Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Mind blown by a wonderful week at the Indianapolis International Film Festival---and more today, July 28, 2012!

   The week has been chaotic, fun, educational, and humbling. I also should say it was "mnd-blowing," but the limit of one gerund to a paragraph already has been reached.

   I had "pre-conceived notions" about what we would encounter at the Indianapolis International Film Festival. I worked in and around theater in college and for a short time after. There were great people in that world. However, there are only so many times one could bear to hear an actor describe how he prepared for the lead role in "Butterflies Are Free" (a popular play in college and local theater groups in the late 1970s/early 1980s in which the male lead is blind).

   The people in the Festival have been anything but pretentious. They are passionate about their work. Greg Oppman described five months of work to produce a two-minute animation. Adam Newell scrounged mid-Indiana for places to shoot his feature-length work about a video store. Ronald Short and his wife worked for months in rehearsals then drove up from Austin, Texas, to shoot "Billi and Theodore." Matt Millan risked his life—as in his ass was on the line—to film "We Win or We Die," about the Libyan revolution with its denouement: Khadaffi (however the late dictator’s name is spelled; there are, perhaps 57 versions) killed and dragged through the streets. If I neglect to name others whom we interviewed, I apologize. I am limited by time.

   Each of these artists has produced excellent and interesting works, only the trailers of (most of) which we have been able to see. (After we shoot, we have to go back, download/upload and all that.) Film has changed. Technology has made the process far less expensive. Film is expensive. Digital images cost money to generate, but there are not reels of celluloid through which one must thread and edit. Cameras cost money, too, but prices for those have fallen. This means more people have access to a medium that once limited participants to the price of admission—capital for a given project. Capital still is necessary, but not on its former scale.

   Also one is struck by the dedication of these artists. The money they raise—in many instances at on-line sites—goes to their projects. They pay actors, rent spaces to shoot, buy gas to travel to locations, and afterward think of themselves.

   That brings me to the part about humility. We interviewed excellent artists engaged in a specific medium—film (although more accurately it would be "digital images in motion" or the life). Yet we have not achieved he means to import trailers and other pieces of the work of these artists on The Show. That is in the works and will arrive soon. Last Saturday, Adam Newell waited—patiently and graciously—as we tried to live-stream. (It turns out that is not possible from IMA.)

   Everyone at The Festival was helpful. Hell, they allowed us to shoot during their fete. IMA has been great and not thanked by us—until now: thank you, Indianapolis Museum of Art.

   Two people, in particular, should receive many thanks.

   Hollon McKay was the person with whom I had most contact to schedule folks to appear. We traded e-mails and finally met Thursday. She was resourceful and cheerful in the midst of what I am sure has been a fast-paced week.

   Dan Hall is an Indianapolis film maker. His entry to the festival is "Lucky Teter and His Hell Drivers." He will be one of our guests this morning and has promised to do a show on his films in the next few weeks. If Dan had not connected us to the right people, we might not have been able to do "Civil Discourse Now" at the Film Festival. If we had, it would have been through several more hoops in any event.

   Coverage of The Festival might seem like a departure from our usual program content."Discourse" is a "communication of thought by words." Discourse is not limited to political matters. Film is an important aspect of our culture. This week has been fun for us, and, I hope, for our guests. The week also has been informative for us—and again, I hope, for our guests and audience as well.

   We shoot The Show this morning, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at 11. As I mentioned, our guests will be Dan Hall and his writing partner. Adam Newell will be on to discuss his film "Video Stop," a conversation we were unable to do last Saturday. We will talk with Kate Chaplin about her film "Home Security." This evening we shall attend, and live-stream from, the party at The Earth House.

   There still is a chance to see these films. Go to the Indianapolis Film Festival website for schedules. In the meantime, thanks, again, to all.

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