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Saturday
Jun152019

SKID ROW MARATHON: THE MARK AND GABRIELE HAYES INTERVIEW

2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: The act of running is inherently about striving for a goal; one sets out with a determination to compete, earn a place, achieve a PB. For some, that is a life lesson that needs reinforcing. Judge Craig Mitchell of the Los Angeles Criminal Court runs, and he does so with a group of recovering addicts from the Midnight Mission facility, a bastion of hope located on Skid Row in downtown LA. The journey that the Judge and his runners undertook to run a marathon in Italy while fighting their own demons is the soaring narrative of Skid Row Marathon, from the husband and wife production team of Gabriele and Mark Hayes. “The film is about second chances, about reconnecting with your own dignity,” says Gabriele, who spoke to SCREEN-SPACE with her partner and co-director ahead of the film’s Australian premiere at the 2019 MDFF

SCREEN-SPACE: Judge Mitchell is the spiritual core of the film; the recovering addicts and homeless are the many hearts. When did the balancing act that is your narrative structure start to take shape?

GABRIELE: After we had shot about 300 hours of footage over three years we started stringing out the material in big segments. We had several rough cuts focusing on our main five characters - Judge Mitchell, David Askew, Ben Shirley, Rafael Cabrera and Rebecca Hayes. We used a big board with index cards to shape the story, which really helped to see where critical scenes were missing. We realized that is wasn’t clear who Judge Mitchell is; his backstory and his family were missing. But Judge Mitchell’s wife, Juliet, made it clear at the beginning that she didn’t want to be part of the documentary. It took us over three years to convince her that she needed to be a part of it. The interview with Juliet and the graduation of Judge Mitchell’s son Jordan were the last things we filmed.

SCREEN-SPACE: Did you envision, and budget for, a production that would take you to Ghana and Italy? Over the course of the shoot, did the unpredictability of a factual film project ever take a toll?

MARK: Our project is about homeless people running marathons. We were often reminded how similar running a marathon is to making a documentary. The first few miles are easy.  It’s around mile fifteen that you have to start digging deep and making sure things don’t fall apart. And just like a marathon, it’s important to go the distance and to finish. (Pictured, above; Mark and Gabriele Hayes)

GABRIELE: We thought it would take about a year, maximum two years, and that the only trip we would need to take was Ghana and we’d end with the LA Marathon in 2014. However, we returned from Ghana (and) Rebecca joined the running club and we felt her story was very compelling. We followed her to Seattle where she had been a heroin addict living in an alley with her three year old son. We realized that Rome had to be the coming together of all the stories. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Rome was the most expensive part of the production but it was all worth it. Then the editing process took over nine months to finish, and good editors are very expensive. We were running out of money and often came close to giving up. Then we thought of all the runners, like Rebecca for example. She was working, going to school, had a five year-old and trained for marathons. We thought if she can do it, so can we. In December 2016 we had a private screening for friends (and) a well-known editing consultant came up to us and said that he liked our film but we needed to make some changes. $50,000 later, we have the film that you will see at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

SCREEN-SPACE: What revelations about the nature of addiction impacted you during the shoot?

GABRIELE: We learnt a lot about addiction during the four years of filming. Initially, we had several runners we would follow but they relapsed and disappeared. It really affected me personally because they seemed on such a good path of getting better and then all of a sudden they relapsed. It happened especially with people who couldn’t handle the stress of getting a job or getting back into school. It was too much for them. It was also very sad to see Mody relapse after he opened his luggage store. We were very proud of him that he was sober for over a year. We asked him why he would do that and he responded, “I am lonely.” Our hearts sunk and we understood. People relapse if they don’t have a very good support system. 

SCREEN-SPACE: Was earning the trust of the Skid Row community, having them allow your cameras into their lives, one of the production's main challenges?

