John Fiege is seeking post-production funds to complete his documentary about a group of people trying to stop a tar sands oil pipeline from running through their property.
Above All Else is a feature documentary film that tells the remarkable story of a group of landowners and activists who tried to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in East Texas. The film follows David Daniel, a quiet, affable carpenter, whose backyard became the epicenter of a tree sit that physically blocked the path of the controversial pipeline. This was the birthplace of the Tar Sands Blockade, an activist group that would go on to oppose the pipeline's construction all along its route. David's stance against Keystone brought together an unlikely coalition of allies, from Texan farmers to student environmentalists to fire-cracker great-grandmothers like Eleanor Fairchild. Above All Else is the story of David and his allies, their struggles, and what happened when they stood in the way of the most powerful industry in the world. It is a film about how courage and integrity are fundamental ingredients in social change—in Texas, throughout the country, and throughout history.
Gemma sez, "You wrote a blog post about how I was assaulted by the police after filming my boyfriend being searched, back in 2009.
The publicity we got from your post and the other press we got (Guardian and BBC) helped make thousands more people aware of this issue which led to the Metropolitan police eventually having to change their guidelines on photographing and filming the police. It was always my aim to get section 58a of the terrorism act clearer to all citizens in the UK and this hasn't changed.
Today I'm releasing the animated short film about the case - It deals with broad issues of police accountability and citizen''s rights as well as the specifics of my case. We also hope it entertains you on its way."
Into the Fire writes, "Into The Fire is a film with a difference. Besides being a hard hitting documentary which shows the plight of refugees and migrants amidst a collapsing Greek economy, it's also an experiment in new film production and distribution techniques.
A year ago, we made a first, crowd-funded trip to Athens. We filmed shocking levels of racism, police brutality, and right-wing extremism - as well as the courageous and inspiring people who are organising against it.
"Into the Fire will be released on 21st April on the internet. We crowd-funded the film and crowd-sourced the subtitles: it's been translated into eight languages using the open subtitler Amara. We are also using crowd-sourcing as the release and distribution strategy for the documentary: anyone who signs up to participate will receive embedding details ahead of time, and the film will be released on various websites simultaneously. The audience becomes the distribution network."
David Matthews can’t get a date. He is a writer and artist with a great sense of humor and impeccable dry delivery. He has scored solo art shows around Pittsburgh, readings at coffee shops and acting gigs in a few short films. He’s got a nice job, house and car, and could even treat a lady to dinner. So what’s the problem?
At 41 years of age, David was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. This late-in-life diagnosis and lack of treatment in childhood has left David with a lot of catching up to do. Although David is highly intelligent, he has a major blind spot: empathy and understanding of the human, especially female, psyche.
Aspie Seeks Love follows David’s journey to understand his Asperger’s, improve as a person, writer, and artist, and find a meaningful relationship. We’ll watch David explore the world of online dating and we’ll also see his attempts to break out of his shell and connect with women in person. David’s quest for self-improvement will culminate in the Pittsburgh release party for his debut book Meltdown in the Cereal Aisle.
The new documentary about esteemed magician, magic historian, and actor Ricky Jay opens next week at New York City's Film Forum with screenings in many other cities to follow in May and June. Jay is a fantastically curious and entertaining fellow and I can't wait to see this film. "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay"
I am a huge fan of Chris Metzler's documentaries. He co-directed the unforgettable Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea and the amazing documentary about Fishbone, Everyday Sunshine. He's getting ready to make his next documentary, Rodents of Unusual Size, about 20-lb swamp rats. I can't wait!
When we first heard about the nutria, we couldn't believe it. Why were they here? What did they want? And why did they insist on eating up the entire Louisiana bayou?? The more we heard, the stranger the story got.
Their webbed hind feet and enormous orange teeth were quite peculiar. We learned about the state bounty program that pays hunters and trappers $5 a tail to keep the pests under control. We also found recipes for nutria gumbo and pictures of fashion shows featuring their "environmentally friendly" fur. And then there was the story of the man out on Delacroix Island who raised a pet albino nutria who was "as smart as a dog but held a grudge."
The nutria gnawed its way into Louisiana culture and folklore. Its appetite has moved coastlines. And now the humans are fighting back by turning this invasive species into a resource and starting to eat and wear these rodents for the benefit of a healthy ecosystem.
It’s only fair that this notorious and lovable rodent get its own feature documentary!
PBS Digital Studios profiled Ralph Baer, the “Father of Video Games”
Ralph Baer’s inventing career began following a two-year service in the military during World War II. Returning home from Europe, he went to school on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a B.S. in Television Engineering. In 1955, he joined an electronics firm called Sanders Associates, which did work for the military. Still there in 1966, he began work on an electronic box that would allow people to play games on their televisions. The working invention was later licensed as the Magnavox Odyssey and became the first home console system for video gaming in 1972. Last year he celebrated his 90th birthday – the same year the Odyssey turned 40. Here he talks about those early days of video game history and why now, at 90 years old, he's still inventing.
