MONTREAL, Canada, 22 May 2007
Ever heard of the Open Channel Video Slam? You say no? Here is the right answer. It boils down to 22 filmmakers locked up in a Melbourne bar for 33 hours to produce a ten minute film. The challenge? Use only Creative Commons (CC) material.
The video slam took place between May 13 and 14 at Horse Bazaar, a great digital-arts joint in the heart of Melbourne that hosts the Digital Fringe Festival each year. There, the video experimenters only relied on video equipment, wireless internet access, coffee, beer and pizza to get the film done in time for public screening, 33 hours later.
The event was organised by Andrew Garton of the Open Channel Screen Resource Centre a government funded film production and training centre. To the APC community, Garton is the Mr. c2o, in reference to the 1997 founded organisation, which provides consultancy, training and web hosting services to community based organisations in the Australasia region.
Elliott Bledsoe and Jessica Coates from the Creative Commons Clinic and Creative Commons Australia were both present and helping out with training and addressing tricky issues such as licence compatibility, searching, etc.
The result, which is called 5 Smiles, is a ten minute short exploring the themes of tolerance, inclusion, diversity, freedom of expression and association, and access to knowledge and wisdom. It’s also available for download under a BY-NC-SA licence at http://openchannel.org.au/blogs/videoslam/.
What is most impressive, is that 5 Smiles contains 110 attributed Creative Commons licensed items. This means that the five teams of cross-discipline artists / filmmakers pulled material together that was under CC licence from the web and content shot on location in and around the location where the video slam took place.
The Creative Commons licence is a licensing system that avoids the “all rights reserved” copyright regime. It allows any creator to share photos, video, sound and music over the internet or by other means, while keeping certain rights reserved. It makes sharing of files flexible and clear from a legal point of view.
Elliott Bledsoe and Andrew Garton both documented the experience on their blogs (http://openchannel.org.au/blogs/videoslam/ and http://elliottsawitfirst.blogspot.com/), while Jessica Coates of Creative Commons Australia recently said “It was a truly amazing experience, and a great learning curve for both us and the participants.”
This project would not have been possible had it not been for the participation of the Creative Commons Clinic team, who teamed up with Open Channel to work with the artists to ensure all content is accurately attributed.
Video Slam is an Open Channel production workshop that was produced for Arts Law Week 2007 in association with Horse Bazaar, the Creative Commons Clinic (Brisbane), Creative Commons Australia, Federation Square, EngageMedia and the Victorian Arts Law Consortium.
The project grew from the desire to put into practice some of the ideas discussed at the Open Channel Free Screen Culture forum, Arts Law Week 2006, and the iSummit06. Andrew Garton wanted to see these licences utilised within a cross-arts production environment. Not one sample, but many were sought after, with a particular emphasis on the moving image.
A precursor to the project was GRIT #01 produced for the first CC Salon held in Brisbane, in November 2006.
Photo: 5 smiles screening.
Photo by Andrew Garton