Brett sez, "What does citizenship mean in a transnational, globalised context? One
Millionth Tower, the latest strand of the multi-media, multi-
award-winning HIGHRISE project from National Film Board of Canada,
teams a group of highrise residents in Toronto with architects and
animators to re-imagine their surroundings and transform their
dilapidated highrise neighbourhood into a vibrant, resident-led
"Using cutting-edge open-source technology, this interactive
documentary enables a 3D storytelling environment within a web
browser, incorporating the magic of cinema, architecture and
animation. A hyper-local story with a global resonance in its vision
for a more human-friendly urban planet – and world wide web."
This thing is built in WebGL, which replicates the functionality of OpenGL, a popular open standard for drawing and animating 3D objects, using brwoser-only technology. It's exciting stuff on the tehcnical side, but it's also a damned cool and well-thought-through documentary that goes beyond a mere tech demo.
Beloved kids' book The Phantom Tollbooth turns 50 this year (commemorated by a new edition introduced by Michael Chabon) and an oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign has been funded to produce a documentary about the extraordinary book and the impact it's had over its half-century.
With conversations - and banter - from Norton and Jules, this documentary explores the educational, political and linguistic back-story and lasting impact of “one of the great works of fantasy in American Literature” (Leonard S Marcus, author of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth).
We follow Norton and Jules as they return to the house in Brooklyn Heights where Norton began writing a little story "to get his mind off of what he had to do." Working as an architect, Norton was awarded a grant for a book on Urban Perception, which he promptly didn't write. Instead, he created Milo. When he showed his notes to his neighbor, a young political cartoonist bent on overthrowing the government, Jules began sketching – and The Phantom Tollbooth was born.
Through the lens of Milo and his adventures, we get to know Norton Juster – an incorrigible punster with a "delight in glorious lunatic linguistic acrobatics" (Maurice Sendak, in his appreciation to the 35th Anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth). Bored as a kid, wondering why he had to learn so many useless facts, Norton is Milo. And we get taken into Norton’s personal Phantom Tollbooth: where his imagination gets him in trouble for demoralizing the Navy battalion with his drawings of elves; where his friendship with Jane Jacobs and her critique of American cities shows up in Digitopolis and Dictionopolis; where “beyond expectations” takes on a personal meaning for Norton’s daughter and granddaughter as they confront their learning disabilities.
Being Elmo is a documentary on the live of Kevin Clash, who was raised on Sesame Street and dreamed of being a Muppeteer with Jim Henson. He went straight from high school to New York to throw himself at the Henson studios, came up with Elmo, and the character became his life. The film has received an incredibly positive reception on the festival circuit, and will be in wide release on Oct 21.
Ben sez, "This Adam Curtis documentary (he posted the rough cut of his new one) is pretty incredible. It features the story of the head of the Daily Mirror in 1968, attempting to organize a coup of the British Parliament, partially by spreading financial panic rumors through his newspaper. He is abetted by the head of the Bank of England, and his psychic wife who convinces him that he has super powers.
Many in the Labour Party have believed ever since that Cecil King was conspiring with members of MI5 to destroy the democratically elected government, but there appears to be no hard evidence for this.
The truth is that King was in league with more familiar "rogue elements" - senior City of London bankers, including the Governor of the Bank of England, who wanted to force the Labour government to slash the financial deficit. But the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was refusing to bow to their demands.
At the same time as this was happening, many of the journalists in Fleet Street were filled with a terrible doom about the future of newspapers. As a result the BBC got excited and went and made all sorts of films about newspapers - recording Fleet Street before it died. Some of the material they filmed is just wonderful - it is full of both touching and silly moments of an old world of journalism.
Since being featured here last year as an upcoming project, Just Do It- a tale of modern-day outlaws has now become a feature length documentary. This latest film from acclaimed filmmaker Emily James, has been met with sold out screenings and rave reviews from press and audiences alike. It's even inspired the impromptu occupation of a flagship Nike Town after a central London screening.
