Every week, Indiewire chief film critic Eric Kohn singles out a movie available for free streaming from our parent company SnagFilms’ library and tells you why you should watch it now. Check out the previous installment here.
With South by Southwest taking off this week, you’re bound to read a lot about the convergence of film and technology in these parts and others. For anyone journeying to the Austin convention, SXSW offers a joyride through some of the most cutting edge conversations taking place among artists today. But what if you’re not at the festival? Here’s a movie that provides you with a similar experience.
Brett Gaylor’s “RiP: A Remix Manifesto” studies the paradoxes of copyright law and its discontents, but mainly it’s a celebration of remix culture in the twenty-first century. Using music sampling artist Girl Talk as his primary case study, Gaylor explores the ways a new generation of artists have uncovered original methods for creating something new from the fabric of something old — and smartly grounds the conversation in art history. Touching on infamous scenarios such as lawsuits filed by record labels and the appropriation of Disney characters by indie cartoonists, he surveys a wide variety of discussions taking place in both legal and aesthetic circles. As far as educational documentaries go, Gaylor’s work makes for a fun ride, filled with snazzy animations, enthusiastic talking heads and one helluva climactic dance party.
Gaylor’s movie isn’t a complete portrait of new media creativity, but that’s part of its appeal: It starts a conversation and encourages viewers to continue it. You don’t hear much from the people opposed to the notion of remix art, those tied to an old world logic of ownership rendered moot by internet-based expression. But “RiP” is a slickly produced achievement that relies on the remix technique at the center of its discussion. During the process of his production, Gaylor encouraged online fans of the project to download footage and create their own remixed versions of it. As a result, the fluidity of Gaylor’s progressive approach emerges from the competence of the crowdsourced movie’s design.
Watch it below: