Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Field of Vision documentary shorts highlight global events

Posted on February 06, 2017 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By Daniel Killgallon, Free Press Staff

First Look Media is a multi-platform media company which was first launched in 2013. Amongst the company’s distributed content is Field of Vision, a documentary unit that creates a variety of short documentaries that cover a variety of contemporary events around the globe. All of this work is distributed in a variety of forms with the intention of sharing these stories with a large worldwide audience. A handful of selections were shown right at SPACE Gallery in Portland at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. These short films are also available to view online at the following link:

Here is a rundown of a few different short films which were featured. Hopefully, you will all take time to check out some unique perspectives on these contemporary subjects!

Relatively Free

Produced and Directed By: Alex Winter

Runtime: 19 mins

This first documentary is focused on the journalist Barrett Brown, who founded a research and collaboration Wiki known as Project PM. In January 2015, he was sentenced to spend 63 months in federal prison following his involvement in sharing files associated with the 2012 Stratfor email leak. Brown’s charges included: accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice and threatening a federal officer. In this short film, we follow Barrett as he drives with his parents to a halfway house following his release from his initial four-year sentence. During the car ride, Barrett explains how difficult it can be to operate as an investigative journalist in our culture today. Towards the end of the film, it is explained that President Trump “was the most hostile candidate to press freedom in modern history.” The film then explores the challenges this could pose for investigative journalists like Barrett moving forward in the future.

Project X

Directed By: Laura Poitras and Henrik Moltke

Runtime: 10 mins

This next short was definitely the most mysterious of the bunch. “Project X” refers to the production of a massive, 29 story skyscraper which is located in the middle of New York City and still used by AT&T today. Known as TITANPOINTE, the building has no windows and is capable of withstanding an atomic blast. This film explains how this tower is a crucial asset to the National Security Agency (NSA) via a joint reporting project between The Intercept and Field of Vision. By the end of the video, we learn that AT&T has been working with the NSA in order to collect data all over the globe. “Project X” is rather eerie to watch, but worth checking out for anybody who feels skeptical about the role phone surveillance plays in our culture today.

They Took Them Alive

Directed By: Emily Pederson

Runtime: 18 mins

A documentary even more twisted than “Project X”, this next film is sad in a more emotional, humane way. On Sep. 26, 2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Mexico went missing in what has commonly become known as the Iguala mass kidnapping. “They Took Them Alive” recounts interviews with loved ones of the victims, illustrating the emotional effects still felt just two years after the incident. Included in this documentary is coverage of a final report by a group of experts known as the GIEI. In April 2016, they officially announced to the affected families that all of the students were tragically burned alive in a garbage dump. A difficult short to watch, this film explores the corruption in Mexico’s law enforcement today.


Directed and Produced By: Lorena Manriquez

Runtime: 3 mins

The briefest of these selections still packs yet another emotional punch. “Hopewell” documents a horrific event that occurred in Greenville, Miss., just six days before the United States’ presidential election. Hopewell Baptist Church was burned and vandalized with “Vote Trump” graffiti. Sadly enough, this short film offers a clear example of the horribly negative effects brought upon us by the most controversial election in the history of our country.

The Disclosure President

Directed By: Elizabeth Lo

Runtime: 13 mins

“The Disclosure President” focuses on the work of Stephen Bassett, the only extraterrestrial lobbyist in the United States. Bassett is also the executive director of Paradigm Research Group, an organization looking to put an end to our government’s imposed truth embargo regarding the possible engagement of extraterrestrial life with our planet. Over the course of this short film, it is explained that Bassett supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election, as she promised to investigate UFOs during her campaign.

Best of Luck with the Wall

A Film By: Josh Begley

Runtime: 7 mins

The most simple of the short films listed here is perhaps the most thought provoking as well. “Best of Luck with the Wall” is a documentary that visualizes all 1,954 miles of the U.S.Mexico border through 200,000 satellite images which were downloaded from Google Maps. This film is cool to look at, and for obvious reasons, is culturally relevant to practically anybody living in the world today, particularly in North America. Can President Trump really accomplish his goal of building a wall along this giant border? Check out this short film online so you can answer that question and see for yourself.

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