So here we all are again, those of us trying to “make it” in the film industry. Some of us have submitted and made the program line up. The rest of us, not. But the key in all of this is> to move forward, ever forward. In honing your skills, tweaking your attitude (so that you don’t get all upset ‘cuz you didn’t make it in), and continuing to learn and gain those skills the “industry” will respect and possibly then consider your work.
Character is a funny thing. Each generation seems to define it a little differently. For example, if you were to review “industry” films from the 1920′s and 1930′s you would find that there was less fear of including “nudity” than there is now. Somehow the “Moral Majority” (a group of powerful and influential individuals, mostly women, who got together in the 1980′s and got legislation passed), in essence were able to “demonize” certain words referred to as profanity, or nudity, etc. And therefore got our legislators to decide, for example, that being nude is “immoral”, like how the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota WAS until the City of Sturgis enacted laws in and around the early 21st century changing the Sturgis Rally forever.
So although we were all born nude, including Tipper Gore and her friends that were part of this “Moral Majority. “They” these “dictators” who have managed to impose the legal implication(s) that certain language, nudity, etc. is “Immoral” OR “Porn>esque” and all of those contributors and “Enforcers” of said legislation, beg the logical question, “Why”? Isn’t it really more a matter of discretion that should be important here? Or maybe it would be clearer to say that it’s all in one’s mindset. Oops! So that would imply that those involved in imposing these standards written and passed in different pieces of legislation have mindsets that slants or skirts shall we say towards, “the gutter”?
You take video games for example, the Supreme Court recently decided that the video game industry has the Constitutional right to flagrantly throw violence, nudity, questionable language at our youth, are allowed to rate themselves voluntarily. And yet thanks to the, “Moral Majority”, the film industry, television industry, radio, news, etc. have to meet certain “ratings” requirements, or if they happen to want to “VOICE” in an articulate manner a story that is both important and relevant to our times, but contradicts the political environment and wishes of our politicians, or corporate America, suddenly that entity wanting to “VOICE” that story is silenced with let’s say a threat to their FCC license, as some of our television networks have experienced.
Retail outlets like Wal*Mart require music lyrics to be edited to something more “palatable” to the ears and hearts of their customers young or old(er) thereby compromising the Constitutional rights of the music artists who would like to sell to the Wal*Mart customer. But because Wal*Mart a huge giant in the corporate American financial landscape is a private entity somehow corporate America is allowed to infringe and impose their politics, or mindsets on the rest of us and ignore the Constitution within which said corporation resides as a corporate entity in the United States of America. Somehow Wal*Marts corporate rights seem to outweigh federal laws, like the Constitution of the United States. Why is this allowed much less tolerated?
If you watch John Quinones’ show on ABC, “What Would You Do”? [ http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/] a television show that sets people up in situations WITHOUT their knowledge, simply to see what the human reaction(s) will be in response to those situations. Is this immoral, or wrong? I’m asking because “…What If…” someone ended up in the hospital, or worse yet, dies, because of their reaction to the shows “hypothetical” situation(s). Does that mean that ABC is inappropriate or complicit, or legally responsible for creating hypothetical situations that can possibly cause a subsequent problem? Does that make them potentially guilty of “harm” to someone, which in legal terms would imply a type of manslaughter in this situation?
So why were the radio hosts in Australia fired? It is extremely sad that the nurse at Princess Kate’s hospital passed as a result of this event. But sometimes accidents do happen. Most people don’t make school administrators take responsibility for abuse. Look how Penn State is appealing the results of Sandusky’s fall from grace. The blame game is alive and well, but not always right. Sociologists, and other professional types, not just John Quinones, do this type of thing all the time whether in a university lab setting or a scientific, grant-funded venture, etc. with our governments approval, or whatever the organization is. Yet we the people usually know nothing of these experiments. Ever wonder what happened to cloning?
It seems that most cultures be they governments, corporations (lets face it the culture of Microsoft is dramatically different from the world of Disney), religious institutions, etc. require mindsets that meet with their governing mindsets. So when the Republicans strong arm “…We the people” using the fiscal cliff, and the debt ceiling, etc. we are all being hijacked into a “gray zone” that’s going to make our lives far more difficult because “…We the people” do NOT generally have power, influence, and most of all> MONEY to be heard by those that MAKE the laws of our land, yet we supposedly govern our land/country.
