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The Bootleg Files: The River

BOOTLEG FILES 826: “The River” (1937 documentary produced by FDR’s Farm Security Administration).

LAST SEEN: On various Internet sites.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: In collections of public domain documentaries.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
A 4K restored version would be wonderful.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies brought forth the Resettlement Administration, a federal agency designed to assist the nation’s financially struggling rural communities. By this point in the Roosevelt presidency, there were a growing number of critics who argued the New Deal programs were using taxpayer funds to finance lofty socialist endeavors.
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Diomysus (2022) [Slamdance 2023]

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS BLOCK
Emily Morus-Jones’ documentary short is an absurdist and colorful look at a subset of society that is often misunderstood and demonized by the public. She emphasizes the inherent prejudice of said subset by exploring their world through mice. Mice are some of the more misunderstood animals and through great puppetry, we learn about the lifestyles of the polyamorous.

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Subway Stops (2023) [Slamdance 2023]

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS BLOCK
The streets and subways of New York City are filled with a colorful variety of performers, panhandlers, and personalities, and there have been some films based around this environment. The whole ecosystem of New York City thrives on artistic expression and people performing, and it’s a shame that Joe Zakko’s documentary short feels like a missed opportunity.

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Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World of Jean Rollin (2022) [Fantasia 2022] 

In this documentary, the life and works of French filmmaker Jean Rollin is explored through interviews with contemporaries, film experts, and people who were close to him. Through scenes from his films, photos of life, and these interviews, viewers get to know the man and what inspired him. 

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The Greatest Radio Station in the World (2022)

In August 2021, David Owen of The New Yorker published an article that declared WPKN-FM in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to be “the greatest radio station in the world.” It was a highly subjective opinion, of course, but Owen’s celebration of the community-supported station’s free-form programming made a cogent argument about how this eclectic station was able to maintain its originality and spirit during a time when too much of radio broadcasting has become stale and predictable.
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