Jay Lake -- friend, science fiction writer, dad -- has cancer. It's gone into remission, it's recurred. His prognosis isn't good. He's working with a documentary team to produce a film about his life, his work, his family, and his cancer. It started as a triumphant movie about how he beat the disease, and now it's a nailbiter about his recurrence. Taking the time to make this is an extraordinarily generous thing for Jay to do with his very precious time. The filmmakers and Jay are crowdfunding the continued production on Kickstarter, seeking $18,600 to finish filming and post-production.
Then, as we were filming, life happened. It started with a call that Jay's mom, Sarah, needed to be rushed to the emergency room. She was suffering symptoms that mirrored Jay's initial presentation of colon cancer.
The entire production changed tone as we were reminded that these are real people and that life doesn't always follow the script.
Jay's fear and guilt, as if he had somehow doomed his mother to a fate like his, was raw and emotional.After that incident, the energy of the film changed. We could all sense that there was more bad news to come before we would finish filming.
In August, the devastating news came. Jay's cancer had returned and three aggressive tumors were devouring his liver.
[Video Link] Wayne White is an artist whose work is probably familiar to many of you, even if you don't know him by name: Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Smashing Pumpkins videos, sculpture, painting. This upcoming documentary about him looks good!
I get many requests every day from people asking me to post about their Kickstarter project. I'm sometimes tempted to filter all email with "kickstarter" in it. But then I get something like Jeff Winner's Kickstarter for a Devo documentary and I realize that I can't do that. This documentary (which has reached its funding goal) about one of my favorite bands looks amazing.
Almost a year ago, Just Do It!, a film that follows the adventures of direct action environmental activists in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate summit, was unleashed on the world. A joyful romp around the ins and outs of our corrupted political system, the film grants its viewers the kind of access to the young (and not-so-young) ideologues battling the man in their bid to save the planet previously only granted to undercover agents working for the Metropolitan Police. It's a great movie, and last week its makers released it for free download and sharing under a Creative Commons license.
The film has been made for the most part outside of the traditional process, with crowd-sourced funding playing a big role during post-production. Since last July, the tireless team at Just Do It! HQ have been working with fans of the project to get the film screened in local cinemas and at universities, and taken up by Netflix. A CC release was initially delayed to allow a window to the cinema, TV, and DVD releases, and to agitate for inclusion on the American film festival circuit. Now that the CC release is finally with us, the team are soliciting donations from anyone who feels moved by their efforts to get a tale modern outlaws out into the world. And of course, they want as many people as possible to see the movie, and be inspired to join the fight to save the planet.
The Frisian Islands are barrier islands off the coast of the Netherlands. Between these islands and the mainland, there is an area called the Wadden Sea. This sea is only wet in some places, at some times. Instead of being a proper body of water, it's speckled with shallow pools, wetlands, mud flats that flood and dry up depending on storms and changing tides.
That geography makes the Frisian Islands, including the island of Texel, a great place to go beachcombing. During high tides and storms, water from the North Sea flows into the Wadden Sea through inlets. Not all of this water flows back out again, some evaporates. And water isn't the only thing in the North Sea. Wander the mud flats after the tide goes back out and you'll find all manner of random things washed up on Texel's shores—from buckets and signs, to bottles stuffed with anonymous letters.
On a more practical level, current patterns in the North Sea push whatever is in the water towards Texel. That means when a container ship loses something like a box full of luxury coats, the beaches of Texel are a great place to find it again. All that flotsam and jetsam (both the useful and the whimsical) helped create a culture of beachcombing on Texel. For generations, people went down to the shore and finders-keepers was the name of the game.
You can watch a new 14-minute documentary on Texel beachcombers and the goodies they've found. It's called Flotsam & Jetsam and it's available on Vimeo and it's really interesting—a great example of how the realities of nature and science can shape the way culture develops.
[Video Link] Here's a fun short film about a couple who are very excited to meet Daniel Clowes at an event at Meltdown in Los Angeles last month.
Daniel Clowes spent a very special night at Meltdown Comics on April 5th, 2012. Carlos, a collector of Clowes' work, and his fiance Timony were living the experience as a dream come true. Follow them through this short documentary about the master cartoonist. Directed and Edited by: Rocío Mesa
[Video Link] When I was at TED earlier this year, I happened to sit down next to film maker Louie Schwartzberg. He makes gorgeous nature films. I recently watched the videos on his YouTube channel. They are all stunning.
This video was shown at the TED conference in 2011, with scenes from "Wings of Life," a film about the threat to essential pollinators that produce over a third of the food we eat. The seductive love dance between flowers and pollinators sustains the fabric of life and is the mystical keystone event where the animal and plant worlds intersect that make the world go round.