Fort Worth Film Kultur

The reporter for the "Kultur" column in Fort Worth Weekly was kind enough to call and let me know ahead of time that there is a glaring factual error involving me in the column. He apologized profusely. I found this to be honorable on his part and thanked him for it. Basically it says I was at SXSW purely as an audience member because Deadroom got rejected. Finally got my pic in the paper and it says I'm a reject. Oh well, they'll print a retraction but the damage is done. Shit happens.

I'm glad that instead of taking the tact of blaming SXSW for not showing more Fort Worth films he takes the city to task for not supporting the type of independent art films that festivals are looking for. Although, I must say he was pretty off the mark in his cheap shot at "Fa$cist Watch". If he would have asked me about that I would have said they suffer from the same problem as SXSW. If there were any FW filmmakers making hard-hitting docs about local or other worldly topics they would be more than happy to show it. So I thought it was inappropriate to lash out at those guys. They are good peeps and they do a lot for the community here.

I thought he was right on point however with his comments on the Lone Star Film Society. For a film society they do absolutely nothing to cultivate local talent. I've been trying to get them to show Deadroom since it premiered at SXSW last year and I got nothing. Dallas, Austin, Cleveland, Philadelphia, College Station, Louisiana, and soon D.C. but Fort Worth: nothing. Except mine and Nick's living room of course. And you know what, if I asked the folks at 1919 Hemphill to play it they would do it in a second.

I must say, I'm happy that FW Weekly has taken an interest in what I'm doing and cares enough to seek my opinion in film related matters. I certainly hope they keep on supporting the local film scene and don't let it fall to the wayside.

Here's a link to the article:

I know that writers are forced to deal with issues of word count and space for their articles so I'll take a second to expound on the last line in the article, “The situation in local film is indicative of the entire art scene, it all goes back to the people, and they’d rather have a SuperTarget on West Seventh Street.”

Basically, people in Fort Worth, and most of America probably, would rather support the building of a new Wal Mart or Super Target than drive five or ten miles to support a local business. Which is the same with film, they will go to the nearest multiplex and watch whatever is out but they won't go a little out of their way to seek out a locally made film. It is what it is.


Response to the Article from Ramsey Sprague who created the Fa$cist Watch Series but has recently stepped down from running the series due to his new full time job as a State Organizer for The Green Party:

"Next Time, Ask!

With regards to Kultur's perplexing attitude with regards to the 2 year old Fa$ci$t Watch film series and 1919 Hemphill - Where to begin? First, I applaud the Weekly's printing of the name – it's the first time that it's done so opting usually for the original “1919 Hemphill Film Series”.

Let me make on thing clear - Fa$ci$t Watch is a political documentary film series. If Fort-centric filmmakers made political documentaries, you can be rest assured they would be welcomed in the series with open arms! We've supported other Texas documentary directors like Patrick Phillips, who was living in College Station and who now resides in Austin (big surprise), as well as Texas expatriates like Nick Cooper and David Redmon, whose highly acclaimed film Mardi Gras: Made in China received its North Texas Premier at 1919 back in 2004! Incidentally, it was this film that started the Fa$ci$t Watch series.

Every year the traveling Gadabout Film Festival has come through 1919, we always feature local filmmakers' shorts including James M. Johnston's and The Chaotic Cong's many shorts. At least one of The Chaotic Chong's shorts was filmed at 1919! We've has also hosted Maria Garcia's Film Fatale series in past years.

We've shown and discussed films that cover gentrification, affordable housing, military recruitment controversies, eminent domain abuses, peak oil's effects, living wage battles, vegetarianism, family farm struggles, corporate governance, media corruption, indigenous rights, as well as clean air, water, and soil issues. I'm perplexed how “Kulture” seems to think that these issues don't “have anything to do with Fort Worth.”

Aside from film, some 1919-kateers are very active in their representative government and have appeared at Council Chambers numerous times protesting the Trinity Parkway, neighborhood gas drilling, and increases in square footage minimums for newly built houses – among other policy of interest.

Oh, and Kay Granger, Joe Barton, Michael Burgess, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Kenny Marchant, Pete Sessions, Jeb Hensarling, Sam Johnson, Chet Edwards, and Ralph Hall!

An amateur reporter's tip to a paid one: next time, ask!

Ramsey Sprague

And here's a response from David's Blog:

"I've always maintained that my friends and I make films in Dallas-Ft. Worth for reasons of circumstance, and not choice. I love making films here, but that's because I'm making a film, not due to where I'm making it. There is no filmmaking community here; there are merely filmmakers (many of them wonderful and talented, many of them my friends) functioning in a civic void (something tells me that Laura Miller would never jump off a bridge for one of our movies). I'm not afraid of burning bridges when I say things like this, because there really are none to burn. Individual support is thankfully in no short supply; but I can count the local institutions that have consistently gone out of their way to help us on two fingers (Bart Weiss' Video Association, and MPS Studios), and we've long been bemused at the fact that our films have received press in national publications more often than in the local newspapers. And when the area rags do mention us, they shoot themselves - and us, and whatever vestige of a community the metroplex might have - in the foot, as the Fort Worth Weekly did the other day when they printed this article. James has written a level-headed response to it; since I don't live in Fort Worth, and have no civic pride in the metroplex, I don't feel the need to go easy on it. Initial good intentions aside, this is sloppy journalism at best, and deliberate misrepresentation at worst; the reporting erroneously substantiates the very problems it purportedly laments. The author's error regarding Deadroom (an insult to inaccurate injury) isn't even the most egregious element; it is his snide comments about the Facist Watch film series, which is run by friends of ours who do know who their congressmen and women are, that I find entirely unforgiveable. Someone needs to stop a moment and weigh the value of fact-checking against snarky commentary. It's an embarassment, both to my peers and to the city itself.

I'm happy and proud to be known as a Texas filmmaker; get any more regionally specific than that, though, and I start to get uncomfortable.