By Brian D. Johnson - Monday, December 8, 2008 - 0 Comments
One of the the most buzzed entries at the Whistler Film Festival was RiP: A Remix Manifesto. After winning the audience award at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), it went on to win the Cadillac People’s Choice Award at Whistler. This Canadian documentary, directed by Montreal filmmaker and web activist Brett Gaylor, is a knockout. Rip is a dazzling frontal assault on how corporate culture is using copyright law to muzzle freedom of expression. It’s central character is a young Philadelphia mash-up artist named Girl Talk (aka Greg Gillis), who performs and records material sampled from myriad sources, and defends his right to do so without paying royalities. As far as he’s concerned, he’s just mining the pop culture that engulfs us and creating something original out of it. It’s basic collage, and as the film points out, it’s an art form that long predates digital sampling technology, going back to the Surrealist movement and the cut-ups of William Burroughs.