Friday, September 30, 2005

Jehovahs in Vancouver

The Jehovah's Witnesses are even nicer in Vancouver. A very affable old gentlemen with a Canadian accent offered me a copy of Awake!, an official printed organ of their organization, on my stroll to get some coffee (sadly, all that was close was Starbucks, fortunately, the festival provided gift cards for all our coffee needs). Inside this magazine was articles about journalism, the media and wars in general. It didn't outwardly attack the current state of the media and it didn't exactly attack the war either. What it was though, was a simply-written, but thought provoking and scathing critique of the media over the years and warns the faithful about what they should beleive in the papers.

One good quote from the magazine was this:

"Foolish is the man who never reads a newspaper; even more foolish is the man who believes what he reads just because it is in the newspaper" -- August Von Schlozer, German Historian and journalist of the late 18th century

Another good one:

"When war is declared, Truth is the first casualty." Arthur Ponsonby, English statesman of the 20th century

So. There you go.

And here's another one of those paintings of the coming apocolypse:

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Check out this guy getting his ass punched in the face by a kangaroo!

While Steve and Bryan point, wink and sip complementary coctails in Vancouver, I remain in the UC, where fueled mostly by bread, cheese and coffee I attempt to bullshit my way through this Blog thingy that Bryan has taken such a shining to.

In the coming days I will strive in earnest to provide you all with the same thought provoking and intellectually stimulating analyses of current events that you have come to expect from the highly experienced crew here at Minority Films. It is a great responsibility that I have been entrusted with and one that I accept with the utmost humility and seriousness...

Forget it, I'm going to bed.

Good luck in Vancouver.

Vancouver Success

Wow. We're in Vancouver now in the hotel. We almost didn't make our flight. It's pouring rain.

Anyhow, we just got back from the first screening and it was SOLD OUT! We had an amazing Q & A and people seemed to love the film almost as much as they loved their complimentary Kay Anderson pins.

We had some really lively discussions with some very lively people in the hallway as well. I'm so looking forward to the next screening and the signing now.

Oh, yeah... Elias... update the blog...
Well, Steve is on his way to pick me up and we're heading to the airport. Blogging will probably be sketchy until Tuesday unless I can convince Elias to post on a daily basis.

Which would be great. Despite his punctuation, he's quite humerous and enlightening.

Hope to see some people that read this in Vancouver.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Vancouver Signing Event

I've organized a signing for those of you who will be attending the Vancouver Film Festival. It will be at the HMV store that is .9 KM away from the Granville 7 where we're screening the film at the festival. It will be October 2nd at 9:00 pm.

Steve and I will be in attendance and it will kick ass, I suppose.

Movie Nerdery

I just wanted to post links to two stories on AICN that I found to be great news.

William Goldman rewriting the Monkey Wrench Gang. William Goldman + George Hayduke = Dynamite. One of my favorite screenwriters tackling one of my favorite books is a dream come true.

Pictures of Deleted Scenes from the Revenge of the Sith DVD.
I don't have to tell anyone how much I care about this. They should know already that it's alot.

Good times.

Pictures from DVD Release Party

Here are some shots from the DVD release party at the Urban Lounge in SLC on Sept 26th.

Elias, Michelle, Steve, Kristi, Bryan of Minority Films

Co-Producer Phil and Steve (doing a Richard Metzger)

The Utah County Swillers.

The Horns set up.

The Vile Blue Shades.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Today has been understandably busy on a number of fronts. First of all the DVD came out nationwide today. As I write this, in our first day there, This Divided State is the 5th bestselling Documentary on for the day.

This afternoon, we also had our signing at UVSC which generated more interest on campus than we could have imagined. A number of teachers informed us that they would be using the film as a classroom tool, so that's quite encouraging. We were also drawn into a couple of lively, but always civil, debates with good-natured students and faculty. (Actually, all of the posters we were selling of Kay Anderson sold fast as well as the buttons of his face. People on campus seemed to really get a kick out of seeing him again.)

Additionally, we've added another signing to the schedule. We'll be signing at Media Play in Orem on October 7th at 7:00 pm.

Jesus' General and Crooks and Liars were also gracious enough to post a clip of the film on their sites, encouraging people to get the film. I can't tell you guys enough how much I like these blogs. I check them at least twice a day. (Same with Leftwich, although Neal isn't as frequent a poster.)

I would also like to add, to any new readers out there, that we are excited about the attention the film has been getting and we hope that you keep reading the blog. We plan on continuing on with the blog to help disseminate ideas about important issues and be able to communicate with people interested in the film.

