U.S. Congressional Members Receive Indie "Trailers"
by Mary Sampson
Prior to voting on whether or not to renew the budget
for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), all Congressional
Representatives received clips of two indie films sent
to them by a group called the American Family Association.
Scenes from the two films, Michelle Handelman's
"Bloodsisters" and Barbara Hammer's "Nitrate Kisses", were
sent to the members of Congress as examples of why
the NEA should be abolished. The conservative group
pointed to these two movies as examples of the type
of projects funded by the NEA and their objections
to such funding. The effort failed as the House
voted to continue the funding (see related story above).
Filmmaker Michelle Handelman commented on the move
by the conservative Christian group by noting,
"Republicans, and their voluminous lobbying party,
the Christian right, have consistently attacked the
arts because it's one of the last bastions of individual
power....control the arts and you've got control of the
independent spirit." "Bloodsisters" and "Nitrate Kisses"
are distributed respectively by Women Make Movies and
Canyon Cinema, both of whom lost the NEA funding earlier
The move by the American Family Association was meant
to prevent funding for movies like "Bloodsisters".
But Handleman sees an upside to the taking
of scenes from her movie out of context and putting them
in front of a large and influential audience.
"I guess now I should send everyone in congress and order
form. 'You've seen the trailer... now see the whole
movie and decide for yourself."