Review: ‘1000 Journals’

Globalization gets all warm 'n' fuzzy in "1000 Journals," a genial but slight doc-cum-promotion for the worldwide 1000 Journals Project instigated by a San Francisco graphics designer known as Someguy in 2000.

Globalization gets all warm ‘n’ fuzzy in “1000 Journals,” a genial but slight doc-cum-promotion for the worldwide 1000 Journals Project instigated by a San Francisco graphics designer known as Someguy in 2000. Sending blank journals to random Bay Area locales and far-flung contacts, Someguy hopes strangers around the planet will fill the journals with personal thoughts and creative notions. While the human side of the experiment comes through in various interview segs, the rich visual dimensions of the journals are barely conveyed in the docu, which will connect with select fest auds and upscale cable buyers.

Fittingly, given his deliberately blank nom de plume, Someguy notes to filmmaker Andrea Kreuzhage that he’s interested in what people write anonymously, and wanted to encourage adults to unleash their inner children and fill the journals with anything their hearts desired. Two-year process of sending out the journals triggered an interactive website, as well as Kreuzhage’s own project to track what happened to the journals.

The evidence, as far as can be seen in Kreuzhage’s footage, isn’t exactly mind-blowing, and suggests that if there were creatively inspired and visually dazzling contributions, they generally stumped the helmer’s ability to make them cinematic and interesting. Cut-out figures, poems, prose musings and illustrations festoon some of the books Kreuzhage tracks down — but far more compelling are some of the people behind the creations (which, ironically, undermines Someguy’s belief in the magic of anonymity).

Hollie Rose, of Middletown, Conn., takes the journal so seriously that she fills it cover-to-cover and sends it back to Someguy. Dampas Donelli of Zagreb, Croatia, on the other hand, arranges to pick up a journal at a local bar, only to find that it’s vanished. Helsinki’s Hanna Koivaara uses a journal to vent, while Tracy Moore in Issaquah, Wash., renders some vivid ink drawings. Observant viewers will note that few of the pic’s many participants are minorities, or from outside the Western industrialized world.

This venture in handmade globalization ends with a rather heavy-handed message to current journal-holders: Pass them on. An interesting measure of the pic’s impact will be if the project’s website indicates an uptick in activity as the film reaches auds.

Extremely high resolution of lenser Ralph Kachele’s HD vid image will strike some viewers as beautiful and others as excessive. Editing, care of Joshua Callaghan, is smooth.

1000 Journals

Production

An Andrea-k Prods. presentation. Produced, directed, written by Andrea Kreuzhage.

Crew

Camera (color, HD video), Ralph Kachele; editor, Joshua Callaghan; music, Stuart Balcomb; sound (stereo), Brett Hinton; supervising sound editor, Hinton; re-recording mixer, Hinton. Reviewed at AFI screening room, Los Angeles, Oct. 15, 2007. (In AFI Film Festival -- competing.) Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Someguy, Hollie Rose, Matt Gorbet, Seth Steben, Dampas Donelli, Boris Drenec, Julie Sadler, Sean Mahoney, Rich Troncone, Kayt Edwards, Lil Blume, Jerry Han, Robin Carelse, Mitsu Hadeishi, Rogerio Lira, Janice Urbsaitis, Simon Holding, Claire Priestley, Georgia Perry, Gina Kelly, Heidi Turner, Nick Kelly, Wendy Cook, Samira Lloyd, Joanna Feely, Cath Kelly, Kevin Kelly, Zihan Loo, Sean Clinton, DaNelle (Sonora) Haynes, Tracy Moore, Hanna Koivaara, Kristy Radford, Amanda Harding, Ian Metcalfe, Shana MacDonald, Laura Mappin, Diane Reese, Michaela Darling, Lauren Ayer, Ruth Keffer.

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