So, if you're new here, stick around for a while and we hope you come back.

The Release Party

I want to thank everyone who came to the party last night. It was a blast and we had a lot of fun.

For those of you who missed the party and still want to chat with us, we will be signing tomorrow night at the SLC Borders at Crossroads Mall.

That starts at 7pm and the Utah County Swillers will be doing a special live acoustic show.

So be there.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Free Marketeers

Pete Ashdown, the man that will (hopefully) unseat Orrin Hatch, has a lot of great journal entries and position papers on his website. One that was posted about a week ago really caught my eye. You can read it here. It's as good an indictment of the "Free" Market as anyone has written.

I think that guys who believe the free market will solve all of our problems (John Stossel and his ilk) don't have a realistic view of the world. Look at FDR's regulations on Utilitiy Companies. They had price caps and weren't allowed to contribute to political campaigns. From the time of the Great Depression until the time Dubya lifted all of those regulations, the Utility company was still evil, but was significantly less effective at changing pubilc policy or price-gouging. Enter Enron and all the other buddies of Bush, The Free Marketeers, and you get prices rising up 1000% in a day and the poor getting thier heat turned off. The Free Market really worked on that one.

And look at the one industry that has had a 100% deregulated free market forever: Trial Lawyers. Not a person of any political stripe will tell you that they aren't running amok.

I just think it's time we put the Free Market Capitalism to sleep like the rabid dog it is, once and for all.

DVD Release Party

I hope that everyone is coming to the release party tonight. Just for your info:

Urban Lounge in SLC
10:00 pm
$5 at the door, discounted copies of the film available inside.

I expect to see all of you there. All of you that can be there, anyway.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Daily Herald spread

Well, here is a nice 2 page article about what exactly we've been doing for the last year.

It also reveals a bit about what we're jumping into next. I think it gives a nice sense of how things have been going in the last year as well.

Hope you guys enjoy it, and feel free to pick up a copy, it's even better with pictures.

I'll see if I can find the picture from the article online somewhere and post it here if I can.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Interview with Chavez

I think everyone should read this. This is an interview the Washington Post did with Hugo Chavez.

Whether you agree with him or not, these are the opinions of a majority of world leaders. I happen to agree with him.

I think one thing about this interview that might surprise people is how well-spoken and rational Chavez is. He says something in his interview that really smacks of the message we've been carrying with This Divided State as well:

"I could deal with President Bush. I would like very much to be able to debate issues with him. I would like to transform this confrontation, this aggressive rhetoric, into a mature, serious debate on common issues. With President Clinton, we were able to sit and talk. But with this administration, it is impossible to talk because they want to impose things on you. If Mr. Bush changes his procedures and approaches, it would be excellent to talk and discuss current issues." --Hugo Chavez

Instead of trying to impose our ideals on Chavez, why don't we just talk to him and learn how to co-exist?

Is that too much to ask? Apparently, for this administration it is.

Friday, September 23, 2005

W's House of Cards

Even the Saudi's, the country most responsible for 9/11 and good friends of the Bush Regime, are aware of the imminent all-out war coming to Iraq.

In this article in the New York Times,
Prince Saud Al-Faisal paints a bleak picture of the quagmire in Iraq. I really want to help shine a light on this because people have been very distracted by Katrina and Rita. It's a stark contrast to the pretty picture the Bush regime keeps painting for us and it needs attention paid to it.

With Iraq getting more and more dangerous and the cost rebuilding the gulf coast mounting, Bush's solution to all of his problems are to throw more money at them. Sadly, because Republican's refuse to increase taxes like sensible human beings, it looks as though we're going to be forced to deeply cut spending in vital social programs and safety nets in order to pay for the war and the reconstruction.

This is insane. Raise taxes on the rich. Increase the estate tax. Tax the stock market. If we raise the minimum wage, then payroll taxes will increase (an added benefit to this would be that more money would be going into Social Security coffers). Eliminate corporate welfare benefits.
There is nothing wrong with taxing people that can afford it to pay for things that benefit society, such as Social Security, Health Care and Education.

I think when people realize what is actually going on, George's House of Cards is going to come tumbling down. Sadly though, I don't think people are smart enough or care enough to realize it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Utah tourism falling sharply

I wonder if the tourism industry here in Utah could sue us for things like this review in Detroit's weekly.

At the end of the review, the reviewer insists that liberals should not even visit Utah. It's a favorable review anyway, I'm just wondering how this national spotlight on the film will affect Utah's image. I don't care that it does affect anything, I'm just curious about what those effects might be.

