Essential Viewing: Do-It-Yourself Auteurs (Presented by Roger Ebert)

“Man with a Movie Camera” and “Man in a Blizzard”

Jamie Stuart’s short film “Man in a Blizzard,” took just one day to complete during New York’s brutal Christmastime blizzard of 2010. It became a triumph of DIY indie filmmaking when Roger Ebert recommended it be nominated for an Oscar, and as of now has over 500,000 views on YouTube.

One reason Ebert cited for recommending “Man in a Blizzard” was “It’s role as homage. It is directly inspired by Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent classic, Man With a Movie Camera. “Man in a Blizzard” was shot on a digital single lens reflex camera but does indeed reach back to a tradition of poetic, semi-documentary experimental film known as the city symphony.

The following video pays tribute to both Stuart’s video and the legacy of similar movies that came before it. We think that these classic movies still have the potential to inspire new visions and innovations. In an era where filmmaking technology is now available to anyone with some disposable income to spend at Best Buy or Amazon, this lesson is crucial.

We are pleased to cross-publish this video in conjunction with Roger Ebert’s Far-Flung Film Correspondents website, of which our own Steven Boone is a regular contributor. You can read more of Steve’s reflections on Stuart’s video and the power of DIY indie moviemaking.

Click here for a text version of this essay, with complete clips of all the videos mentioned.

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