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CULTURE JAM: Hijacking Commerical Culture

An edifying Treat! Variety Magazine

 

Edgy and entertaining. – Journal of American Culture

 

SCREENED AT 35 INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS

AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD – VANCOUVER AND AUCKLAND FILM FESTS

DONALD BRITTAIN GEMINI NOMINEE – BEST SOCIAL ISSUE DOC

LEO AWARD WINNNER – BEST SOCIAL ISSUE DOC, BEST EDITING

As Corporate Brands and Commercial Messages Saturate Popular Culture like Never Before, the Empire of the Sign Strikes Back!

A fascinating rap on the 20th Century movement called Culture Jamming. A new breed of revolutionary stands poised along our information highways waging war on logos and symbols. Pranksters and subversive artists are causing a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare.

In Culturejam: jammers, cultural commentators, a billboard advertiser and a constitutional lawyer take us on a wild roller coaster ride through the back streets of our mental environment. Stopping over in San Francisco, New York’s Times Square, and Toronto, we catch the jamming in action with Batman-inspired Jack Napier of the Billboard Liberation Front, Disney arch-enemy Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping and Media Tigress Carly Stasko.

Hard hitting, controversial, wacky and engaging, this film asks: Is Culture Jamming civil disobedience? Senseless vandalism? The only form of self-defense left?

Jack Napier – Midnight Billboard Editor- BILLBOARD LIBERATION FRONT

Jack Napier (a nom de guerre from the Joker in the Batman comics) is a founding member of San Francisco’s notorious Billboard Liberation Front (BLF). He’s been hijacking San Francisco’s billboards in a state of the art fashion for over 20 years strategically avoiding injury and arrest. With a membership of professional climbers, graphic designers and a few guilt ridden ad men, the BLF tackle anything from freeway overpass signs to neon installations.

Reverend Billy – Public Space Reclaimer – CHURCH OF STOP SHOPPING

Fueled by his anger at the gentrification of New York’s Times Square by the Disney Corporation, 50-year-old theatre actor Bill Talen has taken up the evangelical cloth for the Church of Stop Shopping. Reverend Billy stages occupations of the Disney Store and preaches from the cash register pulpit about Disney’s questionable corporate practices – manipulative marketing initiatives, foreign factory labour policies, and excessive profits. And Mickey M.O.U.S.E. turns Mickey Martyr as he is graphically strung up on a cross generating quite a few comments from the Times Square shoppers.

Carly Stasko – Media Tigress & Zine Publisher of UNCOOL

At the age of 16 Carly was frustrated with the advertising images of female beauty. She fought back by self-publishing her own “zine” entitled Uncool – a magazine of “jammed” ads and manifestos on culture jamming which featured a full-page ad for Philosophy Barbie. “What came first…” Stasko’s Barbie wonders, “the beauty or the myth?”. Now a university graduate in Semiotics, Carly deconstructs ads in the subway using magic markers and stickers, which are easily slapped on in a crowd. She also gives workshops to youth at alternative schools on how to deconstruct marketing messages.

 

Also starring:

Craig Baldwin
Culture Jamming Elder and found-footage filmmaker who made the underground classic film about culture jamming – Sonic Outlaws.

Mark Dery
Expert witness and cultural critic who wrote the first article on culture jamming in the early ‘80s entitled Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs.

Lew Lillian
Manager, Transit Division for Infinity Outdoor Advertising, the largest billboard advertising company in the world and the company responsible for many of the “raw canvasses” culture jammers love to edit.

Margaret Kunstler
Criminal & constitutional lawyer and co-founder of the Center For Constitutional Rights in New York. Legal Partner of William Kunstler, the firm who represented great civil rights cases such as Martin Luther King and Abbie Hoffman.

