Documentary about influential experimental 90s indie band Brainiac

Brainiac was a fantastic experimental indie band that emerged from the 1990s Dayton, Ohio music scene that gave us Guided by Voices, The Breeders, and other great post-punk, no wave, and noise pop groups. Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I caught many of Brainiac's crazed live shows in the area. (Bassist Juan Monasterio went to fashion design school with my wife Kelly and after we moved to San Francisco, the band stayed at her apartment when they came though the Bay Area.) Their stars rising fast, Brainiac released two LPs on Grass/BMG before signing with Touch and Go Records and collaborating with the likes of Steve Albini, Kim Deal and Jim O'Rourke. Then on May 23, 1997, with their major label debut set for Interscope Records, charismatic frontman Timmy Taylor was killed in a car crash near his home. He was 28. Now, filmmaker Eric Mahoney is telling the Brainiac story through a new documentary. Please support it on Kickstarter.

This film will explore the 90's Dayton music scene, Brainiac's legacy and how people survive and cope with the loss of loved ones. Over the past 20 years Brainiac has been cited as a massive influence on the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, Death Cab For Cutie and countless others. You'll hear from the band, family members, fellow musicians and label heads.

Steve Albini, Wayne Coyne, Buzz Osbourne, Cedric Bixler, David Yow, Eli Janney, Fred Armisen, Jim O’Rourke, Gregg Foreman, John Schmersal, Juan Monasterio, Tyler Trent, Michelle Bodine, Linda Taylor And Many More…

Brainiac Documentary (Kickstarter, thanks UPSO!)

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New documentary on the history of graphic design and technology

The long-awaited documentary Graphic Means just premiered at the ByDesign film festival, describing a half-century of world-changing analog-to-digital shifts in how graphic designers worked. Here's the trailer. Read the rest

Film examines the brutal long-term effects of solitary confinement

The vast majority of prisoners like Kenneth Moore held in solitary confinement for extended periods get released with almost no rehabilitation or coping skills. Frontline spent three years inside and outside Maine State Prison documenting the effects on prisoners as they try to return to society after solitary. Be warned, it is as bloody and terrifying as any horror movie. Read the rest

Watch these soothing tours of barely-open malls

Dan Bell proves he's the Ken Burns of suburban decay with his beautifully shot and narrated Dead Mall Series.

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Fascinating documentary on combat photojournalist Catherine LeRoy

"The Hill Fights" is a clip from Jacques Menasche's film on the life and work of Catherine LeRoy, best known for covering the Vietnam War in all its unvarnished horror. Read the rest

Interview with director of freaky competitive tickling documentary

Bobby Hankinson interviewed director David Farrier about the craziest documentary of 2016: Tickled, which just premiered on HBO. I don't want to say too much. Just watch it. Read the rest

Hollywood's Greatest Trick: VFX artists vs. the studios

VFX artists have long complained they do not get the compensation they deserve for the value they bring to the film industry. Just in time for the Oscars, Ali Rizvi and Sohail Al-Jamea have teamed up with McClatchy with Hollywood's Greatest Trick. Read the rest

Pensive film revisits dead music venues

Quartier Latin in Berlin. Rose Bonbon in Paris. Hammersmith Palais in London. Some of the most iconic punk and rock clubs of the 80s and 90s are remembered by patrons and musicians, juxtaposed with shots of what they became after closing.

Bonus video: an edit of Last Man in Hammersmith Palais, outlining the venue's storied history.

Loud Places (Vimeo / Mathy & Fran) Read the rest

These vibrant arrangements of diatoms revive a lost Victorian art

Matthew Killip directed this lovely short film about Klaus Kemp, a microscopist whose specialty had its heyday in Victorian times: arranging microscopic creatures into beautiful patterns. Read the rest

How to film a protest

No Film School has great tips for those who want to document a protest. Meerkat Media has covered a lot of public protests, and the most effective coverage requires more than just pointing a camera or phone at the action. Read the rest

A grim documentary examines solitary confinement

Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison aired last night after a successful festival run. The film is an unflinching look at life in solitary confinement at Red Onion supermax, where prisoners spend 23 hours a day or more in solitary confinement. Read the rest

These are the Chinese bros who make bras and underwear

This short documentary by Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez is titled Xiong Di, which translates in English to "brother" or, according to the directors, "fellas."

"I repeat the same things every day,” says Qu Maomao, 27. “Same clothes, same place, same process." (Dazed)

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Will malfunction or incompetence start World War Three?

Eric Schlosser's book and film Command and Control look at the terrifying prospects of nuclear friendly fire, where one of America's nukes detonates on US soil. It also looks at what might happen if a false alarm gets relayed to a trigger-happy general or President. He starts this New Yorker piece with a terrifying story from June 3, 1980:

President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was asleep in Washington, D.C., when the phone rang. His military aide, General William Odom, was calling to inform him that two hundred and twenty missiles launched from Soviet submarines were heading toward the United States. Brzezinski told Odom to get confirmation of the attack. A retaliatory strike would have to be ordered quickly; Washington might be destroyed within minutes. Odom called back and offered a correction: twenty-two hundred Soviet missiles had been launched. Brzezinski decided not to wake up his wife, preferring that she die in her sleep. As he prepared to call Carter and recommend an American counterattack, the phone rang for a third time. Odom apologized—it was a false alarm. An investigation later found that a defective computer chip in a communications device at norad headquarters had generated the erroneous warning. The chip cost forty-six cents.

Lots more scary info at the Command and Control film website.

World War Three, by mistake (New Yorker)

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Elmer Long on life, truth, and his Bottle Tree Ranch

Mohammed Kerawia shot this charming interview with Elmer Long, owner of the Bottle Tree Ranch on Route 66 in Oro Grande, California. Elmer accepts donations but it is free to enter. Read the rest

Meet yo-yo virtuoso Coffin Nachtmahr

"There are kids who had a security blanket; I had a security string," says Coffin Nachtmahr.

Invisible Thread, directed by Early Light Media. (National Geographic)

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Watch 'The Camera Collector', a lovely short film on passion (and high-end vintage camera superfans)

The Camera Collector tells the story of a vintage camera collector who fell in love with cameras in the 1960s, against the wishes of his father. After saving all summer for his first Leica, his father was waiting when he returned home. "When he saw it was a camera, he started punching me."

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Trailer for Jim Jarmusch's documentary about Iggy Pop

I can't wait to finally see Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch's documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges!

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