GABRIELE: At the beginning it was very hard to gain the trust of the runners. We read about Judge Mitchell and his running club in March 2013, just before the LA Marathon. The next day we contacted the Judge and pitched the documentary. At the time the running club was still small, maybe 5-8 people. He was on board right away but warned us that the runners may not be interested in being filmed. He suggested that we run with them first. So, we ran with the club for six weeks before we started shooting. We started out filming just the training runs and then slowly asked Rafael, Ben, and David for interviews. We felt their stories were the strongest. Rafael was the most open one and we could follow him around; Ben didn’t trust us at all and it took a long time for him to let us film him. For example, he wouldn’t tell us when he was moving out of the Midnight Mission. What we learnt was that when Mark and I would just film our subjects, in that ‘fly on the wall’ style, they would open up and be themselves. Also, it was very dangerous to film on Skid Row. People threw bottles at us, had knives and ran after us to destroy our cameras. We constantly had to be aware that something could happen. (Pictured, above; Judge Craig Mitchell) 

SCREEN-SPACE: If there is a call-to-action that you hope resonates with audiences, what would that be?  

GABRIELE: So many times we ignore people that are in the streets or abandoned because we are so focused on ourselves. Look around yourself and see if someone is in need.  It doesn’t take much, like Judge Mitchell said, maybe just a phone call on behalf of someone. We hope that after seeing the film the audience will be inspired to take action to get involved in their own community. (Pictured, above; Midnight Mission runner Rebecca Hayes) 

MARK: It became clear that the Judge was a very special individual. Here was a guy whose day job is to send people off to prison for long sentences but in his spare times helps many of the same types of people to get their lives together through running. While making this film, we learned that when it comes to some of the biggest problems facing us as a society, it is better to do something, even if it’s small, and be part of a solution rather than just doing nothing.

SKID ROW MARATHON screens on July 27 at Cinema Nova as part of the 2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL. Full ticketing and session details can be found at the event's official website.

Friday
May312019

PREVIEW: 2019 REVELATION PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

When the minds behind Perth’s fearless international film soiree Revelation announced that their 2019 event would take us to another dimension…well, none of us doubted they could pull it off. The festival that has pushed the creative envelope since its formation in a Perth jazz club in 1997 as a 16mm showcase has never baulked at embracing cinema’s cutting edge.

Right now, that cutting edge new dimension is the world of the virtual, immersive movie reality and Revelation will be presenting one of the most extensive programs of the latest tech that Australian audiences have ever seen. From July 6 to 14, the specialised strand XR:WA will unveil sessions of Virtual Reality and augmented visual experiences, live team VR gameplay, workshops, talks, screenings and 360 degree films. Says respected Festival Director Richard Sowada, “It is a truly innovative program structured around ideas of possibility and opportunity”. (Pictured, below; a scene from the 360 degree film, Rone)

The 22nd Revelation Perth International Film Festival will unspool in its entirety from July 4th, with the Opening Night honours falling to Scandi director Thomas Vinterberg’s true-life submarine thriller, Kursk. In its wake will be a roster of 144 films, including 18 world and international premieres and 60 Australian premieres. “Film is often said to be in crisis, that people don’t go to the movies,” says Program Director Jack Sargeant, “but this isn’t our experience. Cinema remains a living medium; our audiences, and the local film communities, serve as a testament to the power of watching film.”

One of Australia’s premiere curators, Sargeant cites a typically eclectic mix as his personal 2019 favourites – Luke Lorentzen’s riveting Mexico City-set verite-doc Midnight Family; the gripping jungle-set child-soldier thriller Monos, from Brazilian Alejandro Landes; James Newitt’s remote survivalist/existential drama I Go Further Under; the racially-charged small-town coming-of-age drama Savage Youth, from filmmaker Michael Johnson; Memory The Origins of Alien, the latest deconstructionist essay on filmmaking by Alexandre O. Phillipe (The People vs George Lucas, 2010; 78/52, 2017); and, Letters to Paul Morrissey, an anthology love letter to the longtime Andy Warhol collaborator.

In addition to his opening night choice, Richard Sowada has favoured All the Gods in the Sky, mono-monikered French director Quarxx’s unsettling mash-up of drama, horror, fantasy and sci fi; documentarian Chris Martin’s thrilling profile of renowned war correspondent Marie Colvin, Under the Wire; the Indian/Swedish co-production Tumbbad (pictured, below), hailed a folk-horror masterpiece after its Best Film win at genre fest Sitges; and, Viktor Kossokovsky’s Aquarela, a rapturous ode to the might and magnificence of the globe’s most precious resource.

