Hart Snider is a filmmaker living in Vancouver, BC. His upcoming films include The Basketball Game, an animated short he directed, wrote and edited for the National Film Board of Canada. He is currently directing, writing and editing the independent feature documentary Foosers, with Montreal’s Parabola Films.
Hart’s work can be viewed on his website at Cut and Paste and his artist statement and video exhibited at Art, Revolution and Ownership are below.
NEWSHOLE: WAR COVERAGE SPECIAL
HART SNIDER (Director/Writer/Editor), 2001
Newshole: War Coverage Special is a video remix of Canadian, American, and British news coverage following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. Originally commissioned by the innovative CBC Radio 3 site 120seconds, this piece was my reaction to the fear-inducing stories that dominated the media during those early days of the ‘War on Terror’.
At the time, glued to news coverage along with everyone else, I felt that the endless stream of information was having a really negative impact on my own psyche and on our culture as a whole. We were being told to be afraid of everything, from opening our mail to being in public spaces, and the fear was having a cumulative effect – paralyzing people into obedience and more and more addictive viewing.
There was seemingly a total lack of discourse around actual issues, as networks strove to demonstrate their patriotism, rather than acting as a free press and questioning the positions of their governments. Instead of analysis, viewers were only getting numbers – how many troops, how many refugees, how many dead, how many missing, how many terrorist bases, an endless procession of unintelligible facts that left everyone confused and afraid of what would happen next. I was struck by Dan Rather’s comment that “terrorism is not the major danger to us, fear is”. I wanted to stop being afraid, to remember that it’s ok to turn off the television, and thought that creating this piece might inspire other people as well.
It is an interesting time to look back on this piece as we arrive at the both the 10-year anniversary of September 11th, 2001 and as the Canadian military formally ends its mission in Afghanistan. Has anything changed, or do we still need to turn our TVs off once in a while?
Newshole: War Coverage Special was created in collaboration with violinist Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre, The Luyas) who composed the score and created the sound design.