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On September 15, 2008, Los
Angeles's libertarian Karl Hess Club screened
two of Packard's short films and SpaceDisco
One. Afterwards, Packard discussed his work with KHC members.
It's difficult to explain SpaceDisco
One's "story." The film borrows characters and themes,
and actual clips, from Logan's
and Fox News. The clips are intercut with original footage of Winston
Smith and O'Brien and Logan's daughter, shot "guerrilla style" (i.e., without
permit) at Universal Citywalk, to create a gonzo vision of future and past.
One's themes are anti-corporatist and anti-statist. Oceania's
propaganda broadcast (lifted from the second film version of 1984)
played against Fox News images celebrating the War On Terror.
One also incorporates reality TV show "gotcha" footage of people
arrested on camera. Packard's film demonstrates that war and police
busts have become entertainment for dummied-down Americans.
One contrasts these dark, post-9/11 images with late 1970s film
TV show clips, music, and pop cultural references. Packard regards
the disco era as a "more innocent" time, full of creativity and freedom.
In his film, characters derived
from TV's Buck
Rogers and Logan's
Run meet Winston Smith, and everyone tries to determine what went wrong
in 1984. How did Big Brother replace roller discos?
Copyright law, established
to encourage creativity by remunerating artists, is instead increasingly used
to suppress criticism. One can thus interpret SpaceDisco
One's wide usage of Hollywood film clips and music, intercut
with 1984 references, to be an indictment of the erosion of Fair Use and its resultant
curbing of Free Speech.
However, Packard says that
he take excerpts from other films (in the music industry it's called "sampling")
mostly because he can't afford to shoot his own footage. He added
that the big studios don't much care about people at his low and obscure
level. Problems only arise when a film seeks or attains commercial distribution.
One KHC attendee compared SpaceDisco
One to "a collage," mixing previously existing elements into
something new. She praised Packard for inventing a new and personal
style of filmmaking, likening him to Luis
Buñuel. Yet Packard's aesthetic is nearer that
Soviet directors in the 1920s. Due to a shortage of raw film stock,
these directors used and reused footage from previous films, inadvertently
developing a new and aggressively creative form of film editing, which
French film critics later called "montage."
Despite the kudos, Packard
is tired of doing so many "mish-mash" films, and wants to direct an entirely
original story. So far, lack of funds have prevented it. He
earns his living as a freelance film and video editor.
Universal Citywalk banned
Packard from their premises because of his "guerrilla filmmaking" on their
property. Yet that may have only fueled his growing reputation as
an "underground artist."
One was completed in May 2007. It screened at the New
York Film Festival on October 6, 2007. It was also an official selection
for the Hollywood Film Festival, the Lausanne Fest in Switzerland, the
Lincoln Film Center in NY, Berkeley Fest, Tulsa Overground, the Dark Room
in San Francisco, Il Corral in L.A., the Union Gallery in London, and many
other festivals throughout 2007.
It will be distributed on
DVD by OtherCinema, along with Lost in Thinking and other Packard shorts, in 2008.
Packard's previous epic,
the hilariously grotesque Reflections
of Evil, is available through Amazon.com.
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