The Festival Director’s other favourite is Aaron Schimberg’s stirring, unique and deeply involving film-within-a-film narrative, Chained for Life. Direct from its official placement at the London Film Festival, Schimberg’s work stars Adam Pearson as the malformed star of a B-horror pic who falls for his stunning leading lady. Pearson, a sufferer of Type 1 Neurofibromatosis, came to prominence opposite Scarlett Johansson in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013); the actor, an outspoken advocate for disability awareness, will be present for the Revelations screening of the film, a vision that had Variety reviewer Dennis Harvey pondering, “What if the ‘freaks’ had made Tod Browning’s Freaks?”

Other works certain to draw audiences to the myriad of Rev-venues are Don Argott and Sheena M Joyce’s Framing John DeLorean, the docu-drama re-enactment of the wild times of the American automobile titan (featuring Alec Baldwin as the entrepreneur); the rousing, crowdpleasing expose Hail Satan?, director Penny Lane’s insider’s take on The Satanic Temple movement; and, Tim Travers Hawkins’ XY Chelsea, a forthright and revealing insight into whistleblower Chelsea Manning, both as a fighter for freedom of information and as she transitions into her new self.

Also featured in 2019 is a vast selection of short films from across the globe (in addition to Australia, America and The U.K., Revelations welcomed works from Belgium, Canada, France, Mexico, Uruguay and Japan, to name just a few); a retrospective celebrating science fiction films with screenings of classics The Quiet Earth, Things To Come, The Andromeda Strain and Alien; family friendly free sessions of animated short films under the banner International Family Animation Explosion; the popular Industrial Revelations strand, featuring festival guests exploring key aspects of the industry at dedicated panels and workshops; the music video sidebar Blind Date, spotlighting works created by local filmmakers; and, Screenwest’s annual showcase of emerging W.A. filmmaking talent in Get Your Shorts On!

REVELATIONS PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL runs July 4th-17th. Full program and ticketing information can be found at official website.

Sunday
May262019

FORGED FROM FIRE: THE ANDREW GARTON INTERVIEW

Over the weekend of Saturday February 7, 2009, a wall of fire swept through rural Victoria, leaving in its wake 4,500 km² of devastation; over 3,500 buildings were destroyed, countless wild and domesticated animals perished, and 173 people died. From the ashes of what would become known as ‘Black Saturday’, decimated communities began to reform through unifying actions that define the true spirit of Australians. One such endeavor was ‘The Blacksmith’s Tree’, a monument six years in the making, featuring leaves forged from the steel of metal craftsmen from the region. Soon, news of artist and project founder Amanda Gibson’s vision reached blacksmiths the world over; the result - a three tonne, 9.8-metre tall stainless steel and copper gum tree, its canopy comprised of over 3500 leaves forged in 20 different countries.

Director Andrew Garton boarded the project in 2011, assembling footage shot by local Warwick Page since 2009 as well as providing cameras to the welders and volunteers at the forefront of The Tree Project. In February 2019, Garton finished Forged From Fire, a remarkable account of the decade it took to build The Blacksmith’s Tree, and the resurgent spirit that the project inspired. “It's incredible how a tragic event can bring people together,” says the director, who spoke to SCREEN-SPACE ahead of the film’s screening at the 2019 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. (Photo credit: Deepshika Rameshkumar)

SCREEN-SPACE: Describe your collaboration with Amanda Gibson (pictured, below). What did you see in her that drove her to make this project work?

GARTON: Amanda would call to let me know when there was action at the forge or the Tree Project Factory. I'd turn up with my camera and gradually disappear into the events of the day, or the many evenings for that matter. Amanda and her team trusted that I wouldn't interfere, that I would blend in. And everyone trusted Amanda's judgement and capacity for keeping us all together. We all knew that Amanda had the drive to make this happen, was devoted to it and everyone working on it. It was her capacity to understand the sensitivities out in the community and care she took to modulate every aspect of the Blacksmiths' Tree so that everyone felt involved and, well, together, that was rare and cinematic - Amanda is Forged from Fire's heroine!

SCREEN-SPACE: The eight-year production schedule must have provided hours of footage and interview content. How structured was your narrative and how much did it alter over the course of the shoot/post period?

GARTON: I created a loose structure, a mind map actually, based on a timeline of events, mostly to manage all the assets. Once I had all the interviews transcribed and extensive shot lists spread across index cards, I began work on a post-script. It was reading through all the interviews that a narrative of sorts emerged. But it was one thing referring to transcripts, it was another finding (that) the spoken word often didn't fit the nuanced flow I was looking for. But I had to lock off a script, both to ensure I had a narrative arch to refer back to and to not get lost in all the material we had shot. It was also important that the footage I'd received from other filmmakers honoured their vision but didn't detract from the emotive visual and aural flow of the work. 

SCREEN-SPACE: Your subject matter demands your emotional engagement, and presents daily displays of profound sadness. How does that impact you, the documentarian? Were you able to stay objective? Did you have moments when you needed to 'purge' emotion?

GARTON: I don't ever purge emotion, but there were times I'd put the camera down. If people were unable to talk to Amanda many would turn to me. There were times when all sorts of people would want to share their fire story with me. Being with the Blacksmiths' Tree, no matter what stage of the process it was in, their connection to it would create a safe space in which stories would be shared. I didn't film these interactions. There's a time when one documents and there's a time one connects without a camera. Of course when it comes to post you have to make tough decisions. I think you have to remain objective and balance one's emotions simultaneously. After all, as a filmmaker one's stories to be communicated well, to reach people, to connect with people and this is a huge responsibility.

Forged from Fire - Trailer from Andrew Garton on Vimeo.

SCREEN-SPACE: The Tree proved a cathartic, unifying work of art. Does your film have a similar affect when you watch it with people from the region?

GARTON: It doesn't matter where (we screen) the film, whether in the region or elsewhere, so many emotions emerge. Some years ago, an earlier shorter version of the film was screened at a human rights event in Barcelona. Everyone in the audience appeared touched by the film. Some mentioned how similar we are... It's incredible how a tragic event can bring people together, that their humanity can to be recognised by those who are watching the film. The film brings out all sorts of stories in people. It seems to create a safe space in which people both listen, share deeply moving stories and feel comfortable to do so. 

SCREEN-SPACE: What is your lasting, most impactful memory of the production's history?

GARTON: The most memorable moment was the first day of shooting that our incredible D.O.P. Mike Wilkins (pictured, right) and I did together, back in December 2013, when I interviewed most of the men and women involved in the creation of the Blacksmiths' Tree. In spite of the many who had been directly affected by Black Saturday they found solace, they found comfort and inspiration in each other, in being together, in creating something no one had ever done before, that they were part of this. To both listen to their stories and that they felt comfortable to share them with me, in front of a camera and everything else we had going, was a tremendous gift. These people, their testimonies, their trust, the quality of their character and the essence of the voice, these were what kept me going when the going got tough and it often did. I think we are better together than apart.

FORGED FROM FIRE will screen on July 22 at the Backlot Cinemas as part of the 2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL. Full session and ticketing information can be found at the official website.

Sunday
May192019

PREVIEW: 2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

There is a heightened sense of expectation surrounding the line-up of the 2019 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival (MDFF). Having been one of the underdog capital city festivals for much of its existence, the event came of age in 2018 – it was named Best Documentary Film Festival by the respected Film Daily site; the Best Documentary Festival in the Southern hemisphere by Guide Doc; and, for the third year running, a Top 100 film festival as voted by the industry’s leading submission portal, Film Freeway.

Drawing upon a year during which documentarians were energised by global socio-political upheaval, the 2019 MDFF will be screening works sourced from 44 local and international festivals, including Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Hot Docs and SXSW. The programme statistics are impressive, indicating founder and festival director Lyndon Stone takes his newfound global status seriously; on offer are 112 works, comprising 50 features and 62 short-form films, amongst them 6 World premieres and 59 Australian premieres.      

As in 2018, when the festival launched with Tony Zierra’s Kubrick-themed Filmworker, this year’s two-pronged Opening Night sessions will also examine mad geniuses and their impact on cinema. Veteran filmmaker Peter Medak recounts the summer of 1973 and the insanity-inducing experience of filming with Britain’s most eccentric and volatile comic in The Ghost of Peter Sellers (pictured, above). And the fiery, complex reputation of one of Europe’s most reviled directors is addressed in the first-person when Uwe Boll (pictured, right) fronts up for F*ck You All: The Uwe Boll Story.

Four Australian docs will have their global debut at MDFF - Fiona Cochrane’s Strange Tenants: Ska’d For Life, a profile of Australia’s most influential ska band; Aidan Prewitt’s Woodstock at 50: A Venue for the End of the World, a special anniversary screening of the award winning film with new and improved footage from the iconic music festival; Art of Incarceration, director Alex Siddons’ profile of The Torch, a not-for-profit arts initiative that supports creative endeavours for indigenous prisoners; and, Helen Gaynor’s The Candidate, a fly-on-the-wall insight into Green’s senate hopeful Alex Bhathal’s run for parliament.

The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival will draw on some legitimate star power in 2019. Amongst the celebrities in front of and behind the lens are Werner Herzog (subject of Herbert Golder’s Ballad of a Righteous Merchant); Alicia Vikander (pictured, right; narrating Jennifer Baichwal’s and Edward Burtynsky’s Anthropocene The Human Epoch); Oscar winning director Barbara Kopple (director of New Homeland); Bill-&-Ted star-turned-filmmaking agitant Alex Winter (director of Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain); and, legendary musos Tommy Emmanuel (star of Jeremy Dylan’s The Endless Road) and Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood (in conversation with director Stuart Douglas for his short There’s a Hell of a Racket Coming From Your House, Mrs Wood).

Certain to be an emotion-charged highlight of the festival will be a screening of Forged from Fire, a chronicle of the building of The Blacksmith’s Tree. A monument to the victims of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires that swept through rural Victoria, director Andrew Garton’s camera follows a local movement launched by traditional blacksmiths to build a tree of steel, a declaration of remembrance that garnered an international following. Proceeds from the screening, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the disaster, will go to the Victorian Volunteer Firefighters.

The MDFF’s reputation as one of the premiere outlets for the documentary short format strengthens further in 2019. The always-popular Music strand will feature Felix Bechtolsheimer’s Somewhere in Their Heads (pictured, right), a study of the creative process behind the recording of Curse Of Lono’s second album ‘As I Fell,’ and J.P. Olsen’s Big Paradise, a profile of cult combo, The Numbers Band; the LGTBIQ sidebar will play The Gender Line, T.J. Parsell’s biography of transgender rock star Cidny Bullens, and Nicky Larkin’s Becoming Cherrie, a peek inside the life of Belfast’s most famous drag queen; and, Indigenous narratives will be examined in films such as Running 62, Torres Strait Islander Zibeon Fielding self-directed account of his long-distance marathon charity efforts, and Goh Iromoto’s African odyssey, The Wonder. 

2018 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL runs July 19-30 at the Cinema Nova and Backlot Studios venues. For ticket sales and session details, visit the official website.

SCREEN-SPACE is a media partner of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Editor Simon Foster will be hosting Q&A events throughout the festival as a guest of the organisers.

Tuesday
May142019

THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS: THE SANDY K. BOONE INTERVIEW

2019 MELBOURNE DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Conjure, if you can, a faux-theological underground movement, borne of the maddening heat and finest marijuana that 1970s Texas can offer, whose purpose is to ridicule the establishment and provide raucous sessions of laughter to all those that follow its doctrine. Such is The Church of The SubGenius, a ridiculously wonderful (or is that wonderfully ridiculous?) institution that enters its sixth decade facing an existential crisis – is there still a place in modern America for hard-edged social cage-rattling when society seems bent on destroying itself anyway?

In her hugely enjoyable documentary J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and The Church of The SubGenius, director Sandy K. Boone recounts half-a-century of SubGenius gospel, inspired lunacy and the occasional fall from grace, at a time when a resurgent Church is more important than ever before. “The absurdity of our current political situation is far more absurd than the Church of the SubGenius was or ever has been!”, says the director (pictured, below), speaking to SCREEN-SPACE ahead of the Australian Premiere of her film at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in July…

SCREEN-SPACE: What drew you to The Church of The SubGenius as the subject for your debut feature?