So that leads me to a very personal question which is, why is it that… “We The People” are not granted the voice(s) we deserve on matters? Why is our news so filtered that half the time when one station purports one thing, another tells the story quite differently, but both are using the same “facts” from the same news sources? Look at the participants of the “OccupyWallstreet.org” movement, we don’t hear about their efforts as we used to. It’s almost as if they have faded away into the corporate/non-profit dimensional quagmire. Yet there was a time where they were almost respected for their efforts on behalf of the rest of us. There are those that would call me a “screaming” liberal democrat. Does that then mean then that our founding fathers were liberal? Oops, did I just compare myself to our founding fathers, is that sacrilegious because I respect their works so very much? No. Our founding fathers penned works that represent us all. They had lived in England where tyranny had a different name but was enforced with equal harshness just as the Occupy Wallstreeter’s were handcuffed, arrested, and ultimately have all but faded away.
So although none of us has a choice in being born “Naked” the fact that the moral majority implies/states something in Hollywood and the film industry that is showing “skin” or portraying real life situations in their movies’ STORIES is immoral> wrong> will lead the child or youth astray? We as creative professionals need to review, and analyze, and digest the “IMPOSED” ideas of those in positions of power, influence, etc. Why? Because it directly AFFECTS, (yes I AM using the right word here. Although the word, Effects, also has a co-use in my thought here). I, for example, have no problem with art, and art-type projects. I DO however have a problem with people crossing and blurring lines in the arts AND life, wherein for example the corporate entity takes a perfectly innocent piece of art like Eminem and Rhianna’s song “Love The Way You Lie” and CHOSE” to say it was promoting abuse.
I heard these comments all over the radio when the song was first released. Folks it is my best guess that the last thing Rhianna, or Eminem, is going to do is promote something so awful, so evil, as abuse. If anything it was helpful to Rhianna, a cathartic experience if you will, to sing a song that would help her work through this very debilitating effect of someone abusing her when they claimed to “love” her. Back in the 1980′s/1990′s art took a huge turn towards what is known as “Erotica” and basically any and all artists who drew or painted nudes were almost always labeled erotic artists. So does that mean Michelangelo promoted porn? I think not. His art was all about beauty and quality of the highest definition. So I would say absolutely, not. So why are we allowing “OTHERS” to claim our work is something it is not? So why is Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas afraid to show their scupltures as they once were in the early 1990′s before they bowed to pressure’s that they were indecent, so Caesar’s Palace covered them up with clothing. Why don’t people know the difference between art and porn? How is any of this democratic, or a democratic life that we lead when there are so many that want to maneuver our mindsets to believe they way “THEY” (those with power, influence, and money), believe.
And although I am in no way a proponent of porn I at the same point am a firm believer in our Constitution of the United States of America. I believe that our founding fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote the Constitution. I believe that our government officials, since all of the founding fathers passed on, are trying to convince the rest of us that “…times have changed” so “THEY” attempt to alter our Constitution with various legislation that frequently we know nothing about being passed, much less discussed in Congress. It also would appear that our elected officials DON’T think the rest of us know how to make intelligent decisions for ourselves. So much of what currently exists legally dictating our lives is rooted in the “agenda’s” of our politically elected officials, corporate heads, and religious institutions.
So how does any of this have anything to do with the 2013 Sundance Film Festival you ask? Well it’s simple. Below you will find an excerpt of one of the Sundance Institute’s newsletters and really if you read carefully it’s pretty obvious how one, namely of a political nature, could make the case that hypothetically Sundance is tap-dancing on a dangerous border of “artistic films” potentially being considered “erotica” or (worse yet in the eye of THE Moral Majority) “porn”.
John Cooper and Trevor Groth Dissect the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Program
Posted: 28 Nov 2012 11:00 AM PST
The assignment is unnerving: Shape an unwieldy 12,000 submissions into a svelte program of the world’s finest independent film. That’s the annual conundrum facing the Sundance Film Festival programming team, led by Festival Director John Cooper and Director of Programming Trevor Groth.
In a year when submission numbers reached unprecedented levels—an unremarkable statistic when considering the trend since the Festival’s inception—that selection process only becomes more challenging.
