Re: Supporting Ann Arbor

From: Bernard Roddy (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 13 2006 - 11:36:39 PDT

Thanks. I didn't mean to propose "outing" local arts organizations, but rather to locate for-profit businesses that should lose state-support under the legislation. It sounds like the sex is just an excuse to pursue a broader agenda of withdrawing public support of the arts. But then public-support of private enterprise should be held to the same standard. And not to draw in new victims. This is intended to tie the interests of other constituents to those of unpopular arts organizations, interests more difficult to ignore (joining the fate of "corporate welfare" to that of arts appropriation).

Ken Bawcom <email suppressed> wrote:

Thanks for supporting the AAFF, and writing a letter to Taub. As I
stated in a Viewpoint article, submitted to the local newspaper, the
Ann Arbor News, and printed by them, which I sent to this list first,
it is my considered opinion, after viewing the AAFF since 1967, being
on the screening since 1989, and being involved with programming films
in competition for several years, the AAFF doesn't show porn. Of
course, some may disagree, but I think any porn fan would be SURE to
agree. When you say you want to know the film maker's name, I assume
you mean the name of the maker of the film deemed to be porn. Well, I
don't think that anyone of the complainers have said exactly WHICH film
was pornographic, apart from a Crispin Glover film shown last year, I
think the title was "What is it?" or something like that. They have
named several other films shown in previous years, which clearly, to
most anyone, are NOT pornographic, but sounded as if they might be,
like "Booby Girl," and "Chests."
While it is clear that an avant-garde, experimental film festival
can't abide by such a restriction, the restriction is no "display of
sex acts." Just what does that mean? Clearly, hard-core porn would
qualify. How about Hollywood style two people under the sheets, shot
from the shoulders up, pretending, sort of, to have intercourse? I
certainly don't think that qualifies, but some might. It IS a sex
"act." Where would the line be drawn? I can think of three films in
competition this year that someone might think were proscribed, even
though I wouldn't. One, "Psychic Driving," was a conventional
narrative, a bit of a Twilight Zoneish thing, about a guy screwed up by
the MKULTRA program. It included a simulated sex scene, both clad, her
on top humping vigorously, much less skin exposed than you would see at
the beach. Another, a feature length film, sort of a pseudo doc that
was not my cup of tea, called "Camjackers," had a scene at a party,
with people eating food off of a nude model. Not a sex act, but
something with actual full frontal nudity.
Finally, "The Influence of Ocular Light," by Thomas Draschan and
Stella Friedriches, an experimental film of the sort I think quite
appropriate for the AAFF, actually had a short clip of some old Italian
porn film, which was heavily trashed, and definitely not used as porn.
But, reasonable people could think it was proscribed by the MCACA grant
language. As to local institutions that get grants, or tax breaks,
and might do things proscribed by the restriction in our grant, as I
said in my editorial piece, most any one that shows a popular Hollywood
film could be in technical violation. I'm sure there are several, but
no one with the AAFF that I know of wants any other local arts org to
suffer a loss, just because we did. I don't think we need to out these
orgs to the state Reps, but rather point them out to their supporters,
and use that leverage to get their supporters to lobby against these
stupid restrictions.
One irony is that Rep. Shelley Taub went to school at the U of
Michigan, in Ann Arbor, and was a member of the local film cooperative,
Cinema Guild. Cinema Guild, when it was thriving, helped in the early
days of the Festival, and donated money, up until some time in the 80s!

Ken Bawcom

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