Copyright Infringement?

I don't understand this.

Why can't authors embrace the free flow of ideas? Why can't people look at the internet as a giant digital library? I don't get it.

I mean, I will probably not read a book online. I hate reading online period, I much prefer cracking open a book, but if I need some reference material, instead of heading out to the library why can't I just find it on the internet? I don't understand what is the matter with this. I just don't think this is going to kill the print format or keep food out of these people's mouths. If nothing else, I think it would help spread their ideas. Isn't that what writing is all about? Telling people stories and disseminating information? Why can't Google help facilitate that?

Does anyone have a counterpoint to this? I'd like to debate this a little bit, because I honestly don't know...

Busy Week

I also wanted to let you guys know that we are, obviously, really busy getting ready for the DVD this week. So if we aren't posting as regularly this week, it's just because we're busy.

Daily Herald

I just wanted to give everyone a tentative heads up. The Daily Herald is doing a feature on Minority Films and the DVD on Sunday. Obviously, we'll post the link here, but I just wanted to let everyone know in case they wanted to pick up an actual copy. We had a photo shoot this morning for the spread.

We also got our shipment of the DVD last night and I have to say, I'm really impressed. They look really good and even after watching the bonus features a dozen times in the past, I was still entertained by them. So, I think that's a good sign.

I don't want to speak for anyone else but I , for one, am really excited for the Party and the signing events, but more than that I'm really excited about being done with This Divided State so we can move on to our next projects...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Friends Forever

This was drawn by a friend and I think it serves for a good chuckle.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Rights of Minorities

I read something somewhere that a former Canadian Prime Minister said and I can't find it anywhere, but I want to share the gist of it.

He said that you should never put the rights of minorities to a vote. Of course the minority is going to lose, they're the minority.

I haven't phrased it as elequently as I remember reading it, but you get the point. I think whoever did say it was right.

Reality Check

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It's always a good thing when an official, well-reasearched report comes out and supports everything you've been bombastically claiming as 'probably' the truth. But it certainly feels good.

A study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies confirms that the US-led invasion of Iraq radicalized otherwise non-threatening foreign Arab elements and increased al Qaeda's recruitment pool. It also shoots down the ideas the Bush Administration has tried to pass off as fact that the majority of insurgents are foreign agents. According to this report, only about 10% of the robust Iraqi insurgency consists of non-Iraqis. The report also puts on the record that they beleive the number is actually more like 5%.

So, not only is the insurgency mostly Iraqi's trying to take back their country from a foreign occupying force, al Qaeda has been able to benefit from our presence there.

This is what I've been preaching for a long time. No one seemed to beleive me and I bet a lot of neo-cons who support the war will merely put on their blinders when confronted with these revelations.

It's sad.

I really don't see the benefit of what we're doing out there. The democracy excuse is a sham. The draft Constitution maintains infringements on the rights of women and is being written by a non-secular, thin majority who insist on marginalizing the minority. Add into that our destabilization and fascist occupation of the region and it seems to me as though you have the makings of a civil war.

We've headed in the wrong direction. We need to correct our course and we need a new batch of leaders to do it. How is that possible? I don't know. Kurt Vonnegut said that Nixon proved the Constitution a defective document insofar as that we can't remove leaders that are criminals and hate our deeply held ideals as easily as we should be able to. He's right. Sadly though, George W. Bush has proved the Constitution is much more defective than previously beleived. We need some type of "nuclear option" for the presidency. Some type of button or fire alarm device that the Senate can pull in order to trigger an instant election. It should only be used in EXTREME circumstances, but I think a second Bush term is beyond extreme circumstance.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Buster Keatons 'The General'

I heard about this on the radio yesterday and I want to go more than almost anything:

KUER FM90 presents a live RadioWest show with Doug Fabrizio and NPR's Bob Mondello. They will be discussing and featuring 1927's silent film, The General. Starring Buster Keaton and Marion Mack. Another special attraction will be Blaine Gail's accompaniment on the "Mighty" Wurlitzer organ. All this will take place at The Capitol Theater on Saturday, September 24th at 7:00 PM. Only 25¢ at the door. Contact Elaine Clark at 581-7781 or

This is the kind of thing people need to do more of. We need more of this kind of culture in our multiplexes.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Movie Blog review

The fine gents over at The Movie Blog posted this audio review of the film. I think this quite encouraging. Even though they felt that there were deficiencies in the filmmaking, they actually talked (in a civil manner) about how they felt about the repression of free speech. I think the fact that people are discussing the issues of the film and the film as an afterthought is great.

