Friday, February 19, 2010
Is access to clean drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity to be bought and sold like any other article of commerce? This feature is an unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water. This timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water. Using interviews, quirky graphics and honest imagery, Tapped is made someone who really, truly, genuinely cares about this issue.
This fast-paced, well-narrated, and highly educational film looks at the illegal bottling practices of Nestle, cancer-causing factories and the overall state of the country's tap water. Tapped is definitely a flick that will leave viewers dying to learn more.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
2010 FESTIVAL WINNERS
Best Feature: Lixin Fan's Last Train Home
Artistic Vision for Best Feature: Josh Fox's Gasland
Big Sky Award: Joseph Aguirre's Next Year Country
Artistic Vision for Big Sky Award: Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash's Sweetgrass
Best Short Film: Charlene Music's Danza Del Viejo Inmigrante
Artistic Vision for Best Short: Kelly Anderson's Never Enough
Mini-Doc (under 15 minutes) Award: Paramita Nath's Found
Artistic Vision for Mini-Doc: Tony Donoghue's A Film About My Parish-6 Farms
There were also four Programmer’s Choice Awards, awarded by the Big Sky
programming staff. Michael Angus’s Salt and Robert Drew’s The Sun Ship Game both
received awards for Excellence in Cinematography. Rainer Komer’s Milltown, Montana
received an award for Excellence in Editing. And Briar March’s There Once Was An
Island was awarded the Natural Facts Award for its artistic rendering of a vital
environmental issue (climate change) and its effect of human life.
The Best Feature and Big Sky Award films will receive a guaranteed broadcast deal from
Free Speech TV. Both shorts categories will receive a broadcast guarantee and generous
licensing fee from The Documentary Channel.
Several of the award winning films will play again at the Wilma Theatre over the closing
weekend of the festival. The schedule is as follows:
Friday, February 19 at 7:30
Danza Del Viejo Inmigrante
A Film About My Parish – 6 Farms
Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers*
(* Rescreened due to technically difficulties)
Saturday February 20 at 7:30
Next Year Country
Sunday February 21 at 8:00
Last Train Home
This year's jury: Jeanie Finlay, Cliff Froehlich, Tim Huffman, Thomas Phillipson, Doug Pray, Rick Prelinger, Gordon Quinn, Shirley K. Sneve, Richard Saiz
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Don't you wish you were here?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Josh Ligairi of Cleanflix, screening as a U.S. Premiere Tuesday night at 7.45pm, talks with Big Sky Film Fest about his connections to the Mormon culture, his struggle with objectivity and the relationships he fostered with his subjects.
BS: How did you hear about this subject matter of censored videos?
JL: We both lived in Utah when we decided to make the film, and edited movies were kind of in their hayday. You couldn't miss them. Andrew had a lot of experiences with them in college; his roommates watched them all the time. I think seeing Steven Soderbergh's Traffic edited, which is one of his favorite films, was a pretty traumatic experience. I had never actually seen one before we started the film, but it was a subject that interested me a great deal. For me, the most interesting aspect when we began was the notion of self-censorship.
BS: Are you Mormon? Did you grow up around Mormons?
BS: What drove you to make a film about this topic? Was there a personal connection?
First, we understood the mindset of the people who were editing the movies, even though we didn't necessarily agree with their point of view. I think it would be really easy to paint this issue black and white, but I feel like being able to empathize with the culture made for a much stronger, much more nuanced film. For some people that is a problem with the film. They want to feel superior to these people whose actions they disagree with. We didn't want it to be that simple.
The other advantage is that we had access. I think these guys would have been a lot more suspicious of outsiders than they were of us. That familiarity with the culture gave us a lot of freedom and opened up a lot of doors that a complete outsider could have never opened.
Second, the film deals with questions for which there are no easy answers. Should corporations be able to tell us how to use their products if we have purchased them? Is it different if those products are also art? What if censorship comes into play? These are really grey areas that I struggled with for three years while we made the movie and I want the audience to struggle with them, too, because they are not going away once our film is over. As we become immersed in the digital age, people are going to be re-mixing and re-mashing their media in ways that we haven't yet imagined. How will artists respond? How will copyright holders respond? Cleanflix could be seen as a little test case of things to come.
