em 2016Tribeca Film Festival, showed tremendous creativity from many perspectives. Perhaps most interesting was a critical mass of journalistic work on systemic issues, often expressed in ways that vigorously exercised the flexibility of form.
The festival was naturally rich in performance, glamor and celebrity.contemporary colorcaptures an extraordinary spectacle of grassroots performance art - David Byrne orchestrates performances by Color Guards from across the United States - in the combination of magical realism and cinéma vérité created by brothers Bill and Turner Ross (45365,Tchoupitoulas,western) have been working on this for nearly a decade. The film received jury awards for cinematography (Jarred Alterman) and editing (Bill Ross). With Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaanstrike a pose, the lovely crew of boys who danced with Madonna on her Blonde Ambition tour (captured in the 1991 documentary).truth or Dare) recalls his life 25 years later. Those who survived still have charisma, although for all of them the fall from glamor and stardom to ordinary life was a bumpy transition, and it came when the AIDS epidemic was at its height and treatment was just beginning. Other documentaries have featured Richard Branson, Leonard Nimoy, DJ Steve Aoki, chef Jeremiah Tower and more.
Meanwhile, a series of documentaries, short films, interactive and virtual reality pieces (we call them “experiences” now) creatively addressed systemic issues that lie at the heart of democracy. Daily journalism unearths fragments of important, endemic and aggravating issues in the form of scandals, conflicts and incidents; Documentaries capture patterns.
First-time filmmaker Craig Atkinson addresses the issue of policingdon't resist, which won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary, creates a Cubist portrait of a militarized police force, trained to see civilians as "monsters" and enemies, and armed to harass them with leftovers (and even brand-new) of our equipment to wage wars. Civilian footage of protests, footage of an MRAP advancing down a small town street, congressional hearings, police training sessions, a raid by the SWAT team stealing some personal marijuana while destroying a man's home and livelihood: all this is shown implicitly from the perspective of citizens, increasingly threatened by their own "peace officers". (The term is reminiscent of last year's hit documentary Scott Christophersonpeace soldier, on the alarming increase in the inappropriate use of SWAT teams and techniques.) The focus on the same issue wasThe Argus Project, an installation of the interactive Storyscapes exhibition, with three video panels with testimonies by activists and victims' families, in front of which is a statue of a policeman in full body armor with cameras and sensors. Gan Golan's project aims to encourage civilians to become a multi-person monitoring agency against police violence. Golan herself was a victim of police violence; The project team hopes to visit the facility and use the activists' videos. In Virtual Arcade, Janicza Bravo's five-minute virtual reality experience,Tough world for little things (known to Sundance festival-goers) took viewers on a ride with a young man who was eventually shot dead by police. Also in the Virtual Arcade, the talePerspective 2: The offense, by Rose Troche and Morris May, tells an incident of police violence from four perspectives.
Exploring judicial practice, veteran radio journalist Deborah S. Esquenazisouthwest of salemis a true crime story that helped free four Texas women from prison. The women, all lesbians, had been there for two decades after being falsely convicted of performing satanic rituals on children. It's not a thriller, they do it or they don't, but a drama about these innocent people. The key to the story is a surprising sequence in which one of the alleged victims retracts a statement that her stepfather forced her to give. Esquenazi, who worked with the Innocence Project, released this interview before the end of the film, and the footage accelerated women's liberation. The film points to junk science, lesbian prejudice, and undeserved trust in the justice system as reasons these women missed out on the prime of their lives.
Inviolable, the first Albert Maysle New Documentary Director Award-winning film by attorney David Feige (produced by filmmaker/lawyer Rebecca Richman Cohen), encounters some of the same problems with the national treatment of sex offenders. State laws are increasingly criminal, denying sex offenders access to many public places, restricting employment opportunities and often encouraging re-incarceration for spurious reasons, while making it difficult to access therapy or offering sham therapy. Worst of all, the laws place a wide range of seemingly expected sexual acts, such as consensual sex with a minor, in the same category and with the same penalty of heinous and violent deviance. The film presents two opposing types. There are sex offenders, including an Oklahoma woman who at age 18 had sex with a 14-year-old boy at a party and is registered for life, and an elderly pedophile who is receiving regular and successful treatment to control his condition ( he is also under constant surveillance). And there are activists campaigning for even tougher laws, including male Florida lobbyist Ron Book, whose daughter was molested by her nanny. Seeing these issues through the lives of people living with the consequences makes today's approach devastatingly counterproductive. At the same time, meeting the activists makes clear why and how the policy took root and is spreading.
Prison conditions are the subject of Kristi Jacobson's deeply disturbing and moving book.Alone, which airs on HBO. Jacobson takes us inside a well-run supermax prison where solitary confinement is the norm. Portraying various prisoners and staff, as well as the warden, she shows us how torture is isolation from human contact; Prisoners and officials alike testify to the horrific inhumane costs. You don't have to be a liberal to hate solitary confinement at the end of this movie, and you don't have to believe that the prisoners were wrongfully imprisoned. (But you might lament that people are so neglected and abused before incarceration that they end up there.) Jacobson brings us closer to the people we'd rather not look at—both the men in the boxes and the men who keep chained up and slide the food through the cracks. Anyone who wants to experience solitary confinement for a short time can visit the VR facility6X9, by Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton, in Storyscapes. You can be sitting on a bed in a cell and, with the help of a virtual reality headset, thinking about how to get through 23 hours a day, day after month, year after decade. Many left shocked and upset - and that's after just nine minutes.