Also, they hilariously referred to Kay Anderson as the Lucifer of Utah. Repeatedly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

One Nation, indivisible...

Well, I read about this court ruling and have to say that it was quite encouraging.

A lot of you are rolling your eyes and shaking your fist at me, screaming, "You atheist bastard!"

Allow me to explain. First of all, I think the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is foolish and stupid. And it's not because I think the government should be "anti-God." I don't think the government should be "pro-God" either. I think it's the governments job to remain firmly "non-God."

So, taking "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance is a good step in the right direction. I think the next step is getting the kids to stop saying it all together. I think it is mindless poppycock.

A lot of you are rolling your eyes and shaking your fist at me, screaming, "You unpatriotic bastard!"

Allow me to explain. How does this help our children? How does this teach them anything? I think the greatest symbol of this country is not our flag, but our freedom. Why don't we have the kids get up every week and explain why freedom is great? Or have them give weekly oral reports about the founding fathers and presidents and such? I think that sort of thing would promote much better citizenship and patriotism than saluting a God-damned flag and chanting a little chant. Having them learn about their country and why it's great is a lot better than forcing them to pay lip-service to a flag that's just a bunch of dyed cloth. And it's even worse now-a-days, now that the conservative right has turned it into such a pro-war symbol.

Anyhow, we need to quit it with the repetitive brain-washing of our children and raise them to understand what makes this country great.

And it's not a flag.

And it's not tangible. Certainly nothing you could make a speedo out of.

The Biggest Tool

I feel like the biggest tool. I found out in the last ten minutes that not only was my favorite author on my favorite show the one night I didn't watch it, but that he's published a brand new book I've not heard a word about.

It's a little embarrasing to me.

So, for those that didn't know, that care as much as I do: Kurt Vonnegut wrote a new book out now called "Man Without a Country."

How could I have missed this?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Good Movies

You know, I'm fortunate enough to have a DVD player on my workstation and while I've been coordinating screenings and press for the film I've been watching some damn good movies lately. I just wanted to remind you guys that if you haven't seen these movies recently, give them another look, they are great:

1) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid -- Every bit of praise heaped onto this movie is well deserved. This film is what I would consider perfect screenwriting (for this type of film anyway) and this is Redford and Newman and Hill and Goldman each at the top of their respective games.

2) The Godfather -- Brando, Pacine, Cazale, Caan, Coppola. 'Nuff said. (Let's not forget Abe Vigoda either, or the guy who played Clemenza, or the guy who played Luca Brazzi.)

3) Seven Samurai -- Even subtitled this movie will give you chills. Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura should be regarded as two of the best actors who have ever lived. (Drunken Angel and Stray Dog are completely amazing as well.)

4) E.T. -- I can't even explain how great this movie is. It helped define my childhood.

5 & 6) American Graffitti and THX-1138 -- For any of you who don't think George Lucas knows what he's doing need to watch these two movies. Very quickly you will realize that he is better than you. But these movies make you realize how deliberate of a filmmaker he is, he's almost as deliberate as Kurosawa, every frame is constructed exactly how he wants it. So, for those of you who think he's lost it, watch these two and then rewatch all 6 Star Wars pictures and you'll realize everything is on purpose. Like Qui-Gon said, "Nothing happens by accident."

So, check these movies out again.

Another Review

Here's the review from the Real Detroit Weekly.

Four stars. Woo-hoo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Another UK screening

This screening, in Sheffield, is part of the Media Lounge Fourplay festival.

Here's the info:

Monday 24th October
The Lescar Hotel, Sharrowvale Road, Sheffield UK

So, we hope a lot of you can make it.

"I take responsibility."

It's about time and I applaud him for it.

But when do we get anything other than this for Iraq and the economy?

New Press Release

I just thought I'd post the press release with the official announcement of the Vancouver festival and the schedule for the stuff we're doing for the release. On top of the events mentioned below, we'll also be doing a signing at the UVSC bookstore on the 27th from 12-2.

Word up.

