You can still look for me on Twitter (@antkaufman), and please keep reading my thoughts at Indiewire in my documentary column, “Reality Checks.”
I started blogging—reluctantly—in April 2004.
In my first blog post, creatively titled “My First Blog” (which is now lost in a black hole of 404 URL errors), I wrote: “The whole thing seems like a waste of time. As if we didn’t have enough information to sift through already, do we really need more? And do I really have the time to write anymore than I already do?”
But then, of course, the world changed, and blogging became an essential sideline for every writer and journalist, now pressed to stay relevant within the new media universe. Soon my blog became less a place for random musings and more a place to incite debate, gain readers, and try to spark change within the film industry and regarding other issues that mattered.
In the first years of blogging, my favorite early posts involved attacks on “The Passion of the Christ“; a bourgeoning Tribeca Film Festival; the reaction of audiences to Dan Talbot’s 2004 speech at the Gotham Awards; my Sundance encounter with Ruthe Stein; the International Documentary Association; hyping “mumblecore”; Paul Haggis’s “Crash“; and changes at the newly bought-out Village Voice.
Then, in 2011, as Indiewire expanded its blog network, I re-launched and rebranded my blog, calling it “ReelPolitik.” I came out with this grandiose manifesto, where I railed against international conglomerates, Hollywood, the right-wing media machine, and quoted from the great rabble-rouser, John Waters, who once told me: “Going to movies is political, how you watch them is political, why you like them is political and how they are distributed is political.”
I still agree. And for a time, especially during the heat of the 2012 Election Season, ReelPolitik had a good run. I exposed the wrongdoings of film companies; I taunted conservatives; and I lambasted rightwing themes in mainstream Hollywood films. Even the late great rightwing iconoclast Andrew Breitbart himself added a comment to one of the posts.
Even though the country and the planet has been going downhill ever since, despite a few brief triumphs (universal healthcare, the Arab Spring, big Oscar wins for “A Separation” and “12 Years a Slave”), I still think there is a great need for ReelPolitik—a place where films and the film industry can be examined within a political context.
But with the arrival of Twitter, the lack of worthwhile compensation for blogging, and my own personal shift into the world of film programming, I have agreed to let ReelPolitik go (for now). I just didn’t have the time or selflessness to keep it up. Plus, Indiewire needs ever-greater traffic-drivers than I can provide.
My hope is that ReelPolitik can be reborn and hosted at another website, where its mission can continue with more contributors and a new injection of passion. Frankly, I think a film and politics blog that isn’t simply a reflection of my voice, but the collective VOICE of the independent film community makes more sense, anyway. Let’s try to get something up and running before Election 2016.