By Christopher Campbell | Spout August 3, 2011 at 9:03AM
Two like-minded documentaries premiered at Sundance this year -- both unfortunately without a lot of buzz -- that look into fascinating tales of urban myths. "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles" is about an enigmatic phenomenon involving tile-based street art -- or is it less art, more a message for the future? "Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure" is a comparatively grounded journey back into the analog days of viral and memetic media to show how long it took for someone to become an underground, accidental celebrity in the days before YouTube. Each deals in pre-Internet materials like zines, cassette swaps, pirate radio, as well as the early days of online message boards. Two modern detective stories that are similarly about the end of an era of folklore, as much as their own respective puzzles.
Each film also ends up taking part in a bit of serious privacy invasion, which is enough of a trend lately that even Oscar-winning doc-maker Alex Gibney is doing it. Although it's been occurring even before 2011, the concept of making films about people who would very much object (or publicly do object) is this year's equivalent of the elusive doc fad of 2010. After the fest, I linked the duo to last year's trend, stating that you should enjoy both if you're a fan of "Catfish" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop" more for the folklore and storytelling aspects than for the questions they raise.
Now, both docs are about to hit VOD and theaters (actually one is already on VOD), and coincidentally I was alerted to official new trailers for each this afternoon. Watch after the jump.
First up is "Resurrect Dead," for which Jon Foy won Best Director at Sundance. The best thing about this new trailer is there's a quote from yours truly in it. I will admit my blurb is a bit misleading and out of context. The original statement, from my festival review of "Another Earth," is: "It’s only as sci-fi as a non-fiction film can get, and there is nothing more than reference to theories." This has been shortened to "As sci-fi as non-fiction can get." I guess that's still rather true, and I love the movie anyway so I'm happy to help out regardless. This film is already currently available on Amazon and cable VOD and opens exclusively at NYC's IFC Center September 2, with other cities (Philly, Albuquerque, Portland and Seattle booked so far) to follow.
Next we've got "Shut Up Little Man," directed by Matthew Bate. This should be popular with the "Winnebago Man" fans, I think, and it's obviously interesting to think about its being about a precursor of sorts in spite of being made and released afterward. This doc hits VOD via Tribeca Film on August 25, with an exclusive theatrical run at the IFC Center beginning September 26. If anyone at IFC Center reads this, please slip in a bonus show of "Resurrect Dead" during "Shut Up"'s engagement for a perfect double feature.