Contact: Bryan Young
(801) 427-3638

Provo, UT – Minority Films is proud to announce this week the inclusion of "This Divided State" in the 24th annual Vancouver International Film Festival. The award-winning documentary, which centers around the controversy that ensued after a
small college in the center of the most conservative state in the nation invited liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to speak on campus two weeks before the 2004 presidential election, has also been slated for a September 27th national DVD release date. The special edition disc includes two hours of bonus material, filmmakers commentaries and several deleted scenes.
To promote the DVD, Minority Films will be holding a release party September 26th at the Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City. It starts at 10:00pm, discounted copies of the film will be availiable and there will be live music. There will also be a signing with the filmmakers at Borders Books on Main Street in Downtown SLC on September 28th at 7:00pm.
This Divided State gained national notoriety after Campus Progress, an offshoot of the Washington, D.C. based Center for American Progress, sponsored a coast to coast college tour which garnered attention from such respected media outlets as The Washington Post and National Public Radio. Right on the heels of its whirlwind tour, the film was programmed at the 2005 Santa Cruz Film Festival, where it walked away with the Audience Award for Best Documentary. This Divided State has been hailed by audiences on both sides of the political spectrum as a successfully balanced documentary on the hot-button subject of the cultural divide in the nation. One reviewer from the went so far as to say that This Divided State was "…more important than anything Michael Moore has made to date."

People who wish to see the movie in their local theatres are encouraged to visit the films official website
( to check a list of theatres playing the film as well as stores that will be carrying the DVD.

# # #

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Oh. My. God.

This is scary.

This is very scary. I don't want to see anyone, especially the Bush Administration, be able to use Nuclear Weapons in a first strike capability. By the looks of this article, it seems as though the Bush regime would have been able to detonate nuclear weapons on Iraq based on one of the early, false rationales for war. We went in and didn't find any imminent threat, but if this had been enacted, all we'd have found was fallout.

These are dangerous times ahead. I truly believe this could start an all new arms race, especially among smaller countries that believe they could be future US targets.

mushroom cloud produced by bomb

It seems to me as though advanced nuclear strikes is just as much a terrorist act as 9/11 was.

Sidney Lumet

Okay, I lied. I said I was going to talk about how great THX-1138 is. Well, I'm just going to implore you to watch it and realize it for yourself, instead I'm going to talk a little about Sidney Lumet.

Sidney Lumet directed two of the greatest movies ever made back to back. And this was after he'd already made one of the best movies ever two years before. Serpico, in 1973, then Dog Day Afternoon in '75 and Network in '76.
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I mainly want to talk about Network because, of the three, it's my favorite. I try, never with good results, to get everyone that I can to watch this picture. It speaks so much to what is happening in the media now: The handing over of news departments to programming and entertainment departments.

A line Robert Duvall has in the movie explains it all: "We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get."

Sadly, all of the networks nowadays have turned into whorehouse networks. Howard Beale's rants about turning the television off and living life are amazing and the UBS executives keep him on, despite his anti-UBS rantings, because people watch it en masse. It reminds me a lot of Disney giving Michael Moore money for a movie, or a capitalist book publisher publishing the Communist Manifesto, or if Morgan Spurlocks next movie was funded by McDonalds. It doesn't make sense, but if they can turn a buck, they'll do it.

The entire entertainment industry (with very few notable exceptions) is a whorehouse.

But let's not forget the acting in this movie. William Holden. Peter Finch. Faye Dunnaway. Robert Duvall. Ned Beatty. (how did Ned Beatty slip in there?) They all do the best work of their lives in this picture. The dialogue is so terse and lengthy and all of these actors turn it into poetry. And Lumet crafts a story out of Chayefskys screenplay that almost makes me weep it's so good. And I can't even begin to explain how bizarre but perfect the structure of this screenplay is, what with the narrator and such. It just works to no end.

Long story short, this movie still holds up as riveting and appropriate social commentary and deserves another look from all of you. I'd highly recommend it.

Even more reviews

This capsule comes for the Times-news Online, serving Twin Falls, Idaho.

This one comes from a website called Variagate.

This one from The Onion is OK.

This one comes from Hollywood-Elsewhere. The review is a bit down the page.

Here's a capsule review from a weekly in Portland.

So. There's some reading material for the moment.

I might post about how great a movie THX-1138 is later, but it seems as though my film posts are cared about less and less each time I post one.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


I want to apologize for the lack of updates on the page lately. I've been working like a dog in half a dozen different areas and the same goes for Steve and Elias as well.

We're gearing up for the DVD Release and the Vancouver Film Festival and the rest of our theatrical run. We're also trying to firm up our next projects and maintain our meager existences. It's no easy feat, let me assure you.

So, I shall try to do some more posting, if anyone seems to care.

Before I go, I want to leave everyone with a mantra that every President, Democrat or Republican, or preferably something else, should be held to: "The Buck Stops Here."

Harry S. Truman said that. We need more leaders with that kind of spirit. Someone who says: "Regardless of whose fault this is, we all failed and I, myself, failed more than anyone. I'm sorry and we'll try to do better."

