdocs), easily the most entertaining and crowd-pleasing documentary of the festival and a fascinating addition to the “competitive doc” sub-genre, recalling films such as Hoop Dreams and Spellbound but with a heavy metal twist. Directed by Alexandra Lipsitz, Air Guitar Nation follows the story of two New York City air guitar competitors, C. Diddy and Bjorn Turoque, as they pursue their dream of competing in the International Air Guitar Champiuonship in Oulu, Finland (learn more about the US Championships here). Both C. Diddy and Bjorn are compelling characters who candidly discuss the air guitar phenomenon and their motivations for participating. In many cases, the competitors discuss the ways in which identity is a perforamnce and explain that by assuming their air guitar persona, they can escape their normal lives (as software engineers or whatever). At the same time, for C. Diddy, air guitar provides an opportunity to convey to his parents, who immigrated from Korea with the hopes that he’d become a doctor or lawyer, that his chosen career as an actor-comedian is the best choice. Air Guitar Nation manages to provide some goofy fun while also offering insight into its subject.

I had the good luck of watching Air Guitar Nation with Danielson: A Family Movie [Or Make a Joyful Noise Here] filmmaker JL Aronson, and while I can’t attend the film, I’m incredibly curious to see it. Danielson focuses on the quirky faith-based, art-rock band, Danielson, and their struggles to make it in the music industry. I happened to catch Daniel Smith’s solo act by accident in Atlanta, and his quirky, whiny, almost “unnatural” voice was unforgettable. Even more striking, he performed the entire concert wearing a 7-foot tree costume, and I gradually recognized the religious content of the lyrics. But because Danielson comes from an evangelical background similr to my own, I’m curious to learn more about this fascinating band and hope that I’ll get a chance to see the film soon.

After Air Guitar Nation, I caught the world premiere of Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, which follows the experiences of the aptly named Jeff Smith as he runs for Congress in Missouri in Dick Gephardt’s former district. Smith, an adjunct professor who studies African-American studies, enrolls a group of college kids and twentysomethings, none of whom have significant political experience, and runs a total (and seemingly tireless) grassroots campaign, knocking on doors, calling voters personally, encouraging supporters to host informal coffees, and posting yard signs wherever possible. Mr. Smith benefits from the screen presence of the candidate who is certainly an engaging and expressive public speaker. Smith runs against one of Missouri’s big name families, represented by Russ Carnahan, the son of a former governor and Senator. Offering the most candid glimpse of a political campaign since The War Room, Frank Popper’s Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? simply asks its title question: can a regular guy with no political experience but tremendous energy, charismatic appeal, and great ideas still get elected against the more powerful members of the party system? And I think it’s a credit to the film that the answers it offers aren’t always simple. Hoping to write more about both of these exciting new documentaries a little later.

Update: While surfing Technorati, I came across a good discussion of Mr. Smith. As Jake points out in teh comments over there, the film not only offers a critique of campaign politics but also asks some interesting questions about the relationship between white candidates and black voters. More on that topic and others in my longer review.

Update 2: I’ve written a longer review of Mr. Smith, which is available here.

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Thursday at Silverdocs

For the second day in a row, I watched three documentaries, and once again, all three come highly recommended. I’ll try to write longer reviews later because all three films are deserving of further discussion, but like yesterday, I feel like I’ve been staring at screens big, small, and tiny for a really long time. I started my afternoon with a screening of film composer Gary Tarn’s Black Sun (IMDB), an experimental documentary based on the writings of painter Hugues de Montalembert, who went blind in the late 1970s when a mugger threw paint thinner in his eyes. De Montalembert narrates from his own descriptions of blindness, recalling the attack and conveying how it changes his experience of the world. After going blind, de Montalembert, rather than confining himself to his apartment, chose to travel, exploring countries ranging from Indonesia and India to Iceland, and Tarn’s camera visits all of these locations, capturing images using images that can only be described as kaleidoscopic. Black Sun, with its philosophical explorations of vision and its depictions of travel recalled Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.

