A film report of the hearings of the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications investigating the effects of television violence. An NFB crew recorded the four days of intensive debate in Washington, where representations were made by the three major networks, the Surgeon General of the United States, independent scientists, and representatives of concerned parent groups. The hearings established that there is a correlation between violence on the screen and violence in real life.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Peter Watkins, an Oscar®-winning British filmmaker who, for the past 4 decades, has proved that films can be made without compromise. With the proliferation of TV channels, documentaries are enjoying an unprecedented boom fuelled by audiences seeking an alternative to infotainment. But now documentary filmmaking, too, finds itself constrained by the imperatives of television. However, there is a rebel resisting this uniformity of the spirit. Pre-eminent among today's documentary filmmakers concerned about this mind-numbing standardization, Peter Watkins has never strayed from either his principles or the cause.
This funny yet serious short film demonstrates the effectiveness of advertising and the marketing machine. Its comic appeal lies in the characters and the absurd situations they find themselves in, but it also shines a harsh light on our tendency towards needless consumerism prompted by a steady flow of commercials.
This short live-action comedy satirizing TV's violent ways tells the story of 4 children who go searching for their school’s 2 missing turtles. In this task, the children are assisted by a television set that morphs to life as a goofy action superhero. As the search progresses, the children discover that TV solutions and real-life solutions don't always mix. When the kids take charge and use their own wits, the turtle mystery is solved in a jiffy.
This short fictional film is a zany spoof of TV content with plenty of violence borrowed from the very source it seeks to parody. Our protagonist is a housewife who has lost her family to the television set. Suddenly, her home is invaded and her life is taken over by characters that seem to spring from the V screen. Initially, she attempts to get the intruders out of her house. But eventually, she begins to see that perhaps a life on TV wouldn’t be so bad after all. Will her distracted husband even notice her departure?
This animated short is an entertaining and incisive satire on some of the material that is disgorged via the "boob tube." The opening pitch of the television salesman establishes the tone of this pithy film: a solid-state model guarantees high-quality entertainment, and programs are always designed around products, not spectators.
This feature-length documentary examines the reality of New York City in the 1970s, a place that had become a symbol of urban disaster. The 2 projects profiled attempt to tackle the problem of America’s biggest city: in a dilapidated part of the Bronx, a co-operative citizens’ movement tries to rejuvenate urban life; and WNET-TV uses its programming as an open forum for the public debate on urban issues.
If you've ever bought a wonder wallet, a food slicer, a canapé maker, a patty stacker, a miracle brush or a super knife, you may know that the CNE, the Calgary Stampede, and virtually every home show, car show, craft show, fall fair and ploughing match in Canada has at least one thing in common. At hallway intersections and bleacher exits work the second cousins of the carnival barker, the crowd pleasers and teasers, jugglers of people, product and pitch: the point-of-sales professionals known as pitchmen. This documentary looks at the psychology of the impulse sale and provides a view of the world of commerce, salesmanship and advertising at the grass-roots level.
This experimental animated short takes a critical look at consumerism in a material world. Thousands of cut-out ads are presented in increasingly fragmented, rapid succession. The film's disorienting and hectic pace seeks to interrogate the extent to which seductive advertising is a shockingly strong force in shaping our desires, needs, and lives in contemporary capitalism.
On September 9, 2002, a scheduled appearance by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparked heated debate at Montreal's Concordia University. By the end of the day, the "Concordia riot" had made international news, from CNN to Al-Jazeera. This film documents the fallout from that eventful day, following three young campus activists as they negotiate the most formative year of their lives. Filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal jump into the fray with street-smart bravado and a handheld camera. Buoyed by the songs of hip-hop artist Buck 65, this film offers a tonic reflection on the current state of Canadian student activism and the enduring value of tolerance.
This short film was an experiment in using video recordings and closed circuit television to stimulate social action in a poor Montreal neighbourhood. A citizen's committee filmed people's concerns and then played back the tapes for the community. Upon recognizing their common problems, people began to talk about joint solutions. It proved an important and effective method of promoting social change.