But where Cooper and Groth are content to acknowledge a brimming submissions inbox, they’re exultant when discussing the quality of this year’s films. Perhaps it’s that strict adherence to the ‘quality over quantity’ adage that has these two programmers eager to share this year’s films with the rest of the world. On the heels of their grueling screening and selection process, John Cooper and Trevor Groth sat down to explore the substance of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival program, call out some potential noisemakers, and check on the healthy pulse of the independent film community.
What do this year’s film submissions—more than 12,000 of them—say about the state of independent film?
John Cooper: To me, it says that independent film is thriving. It’s certainly exciting for us to receive 12,000 submissions this year for the first time ever, but more than that, we were really pleased by the overall quality of the films submitted to us. Each year the quality of independent film seems to rise, and we’re chalking that up to this idea of a vital independent film community – directors, producers, DP’s and art directors all continuing to work in independent film throughout their careers and also well-known and really talented actors joining these projects.
We sometimes find thematic strands among the films selected each year. What are some of the notable refrains that you see in the program for 2013?
JC: The films we were drawn to this year have elements of immediacy and fearlessness. They feel particularly compelling and urgent. The filmmakers aren’t afraid to delve into complex and personal issues head on. For example, many of the films explore sexual relationships and the nature of sexuality in our modern society, which can be really complicated and risky for some.
Trevor Groth: For me, I’ve always been surprised about how cautious filmmakers have been about exploring sexuality. Every year it seemed like we would have one or two films that would really get into it, and this year there were many. It’s a complex subject that we haven’t seen a lot of.
So here we have THE premiere film festival in the United States receiving clearly more than one film submission exploring sexuality and sexual relationships, openly in film, in a state no less UTAH, where Mormon-dom thrives and speaks contrarily to the opposite, (one’s sexuality is to be kept quiet and not discussed openly at all). Does that make Mr. Redford and his premiere team at Sundance promoters of porn? Or rather promoters of freedom of speech tastefully presented in a manner we should all at the very least be willing to allow given that our Constitution is a complicated document where you Rush Limbaugh, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, etc. can speak your mind, or you William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, etc., just as I Renn Reed should be able to speak my mind under our Constitution. That’s the beauty of our Constitution, we agree that we will probably disagree. That doesn’t make us a threat, as OccupyWallstreeter’s have ALMOST been labeled when handcuffed and arrested. That simply means that we should be able to voice our opinions, tastefully, without retribution. Ah, IDEALISM… If it were only just so simple.
So I wish the 2013 Sundance Film Festival the best. I hope these ?questionable films, are successful. I would really like to see our country become a land where different points-of-views can be discussed without the fear of reprisals. After all it was our 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt who said:
“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/
How many of you have read the Constitution, the Digital Copyright Media Act, or The Patriot Act? How many of you have heard of the “Moral Majority”? Republicans claim our debts, our financial problems are due to “Democrats” including the implication of FDR when they begin speaking of “Entitlement Programs”. But it is really about mindsets and how our representatives manipulate them. For my money I wish we had an FDR now. Someone who actually cared about “…We the people”. Someone with the wisdom of King Solomon who knows the difference between good legislation for us all, and legislation pushing someone’s agenda with the kahunas to stand up to them.
It is my hope that the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is genuinely a success not in terms of profiting but rather in terms of finally doing that which they had claimed back in 2009 and 2010 when they claimed they were having a “Revolution”. I haven’t seen that “Revolution” as yet even with this year’s logo, an Arrow? which lacks inspiration. The artist paid to create this years logo, an arrow, for such a notable institutions annual premiere event says a lot about the decision makers and apparently how they are allowing themselves to be represented. Is the arrow logo saying, …we don’t know what direction we are heading in? Or, is the arrow logo saying simply, …we’re confused and don’t know which of all the wonderful film submissions we have received, we should pick? What is the arrow saying, alas, I don’t think that even the Sundance decision maker’s know for sure.
We need to get back to basics. We need to be able to speak without fear, but using intelligent restraint when we speak. We are not allowed to speak like those that are well connected, influential, and in positions of power. So are we after all, “…We the people”? It really isn’t surprising that the rebellion Sundance claimed, actually never happened. It was probably more of a marketing gimmick than potential creative reality. Nevertheless how we all move forward is key to helping Sundance wake up and realize that THE Revolution they claimed actually lies with the rest of us. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival will go on. And each day that passes is one day more full of decisions that either move us forward, or we stand still. The question becomes when will they notice us, when will they begin to care about what we have to say.