Instead, we have leaders who want no transparency or accountability. Leaders, regardless of political stripe, should be held accountable for their actions, or inaction. We also need to remove the idea of party line voting. It sickens me that people will vote for a candidate based soley on his party affiliation and then stand by them blindly when they send everything to hell in a handbasket.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Ratner's X-Men 3

I have a sneaking suspicion that Brett Ratners X-Men 3 is going to be to Singer's 1 and 2 what Schumachers Batman Forever was to Burtons 1 and 2. I don't want to think that, but everything I've read about it fills me with utter despair.

That was, until I read this: No Gambit for X-Men 3.

To be honest, this filled my heart with joy. I think Gambit is one of the most ridiculous characters in the Marvel Universe (which is peopled almost exclusively with ridiculous characters (Bucky, anyone?)). The only thing more preposterous than Gambit, is Gambit's costume. I mean... Look at it:

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Anyhow, the fact that he's not in the movie brings warm feelings to my heart. Although every female X-men fan in the world is now shaking their head in dissapointment, I still stand by that.

Even More reviews

Marc Mohan for the Oregonian.

Buzzflash. (this is actually their giant headline on the top of the page)

I'll post more as I find them.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

More Reviews

Roger Moore from the Orlando Sentinel.

Erik Henriksen from the Portland Mercury.

Steve Schneider of the Orlando Weekly.

I can't believe I'm still here posting this crap on my 4th wedding anniversary. I must really beleive in this project or something...

The Spectre of Marxism

Karl Marx at 64 years old.  Click on image for full screen picture.
I did a job substitute teaching for a US Government class for two periods. It's sad, first off, that the standard of pay for substitute teachers is so low that the quality of substitute is (mostly) equally low. I think despite the insulting pay, I'm a good sub. I only sign up for classes that I know something about. This is not the case for many of them. But the general quality and knowledge base of substitutes is, on average, so low that teachers are unable to keep their regularly planned lessons. They are forced to show the kids outdated videos, combining the efforts of a substitute teacher and the television into a sort of over-glorified babysitter.

Sadly, today I was forced to show students a horribly outdated anti-marxist propaganda video. (I imagine the outdated nature of the bad documentaries I've been forced to show is due in large part to budget cuts.)

The video today was called "Karl Marx: The Spectre of Marxism." The premise of the documentary was solid but its execution was pure propaganda. I would actually appreciate a documentary that explores the influence that Marx's writings and ideas have had on the world. I would like see its failures and successes. This documentary, shown to these kids as gospel truth, only focus' on the failings of Stalinist (and to a lesser extent Leninist) Communism. It glossed over the military annhialation of communes in that era that were working and it constantly compared the failings of dictatorial Communism and Marxist theory to unrelated and wholly imagined successes of Capitalism. It also contained numerous errors that anyone even mildly familiar with NMarx's writings would know to be patently false. But how familiar are 16 and 17 year old kids with Marx? Not very. In fact, I would guess this video is their first exposure to Marx and, sadly, close to the last.

One of my favourite errors: "Marx was an enemy of democracy." Hogwash. Marx wrote that democracies were perfect staging grounds for the bloodless revolutions and socialist programs for the proletariat. He also admired the ideals of democracy as far as I could tell.

Another more subtle form of propaganda I found particularly distasteful was the ridiculous use of images to sell points. In one scene, the narrator oversimplifies the process of Capitalism over the backdrop of a green felt card table. With each step the narrator outlines, an unseen dealer would deal a card with a simple drawing illustrating the narrators point. When the narrator has finished his points on Capitalism and the dealer plays the last card, a pot of hundreds of poker chips is swept into the Capitalist players purview, somehow signifying that Capitalism was the "winning hand" without saying so out loud.

On top of numerous things like this, the video was 20-25 years old and clearly had a sort of... Communist Homophobia... If that makes sense. It doesn't have an objective compare/contraast of Marxist Philosophy compared to Capitalist Philosophy. It's steeped in illogical, irrational, cold-war warrior mentality.

It just seems disgusting what gets passed off as fact to kids who don't know better. One comment made I did find myself agreeing with was basically this: "Stalinist Communism was a deformed model of Marxism, as Fascism was a deformed model of Capitalism." I would take that one step by saying that Free Market Capitalism is just as deformed, misguided and evil model of Capitalism as Fascism.

At the end of the day, I hope beyond hope that these kids are taught a more balanced view of Marxism or have the good sense to research it themselves. But the way kids seem to be nowadays, I would doubt any self-learning is going to happen except in rare, exceptional cases.

That makes me sad.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

New Screenings!

