Haiti fundraising screenings, PhD papers, and Coca-Cola lawyers
Whew!! It’s been a craaaaaaaazy month. Today I finally put the finishing touches on the first draft of my Second Comprehensive Exam Essay for my PhD and sent it off to my fearless supervisor, Ira. It ended up weighing in at 55 pages double spaced, a grand total of 13,000 words. Whether all the words add up to anything intellectually stimulating or not is another story, but I’ve definitely cornered the market on quantity this time around. The paper is on audiences, and much of it was a literature review where I was kind of staking out the terrain. I’m now convinced that I need to include a big section of my PhD thesis on audiences, so as an exercise in moving toward my end goal of finishing this PhD, I’d say it has worked quite well. Ira will get back to me in a week or so with feedback and I’m sincerely hoping he likes it and I can do some edits and submit to my committee. Once I’m done the Second Comps process, I’ll be focusing on my thesis – first the proposal, then the proposal defence, then the big one…
In the last month I also wrote a pretty big article for POV Magazine’s special education issue, which will hit newsstands at the end of January or beginning of February. Pick up a copy and check it out – I argue the case for documentary cinema as a form of critical, alternative education.
The book I spent the last three years working on with Tom Waugh and Mike Baker is finally coming off the presses next week as well. We should be getting our own hard cover copies and soft cover copies in about two weeks time. In the mean time you can actually pre-order the book, Challenge for Change: Activist Documentary at the National Film Board of Canada, from amazon.ca for super cheap ($21). It’s also for sale on the publisher’s site, McGill-Queen’s University Press.
We kick off our book launch tour in late February and I’m trying to coordinate events in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, and maybe even St John’s. Svetla is looking after the biggest launch, here in Montreal, thank god.
Lastly, it’s been insane here in the Cinema Politica Nerve Centre (our home office). A recent letter from Coca-Cola’s lawyers over a documentary we’re touring through the CP network has elicited more media and audience attention than we’ve ever received. Our screening of the film to kick off the tour last Monday at Concordia had nearly 1,000 people show up – a new record for us! We had to turn away more than 200 people…
The media buzz has been non-stop. We had lots of local coverage at first, but once a writer with the Canadian Press wrote up an article and sent it out on the wire, every news service in the country seemed to pick it up. We have friends in Europe, Australia and all over Canada who saw the story on the Yahoo web page for instance. Today there was a nice-sized article in the Globe and Mail, Ottawa/Quebec edition. We hope the media attention continues throughout the tour, but we don’t know if we’ll be able to keep up the pace!
Lastly, we’re organizing fundraising screenings for Haiti with a great documentary called Aristide and the Endless Revolution. It’s been non-stop indeed. Oh ya, we also launched a blog on the Cinema Politica site.