BOONE: The film is an homage to my late husband and early member of the Church of the SubGenius, David Boone, a.k.a. "Roperto de la Rosa," and to his film style. We made Invasion of the Aluminum People in the early 80’s, which was presented by the late Jonathan Demme in New York at a ‘Made In Texas’ festival. The documentary is also a venue for the founders of the ‘Church', Doug Smith, a.k.a. "Rev. Ivan Stang," and Steve Wilcox, a.k.a. "Philo Drummond," to tell the true and unabridged story of the Church of the SubGenius for the first time. It was important to them so that after their passing, (or as Doug Smith would say, “upon boarding the pleasure saucers”), the world would not turn the tongue-in-cheek, con job, and joke of the Church of the SubGenius, into a real cult or possible Scientology. The film also examines a humorous but effective mode to speak out, especially now, in the age of Trump, fake news, and cult practices being used in our politics and government today.

SCREEN-SPACE: Their earliest incarnation struck me as a kind of counter-culture/punk version of the mentality that spawned National Lampoon or Monty Python. As rebellious as those institutions appeared, they were still college boys on an inside track; The Subgenius were true outsiders…

BOONE: Yes, I believe that’s true. In its earliest days the Church of the SubGenius was a ‘boys club’, so to speak, and was initially about members devising ways to crack each other up. Many who had considered themselves outsiders had finally found a place to belong. They prided themselves on being collectors of anything outside the norm. They would say or do anything to be heard, just as in the punk movement in Texas. This nonconformity in punk music and the tongue-in-cheek humor of the ‘Church’ was a form of inventiveness and spontaneity that drew in fellow disgruntled folk. Many of the early members of the SubGenius entered the workforce during the Reagan era. Despite being young and well educated, many even holding Masters degrees, they found themselves with no choice but to work assembly lines or do construction. It was very much like the line in the Sidney Lumet's 1976 film, Network, …”I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!”  The Church of the SubGenius became their outlet for expression. (Pictured, above; from left, Church founders Steve Wilcox, a.k.a. "Philo Drummond" and Doug Smith, a.k.a. "Rev. Ivan Stang.")

SCREEN-SPACE: Is the inherent nature of The Church of The Subgenius and it's disciples a 'Texas thing'? Help Australian audiences understand what qualities of the 'Lone Star State' are part of the Church's D.N.A.

BOONE: The Church may have originated from the minds of two good ol' boys living in Texas, but other than that it is more of a ‘universal thang' than a ‘Texas thang’. Granted, much of the Church’s satirical dogma is derived from conspiracy theories. There is no ‘sacred’ or highly ‘secret’ material that is not integrated into the 'joke'. The JFK assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 and Area 51, the highly classified U.S. Air Force base known for its UFO folklore are both hotbeds for Church material. As for universal symbolism, I believe any person that, for whatever reason, feels like they do not fit in, or that has a sense of humor that is a bit offbeat from the norm, or anyone desiring a platform to be heard on most any subject will appreciate the undiscerning approach of the Church of the SubGenius. (Pictured, above; Doug Smith, a.k.a. "Rev. Ivan Stang.")

SCREEN-SPACE: Is the heyday of The Church of The Subgenius behind us? What can they bring to the America of the future?

BOONE: The ‘Church’ originated in the United States, but it has subgroups, known as clenches, throughout Europe and other parts of the world.  There are also radio stations that broadcast "The Hour of Slack" across the United States and Canada, as they have been doing for nearly four decades. I believe the ‘Church’, and this film specifically, can be used as a vehicle to approach serious topics but in a humorous way. My hope would be that through the “Church” we all might find creative ways to make civility, truth, thoughtfulness, and empathy popular again. A conversation about our different political views does not always have to be hostile. The SubGenius are such an example of how you can be on opposite sides of an issue, engage in some good-natured debate, but at the end of the day remain friends based on the things you have in common.  My hope is that by deconstructing the way SubGenius have used cult tactics and an ‘us vs. them’ mentality (though often in jest), viewers of the film will be more aware of how others in power harness these same tactics to encourage isolation and devastation across humanity. I would love to see a resurgence in Church membership and its "think for yourself" mentality as this film makes its way around the world. The best days of the "Church" may still be ahead of us!

J.R. ’BOB’ DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS will have its Australian Premiere at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, July 19-29. Full venue and session information can be found at the official website.