How public is public space? This is the question that director Jon Reiss raises with his 2007 film Bomb It. He raised the bar on documenting urban subcultures when he exposed the war for public space being waged by graffiti artists against advertisers and even private homeowners. So which side is he on?
Grab a copy of our film issue featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg as the cover to find out. Meanwhile, here are some interview snippets from Jon himself.
SM – Considering your book Think Outside the Box Office, what are the basic things that all filmmakers should master in terms of marketing and distribution?
JR – Well this is a long question. I wrote 354 pages that cover this in the book. But the basics are – each film is different and needs a different distribution and marketing plan that is based on: the film, film’s resources, the audience for the film, the needs/desires of the filmmaker. For each film these are different. I also feel that this work needs to start as early as possible, in prep even. No later than production. And we filmmakers need to become salespeople – for our work.
SM – Bomb It has been hailed as the most comprehensive and even greatest graffiti documentary by a lot of reviewers in the net. Do you agree with your supporters?
JR – Sure – why not! We worked very hard to make it as comprehensive and as entertaining as possible. We also tried to make it informative and to appeal to the general public so that they would view public space through new eyes. From what people tell me, we accomplished that.
SM – You’ve also done music videos for the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Slayer, and Crowes. What do you do in music videos that are different from your feature films?
JR – They are similar and different. Each video reflects a different obsession of mine. What’s great about videos is you can focus on one specific topic in a short time. They are also fast and furiously done. Features take a long time – and have a much more complicated structure (even though the structure can appear simple – it probably was very complicated to create that simple structure).