I followed up Black Sun with a late afternoon screening of Leila Khaled, Hijacker, a documentary by Swedish-Palestinian director Lina Makboul about Khaled, a Palestinian woman who hijacked two planes in the 1970s, with the hopes of calling attention to the Palestinian struggle. Makboul is explicit about her own ambivalence towards Khaled. While Makboul certainly regarded Khaled as a hero of sorts, she is also critical of her methods, with the documentary becoming an intriguing reflection on the line between “freedom fighter” and “terrorist.” Unlike films such as One Day in September that look at the Palestinian struggles with distance, Makboul depicts her personal investment and her struggle to ask Makboul whether or not she feels she has harmed the reputation of Palestinians through her actions. Makboul also wisely underplays the emphasis on Kahled’s appearance, noting in passing that Khaled’s fame derived in part from her physical beauty, as members of the press repeatedly asked her questions about her romantic life. While her appearance certainly added to her initial notoreity, Makboul’s film seems more interested in questions of the consequences of this violence for the Palestinian national narrative.

Next I caught the compelling “homemade” documentary, A Certain Kind of Beauty, co-directed by Liz Witham and Nancy Slonim Aronie. Beauty focuses on the struggles of Dan Aronie (Nancy’s son) with multiple sclerosis, which he develops at the age of 22, just as he was beginnig to pursue a career in acting. Handsome and charming, Dan imagines that the whole world opening up before him, but after contracting MS, his motor skills quickly deteriorate despite a number of experimental medical procedures. Soon after Dan is diagnosed, his mother comes across the idea to document the family’s experiences, and Dan readily agrees, in part to help others understand the disease but also–I’d imagine–as a way to help the family make sense of this difficult experience. The film is often brutally honest, depicting Dan struggling to dress himself and even to get out of bed as well as reflecting on how MS has changed him and how he experiences the world. But at the same time, Dan’s story also depicts the importance of freinds and family in providing a sense of community. I’m still working through my response to this compelling film, but the honesty and openness of the Aronie family in telling their story was incredibly powerful.


North Carolina Film Event

Sujewa tipped me off to Cucalorus, a film festival that takes place in Wilmington, NC (about 2-3 hours from F’ville) in November. The festival looks like a lot of fun. It’s a non-competitive fest, which I sort of like. The festival is still accepting submissions through July 15, and the festival runs November 8-11. I’m heading out to Silverdocs in a few minutes, where I can hopefully take advantage of Silver Spring’s free wi-fi this afternoon and blog (or do other work) from the festival.

Update: I’m now using Silver Spring’s free wi-fi to mention that I’ll be trying to catch at least two, maybe three, more documentaries today. I’m off to see Black Sun now, but hoping to catch A Certain Kind of Beauty and maybe The Railroad All-Stars, though both are currently sold-out.


Wednesday at Silverdocs

Longer reviews later, but I’ve just returned from day one of Silverdocs (technically day two, I suppose, but I skipped opening night), where I took in a triple feature. I started with What Remains, which I saw based on Cynthia’s recommendation, and I ended up finding the film, which focused on the work of photographer Sally Mann, to be utterly fascinating, a meditation on death and decay in the spirit of her recent photography series, but also on the processes of photography itself. The film was directed by Steven Cantor, who had documented Mann’s work in the past in Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann, which I now very much want to see.

From there, I went to Jesus Camp (official site), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s documentary about a camp for evangelical Christian youth, “Kids on Fire,” led by children’s pastor Becky Fischer, who rallies children to become more active as Christians in spreading their faith. While it would be tempting to treat this subculture with ironic distance, Ewing and Grady are careful to treat their subjects fairly, and they spend significant energy in the film depicting the links between evangelical Christianity and the Republican right (the kids pray for a life-size cardboard cut-out of President Bush and travel to DC to march against abortion). As someone who was raised as an evangelical, I’m always curious to see evangelical culture represented, and the film certainly brought back a lot of (sometimes painful) memories, and I have to admit that I’m still processing the film. But what I found most fascinating about it was the depiction of how these children “learn” evangelical culture, and within Fischer’s camp, we see the children picking up the lingo and finding ways to minister to others. During the Q&A, several of the questioners depicted this as a process of brainwashing, and I think that gets what happens within evangelical culture wrong in ways that are rather significant. While we see the kids primarily within the context of the church services, their behavior elsewhere in the camp shows that the kids who attend make sense of their world in a variety of complicated ways.

