It wasn’t until the end credits finished rolling at the Ottawa premiere of RiP: A remix manifesto that the audience at the Mayfair Theatre gave the film a roaring round of applause that grew… and grew… and eventually became a standing ovation. The audience wasn’t just being polite, the end credits were packed with attribution and remixed content that was amazingly entertaining and insightful. And that was one of the goals of the movie; to illustrate just how important remixing is to culture.
Of course, the applause may have also had something to do with the presence of cinematographer Mark Ellam that the film’s creator, Brett Gaylor, was on hand for the screening. You’d think he was a rock star the way the audience carried on. And perhaps he is. He’s a hometown boy, the movie is on a hot-button issue and the work he produced (like many of the works featured in the film) is a mashup in its own right. And to prove RiP is part of the culture, not just paying lipservice to it, the entire film is available for remixing through the site OpenSourceCinema.org. Representative mashups created by the community using footage made available during the production of the movie though that site found their way into the film.
RiP proposes a manifesto based on four assertions.
- Culture always builds on the past
- The past always tries to control the future
- Our Future is becoming less free
- To build free societies, you must limit control of the past
The assertions are then supported using some very interesting studies about several people including Girl Talk (the talented, creative and iconic remix artist), Larry Lessig (the forward thinking remix lawyer), Cory Doctorow (the popular remix activist) and Gilberto Gill (the Brazilian musician and progressive remix politician). I particularly enjoyed learning about Gilberto Gill because he represents the first time I’ve heard of a federal Minister of Culture (for the administration of former Brazilian President Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva) who was a contributor to culture, not a controller of it.
RiP is not a about making all things free and destroying progress. The movie is about the changing times and how balance is needed to ensure that innovation is encouraged, not stifled; beneficial to all, not just the powerful; and becomes a matter of social and civil cooperation, not criminal justice.
Creators and consumers of social media are the best positioned to raise awareness of this movie and its message. I highly recommend that you make an effort to see it so you can understand why.
I had really wanted to speak with Mark after the movie. The line to collect our Mouse Liberation Front membership cards was long. I collected mine, gave him my phone number and offered him a beer for the opportunity to speak more to him about the movie and how it was made.