Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rough Cuts



The clip above is a rough-cut excerpt from a documentary currently being made by Carol Rainey, entitled "Priests of High Strangeness."

A word about Rainey, and some of the flak I've seen her catch for releasing this rough cut. All of it, as far as I can tell, is coming from people who don't know what they're talking about. As someone who has spent the past decade making documentaries for television, I do know what I'm talking about, so let me say that there is absolutely nothing improper or even unusual about a filmmaker releasing rough cut segments from a film in progress. I've done it myself from time to time. Motivations can vary from trying to drum up interest (and possibly funding), which is part of the business, to putting the material out there to gauge reaction, which might then lead to changes in the direction of the film. There are many other reasons.

Whatever you think of Rainey or her motivations in making the film, there is nothing untoward in releasing advance footage as she has. Judge it for what it is (my take: compelling from a preliminary evidential point of view), and withhold final judgment until the film is complete.

Paul Kimball

5 comments:

Red Pill Junkie said...

"Whatever you think of Rainey or her motivations in making the film, there is nothing untoward in releasing advance footage as she has. Judge it for what it is (my take: compelling from a preliminary evidential point of view), and withhold final judgment until the film is complete."

Can't we at least assume (for now) that she has been working on this documentary for a very, very long time? Maybe even as far back as when she was still 'Mrs Hopkins'?

Paul Kimball said...

She's obviously been compiling footage for some time, but there's nothing exceptional about that. I have hundreds of hours of interviews and footage gathered over the years, the vast majority of which never made it into a film, and every now and then I consider repurposing it for a new film. Part of the business.

Her motivation for doing this, by the way, is indeed relevant, because no filmmaker works in a vacuum. We all have our opinions, our prejudices, and so forth. Take Michael Moore, for example - you have to view anything he makes through the prism of his own fairly radical political views. That doesn't make him wrong, but it's something that needs to be taken into account when assessing the accuracy of his claims, and / or how they have been presented, because any filmmaker can shade things one way or another. Indeed, we all do it, either consciously, or subconsciously.

An example I always use when speaking to high school students about filmmaking, which I do a couple of times a year, is as follows:

Assume you have one interview subject. You ask a series of questions, two of which are: (1) what do you think of ice cream, and (2) what do you think of Hitler?

To the first question, the interviewee says: "I love ice cream". To the second question, he says: "I hate Hitler."

Now, it's a fairly easy thing to edit those together so that the interviewee is seamlessly seen to say that he hates ice cream, and loves Hitler.

Of course, that's a very simplistic example (and one which would almost certainly never pass through errors & omissions insurance review), but it illustrates the broader point. That kind of manipulation, done with greater subtlety, happens all the time in documentaries.

Given that reality, the motivations of the filmmaker in making the film are very much fair game for discussion - in this case, Ms. Rainey's past relationship with Mr. Hopkins, which ended badly. That's not to say that it's determinative, because there's many factors that need to be weighed when assessing a film. Rather, it's to point out that it's not wrong to do so, despite what some people would have you believe.


Paul

Red Pill Junkie said...

I understand that the film-making process is long and takes a fair amount of time, specially if you are working with budgetary constrains.

But when you see the scenes presented, the cuts and edition process already added, you really start to wonder: at what time did she decide to work on a documentary whose purpose was to cast a very critical light on Budd Hopkins' research?

There are obviously some footage that seem to have been intended for a documentary record of Budd's investigations —back when they were both on much more agreeable terms, one assumes.

But when exactly did she decide to start an investigation that was intended to double-check on her former husband's work?

When was this interview with the expert graphologist recorded, for instance? And was it before, during or after she was co-writing "Sight Unseen" with her former husband? Because one thing I've wanted to hear from her is, whether she dismisses the content of that book (along with the previous books written exclusively by Hopkins) or not.

terry the censor said...

I agree with Paul that this is compelling, but I think RPJ asks fair questions about when the handwriting sequence was filmed.

However, I am concerned too that people will avoid discussing the heart of the matter. Some of the gents at UFO Updates engaged in a lot of "Budd's a nice man, Carol's a woman scorned" kind of argumentation, as if Hopkins' actual methods and claims were secondary matters.

I would like to see a proper investigation of the abduction investigators, but any exposé must be above reproach. These are very serious charges of fraud.

tinyjunco said...

terry the censor "...I would like to see a proper investigation of the abduction investigators, but any exposé must be above reproach."

good luck with THAT standard.

any film presents a line of argument, purported facts which back up that argument, and conclusions.

argument and conclusion are subjective. but facts can be checked both within the context of the film and out in the big wide world. re: the docs and drawings Ms. Rainey investigates in her film clip of this post, i had the very same concerns upon reading "Witnessed" lo these many years ago. i was not in a position to perform the investigation which Ms. Rainey fortunately did.

along these same lines, i fail to see what the marital status of the participants has to do with whether or not these documents were forged. it may make a nicer 'story' or cleaner 'argument' for some people, but has no bearing on the strength of the 'Witnessed' case.

an interesting article by Kevin Randle on the facts claimed by Ms. Rainey in her recent Paratopia article - be sure to read the comments for additional comments by Mr. Randle on his methodology:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2011/02/budd-hopkins-walter-webb-and-santa-rosa.html"

RPJ: "When was this interview with the expert graphologist recorded, for instance? And was it before, during or after she was co-writing "Sight Unseen" with her former husband? Because one thing I've wanted to hear from her is, whether she dismisses the content of that book (along with the previous books written exclusively by Hopkins) or not."

you could contact her via her web page and ask her. try using a 'search engine'. good luck all! steph