Finally, I caught most of Punk’s Not Dead before I had to dash out to catch the last train to Hyattsville (which I managed with less than five minutes to spare). Punk’s Not Dead was a relatively solid treatment of many of the big definitional questions associated with punk. What is punk? Can commercially successful bands such as Sum 41 or Good Charlotte still be classified as punk if they’ve signed with a major label? Or if their lyrics lack any political content? Because I left before the film ended, I don’t know what kind of conclusions the film reached, but at the very least, the filmmakers have assembled a wealth of concert footage and interviews with punk musicians that will provide useful for anyone who is interested in the history of punk.

Again, I’m hoping to write longer reviews later, especially for Jesus Camp, but after six hours staring at a giant screen, another hour staring at a smaller one seems a bit tedious. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll see Black Sun, and we’ll see how things go from there.

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Rooftop Screens

Via The Back Row Manifesto, I just learned that Alex Karpovsky’s remarkably funny mockumentary, The Hole Story will have its New York City premiere Thursday night through the Rooftop Films Series in the East Village. I very much enjoyed The Hole Story when I saw it at the DC Independent Film Festival a few months ago, so this sounds like a great opportunity to catch a good indie film somewhere over Manhattan (by the way, watching movies on the rooftops of buildings in Manhattan is an inspired idea).



I’m not going to have time to write a full review of Olivier Assayas’ Clean, which focuses on Emily Wang (Maggie Cheung), a heroin-addicted rock musician whose husband, Lee Hauser (James Johnston), also a rock musican, dies of a drug overdose in a Candaian industrial town (Hamilton, Ontario, if I remember correctly). Sentenced to jail for possession, Emily loses custody of their son to Lee’s parents (played by Nick Nolte and Martha Henry). Cheung, who won the best actress award for this performance at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, is impressive as a recovering junkie struggling to regain control over her life, but as Filmbrain notes–in an insightful review of the film–Cheung is far too pretty to be fully convincing as an addict. But the film is well worth watching for Cheung’s performance and for her interaction with Nolte. Clean manages to avoid some of the cliches of the drug recovery picture (see the recent New York Times review on this topic), but for whatever reason, I didn’t find the film that memorable (although this may be attributed to my being somewhat distracted right now by The Big Move that continues to occupy much of my energy).


Indie Web TV

I’ve been relatively distracted by The Big Move lately, so haven’t really had the time or energy to blog. Plus, I’m moving quickly on 1-2 writing projects (including an article for a book collection), but just wanted to throw a quick pointer to some other folks who’ve been thinking about some of the new “homemade media,” the DV films and series that I’ve recently found so intriguing. In particular, David at GreenCine has written a short blog essay addressing the comparison between Andrew Bujalski (Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation) and Joe Swanberg (LOL and Kissing on the Mouth, both of which I’d love to see). But David also discusses Swanberg’s NSFW series for Nerve, Young American Bodies (also check out the MySpace page), now in its sixth episode (of course you should start with the beginning).

I don’t have much to add to David’s analysis right now, but I think that one point he makes is important (and it’s something I want to address when I have more time to write on web television), and that is that with estimates of 50,000 uploads to YouTube and 50,000,000, “YAB is a prime example not so much of the future preferred alternative to television but of the present preferred alternative.” This might be a relatively obvious point, as David implies, but still a point very much worth noting. Also check out Cynthia’s analysis of Young American Bodies. Hoping to revisit this later, but with Silverdocs starting soon and all the other stuff, I might be pretty distracted for the next few days.


