Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Etsy rocks the docs...and should be in a fest near you

Going along with this earlier post on the need for new thinking about docs.....I have another pet theory:

It's a crime that none of the major documentary festivals have bothered to show the Etsy short docs. What are these? Etsy has hired a team to make short docs about the artists and crafts-people who sell on Etsy, and while your gut reaction might be that this isn't art, they are pretty well made.

I think they’d have been perfect for the mission of DOCNYC - blurring the lines/acknowledging the changes in the field. If I ran a Doc fest, they'd be featured content on my website...and if you disagree with me, trust me, this would be in the spirit of provocation. But I can’t single this fest out - err, I guess I just did, but I like them and they seem open to ideas so....but really, this is about all fests

Guess what? There’s a few changes afoot in the world: Shorter content; the web; commercially supported films (this is a huge phenomenon barely acknowledged in the fest panel world); an interest in the DIY/Maker community; a slowly changing of forms due to technology...and a few other things. All of them are perfectly encapsulated in the Etsy docs. They raise ethical and other issues for the field - no more so than some other practices, but a good conversation could be had, for example, on the ethics of selling the products of the artisan you are documenting - and this alone makes it worthy of inclusion in a doc line-up. Plus, they work. Short, sweet...and money making. They may fail with this experiment, but mark my words, some version of this is the future of the doc, and we should be part of the conversation - instead of excluding them from the party, they should be welcomed.

Disclaimer: I know one of the makers of these docs. Have for a long time, but no other ties. I bet this is part of the problem - she knows many people in the doc world, and if you aren’t making a doc for Toronto or HBO (etc) then you just fall off their radar.


Some of the best content I’ve seen all year.

Here's some faves:

Handmade Portraits: Old School Tools from Etsy on Vimeo.

Some more:

Handmade Portraits: Wood Mosaics from Etsy on Vimeo.

Lucky Duck Press:

A Letterpress Legacy with Lucky Duck Press from Etsy on Vimeo.

Pets with Fez:

Handmade Portraits: Pets With Fez from Etsy on Vimeo.

 A note: I had commented here that their Flash cookies were problematic to me (thus the Vimeo link), but after emailing with some Etsy folks I feel comfortable that they aren't rabid data gatherers, so I removed that comment.

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