The film follows a cohort of activists from environmental direct action groups Climate Camp and Plane Stupid, whose efforts have proven to radically shift the UK climate debate. Granted unprecedented access, James follows as they blockade factories, attack coal power stations and glue themselves to bank trading floors to halt environmental catastrophe. Just Do It's narrative is funny, poignant and inspiring- prompting Danny Leigh of the Guardian to call it the remedy to the eco-doc's reputation as unwatchable.
Deviating from convention at every turn, Just Do It is part of a new wave of film making. It's crowd funded, crowd sourced and is being shown outside the corporate distribution machine. After storming the UK, Just Do It now sets it's sights on the US. With North American climate movements inching toward radicalism, Just Do It's message of resistance comes as a welcomed push. Adbusters and Rolling Stone have already called it a wake up call to the North American activist. You can support the project's American release now on their Indie Go Go page here.
[Video Link] I went to see the documentary Project Nim last night at the advice of a friend, and would like to recommend it to all who read Boing Boing. James Marsh (Man on Wire) directed. Be prepared to cry or require hugs afterwards. Above, the trailer. It's in theaters throughout the USA now.
On Salon, David Sirota interviews Harvard's Tony Wagner about his documentary, The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System, which looks at the way that the Finnish education system delivers consistent, high-quality education without testing, with long holidays for students, and with teachers who are considered national treasures.
There is no domestic testing except a very quiet auditing program to test demographic samples of kids; not for accountability, not for public consumption, and not for comparison across schools. The fascinating thing is that because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers. Their motto is "Trust Through Professionalism." The difference between the highest performing school in Finland and the lowest performing school in Finland is less than four percent, and that's without any testing at all...
Finland is rated among the highest in the world in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. It's not your grandfather's socialist country in any sense of the word.
But beyond that, what I find so striking is that the reforms in [the U.S.] have been driven and led by businesses for the last quarter century. It was David Kearns at Xerox and Lou Gerstner at IBM calling for a national summit on education and they didn't invite any educators. They invited CEOs and governors and senators and congressmen.
Cdr sez, "Michael Cook wants to make a documentary about some of the US nuclear reactors whose construction was abandoned following Three Mile Island in 1979. His Ulule page has some lovely pictures of abandoned industrial decay, like the ghosts of a future we turned away from."
Cook is a a noted Canadian sewer-spelunker and urban explorer: "Michael Cook is a researcher, photographer and graduate student in Toronto, Canada. He is best known for his work documenting historic hydroelectric infrastructure at Niagara Falls, and sewer systems throughout Southern Ontario, much of which is published on his website, vanishingpoint.ca."
Failed projects, like the sites I am visiting, offer our best chance of gaining a true sense of the scale, materials and feeling of nuclear power infrastructure. They also tell a powerful story about the failure of a technocratic engineering and planning culture---the cancellation of these projects didn't just result in tens of billions of dollars in write-offs, but in the bankruptcy of several of the utility companies that were building them.
My project presents an opportunity to improve the depth of our familiarity with the physical presence of nuclear power in our lives and landscapes, and with the frailty of the entire endeavour.
Brett sez, "French producers snuck into Burma and made an undercover documentary, "Happy World: Burma, the dictatorship of the absurd," about the bizarre regime. Awesome access, and the web documentary uses Popcorn.js to provide contextual links. Open Creative Commons licensing allows anyone to share, download and embed the experience. Interesting that it was also produced not with broadcasters but with a newspaper.
Very cool 'censurator' animates your twitter feed with brownshirts from the dictatorship."
Here, in five parts, is Orson Welles rather obscure documentary adaptation of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, a book that has the distinction of being available at every single yard sale in the English-speaking world. It's full of fear and hope and God help me, I can't stop of thinking about Pinky and the Brain.
In 1970, sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler, the Ray Kurzweil of his day, wrote a book entitled Future Shock, which proposed a certain distressing psychological state , induced by change so rapid the human mind can't digest it, and introduced the notion of "information overload" for the first time. In 1972, the book, already a bestseller, was adapted into a little-known documentary of the same name, narrated by Orson Welles. Exploring the shift from industrial society to what Toffler calls "super-industrial society," the film tackles notions of consumerism and information overload -- think BBC's The Century of the Self meets Nicholas Carr's The Shallows.