Lazy Saturday Coffee Links

Quick Saturday morning coffee links: I just came across a an academic group blog focusing on film and media studies issues, Dr. Mabuse’s Kaleido-Scope. Lots of good posts on teaching film studies and related topics.

Via GreenCine: Anne Thompson has a useful primer on the use of MySpace in “personalized participatory grassroots marketing.” I think she’s probably right that it’s difficult to measure the effect of these grassroots campaigns on theatrical attendance, although similar (non-MySpace) grassroots campaigns for the upcoming Snakes on a Plane should be quite successful, but the jury’s still out on that. The article culminates in an interesting discussion of how various websites have been used to promote some Hollywood and indie films, noting that the MySpace page for the film version of Strangers with Candy struggled to accumulate 500 friends while its YouTube trailer quickly scored over 200,000 views (related: a Wired News article on fan sites devoted to the Whedonverse, the alternate reality where Joss Whedon’s films and TV shows, including Buffy and Firefly, take place..

Also worth watching: Kimberly Peirce, who directed the amazing Boys Don’t Cry, has plans to make an Iraq War drama, Stop-Loss. with Ryan Phillippe slated to star.

Just came across the new-to-me online film journal, 24LiesaSecond, which is edited by James Moran, who wrote There’s No Place Like Home Video, one of my favorite recent books, a really great read on the topic of home video (I liked the book so much that I taught it last fall in my junior seminar).

BTW, I caught the Quotidian Theater’s production of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune last night. Looks like its playing for a few more nights, so I’d recommend checking it out if you’re in the DC area. The play is almost nothing like the Pacino-Pfieffer film adaptation, which terrence McNally adapted from his play, but the play itself, which takes place entirely in Frankie’s bedroom probably wouldn’t have worked as a film.


Cellphone Cinema

Via Eugene Robinson’s Washington Post column: the You Tube video, “Bus Uncle,” which features an oddly compelling argument between two passengers on a Hong Kong bus captured by a third passenger on his cell phone.

The basic plot: a middle-aged man has been talking too loudly on his cell phone and a younger pasenger behind him taps the older man on the shoulder to ask him to lower his voice. The older man then begins lecturing the younger passenger, repeatedly alluding to the “pressures” of daily life while gradually becoming more and more profane. And as Robinson points out the episode concludes perfectly with the older man getting another cell phone call and turning to answer it. Of course, Robinson points out that the scene is fascinating in part because it illustrates just how easily a scene from everyday life in Hong Kong can very quickly be transmitted across the globe with millions of potential viewers ready to watch. The version I watched has been viewed nearly a million times in less than a month. Not sure I have much to add, but it’s an intriguing little video.


Consuming Videos

Andrew’s pointer to David Leonhardt’s New York Times article on Netflix reminds me that I’ve been planning to write a blog entry on my ambivalence about Netflix for a while now. In the article, Leonhardt argues that the Netflix model, which allows viewers to rate movies on a five-star scale and to choose from a far wider catalog (60,000 DVDs) than any video store could ever offer, has expanded the movie-watching horizons of home entertainment consumers (although I find his example of The Conversation as a potentially “lost” film a bit odd). Given that most chain video stores, especially those with a blue and yellow color scheme, focus almost exclusively on promoting new releases, that’s probably true, and evidence is pretty strong that consumers are digging deep into Netflix’s archives, with anywhere from 35,000-40,000 of its titles going out on a daily basis. Arguably, Netflix is making it possible for films that might otherwise be forgotten to find new and wider audiences than ever before. Even better, there are no late fees if you hold on to a video for a few extra days, and because the movies are delivered in the mail, you don’t have to worry about rushed late-night trips to the video store.

