RiP! A Remix Manifesto
CANADA / 2008 / English / Color / Video / 86 min
Director, Script: Brett Gaylor
Photography, Associate Director: Mark Ellam
Editing: Tony Asimakopoulos, Brett Gaylor
Original Music: Olivier Alary
Executive Producers: Daniel Cross, Mila Aung-Thwin, Ravida Din (NFB), Sally Bochner (NFB)
Producers: Mila Aung-Thwin, Kat Baulu (NFB), Germaine Ying Gee Wong (NFB)
Production Companies: EyeSteelFilm, National Film Board of Canada
Source: National Film Board of Canada www.onf-nfb.gc.ca
A fierce inquiry into intellectual property rights, starting with the artist Girl Talk, who creates original music by sampling and re-arranging pre-existing songs. Illuminating how copyright and intellectual property rights cover everything from images and music to the cure for cancer, Canadian director Brett Gaylor’s interviews range from cultural critics to the Brazilian Minister of Culture. Exposing groups that aim to nail down rights to human heritage, this film examines the true meaning of originality.
[Director’s Statement] Rip! began more than six years ago, when I set out to make a film about the digital revolution. I had no idea this would take me around the world, that I’d meet my heroes, and that we would embark on a project to re-think the entire filmmaking process.
When I first heard Lawrence Lessig speak in 2002, I knew what kind of activist I was: a free culture activist. Lessig’s writing made me realize that the copyright debate was larger than “kids stealing music,” it was a fundamental debate about who can participate in our culture. And when I first saw Girl Talk perform, I knew that here was an artist who represented the smashing of the barriers between artist and fan that digital technology allows. Watching his fans leave the audience to join him on stage, I realized that an entire generation was being made criminals to support outdated thinking. I knew this energy could be harnessed at Open Source Cinema, where we let our audience mash-up, remix, and contribute to the film in progress. And in Brazil, we found a society that inspired us to think differently, and that a balance between intellectual property and the public domain was possible.
Since we released the film last November, it has played at film festivals around the world, on television in a dozen countries, has been downloaded thousands of times, and has inspired countless individuals to rethink copyright. None of this would have happened if we had not been open to influence, and willing to work with our audience. We have learned so much and, of course, had a lot of fun in the process!
Born in 1971 in Canada, Gaylor is a documentary filmmaker and new media director. He is the creator of opensourcecinema.org, a video remix community that supports the production of his feature documentary, RiP! A Remix Manifesto. He is also the web producer of the Homeless Nation, a web project dedicated to bridging the digital divide, allowing everyone to participate in online culture. He was one of Canada’s first videobloggers and has been working with youth and media for over ten years. He is a founding instructor of the Gulf Islands Film and Television School.