Taos Touts Media Awareness, Responsibility and Personal Docs;
Land Goes to "Concussion"
by Ray Pride
(indieWIRE/5.1.000 -- Robert Redford has always bragged about how Sundance began with the ideal of
being an almost inaccessible festival. But then I guess he never drove the
over two hours from Albuquerque through Santa Fe rush hour traffic up a
different mountain to Taos, New Mexico. The tiny, tourism-driven town was
the site of the 6th Taos Talking Picture Festival, a four-day event for
locals and enthused visitors, which ran this year from April 13-16.
Where many festivals pay lip service to contextualizing the role of movies
in our cultural lives, the purpose of Taos Talking Pictures, in the words of
founder Josh Bryant, is "careful consideration of the mass media's impact on
our culture, encouraging the thoughtful production and informed consumption
of the mass media."
Attendance at the Taos Media Forum, the Teen Media Conference (with over 120
participants from four states) and 120 films and videos from twenty-four
countries was estimated at more than 16,000 paid tickets to Festival events,
with ticket sales up 10 percent from the 1999 Festival. Other highlights
included the Mexterminator Project, an interactive, video-based
performance/installation by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Roberto Sifuentes,
which drew about 1,200 attendees; The Chat and Chew, acerbic commentator Jim
Hightower's nationally broadcast radio show, which did two days of remote
broadcasts; The Media Forum, which hosted standing-room only free
presentations by Hightower, cultural critic James Fallows, writer Jean
Kilbourne and the Chiapas Media Project.
TTP's best-known prize, The Taos Land Grant Award, five acres of land in
Taos, which was given to Daniel Yoon for his feature "Post Concussion," an
oddball portrait of a corporate downsizer who must rebuild his life after a
car accident. Yoon himself suffered such injuries, and unable to keep a film
crew together because of his symptoms, acted as well as performing the tasks
of directing, shooting, recording sound and editing. There was also The