But for whatever reason, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to adjust to using Netflix. When I decided to live without a car this year, a Netflix subscription seemed like a necessary investment in my professional career, but instead of expanding my viewing horizons, I’ve found that I’ve never watched so few movies at home than I have this year. Now, there are a number of complicated factors that might explain why this is happening. Because I’m in Washington, DC, I have access to a number of good art house and repertory theaters (two Landmarks, the AFI Silver, the Smithsonian theaters), which means that I’ve been going out for movies relatively often, although probably not significantly more often than I did in Atlanta or even Champaign-Urbana and Lafayette. I’ve had to adjust to teaching new courses, which required a little more background reading than in the past, which means less time for late-night movie watching (I find watching a movie before it’s dark outside almost completely unbearable, and if it’s still daylight when I leave the theater, I get what feels a bit like jet lag). And to be honest, I think the lack of late fees puts less pressure on me to see whatever film I’ve rented immediately. As a result, I sometimes hold on to movies for days or weeks without returning them with the good intentions of watching them eventually.

Still, I think the biiggest factor in making it difficult to adjust to Netflix is that I genuinely enjoy (and miss) skimming the shelves of the independent video stores I used to frequent in Atlanta, Champaign-Urbana, and Lafayette. I enjoy the tactile experience of looking at the DVD (or VHS) cover, holding the box in my hands, and seeing the other videos stacked nearby, and obviously that’s something that Netflix or video-on-demand services can’t offer. I also miss the sense of community that I typically found at many of the independent video stores I’ve frequented, the conversations with video store clerks who were bigger movie obsessives than I am. I realize that my nostalgia for these video stores may be coloring my perceptions of them, but those places are a big part of my cinematic eductaion, and I haven’t yet figured out how to incorporate Netflix into that.

At the same time, I realize that moving to Fayetteville will change my movie watching habits yet again. Fayetteville does have an art house theater, the Cameo, downtown, and I’m sure I’ll get my art house fix there and in Raleigh, but I imagine that the availability of services such as Netflix will mke it easier for me to feel connected to the independent and foreign film scenes that are typically associated with major cultural centers. I realize that my experiences thus far with Netflix are probably exceptional, but I’ve found it somewhat surprising that I’ve actually watched fewer movies than I did when I actually had to make the trip to the video store.

Leonhardt’s Times article is well worth a read, though. In addition to addressing how Netflix changes our movie watching habits, he explains how the service has become such a massive enterprise, becoming “a logistical operation that has few peers outside of FedEx, U.P.S. or the post office itself.” In fact, the head of operations is a former postmaster general.


Media That Matters Film Fest

While I’m on the topic of cool film events, I thought I’d mention the Media That Matters Film Festival, scheduled for June 29 in Washington, DC. I’m particularly intrigued by Something Other Than Other and The News is What We Make It, but in general it looks like an interesting sereis.


YouTube and Me

While self-indulgently skimming my Site Meter stats this morning, I came across an interesting blog post by a student in Matt Kirschenbaum’s graduate seminar, “Inscribing Media,” on YouTube, textual studies, and media theory. Drawing from Henry Jenkins’ discussion of fan cultures, Helen discusses the ways in which YouTube users are developing new ways of responding to video content, such as the SNL “Lazy Sunday” skit that went viral and was then widely imitated and parodied by other YouTube users: “Like Flickr, YouTube allows users to comment and discuss videos, but, in addition to written comments, many users choose to comment by creating original video that is at once unique and also tied to a previous video to which it is directly responding.” The entry is an excerpt from a longer seminar paper, and the paper itself sounds really interesting.

On a completely unrelated note, I got an email tip on a cool event here in DC at the Provisions Library, which is a couple of blocks north of Dupont Circle. It’s a “Teach In on the Poetics, Politics and Practice of Films for Change.” The event is scheduled for June 24, starts at 11 AM, and will last all day. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Social Media at American University.


Straightheads Blog

I’ve been planning to mention Straightblog, a blog promoting Straightheads (IMDB), a dark thriller written and directed by Dan Reed and starring Gillian Anderson and Danny Dyer, but have been distracted by punk rock bears and puffy chairs. Plus, I’ve been trying to get some serious writing done before the move.

The blog is a fun read, describing life on the set (including the experience of working with stars such as Anderson and Dyer). And I can’t pass up the opportunity to link to Reed’s video of Rascal, the film’s “prosthetic stag.” Looks like an interetsing film.