(Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 )
In Film Studies For Free's humble opinion, one of the most exciting online areas for potential Film Studies' development is rapidly emerging from the already hugely popular Web 2.0 practice of video-sharing. It has never been easier to publically display work in which moving (and still) image-tracks, created by others, can be 'overlaid' with one's own recorded words/sounds/text, to create web 'video-essays' or online 'audio-commentaries'.
The practical/technical side of this activity should provide few challenges for the YouTube generation: the main issue to consider in relation to the educational uses of such 'user-generated' resources is, as ever, that of the quality of content. But there are plenty of noteworthy models around, from which Film Studies teachers and students can gain insight and inspiration, such as Susana Medina's excellent video essay on fetishism in the work of Luis Buñuel, embedded above (and also available on MySpace and at the Internet Archive).
To celebrate these developments, and to support them in a small way, Film Studies For Free has created a new (right-hand margin) list of links to freely accessible online audio commentaries, video essays, and 'alternative' DVD commentaries. The list currently links to the following websites: Shooting Down Pictures; Susana Medina, 'Buñuel’s Philosophical Toys'; Listology List of Best Fan Commentaries (until 2005); Sean Weitner and Andy Ross on Mulholland Drive; Whiggles.com on Suspiria and Profondo Rosso; and Renegade Commentaries. Suggestions of other websites or items of this kind are, as ever, warmly welcomed.
By far the richest website resource in this area, to date, is the one at the head of FSFF's current list: Kevin B. Lee's fabulous Shooting Down Pictures. As GreenCine Daily rightfully testified back in July 2008 (when Film Studies For Free was barely a twinkle in this neophyte blogger's eye): 'For some time now, Kevin B Lee's video essays have been among the most exciting developments in film blogging, suggesting not an alternative but supplemental form of film criticism accessible to anyone online.'
Lee is a filmmaker and multimedia producer based in New York City. Shooting Down Pictures primarily serves as a repository for a wide variety of materials connected with his project of viewing every film on the list of 1000 greatest films of all time, as compiled by They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? Rather than simply writing about, or gathering pre-existing resources together for these films -- both of which Lee does brilliantly, it must be said -- he also makes video essays about them and commissions others to provide their own audio commentaries, including ones by such luminaries as Nicole Brenez, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Richard Brody, Karina Longworth, Andy Horbal, Mike D'Angelo, Matt Zoller Seitz, Preston Miller, Vadim Rizov, and Girish Shambu.
The current full list of video essays by Shooting Down Pictures is given below, but also check out the video index Lee maintains at YouTube where these and many other videos by him, or fabulously 'mashed up' by him, are hosted.
- …And God Created Woman
- America, America
- And the Ship Sails On (feat. Michael Joshua Rowin)
- Aranyer Din Ratri / Days and Nights in the Forest (1970, Satyajit Ray) - featuring Preston Miller
- Born on the Fourth of July (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Burnt by the Sun (feat. Andy Horbal)
- El Cid (1961, Anthony Mann) with Mike D’Angelo
- Evil Dead II
- Grey Gardens (1975, Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer) with commentary by Vadim Rizov
- Hour of the Star/A Hora da Estrela
- Il Posto (feat. Keith Uhlich)
- La femme infidele feat. Dan Sallitt
- La Haine
- Le boucher feat. Dan Sallitt
- Louisiana Story
- Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht / Not Reconciled or Only Violence Helps Where it Rules (1965, Jean-Marie Straub) featuring commentary by Richard Brody
- Nixon (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
- Peter Ibbetson
- Sugar Cane Alley
- The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982, Peter Greenaway) with Karina Longworth
- The Heiress (feat. Cindi Rowell)
- The Saragossa Manuscript
- The Sun Shines Bright (1956, John Ford) featuring Jonathan Rosenbaum
- The Vanishing
- "The Wire and the Art of the Credits Sequence” video essays on the Moving Image Source (Watch Part One; Watch Part Two - feat. Matt Zoller Seitz and Andrew Dignan)
- They Died with Their Boots On (feat. Matt Zoller Seitz)
- Tobacco Road
- Un coeur en hiver / A Heart in Winter (1991, Claude Sautet) with Mike D’Angelo
- Unfaithfully Yours
- U samogo sinyego morya / By the Bluest of Seas (1936, Boris Barnet) featuring commentary by Nicole Brenez
- While the City Sleeps
- Woman in the Window (feat. Girish Shambu)