Indie Filmmakers Chat About Bizarre Campaign Videos

Nic asks: Romie, did you see this strange Kellie Leitch campaign video? I feel I need your astute political nose to tell me what the hell anyone was thinking when they made it.

Romie: Ha! Yes, that was very strange. I don’t feel like I have any special expertise here, since Canadian political culture is slightly mysterious to me. I mean, we’re probably on equal outsider footing, since while my nation shares a continent with Canada, yours shares a commonwealth.

My best explanations are that (1) there is a goofy right wing in Canada just like in the US and Britain and France and Italy, (2) maybe they’re going for quick and not-too-slick so that it seems fresh and young and trustworthy and off-the-cuff and not like those hateful elites, but still very glamorous and edgy, which is a hard brief, and (3) never forget this is the country that elected and re-elected Rob Ford. There is clearly a constituency that responds to brashness, and that may be who she’s trying to appeal to.

And (4) if I’m realy sympathetic, I remember that sometimes I make something that completely fails to realize my hopes and ambitions for it, but I’m proud of the time I put into it and I still want to show it to people in the hopes I’m being too hard on myself.

Nic: Sure – I didn’t necessarily mean you’d have Special North American Perspective (SNAP) – just that you’re both saavy politically and know about filmmaking. And yep, I agree with all that – but it doesn’t explain why someone shot it like a David Lynch film or why someone is behind the camera pointing in random directions for her to look in every couple of minutes.

Romie: I think the name for my inevitable web series has to be The Special North American Perspective. At the beginning I definitely turn around in a swivel chair in front of a map that’s just the US and Canada, with Mexico a big “unexplored” blank area with question marks and sea monsters.

From a filmmaker point of view, it definitely seems like somebody on the campaign had a kid who just took some undergrad film classes and had an inovative and youthful vision to grab attention for the web audiences. And/or they forgot to rent a tripod and tried to make the best of it.

Dynamic energy! None of this static, behind a desk, standard politician stuff! We’re kicking down doors, here!

Nic: Well frankly that kid is probably a genius as their video will now be watched thousands of more times than if they’d done something normal. And “SNAP! With Romie Faienza” is definitely going on my YT subscription list. It needs a theme tune where the only instrument is finger snaps.

Romie: Actually, now that you mention, kooks are currently in a weird spot with visual media. For a long time, wild-eyed conspiracy theorists and right-wing fringe politicians have relied on the symbols and trappings of traditional news coverage to lend them heft and authenticity, and communicate that this is a serious position worth listening to – heavy desks, lots of blue, lots of bookshelves, medium framing like a news anchor. But now that the news is “fake,” what are your trust symbols? What’s your visual palette?

We saw some of that with the infamous Breitbart Sean Spicer interview. They’ve unintentionally forced themselves into the avantgarde.