From: James Kreul
Date: Sun, Jun 27, 1999, 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: [4th Annual] Milwaukee Outdoor Exp. Film Fest.

Similar issues were raised by Rock Ross's "Sosueme," though I also have some crticial comments about the film itself. A title card at the beginning of the film, in which the filmmaker acknowledged that the use of images and sounds in the film were in fact illegal, seemed to prompt a stronger audience response than the rest of the film did. The film puts a new soundtrack to what appears to be appopriated, but not significantly modified, surfing footage (a la "Endless Summer"). I was underwhelmed by the film, though there are a few ways to give it more credit than I did. First, it reminded me about issues raised at Mark McElhatten's found footage presentation at this year's Flaherty (which I hope to write more about in the future). One recent trend in found footage is a decrease in overt manipulation, making films more like "found object" films like Ken Jacobs' "Perfect Film." I think there would be a way to see "Sosueme" in a similar light, though I still don't think it works very well in that context, either. "Found object" films feature footage which now has a particular punch due to the passage of time, but the "Sosueme" surfing footage does not carry that kind of weight (it still seems too familiar, and the film does not inspire a new way of seeing it).

One could also see "Sosueme" in light of the importance of people using images to their own ends, instead of just consuming them. Fan culture (like Star Trek) is one area where this is significant, but it also happens in areas like skateboard culture, where skateboarders take the wide range of stakeboarding images now available (cool tricks and wipeouts) and re-edit them to their favorite music. But even in this light, "Sosueme" is not a particularly interesting example of this kind of project.

Rock Ross Work