I first came across American Films around 5 years ago. Their films were some of the best shot, best visually looking works online; not to mention some of the most absurdist character pieces out there. Their early characters ranged from avant garde versions of the Trailer Park Boys to religious fanatical freaks to hopeless fruitcakes and fuck-ups; plus weirdos, wingnuts and washed up cocaine nose candied 80’s icons.
Somehow I missed these guys on the usual underground screening and festival circuit of the time. Or so I thought. When I emailed them years ago, asking where their work was showing, and had showed (festivals, screenings, etc.) the response to me was a shocker. Essentially nowhere. Online was their main home.
This was one of the first major signs that I realized how asleep at the wheel film and video programmers had become. Every experimental/underground/counter-current/alternative film and video curator should have been emailing these guys, requesting work to screen.
Instead, as their work continued to amass, it continued going virtually unnoticed in all the traditional alt. screening outlets. Yet blowing away all the content that all the traditional alt. screening outlets were showing.
Eventually screenings did pop up, but it wasn’t the curators responsible for them. It took other artists to point out American Films and actually show the work themselves. I tracked down a screening in Hollywood around 2006 put on by stage performer/actress and Mel Brooks favorite Ann Randolph who showcased an American Films piece called “Peggy” at one of her events. A few other screenings and small festivals followed, but in the rosters of the usual spots where odd/avant/experimental film and video was normally shown, work from the AF troupe was noticeably absent.
Meanwhile AF continued to pump out more and more work; the productions bigger with what looked like upgraded sets, along with characters more developed and of course, pieces even more absurd. There was even rumor of a feature film that had been shot and possibly completed, but nothing has surfaced as of yet.
In any event, some major penetrations have been fornicated forth by American Films thus far in 2010. Some very good actors seem to have joined the group and possibly some added talent behind the camera and in the editing room. The group has been participating in live shows and screenings, and online their work continues to grow.
Their latest focus revolves around the advertising/marketing racket. And it’s starting to gain traction. A sort of underground minor viral send around seems to be occurring with their latest piece, ridiculously titled “Get Ready to Shift the Paradigm on Your Corporate Branding and Marketing”.
Shot in infomercial style, the piece satirically nails the heavy loaded bullshit dished out by the marketing guru firms, but goes well beyond your typical mock up hit job. An unexpected character break down occurs near the end, and we are granted the coveted answer to the most common question of all time regarding these real life marketing machines, “do they really believe their own bullshit?”
Hopefully American Films will stick with the absurdism of the corporate marketing machine theme for a while, giving us more pieces nailing the catastrophe and collapse of American culture aided by the polluted marketing mindset of how to turn human beings into branded brainwashed useless consumers.
AMERICAN FILMS new online YT account with their latest films can be found here:
Older works – http://www.youtube.com/user/cbengine
And the latest masterpiece:
“Get Ready to Shift the Paradigm on Your Corporate Branding and Marketing”