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The Bootleg Files: Tetched in the Head

BOOTLEG FILES 645: “Tetched in the Head” (1935 animated short film featuring Barney Google).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A semi-lost film.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
Not until the original version is located.

In 1930, Columbia Pictures was a relatively minor player in the Hollywood scene. The studio’s cred received a boost that year when it signed an agreement with Walt Disney to distribute his popular animated short films. However, in 1933 Disney ended his relationship with Columbia due to a financial dispute.
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The Bootleg Files: Minstrel Days

BOOTLEG FILES 639: “Minstrel Days” (1941 musical short film starring Bud Jamison and Willie Best).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: This is one film that Warner Bros. is not eager to re-release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Really?

Earlier this week, Starbucks closed down its U.S. cafés for an afternoon and gave its workforce a training session in racial tolerance. Several short films were shown to the Starbucks team that highlighted the insensitive treatment that many African-Americans experience in public spaces and retail settings.
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Three Films by Madeline Anderson

During the 1960s and 1970s, Madeline Anderson broke racial and gender barrier in nonfiction filmmaking through her work as a director, producer and editor. This DVD gathering of three of her short documentaries offers a fascinating consideration of how Anderson used her medium to spotlight the tumultuous fights for civil and women’s rights.
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The Bootleg Files: Malice in the Palace

BOOTLEG FILES 595: “Malice in the Palace” (1949 Three Stooges short).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On too many public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: There was one, but it was lost amid the cheapo duped versions.

In some ways, bad comedies are more interesting than good comedies. Because when a comedy fails, it is can be a fascinating exercise to pinpoint just where things began to go wrong and to wonder whether the wreckage could have been prevented with tweaks here and there.

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The Bootleg Files: Afrique 50

BOOTLEG FILES 591: “Afrique 50” (1950 French documentary short by René Vautier).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS:
Never officially released in the U.S.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It would be welcomed.

In 1949, a newly-minted film school graduate named René Vautier received his first big break when the Ligue de l’enseignement commissioned him to create a nonfiction film highlighting its educational mission in France’s West African colonies. Upon arriving in the French African colonies, the 21-year-old Vautier did not find evidence of French benevolence in Africa. Instead, he witnessed a degree of economic exploitation and repressive rule over people who were slowly simmering in their resentment of colonial occupation. As a decorated member of the French Resistance during World War II and a Communist Party member, he was not about to sit back and just tsk-tsk this situation.

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Short Films Still Matter

This week’s podcast episode celebrates the continuing appeal of short films and the importance they play in launching new filmmaking talent. Host Phil Hall’s guest is Kim Adelman, author of “Making it Big in Shorts: The Ultimate Filmmaker’s Guide to Short Films,” which was recently republished in its third edition. She also reports on short films for Indiewire, co-programs the American Cinematheque’s annual Focus on Female Directors short film screening series, and is the co-founder of FFC Female Filmmaking Collective.

You can listen to the episode here.

Our "Exposure" to Short Films

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Back in the golden days of cable television, Syfy–known as the Sci Fi channel–was rather entertaining. I’d sometimes sit down in front of the television and watch it all day long basking in stuff like “The Twilight Zone,” that horrible show “Sightings,” and “Lost in Space,” while Saturdays brought cartoons, and anime. These days, though, I barely ever want to watch it unless there’s a marathon of “Firefly,” or a crappy television movie on, and even then it’s debatable. I don’t WANT to see “Lake Placid 6,” but… I couldn’t keep from watching it when it premiered! The reason for my hatred of Syfy is because, I have them to thank for my exposure to short independent films.

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5 Choice Indies of 2012

Special Mention:
88:88
Directed by: Joey Ciccoline
Written by: Sean Wilson, Joey Ciccoline
Official Trailer
Watch It Now!

Originally a contender for an online short film festival, director Joey Ciccoline’s short “88:88” is a wonderful and absolutely remarkable horror short about a woman who simply can not escape her destiny. She’s built her life around her over night occurrences, and on the day we meet her, she’s decided to stop becoming a victim and start resisting. In spite of her life around her wondering where she is, our young heroine spends her time building mechanisms and odd devices around her room.

Though she’s calm and resolute throughout the course of the short, she is racing the clock, and before she knows it, night has fallen and it’s time to sleep. With a wonderful eye on the small budget, and low maintenance special effects, Joey Ciccoline delivers an onslaught of horrific images, and devastatingly traumatic monsters that desperately try to bring this woman in to their throes and by her own clever instruments, shows them that she’s not one to be reckoned with any longer. A striking and downbeat short, this is a film to watch, if only because it’s one of the few extra terrestrial films that have succeeded in turning its menaces in to terrifying beings that have been tamed over the years.

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