We are happy to announce another screening engagement! We will be playing at the Lark Theater in Larkspur, California starting the 16th of the September.

We'll also be opening at the Roseville Theatre in Roseville, Michigan on the 14th instead of the 21st now.

So, we hope everyone can get out there to see the film.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Dirty Politics

This is the sort of thing that frustrates the hell out of me. Granted, this situation has been politicized by some, but at the end of the day, George Bush is responsible for the federal response in this country. This was a national distaster and we saw it coming days before on the news. Every American knew it was going to be a problem. According to this article (and I'm glad to see the administrations politicizing of things as horrible as Katrina is in the mainstream media for once) the Bush Administration, with Karl Rove once again at the helm, is orchestrating a plan to prevent more political backlash from Bush's lack of response to Katrina in which they place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the local elected officials. I dare them to blame all of this on a guy like Ray Nagin. (Remember how the levees went because the money for fixing them went to Bush's tax cut and the goddamned war? Sounds like Bush's fault to me)

Instead of acting like a leader and calling these local officials and finding out if they expected problems, Bush continued to golf and fish on vacation. The Hurricane hit and Bush was still on vacation. I hope someone like Michael Moore can cobble footage together in real time, split screen: Bush on the left fishing and people dying in the Hurricane on the right. That would be something.

Instead of taking the blame for an utterly irresponsible response, the Bush administration wants to gloss it over. In spectacular Orwellian fashion, they want to change history. They want people to believe that they are not responsible for a single death. Instead of focusing more attention on trying to save more lives and fix the problems that caused this political fallout in the first place, they're more focused on how to spin it to cause them the least amount of damage.

And the reason there's all of this political fallout? Because all of Bush's advisors were on vacation as well. So Bush bungles a situation because he's on his own? This is the man in charge of the free world? Jesus Christ.

I'm so pissed off about this I'm not even sure if this post makes sense. I apologize if it doesn't.

The wrong place at the wrong time

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George Bush has taken time out of his busy schedule to make the announcement that John Roberts will not be nominated as an associate Justice, but he will be nominated as Chief Justice.

Now, I know that the government needs to continue working in the face of a disaster, and although I don't like Roberts, I won't argue with the re-nomination. What I will argue with is the fact that Bush seems to have the time to make the announcement and from the Oval Office.

Why couldn't he have made the announcement in New Orleans, where he was personally helping with the relief effort? I mean honestly, his numbers are slipping as fast as Louisianans are drowning. Wouldn't his handlers want him in more casual clothing operating a relief command center in New Orleans or surrounding areas? Why isn't he part of the solution? It seems as though he showed up, took some pictures and left. And while people are still dying, he's all smiles and back to business as usual. He should be personally sandbagging levees. He should be directing National Guardsmen in the effort to save people. Hell, if Geraldo can help same some lives, why can't Bush?
I just don't understand all of the public relations missteps the administration has been taking. It seems as though ever since the "Plame-gate" scandal (yeah, remember that treasonous business?) the administration has lost even more vital IQ points in the PR department (among other departments).

We need to start holding these clowns responsible for their irresponsibility. It just doesn't seem as though Bush is in step with the country. While we were glued to the news as Katrina hit, Bush was fishing and golfing. These clowns need to go. At this point I don't care what party a new president is from as long as he's not of the same ilk as Bush and Cheney. (Where is Cheney in all of this anyway? Why isn't he sandbagging levees either?)

I think if Jimmy Carter were President he'd be out there in work clothes bilging water out of New Orleans with a rusty bucket all by himself if he had to. And I think Reagan would have had at least a quick and decisive reponse. And Bush Sr. may have too. Clinton definitely would have handled this with more care and dignity, he may have even cried on television about it. But all we get out of W. is mishandling and no empathy whatsoever.

Screening in the UK

We've organized another screening, this time in Bristol, UK. We will be showing This Divided State at the Cube Cinema on October 25th at 8pm. For those of you unable to have crossed the Atlantic to come see the film, or those of you not fortunate to have region 1 DVD players, this might be your first chance to see the film.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rehnquist has passed away

It all starts over again.

Bush is not in a good way, the next three years look to be a hell of an uphill battle. Let's hope he can pick a candidate less controversial and less crazy than Roberts.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This article backs up was Steve was saying below.

