SilverNotes: The Half-Screening

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Film festivals are a wonderful time for fans of the medium, and Silverdocs is no exception: The theaters are full of fellow film aficionados 15 hours a day all looking to broaden their horizons. Still, it can be frustrating. There are only so many hours in the day, and despite planning to the best of your ability, some movies will fall through the cracks. This goes double for the press, who have to fit time in for writing and conducting interviews as well as movie watching. Enter the half-screening. The half-screening is a pop-in, a quick look at a movie that looks interesting but conflicts make impossible to see in their entirety. “Winnebago Man” was the first such screening for me, and what I saw made me wish I could have stuck around for the second half. A history of viral videos and the story of the man behind one of them, “Winnebago Man” was interesting from both a sociological and a personal point of view. It tells the story of Jack Rebney, an ornery cuss who shot an industrial video for Winnebago some years back, the outtakes of which have become an underground video sensation. Sometimes the half-screening is an unexpected development, as was the case with last night’s “Rip: A Remix Manifesto.” A pretty standard anti-copyright screed – Evil corporations are stifling creativity! Information wants to be free! – the Blu-ray showing the movie broke about an hour into the show. Festival director Sky Sitney was on hand to placate festivalgoers, handing out free passes and promising free beer during the night’s festivities (a DJ was there to entertain the young crowd after the movie let out). The technical difficulty half-screening is a festival tradition – pretty much every fest I’ve ever been to has had at least one such run-in with the imps of technology.

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