I have made no secret of my love of the indie movie world, and this DVD sums it up. It does not take the GNP of a small third world nation to make a movie. All you need is a camera and an idea. Often, the solution is to produce what is known as ‘A short’, a movie that may last 5 to 10 minutes. A movie that is just a ‘quick bite’ rather than a 7 course meal that quite frankly just leaves you bloated and yet unsatisfied.

Film maker Joe Biel is from the classic indie mold. In some ways he reminds me of Bill Brown, the voice over, or talk-umentary styles are very similar.

Cantankerous Titles & Obscure Ephemera, Vol 1 consists of six ‘shorts’. And each one is different. From Bike lanes in Oregon, to the problems facing the passenger railroad industry, Joe Biel takes them on. As my wife Jan would say “I ain’t scared!”

Last Train Out Of North America explores the word of the passenger train, and a wonderful experience it is. Alas it is also one that is going the way of the Dodo. Traveling should be part of the experience, not just the vehicle to the destination. Todays world though is one of ‘high speed, and high anxiety’. The train alas has become a second class citizen. For passengers this mode of transport may already be an extinct animal.

Patches, they are not just for fixing rips in your clothes, Joe tells us. They are a way of life. Central Kansas – Canvas Central is a humorous mockumentary about peoples obsession with patches. As one interviewee explains “they are the Coles Notes to a person”.

People that just ‘go out and do it’ are my kind of film makers, and that is what you will find if you watch this great DVD. Way to go Joe! You can pick up your own copy of this very fine DVD from MVD.

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

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