A couple years ago while browsing I found a part of the internet known as the Internet Archive. Founded by internet activist and digital archivist Brewster Kahle, it contains a large amount of public domain content, including films, songs, etc.
Also hosted on this website is Rick Prelinger’s 1982 collection of what he labels as ‘ephemeral films’, films that had a purpose at the time of their creation but no longer have any purpose in modern times. These films showcase a variety of subjects, containing commercials, PSAs as well as home movies from different times – and they’re an excellent resource for filmmakers and artists, considering their public domain status. Especially now during COVID this technique could be used by filmmakers and directors to great effect.
The film above is a compilation of a short PSA film about cancer (‘Cancer’, Encyclopedia Britannica Films, 1953) and an earlier movie about the shipment and health benefits of bananas (‘About Bananas’, Castle Films, 1935).
In my film a deranged doctor who is obsessed with bananas performs an operation to turn a man into a bunch of bananas. (‘The order has come – ‘cut fruit’ ). By using editing techniques in a program like Adobe Premiere Pro to clip them together, I can change the tone of these PSAs entirely. Essentially, they’re a limitless source of video clips that can be strung together and played with endlessly to create endless content. Some of the fun in making these comes from the process itself, where something totally new and interesting comes from a series of random clips shoved together in an interesting way!
The next step that I’ve been working on is to create a longform version of these PSAs, and this film, inspired by movies such as The Hitch-Hiker and Cape Fear will be the next collage I work on.
So, without further ado, here is a clip from my newest piece, Murder Movie.