Twitter, the Movie: Director Frank Kelly Talks 140
Social media phenomenon Twitter has spawned gossip, hilarity, feuding (complete with 140-character-or-less zingers), and above all, an exponential decrease in workplace productivity. Independent filmmaker Frank Kelly, however, is seeking to find meaning in Twitter beyond abbreviated witticisms and one-liner celebrity snubs with his latest documentary, 140.
The Irish filmmaker is creating a feature-length documentary inspired by the connectivity and synchronicity that Twitter users experience. 140 will consist of 140 different filmmakers, each shooting 140 seconds of film that represent what connects the filmmaker to their home. Oh yeah, and the footage will all be shot simultaneously. Kelly described the process in a press release for the movie: "I'm asking the filmmaker what it is that connects them to their home. It can be anything they want, a landscape, cityscape, a sunrise, a wife, husband, child... doesn't matter. But it has to be captured in 140 seconds and at the same time as everyone else."
The synchronicity of Twitter inspired Kelly to have all 140 filmmakers shoot their footage at the same time. Although it may sound like a logistical nightmare, Kelly is confident that single-handedly harmonizing that many filmmakers will be easier than it sounds. "I've had so many people ask me, 'How are you going to organize that?' It's kind of simple, though, because for everyone involved, it's just a small personal project, something that's very honest."
Distraction, indeed. With many Twitterers updating their every move throughout the day, the website has certainly gained its critics. But Kelly insists that Twitter has neither jumped the shark nor resulted in a mass sense of self-absorption. "As humans, we constantly long for connection," he says. "We long to be involved with something or someone. We all have jobs to do, we have to make a living, and a lot of that involves being alone. So I think Twitter is a way to stay connected."
While rumors, celebrity fights and attention-craving does abound on Twitter, Kelly sees it as both a tool that artists can use, and as a source of inspiration. "It's like doodling in your notebook while you're in class," he says. "It's fun, and it's a distraction, but it's also that connection, something you have during the day, even at your job, that keeps you connected with what you love to do."
As a film jack-of-all-trades, Kelly has played the roles of director, producer, writer and editor, even scoring some of his previous films. But for the music this time, he's looking to reach out to well-established bands. Topping his wish list? "Sigur Rós would be exactly the type of music I'd want for this film," he says. "And I'm going to ask them; you never know until you ask."
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