The 40th annual Nashville Film Festival draws ever closer. One of the films I got to check out was RiP: A Remix Manifesto, which (perhaps amazingly) was funded in part by the Canadian government. Here's the preview I wrote for the NaFF guide in this week's Scene:
Apparently there's been some controversy around copyright, file sharing and the Internet? Brett Gaylor's fleet, clever piece of agit-prop won't likely change Lars Ulrich (shown acting like a total douche on Charlie Rose) into a cheerleader for BitTorrents, but its historicized perspective on copyright law and rabble-rousing cadence are engaging (if a bit hipsterish). The film spends entirely too much time with mashup auteur Greg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk--the pointless Paris Hilton cameo is especially fanboy-indulgent--and perhaps not enough with Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig, but when Gillis' day job in biotech serves as the pivot point for the argument that intellectual property laws hamper progress in medicine as well as music, it's an ace maneuver.
To expand on the "entirely too much time" with Girl Talk statement: There is footage of Girl Talk's parents. There is footage of Girl Talk sampling Elvis Costello on a computer while his apparently narcoleptic girlfriend sleeps in the bed next to him. There is footage of Girl Talk talking about something else while the same girlfriend sleeps on the couch next to him. There is footage of Girl Talk having his picture taken with Paris Hilton. There is footage of Girl Talk sitting down and drinking a beer. You get the idea. I don't hate Greg Gillis, I'm just sick of him by about the three-quarter point of this movie.
I also have a problem with the way the word "mashup" is used to apply to things that aren't really mashups, and the way file sharing and remixing are conflated. Sure, they may both be important elements in the same argument, but they are different. Playing a cover of a Johnny Cash song is not the same as downloading an MP3 of it. Anyway. Maybe I'll just edit my own version of the film, since the footage is up at opensourcecinema.org for all of us to do with as we please, advancing civilization and all that.