Hurricane Zombie and "Hey, Let's Blame the Victims"

So, let me write some thoughts about the Post-Apocalyptic situation in New Orleans. First, let me tell you about a couple of emails I got from my dad. He, in essence, said that anyone called "a survivor" of the hurricane is an idiot because they shouldn't have been there in the first place...or they should have left far before the hurricane hit. He told me that he has practiced the Boy Scout motto of "be prepared" and has purchased 2 weeks of food storage, emergency supplies, life jackets, and I would assume gas masks and duck tape to prepare for any disaster. He gives an example that when Hurricane Isabel hit his home state of Delaware, he had already rented a U-Haul truck 5 days earlier and packed it with belongings. He was ready to go at a moments notice. Anybody who would stay behind is a moron. And he's not alone, the director of FEMA this week stated, "I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know..." And, you know, he's right. What the hell were those thousands of people thinking?

I'll tell you what they were thinking... they were thinking "How the fuck can I get my entire family out of this city when I can barely afford to pay the electric bill and feed my kids?" I can't pay for 1 meal a day, so how can I stock up with an emergency food supply. I can't afford the current gas prices, so how can I afford to rent a U-Haul truck? That's no excuse, welfare mom. And you know how you ride a bus to work every morning because you can't afford a car? Well, fuck you, you lazy piece of poor trash. And fuck your hungry kids, too. Thanks, Dad. Thanks, FEMA guy.

So to sum up my rantings... anyone who is AMAZED that people in New Orleans would actually stay behind and face the storm full on, forgets the fact that poor people don't have MONEY. Yes, money is that thing that YOU have, FEMA guy, which is why you can afford to talk out of your ass. Money is something THEY don't have. And now, they have even less.

Gingrich on Katrina

"I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?"

--former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

'Nuff said.

Official Selection: Vancouver International Film Festival

Well, we've been invited to compete in the 24th Vancouver International Film Festival. We're trying to see if we can scrape some money together and make it up there. That would be great because this festival is such a big deal.

That would be good times.

UPDATE: They will be making their official announcement about the selected films on September 10th. I'm sure there will be more information about it then.

Review of Missy

Well, it's been slow in the news for much of anything beyond the horrible tragedy that is unfolding still in our Gulf states. I don't feel like I have anything to say that hasn't been said already, but suffice to say both the situation and the federal response to it sadden me.

So. I thought I'd post something a bit light hearted. This is a review of a movie that Elias and I made right out of High School.

It's probably not that good. The movie, I mean. The review is good. The reviewer seemed to like it quite a bit.

So, for those of you who don't know: Elias and I decided not to go to film school. We decided to make a movie instead. So we came up with a bad script (don't all first movies start with that?) and built a two-room, two-hallway spaceship interior in my mother's backyard to shoot it in. It sort of worked. Parts of the movie make me throw up in my mouth a little when I see them, but it has a redeeming quality or two. It didn't need to be a good movie. It just needed to be film school for us. And it was, for better or for worse.

You can find the trailer HERE. (Thanks to Saturday Shorts for hosting it)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Democracy and Diversity Symposium

Steve spoke at this symposium about Democracy and Diversity. He has quite the lively report from it. I'll let him give it. I just want to post the article in the paper about it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Pirate Club Graphic Novel

The first volume of Pirate Club is now available on Amazon. Elias and I help Derek polish the scripts on this piratey adventure.

This volume collects the first five issues. I urge you all to pick up a copy.

Dead End Job

It's amazing the depths you'll sink to in order to stay afloat while you work your way into film.

I've picked up another job. On top of my substitute teaching, I'll once again be doing projection for a local discount theatre.

It's kind of like working in film...

Activists in the FDA?

I read this article about the Plan B pill controversy and I still don't quite understand why there's a controversy. Why is Birth Control objectionable? If science says it's safe to sell over the counter why can't we sell it over the counter? If science says that it will not harm teenage users, why not let them buy it too? We sell them gallons and gallons of Pepsi, which is probably a lot more harmful to their bodies than Birth Control. I agree, teenagers shouldn't be having promiscuous sex. But they do. We should teach them about sex better in school and we should let all these options on the table, including the Plan B pill.

But, in this letter from a couple of US Senators to Mike Leavitt, former activist Governer of Utah and current Secretary of Health and Human Services, the debate is spelled out clearly:

"Day by day, the public's confidence in the FDA's ability to make decisions based on scientific evidence of safety and efficacy is eroding," the senators wrote. "We urge you to allow science, not politics, to guide this agency and we insist that a decision be brought swiftly on Plan B's application."

Why should politics be brought into this debate when the scientific community has deemed it irrelevant? Why do we let these people advocate their morals? Is this any worse than the "actvist judges" the right wing blows so hard about?

It just seems as though the religious right is all about "personal freedom" as long as you're doing what they want you to do.