May 15, 2008

In the zeitgeist this week...

It's the Cannes silly season again and I'm remembering times out there two years ago, meeting a very unlikely video activist.

RFID - proceed with caution

On my first trip out to the Cannes Bling Bling Festival, one of the highlights was stumbling into the rather indie premiere of "America: From Freedom to Fascism" and meeting the film-maker behind it, Aaron Russo. Snubbed by the actual festival, Russo hired a beach-side venue on the Croissette and put on his own screening. More famous for managing Bette Midler and producing films like The Rose and Trading Places, his film had more in common with Loose Change than it did with his Eddie Murphy/Dan Ackroyd comedy. I found it fascinating that a big shot Hollywood producer had re-invented himself as a video activist and was articulating his fears on RFID abuse and the world banking system.

I told him a bit about MOD and offer help in re-licensing and re-distributing some of his material. The film was a bit clunky, very homebrew, but it had heart and I thought a CC release might be cool. I also figured that re-mixers might have an easier time at getting some of his better sound bites and quotes into circulation. But no dice. He didn't go for it. We chatted on separate two encounters, but Aaron was pretty dismissive of the idea, convinced that he could get his film into global distribution via normal channels. "Just tell your friends to go watch the movie when it comes out " ("little lady...") Which I thought was missing the point.

Today I was reminded of all this when I got Facebook'ed a link to Zeitgeist - the movie yet another 'new world order' documentary - which reversions and splices the narratives in Loose Change and Aaron's film. Russo is himself interviewed here, recalling conversations with his one-time friend Nick Rockefeller about plans for a central world government and the capability of turning off (RFID) chips of those who get out of line. Russo apparently declined to join the Council of Foreign Relations and contribute his Hollywood clout, and has been making activist videos ever since...

So I thought I should drop Aaron another line to see if he's had second thoughts about remixing, but I've just discovered that he died last year from cancer.

I wonder who'll emerge next from behind the Hollywood curtain to bite the hand that feeds them. It took a certain kind of guts...

Posted by .M. at 06:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack