Entertaining docu “24 Hours on Craigslist” takes a whirlwind tour through the individual stories behind a few among the thousands of postings on titular Web site during one typical day. (Aug. 4, 2003, to be exact.) Less about a particular Internet location than about the stubborn nonconformity for which it provides an outlet, pic is a colorful human mosaic — and a fest crowd-pleaser with decent broadcast potential.
Though info is rather frustratingly left out of the film, Craigslist was indeed started by a real Craig (last name Newmark) in 1995, as a catchall for casual events. As people began posting jobs, housing, for-sale items, personals et al., the site gradually expanded into today’s behemoth, which has outlets specific to various cities across U.S. and around the globe. But the first, and largest, one remains in the San Francisco Bay Area, where pic keeps its focus.
The Left Coast eccentricity most identified with the region comes through loud and clear in a series of interviews that explore the individuals behind the services requested or offered (“heavy metal chef,” ballroom dance instruction, pre-op transsexual escort). Relationship or sex ads include one notably creepy guy in a basement. Delightful oddities include announcements for strangers to gather in public places to perform brief, baffling games or rituals, then just as abruptly depart.
Vignettes include a rock band fronted by an Ethel Merman impersonator, a diabetic-cat owners’ support group, and the sad story behind a roommate-wanted post (predecessor had been recently killed in a car accident).
Personalities are as engaging as they are diverse, while zippy, well-photographed package is never dull. Final impact is less than the sum of its parts, but that could improve, since at the screening attended, director Michael Ferris Gibson said he may yet add footage. Several hours more (shot over several weeks’ course but connected to the original day’s postings) will be included in an eventual DVD release.
Tech aspects are sharp. Crew, by the way, was recruited from Craigslist.