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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Strange Culture and Steve Kurtz!

We screened this amazing documentary "Strange Culture" last year at AFI FEST and finally Steve Kurtz has been cleared of all charges!

If you haven't seen it! GO! rent it! and watch! Congratulations to Steve Kurtz and all his friends who were able to stand up to this injustice and win! So awesome that filmmaker Lynn Hersham Leeson had the guts to make this film and shine a light on this fascinating and terrifying story of our government at work.

I love this film and think it's so important, I wrote about it last at AFI FEST saying this.

Blasting the screen with sure-footed conviction, director Lynn Hershman Leeson has crafted a powerful documentary that shines a light on the netherworld of homeland security and the artists who choose to use their freedom to question it and the state of the world - in America.

The surreal nightmare of Steve Kurtz, an acclaimed artist, professor and founding member of the activist art collective Critical Art Ensemble, began the night his wife Hope died in her sleep of heart failure. Police who responded to Kurtz’s 911 call deemed Kurtz’s art suspicious and called the FBI. Within hours, the artist was detained as a suspected "bioterrorist" as dozens of federal agents in Hazmat suits rifled through his work and impounded his computers, manuscripts, books, cat and even his wife’s body. With this fascinating subject matter and a unique filmmaking style, director Lynn Hershman Leeson implicates her viewers as co-conspirators in one of the most surreal abuses of power since the Teapot Dome scandal. Because Kurtz can't talk about the events leading up to his arrest, Leeson got Tilda Swinton, Thomas Jay Ryan and Josh Kornbluth to re-enact the artist's story. Actor Peter Coyote is also featured in the film.

Lynn Hershman Leeson follows her subjects with a seamless flow of kinetic energy—weaving together recreations, comic book art, and personal interviews—creating a vibrant, informative documentary of true political relevance. A constitutional comedy of errors, the joke is on all of us.

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