Some facts from Please Remove Your Shoes, a documentary about the TSA and its procedures: "During the first 3 months of 2007, the TSA Logistics Center received eight explosive detection systems units at a cost of about $7 million. As of January 2009, all eight explosive detection systems units remained in storage at the Logistics Center. TSA paid out $98 million in bonuses and pay raises in 2008. According to GAO, TSA inspectors spend 33% of their time inspecting, 8% on incidents, 5% investigating, 5% on 'outreach' 49% of their time on 'other.' Other?"
Pascalvanhecke sez, "California Dreaming is a documentary broadcast on Dutch TV November 8. It portrays the consequences of a the subprime crisis and crumbling local government. You can download the doc in HD format with a CC license and reuse for your own purposes."
California is a strong brand, the state of new beginnings, dreams and movie stars, of surfers and a wonderful climate. But the Golden State is bankrupt and the city of Los Angeles is running out of cash. Public services are being cut and unemployment keeps rising. At the same time, optimism, entrepreneurship and the belief in the power of America are stronger than ever.
In Los Angeles, we meet five people who are going through a transformation in their lives during this crisis. Justin and Christine lost their jobs and are now living in a van with their two young sons. Charles has gotten out of prison after fourteen years. Mizuko prepares her children for the future by making them at ease in virtual reality. Laura has taken advantage of the crisis by buying land cheaply and starting an urban farm and artists collective Fallen Fruit maps the abundant free 'public fruit' available in the city. Who are the pioneers who are reinventing the new America and how do they see the future?
Ever dream of taking off for the equator, fixing up an old boat, and then sailing it off into the sunset? Well, a few years ago, a group lead by Moxie Marlinspike did just that. Under the banner of the Anarchist Yacht Club, they migrated to Florida, found and restored a boat that they named the Pestilence, then proceeded to sail it around the Bahamas. It's the ultimate adventure, and luckily they captured their experience in the documentary Hold Fast.
HIGHRISE/Out My Window is a brand-new interactive documentary. It features first-person stories from 13 cities internationally, with an eclectic soundtrack, exploring the experience of life in the concrete highrise - the most common built form of the last century.
Designed to be experienced online, the project launches the viewer inside a 360-degree panorama, into an almost game-like environment. Toronto-based documentary maker Katerina Cizek directed the project largely via Skype, Facebook and email, in a collaborative process with photographers, journalists, architects, researchers, activists, digital developers and artists from around the world. The credit list rivals a feature film.
The stories of Out My Window span the globe: from Latin America's largest squat in Sao Paolo to a hugely renovated post-soviet concrete suburb in the south of Prague. Durdane in Istanbul describes how her squatter highrise community came about in the eighties, as people moved from the countryside and built towers one floor at a time. John from Johannesburg talks about the phenomenon of 'highjacked buildings,' where tenants are forced to pay rent to illegal landlords even as their buildings fall to ruin. Amchok from Toronto, who escaped Chinese-controlled Tibet by walking to India, talks about how his work as music teacher and performer brought him to Canada and helps make a home in his building in Toronto.
A while back you blogged about "Just Do It", a new documentary from acclaimed film-maker Emily James about direct action climate change activists and the flak they get from law enforcement. For the last two weeks, the production team have been on fundraising overdrive, trying to raise £20K in 20 days. That's because during this period, every penny given by the general public will be matched by Lush cosmetics.
There are four days left to the deadline and £8K left to raise (£4K from all of us and £4K from Lush). So BoingBoing-ers have four days left to double the money they give in support to this amazing project. I've kicked in my £150 partly because I'm ashamed how my country often chooses to suppress these activists' dissent, but mostly because I'm really excited that such an important documentary is going to be released Creative Commons.
You can read about Emily's motivation to get on board with CC at the Just Do It film website, which the information anarchist in me is excited to announce is now returned first on a Google UK Search for "just do it", one result ahead of Nike.com.