A film of mine was jury voted to the top 10, winning me a ticket to Denver’s Cinemocracy film festival last month. The festival was supposed to be online user voted, but anyone who knows anything knows it was a setup.
At any rate, I was more than happy to show my film at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater. A reporter from the Denver Post gave me a good review (see “10 Films that Define Democracy“) and said the following about my video,
Joseph L[a] Sac’s formally impressive “Democracy Is a Spectacle” would make a fine, if very brief, double bill with the winner for best international submission, Charlie Timms’ “Everyday Democracy.”
If L[a] Sac’s film seems mildly grim in its theorizing about democracy and manipulation, it’s because Situationist Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle” provides the narration.
I know I sound very bitter about “winning” this film festival, but the festival really wasn’t run very democratically in the first place. Although the context of the festival was based entirely around principles of democracy and fairness, the fact that it wasn’t either of those ruined it for me.
Nearly all of the other films projected the idea that democracy is about voting and keeping yourself at the feet of the ruling class, and the viewers were mostly looking forward to campy and boring humor to be entertained by. I enjoyed myself in spite of that bullshit. Before the show started I was asked by PBS, CNN for Kids, etc. to explain what “The Spectacle” means. I met eager actresses and young film students who seemed to think all the directors were “famous”; I told them I was only interested in making militant films and they laughed. (I was only telling the truth!) Plus I drank free beer and schmoozed with backstage VIPs as we watched the DNC live on television.