And what happens to prisoners who return to society? Audience Award WinnerThe comeback, the Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega (Better this world) we know two men who will be released when California abandons its three-strikes law in 2012. Public defenders are working overtime to help free prisoners held under draconian laws; In theory, many are possible. For the two men featured here, reentry is shocking, challenging, and unsupportive. Families are doing what they can, and children in particular are struggling to build relationships that have been destroyed by long prison terms. But prison has taught the men skills useless in the civilian world, and the world they enter is rigged against ex-criminals. Meanwhile, distressed public defenders work for a man who, despite showing obvious signs of mental illness, was arrested and never received treatment. With unobtrusive cinéma vérité and no commentary, the film follows defenders and those released in their daily lives, and the result is a damning indictment of a prison system that continues to punish after release. The Return opens the 2016 POV season on May 23.
Several Tribeca documents address systemic issues in geopolitics that extend far beyond our borders.control and control, by Robert Kenner (Essen, Inc.), brings us back to a real-life nuclear missile accident that could have destroyed St. Louis with re-enactments that convincingly - heartbreakingly - simulate a poorly preserved video. The incident is just one of many and is emblematic of the problems in maintaining nuclear capabilities around the world. PBS'american experiencewill eventually show the movie. At the Games 4 Change Summit, Smriti Keshari also previewed his installation,the bomb– an hour-long 360-degree immersive film projected onto all surfaces, with live music in the middle. Like Yvette Chin, who developed a game with which you can go on a treasure hunt for nuclear weapons hidden around the world, and Eric Schlosser, who wrote the book about it.control and controlbased, Keshari believes that art can create a much-needed awareness of great dangers. "I've been writing about nuclear dangers for nine years," Schlosser said in a related panel, "and I'm not discouraged." He pointed to the power of citizen protests against nuclear power and movies to affect public policy. "Either you do what you can, no matter how small," he said, "or you are part of the problem."
Johan Grimonprez Schattenwelt, based on the book by Andrew FeinsteinThe Shadow World: Insights into the Global Arms Trade, is a suitable documentary counterpart to fictionLord of War; It argues with alarming plausibility that we have privatized the function of war, with the corporations that serve war (Halliburton et al.) in a position to dictate state policy. The interviews are candid and brutally clear. A military analyst explains how taxpayer money finances outrageous projects: “It's an ice cream cone that you lick. Over-promise the technology, under-sell it and give contracts to companies in every state so everyone has an interest.” And so, in the words of investigative journalist Chris Hedges: “If we start the war in Afghanistan losing, that's good for Halliburton. Former Representative Cynthia McKinney says she received death threats for simply raising the issue.
Schattenweltis targeting drones, for which the Obama administration signed a $1 billion contract, as the next phase of the military adventure. The implications of the fast-paced program led investigative journalist Sonia Kennebeck to fast-track her ideas for a film about military personnel and veterans. The result is an urgent topicalityNationalvogel, which was executive produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris and will be released in theaters before airingindependent lens. The film shows the US drone program from the inside - the people who must identify the targets and follow the destruction that falls to the ground. "I was interested in guns and veteran suicide," Kennebeck said in an interview withDocumentaryafter airing "and these themes came together in the drone program". With an intimacy that speaks both of good journalism and great mutual trust, the filmmaker portrays two groups of victims: those on the ground, often misidentified by local commanders at the trigger, and those on distant tables and consoles. spreading on a monitor.
Heather, one of the film's characters, operated the drones remotely; Although she had severe mental damage and suicidal thoughts, she was never treated by the military. She has been struggling to get it from the VA ever since. Lisa, another test subject, does logistics for drones and has lost her ability to believe that the program will help fight terrorism. She returns to Afghanistan to apologize to people whose families were destroyed by drone strikes. "They apologize and then bomb a wedding. Please stop it!" says an Afghan. Daniel, who was also involved in the drone program, spoke about the dangers of the program, being careful not to stumble over classified information. "Drone strikes don't save lives," he says. They wreak havoc because "anyone over the age of 16 is a legitimate military target". The FBI then launched a spying investigation after warnings to remain silent did not work.
Kennebeck said the hardest part of the film was the original research. Indeed, Tribeca journalistic documents were generally informed by thorough research, sometimes through collaboration with journalists and lawyers. As your subjects and as described in the studyDangerous Documentaries, these decision makers run the risk of talking about issues that deserve sustained attention from policymakers and citizens who urge them to pay attention. They go beyond the poignant and individual and ask questions about how we got here now and how we got out. They consciously treat viewers as citizens who not only need to know about these issues, but also need to engage them in conversations with each other and their policymakers. In doing so, they claim unmistakable and crucial importance for the media ecology of journalistic documentation.
Patricia Aufderheide is a professor at the American University School of Communication and the author of, among others,Documentary: A brief introductionand with Peter Jaszi,Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Rebalance Copyright.