'The video essay is often described as a form of new media, but the basic principles are as old as rhetoric: the author makes an assertion, then presents evidence to back up his claim.'
Matt Zoller Seitz, 'The Video Essay' (2009)
As regular readers of Film Studies For Free know, this blog has championed the Video Essay as one of the most important and promising developments in online Film Studies. One of the most outstanding proponents of this internet form currently at work is critic and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz.
One of the other most notable online video-essayists, of course, is filmmaker and writer Kevin B Lee, whose work FSFF has hailed on a number of previous occasions, and with whom Seitz frequently collaborates. Recently, Lee has posted several videos of himself discussing the video essay format; he was invited to talk about his projects by the the Kino Arsenal in Berlin as part of their programme: “Kunst der Vermittlung: Aus den Archiven Filmvermittlung Films,” or “The Art of Mediation: Films About Films.” The programme, which began in October and concludes in July, is part of a project to catalogue all existing films about other films, on all formats: DVD extras, films, video essays, etc. As Lee reports, 'organized by Stefan Pethke, Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg, Stefanie Schlüter and Erik Stein, the project has already catalogued an impressive number of films about films, including just about every video essay that I’ve produced to date.'
Anyway, for today, back to Seitz: the online film community knows of him mostly as the founding editor and leading contributor to the blog The House Next Door. There's a great interview with him about his blogging HERE. According to the New York Film Critics' Circle website, however, Seitz has has been film critic for NYPress and a TV critic and columnist for The Newark Star-Ledger and Newhouse Newspapers since 1995. His articles on film, TV and popular culture have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, IFC Rant, Scenario Magazine, Details, Sound and Vision, Forbes FYI and Dallas Observer, where he was a film critic and feature writer from 1991-1995. In 1994, while working at the Observer, Seitz was named one of two finalists for the Pulitzer prize in criticism. He also wrote and directed the feature film Home (2005 - also see HERE).
Below is a list of links to freely available online video essays made by Seitz and to collaborations between him and Lee, as well as some tip-offs about upcoming video essay projects of his to look out for in the near future. And HERE is a link to a really interesting and useful essay that Seitz produced about his video essay work for the great 'Films About Films' project mentioned above.
At Kevin B. Lee's Shooting Down Pictures:
- 'The Outlaw Josey Wales (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)', Shooting Down Pictures, May 25 2008
- 'They Died with Their Boots On' feat. Matt Zoller Seitz (two essays), Shooting Down Pictures, March 30 2008 (introductory essay HERE; sequence analysis HERE)
L Magazine video essay on Steve McQueen.
- 'Present Tense: Benjamin Button and a passive hero's route toward happiness', Moving Image Source, Moving Image Source, May 8, 2009
- 'The Substance of Style, Pt 1: Wes Anderson and his pantheon of heroes (Schulz, Welles, Truffaut)', Moving Image Source, March 30, 2009
- 'The Substance of Style, Pt 2: Wes Anderson and his pantheon of heroes (Scorsese, Lester, Nichols)', Moving Image Source, April 3, 2009
- 'The Substance of Style, Pt 3: Examining the Wes Anderson–Hal Ashby connection', Moving Image Source, April 6, 2009
- 'The Substance of Style, Pt 4: Examining the Wes Anderson–J.D. Salinger connection', Moving Image Source, April 9, 2009
- 'The Substance of Style, Pt 5: The prologue to The Royal Tenenbaums, annotated by Matt Zoller Seitz', Moving Image Source, April 13, 2009
- 'Straight Shooting: The righteous heroes and human villains of Budd Boetticher's West', Moving Image Source, December 4, 2008
- 'Oliver Stone Pt. 1: Patriotism and propaganda in Born on the Fourth of July,' Moving Image Source, October 14, 2008 (lead credit: MZS)
- 'Oliver Stone Pt. 2: JFK and the power of counter-myth', Moving Image Source, October 15, 2008 (lead credit: KBL)
- 'Oliver Stone Pt. 3: Nixon and the unmaking of a president', Moving Image Source, October 16, 2008 (lead credit: MZS)
- 'Oliver Stone Pt. 4: War and civilization in Alexander, and an epilogue on W.', Moving Image Source, October 17, 2008 (lead credit: KBL)
On YouTube, as Insomniacdad:
- 'A Little Love. The Art of Bill Melendez,' (US 2008)
- 'Berkeley(esque)', (US 2009)
- 'Review: Sharky's Machine', (US 2008)
- 'Short Film: "The Explanation"', (US, 2008)