BS: Where is most of the film shot?
BS: What do the subjects think of your film? Have they seen it?
JL: Unfortunately, we haven't yet been able to show the film to many of our subjects. We have contacted Daniel Thompson, who kind of emerges as the main character in the second half of the film about showing it to him. Hopefully that will happen this week. Ray Lines and Allan Erb, the main guys behind CleanFlicks, don't watch R-rated movies, so we plan on getting them a toned-down version as soon as we have time to create it.
BS: Do you feel as if you shot the film objectively?
JL: When telling a story there is no such thing as complete objectivity, but we really made an honest effort to tell it like it was. Which was hard because you start to form relationships with your subjects when you spend two years filming them, you become friends and you feel bad including footage that you know may hurt them, but we always approached Cleanflix with strict journalistic integrity, and I hope they will all appreciate that as much as Robert did.
BS: Did many of your subjects comply immediately or did they resist your interviews?
JL: It was really hard to get some of these interviews and even harder to find out the truth behind what they were telling us. A lot of these guys were operating illegally and we were trying to figure out how the whole operation worked. Sometimes I am a little sad that we present the information so matter-of-factly because, until the film came out, we were literally the only people that knew most of this stuff. In the end, we made the choice to keep ourselves out of the film, and I am glad that we did.
BS: Why documentary?
JL: I love being transported to a part of the world that I have never been to. And I mostly appreciate a filmmaker who is willing to stay back behind the camera and let the subjects speak for themselves. Cleanflix shines a light on a very specific segment of the culture and I think there is a lot to be gleaned from that. The more specific it is, the more universal it becomes.
You can find more information and view the Cleanflix teaser trailer at cleanflixthemovie.com
*images take from cleanflixthemovie.com
Drew, the founder and creator of the modern documentary movement - Cinema Verite, as it became known - began his career in the early 1960s and has since produced and directed films including seminal work such as PRIMARY (1960) CRISIS (1963) and ON THE ROAD WITH DUKE ELLINGTON (1974).
THE SUN SHIP GAME (1969) is about George Moffat and Gleb Derujinsky, master glider pilots in competition for the 1969 U.S. National Soaring Championship in Marfa, Texas. Suppressed for over 40 years due to copyright issues, the presentation of THE SUN SHIP GAME, marks the World Premier public screenings of a lost masterpiece.
Cleanflix directed by Joshua Ligairi and Andrew James Director in attendance
US Premiere and Feature Competition nominee
This film that hits close to home geographically deals with Utah Mormons and their "sanitization" of violence, sex, profanity and nudity in DVD's. Outraged bythe unauthorized editing of their work, prominent filmmakers began to speak out, thrusting the two groups into an intense legal, theoretical, and moral battle that would last six years before coming to a shocking conclusion. CLEANFLIX explores the ethical questions raised by the marketing of morality by taking audiences behind the scenes of the sanitized movie industry and shedding light on the Mormon culture that spawned it.
*Fire in the Garden and *Next Year Country
Big Sky Award Competition nominees and World Premieres
15 minutes and 56 minutes
Directors for both films in attendance
Also relevant to the area is Fire in the Garden, directed by Montana natives who examine thought-provoking questions and issues of the American West. Intelligently shot and narrated, this short (15 minutes) is having its world premiere at Big Sky Film Fest.
Next Year Country (56 minutes) looks at three Montana families who hire a rainmaker to bring water to their drought-stricken farms. As their way of life disappears, they somehow remain optimistic. By way of interviews and beautifully shot landscapes, their heartfelt story is conveyed. Also a world premiere.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Monday: There Once Was an Island, The DOC Challenge, and Gasland
Tuesday: Panorama Ephemera and Cleanflix
Wednesday: Shorts Program "Some Dreamers," Sweetgrass and Pinned
Thursday: Wounded Knee and Art and Copy
Friday: Full Signal and One Fast Move or I'm Gone
Saturday: Smile Till It Hurts, Tapped and Special When Lit
Sunday: Racing Dreams and Severe Clear and the AWARDS SCREENING