YouTube Video Gets Political

Released on = October 16, 2006, 9:41 am

Press Release Author = Sim Sadler

Industry = Government

Press Release Summary = Sometimes Raw and Always Personal, Political Expression
Finds a New Medium

Press Release Body = LOS ANGELES-A vibrant hip hop beat throbs to flash cuts of
angry citizens voicing their dissent to the party in power. The camerawork is deft
and the look sleek, with jolts of animation punctuating sound bites of disaffected
voters speaking their minds. Dozens of man-in-the-street interviews build with
increasing intensity toward an anthem-like crescendo.

"Take Back the Capitol," Sim Sadler's 2-minute political public service
announcement, could easily have come from the edgier side of Madison Avenue.
But in fact, it's a benchmark of the extent to which guerrilla videos
harnessed to viral distribution strategies have infiltrated the political
discourse as the mid-term elections draw near.

Though still nascent during the 2004 elections, viral video has come into its
own in the past two years, in parallel with the rise of YouTube, MySpace, and
other Web 2.0 sites. It\'s become a preferred method of expression for
politically-minded filmmakers and activists. Many, like "Take Back the
Capitol," are made with little or no budgets, as pods of like-minded people
band together for a common cause.

What's more, their creators are not affiliated with candidates, political
parties, PACS, or other agenda-driven organizations.

" 'Take Back the Capitol' started with a bunch of friends hanging out at
Chango coffee house in the Echo Park district of L.A.," says Sadler, a
filmmaker, video artist and editor whose narrative film "Flight," was screened
at the Cannes Film Festival. "The technology has evolved to where a few people
can get together, make a statement and distribute it via the internet for
little more than a few pennies. People are frustrated with the political
culture and they\'re dying to speak out. I think you'll see grass-roots PSAs
becoming a force to be reckoned with in future elections. "

Sadler's entry into the realm of Web 2.0 political expression began as a lark
with "Hard Working George," in which he compressed 31 sound bites of President
Bush declaring the Iraq war to be "hard work." Drawing power from the phrase's
repetition, the montage of clips creates a sensation of heightened absurdity
that made "Hard Working George" an early if accidental viral success story,
garnering hundreds of thousands of hits and airings on CNN and C-SPAN.

While Sadler's work is unapologetically leftist, a random scan of YouTube
reveals a kaleidoscopic selection of viewpoints, with Democrats and
Republicans each taking their share of the heat. Many are send-ups done in the
form of "remixes" such as "Hard Working George," a template which Sadler
doesn't claim to have invented, but the success of which clearly galvanized
the form's use. While 'Take Back the Capitol' is a more straightforward
expression of political dissatisfaction than its predecessor, Sadler sees
viral video as a new outlet for pent-up irreverence.

"As the mainstream media becomes increasingly dominated by corporate
sensibilities, there's a real dearth of sharp political commentary," Sadler
observes. "At the same time I think there's a real hunger for clever
expressions of impertinence that viral video is fulfilling. It's enough to
renew your faith in the web as a democratizing influence."

See the video at

Web Site =

Contact Details = Contact: Sim Sadler
347-512-7856 /

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