And… Featuring an audio collage appearance by NEGATIVLAND, the band of rebels who

originally coined the term “culture jamming”

CultureJam
HIJACKING COMMERCIAL CULTURE

a film by
JILL SHARPE

produced by
LYNN BOOTH
JILL SHARPE

picture editor
BONNI DEVLIN

director of photography
VELCROW RIPPER

location sound
GUILLERMO ESCALON

sound designer
VELCROW RIPPER

original music
DOUG BLACKLEY

associate producer
DIANA WILSON

THANKS TO THE REAL PEOPLE:
Jack Napier
Blank de Coverly
Billboard Liberation Front Members
Lew Lillian
Carly Stasko
Students at Cedarbrae Collegiate
Bill Talen a.k.a. Reverend Billy
Church of Stop Shopping Congregation
Disney Shoppers & Staff
Margaret Kunstler
Craig Baldwin
Mark Dery

Production Manager
DIANA WILSON

Researcher
STEPHEN CARRUTHERS

Production Accountant
TINA LYNCH

Corporate Accountant
MARGARET NEWTON

Development Accountant
ANDREA DROEGE

Legal Counsel
EVA SCHMIEG

Publicist
KATHERINE DODDS

Additional Camera
DIETMAR POST
HARRY SNELL
GUILLERMO ESCALON

Additional Sound
PIA MASSIE
CHRISTOPHER BOEHNISCH

Sound assistant
RUTH STEINER

Production assistant
ALICIA REGINATO

Transcription
SUSAN READ-FRIEDMANN

Logging
TROND HALLE
SEAN Q. LANG

Post Prod. Supervisor
BONNI DEVLIN

Assistant Editor
DIANA WILSON

Post Production Assistant
TRAVIS DEVLIN

Motion Graphics
CHRISTINE STEWART

Compositor
KEITH LAY

Sound Supervisor
DIETER PILTZ

Dialogue Editor
AMOS HURTZMAN

Audio Post Production
CINEWORKS Independent Filmmakers Society

Sound Mix
CINESONIC PRODUCTIONS INC

Sound Mixers
DEAN GIAMMARCO
BILL SHEPPARD

On-line Facility
SUPER SUITE VIDEO POST AND TRANSFER

On-line Supervisor
ANDY NATHANI

On Line Editor
WADE TAVES

Colour Timing and Titles
RAINMAKER DIGITAL PICTURES

Colourist
ACHIM KAPITZA

Title Editor
GREG KRANTZ

Closed Captioning
LINE 21 MEDIA SERVICES LTD.

Additional Music by
NEGATIVLAND
JEET K DA TRIPMASTER

Stock Footage Provided by
AMY HARRISON
BUDGET FILMS
CHARLIE CASE
PLAY LOUD! PRODUCTIONS
SABUCAT PRODUCTIONS
UNDERCURRENTS
WHISPERED MEDIA

MANY THANKS TO:
Brenda Sawatzky-Girling
Cathy Chilco
Chris Carlsson & Critical Mass
Craig Berggold & Teresa Marshall
Garth Sam
Infinity Outdoor Advertising
Jaia Friesen
Jan Rofekamp
Jeff Taylor
Jerry & Jim, Infinity “Tagbusters”
John Jordan & Reclaim the Streets
Jordi Clairamonte
Jorge Ribalta & MACBA
Kim Goodliffe
Kirk Tougas
Liz Shorten
BC Film Professional Internship Program
Naomi Klein
Mark Achbar
Mark Jenkins
Maureen Levitt
Myk Gordon
Ray Thomas, Candida Lucida & Frank Guerrero
RTMark
Robin Mirsky
Susan Kasvrak – Media Teacher
Bob Milne - Principal
The Biotic Baking Brigade
The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir
The Guerrilla Girls
The teachers and principal of Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute
Huskerdoo the Edit Dog
Video Sadhu’s Everywhere

Developed with the participation of
Rogers Communications Inc.

Produced with the financial participation of
Rogers Documentary Fund

Produced with the participation of the
Canadian Television Fund
created by the Government of Canada
and the Canadian cable industry
Telefilm Canada: Equity Investment Program

Produced with the participation of:
Rogers Cable Network Fund
British Columbia Film
The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit
The Province of British Columbia
FILM INCENTIVE BC

Produced in association with:
VISION TV
Knowledge Network
Saskatchewan Communications Network
Canadian Learning Television

Interim financing provided by
Rogers Telefund

Distributed by
Films Transit International

Written and directed by
JILL SHARPE

Right to Jam Productions
copyright 2001

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