American Winter

American Winter, a film by Harry Gantz & Joe Gantz 


This film is framed by the personal stories from eight families in the Portland Oregon area who are struggling to pay bills, keep their power turned on, food in their bellies, and a roof over their heads during the Great Recession. Each individual story exemplifies how one misfortune can lead to a life of poverty. The social stigma surrounding homelessness and those living on welfare is completely challenged in this film. The grit and determination of those families who we follow in this film have chosen to never give up. We are reminded that the middle class is becoming an endangered species and that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing more and more rapidly and that their is something each and every one of us can do about it.

This is an important film that should be watched. It is an affirmation that something can always happen, to anyone.





Spark: A Burning Man Story

Spark: A Burning Man Story, a film by Steve Brown & Jessie Deeter


This film is unlike many I have seen before. A true insight into not only the weeks leading up to and the “burning of the man”, but a peak inside the lives of those who began this vibrate culture, over 21 years ago.

The film takes us on a journey as the founders as well as some of those “participating” in putting together different theme camps as well as art installations, plan Burning Man 2012. All of those involved in transforming Black Rock Desert into Black Rock City are very transparent in how they describe their experiences and intimacy surrounding Burning Man. Each person in the film plays a different role in regards to the event, but they are all linked together by the common thread of creating, learning, being, celebrating, participating, and having been changed in some way by Burning Man.

The first part of the film takes us through the history of the event from it’s inception to current day. The second part of this film gives us a glimpse, almost an appetizer, of what the week long event is all about.

From beautiful images to Michael Franti telling us to “let it go”, this film is very entertaining and is wonderful food for thought. It highlights the 10 principles the event is based on, including self reliance and self expression. Both forgotten essentials in our every day lives. Not only is my interest peaked in attending the annual event, but I am inspired to reflect on and implement the 10 beliefs and behaviors that are at the core of Burning Man.