PressPausePlay, an award-winning documentary about our new digital culture, premiered at SXSW earlier this year. It is playing at film festivals and you can buy it on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital pay sites. If you don’t want to pay for it, you can now download it via a torrent for free. This free option was essential to the filmmakers. As Seth Godin says in the film, ideas that are free spread faster.
The movie examines the impact of today’s technology advances on our culture and the digital artists, musicians, and filmmakers who create it. In the film, Godin says “there has never been a better time to be an artist.” Taking a completely different view, technology pessimist, Andrew Keen, host of TechCrunch TV’s “Keen On“, says “we may well be on the verge of a new dark age… where the creative world is destroyed.”
Watching parts of the movie, I thought I was watching an Apple promotional video, showing the power of what a Mac can do. The music and videos that can be produced on computers, almost exclusively Apple computers in this film, is simply amazing. As the musician Moby says, because of software, “now any kid … in about 5 minutes can do what took 6 months or years, 20 years ago.”
But that doesn’t mean it’s any good. See Rebecca Black. Moby adds “If everyone is a musician and everyone is making mediocre music, eventually the world is just covered with mediocracy.”
As the filmmakers say, “the digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities.” But, Keen questions whether a young Hitchcock or Scorsese would make it today, as they “slap up their early stuff on Facebook, on YouTube, it would get lost in the ocean of garbage.”
The movie also addresses the troubling dichotomy that the same technology artists use to create their work also allows for easy pirating and destroys existing business models. The documentary doesn’t provide any easy answers, but it raises important questions about the impact to our culture.
You can find the free download options at presspauseplay.com, including an interactive Adobe Air version with deleted scenes and additional and longer interview clips. For the standard downloads, you get a .torrent file and use a free software like BitTorrent to get the movie file. So far, there have been 4,000 downloads.
Why have both a free version (with even more interactive content) and paid version at the same time, with links just inches away from each other? When the filmmakers signed their distribution deal, they say it was always their intention to eventually give the film away for free online. The goal was never to make money, but instead make a film people would share and think about.
Andrew Keen was interviewed for the film, but he got to turn the cameras around on the filmmakers in Austin. Here’s the interview Keen did with the Swedish co-directors David Dworsky and Victor Kohler, at SXSW:
Here’s a movie trailer: