Even though this weekend will mark more than a week since SOPA, Movies On a Big Screen (MOBS) may had timed this weekend’s screening of RiP: A Remix Manifesto perfectly.
Only a little over a week ago the nation was outraged over the threat of internet censorship triggered by the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The bill was supposed to come down on illegal downloading but left open too much room for government and major corporations to prosecute activity as simple as expressing one’s own opinion in a chat box. The proposal was turned down yet many believe that its supporters can resurrect it.
Although RiP: A Remix Manifesto was released in 2009, three years before SOPA and its sister proposal PIPA, its Sacramento screening may not be too late to raise awareness of potential threat to internet freedom of expression. Canadian activist and film maker Brett Gaylor narrates this documentary interviewing several people from many walks of life ranging from the professional to the common child. He interviews experts such as remix music artist, Greg Gillis popularly known as Girl Talk, science fiction author and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow, Brazil’s former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, and even an agent from the U.S. Registrar of Copyrights. The movie is made in collage style and so is a mash-up of various film and video clips. Thus the style supports the movie’s main point: information and art should be shared rather than owned since they are products of earlier information and art. Although the discussion of copyright and information sharing emphasizes online activity–especially that of social networking sites such as YouTube, iTunes and their predecessors–the issue of the debate also affects the offline world such as the print and traditional film industries. RiP even discusses how the concept of ownership and its legalities have been applied to living organisms.
Even if you may not agree with the director’s premise, the movie itself is entertaining in its very avant-gardean/neo psychedelic style and therefore artistically stunning. In a sense, it even plays like a post-modern epic. MOBS even refers to Girl Talk as “the film’s central protagonist” and indicates him as a kind of anti-hero when it poses the question of whether he is “a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy”.
RiP will screen Sunday Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m, at the Guild theatre, 2828 35th St. in Sacramento. Admission is five dollars a person. Movies On a Big Screen is a film organization in town that shows independently made movies that would otherwise not release in mainstream commercial theaters. It is part of Sacramento Geeks’ Meetup.com network.
Has the triumph over SOPA retired the purpose of RiP? To use the words of the film’s web site, “You be the judge by watching” the movie!
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