Most of the reviews on this site describe films that already exist, but from time to time we highlight stories on upcoming or proposed projects. One particularly exciting development in recent years is the potential for “crowd-sourced film production” enabled by sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Unfortunately, it can also be time-consuming to sift through all the projects listed to find those of real interest to viewers of urban film. Here’s one that’s worth a quick look, and possibly even a small donation.
With a Kickstarter pitch-page that reads like a cross between a prophetic bible tract and the out-takes from a William S. Burroughs rant, this film was bound to catch my attention. Requesting only an extremely modest (and symbolically spooky!) budget of $666, the filmmakers — known only as Tides of Flame, “a collective of radical film makers from the Pacific Northwest” — are proposing to create an “anti-commercial” “negative production,” using film to alter the way we think about cities, capital, production, networks, modernism, and reality itself.
The description of the project just seethes with ambition. In their own manifestoic words:
“In Fritz Lang’s classic, METROPOLIS (1927), the rulers of the
city and the workers of its sewers come to an understanding at the
end of the film. The workers will act as the body, the rulers will
act as the head, and the intellectual will act as the heart. Our
film will destroy this broken harmony forever.”
The site includes a short preview: mostly time-lapse footage depicting the urban networks which sustain1 the Seattle Metro area: high quality visuals reminescent of Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982) – thankfully without the Phillip Glass soundtrack (but with some equally eerie voice-over). Indeed, based only on this short teaser, that film’s subtitle (“Life Out of Balance”) would seem to fit equally well. The site also describes the basic structure of the film, which is impressively organized, and really does seem to focus on revealing (and challenging) the hidden connections that lie at the heart of our urban existence.
Prior to this project, Tides of Flame seems mostly to have concentrated their efforts on an online and print journal (and of course, on radical activism and occupation). Based on the consistent quality of their work to date, the film promises to be well-made and thought-provoking, and is probably worthy of your support if you believe in (a) encouraging independent voices in the world of urban film, (b) questioning the legitimacy of a world out of balance, or (c) smashing the machine.
To learn more about this project, be sure to visit the Metropolis (2012) Kickstarter page. For some background on Tides of Flame, see their online journal, joy–freedom–rebellion, and this review in The Stranger.
1 or perhaps “imprison” — the filmmakers are eager to showcase the “bio-political movements of metropolitan order, authority, and control” (emphasis original).