Aaron

Aaron

A jack of all digital trades and master of none. I enjoy making and watching documentary films, writing, and learning about media, culture, and technology.

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The Sensory and Narrative Uses of Cannabis in Film

Chart and analyze some great examples of the use of cannabis as a narrative device and/or sensory (i.e. hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling, etc.) symbol on the big screen.

The article could explore the increasingly casual use of cannabis by characters in movies (i.e. the eroding of the cannabis taboo), or how cannabis is portrayed in dramas vs. comedies, etc.

This article should not be answering moral questions about the use of cannabis in film, but should use the perceived immorality of cannabis use over time as a consideration during analysis.

  • Interesting topic. From the counterculture usage in Easy Rider that signals freedom, ultimately punished by reactionary forces, to the casual and unremarkable usage in Inherent Vices, the inclusion of cannabis in film has come a long way. toro – ptoro 4 years ago
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  • It would be interesting to provide a chronology of major films that have featured cannabis use and chart the differences in the framing/perception/reception of this 'taboo' topic. Two examples I can think of right off the bat are The Breakfast Club and Pineapple Express - films that are very, very different in terms of content and style, but both featuring cannabis use. I'm sure that more recent movies are more tolerant and provide a more accurate depiction of the drug's effects, but it could be an interesting exercise to offer comparisons. – ShannonMarie 4 years ago
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Film Festivals in the Digital Age

Explore how film festivals and the documentary film genre have reacted to the age of Netflix and YouTube. Explain the popularity of film-festivals, their appeal, and the future for the viewing format.

  • As a burgeoning cinephile, I would love to be educated in the contemporary festival circuit hits (especially in this digital age). I would be interested in how they are being made, who stars/makes them, how they are marketed, how they perform...et al. – JackStewardson 4 years ago
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  • As someone who has attended the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto for the last 10 years and who is currently a programmer for the Grand River Film Festival (we screen 4 to 5 docs per festival), I am very interested in this topic. People watch docs across many platforms: festivals, cable TV, Netflix, iTunes, and even at theatres! The digital age has lead to a democratization in the making of films and this is no more in evidence than in the documentary genre. The variety of topics covered is staggering! – ptoro 4 years ago
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Latest Comments

Aaron

As I read your article, which was well-written and interesting, certain phrases stuck out as unnecessarily negative with no basis or proof. While we could get into a debate on whether advertising and sponsorship ‘taints’ content, I think that your condemnation of advertising in YouTube should either be qualified or removed from the article.

Example: “Yet continuing to corrupting their content with corporate sponsorship filling up every corner of the video frame, doesn’t always ensure that their quotient of fans will keep increasing.”

“Corrupting their content with corporate sponsorship” is an unfortunately general and unsupported moral stance in this article and it detracts from the sentence’s point, being that making content FOR sponsors RATHER THAN viewers does not guarantee popular success on YouTube.

I would encourage you to watch videos by Casey Neistat or Colin Furze to see how casual sponsorship during videos is not a corrupting force on their content and often enhances it.

Vlogging: The New Genre of Television Entertainment
Aaron

There have been some wonderfully ponderous fan-theories about the Joker in The Dark Knight series. One of my favourites posits that the Joker is actually the protagonist of the film. When you look at what he did for Gotham (yes, through violence, mayhem and injustice), the clear immorality of the character becomes muddied. Gotham, pre-Joker, had serious problems with organized crime and corruption, and a vigilante (Batman). Gotham, post-Joker, had much less organized crime, corruption, and a missing vigilante.

I think this consideration deserves some attention as your definition of film morality as “whatever is right from the point of view of the audience” could indicate the Joker as a moral character if the film portrayed him as a deeply flawed but pragmatic savior for Gotham.

Superhero Villains and their Struggle with Morality
Aaron

Reading your article after watching the trailer for The Founder, the upcoming biopic of McDonald’s Ray Kroc, I’m beginning to ponder films celebrating the life and successes of captains of industry and the like. Steve Jobs is on the the to-watch list, but I’m reminded of my experience watching The Social Network. Although these kinds of biopics are generally celebratory of successful capitalists, their intrigue and challenges capture the dramatic flair necessary for a ‘good movie’. I haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks yet but I’ve heard it missed the mark because of this reason.

The New Wave of Biopics