John Pierson

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How's Your News? Review


Extraordinary
I know what you must be thinking. A film about a group of mentally disabled people on a trip across America would seem to be an odd choice for a documentary. One might be further skeptical to use those individuals to interview total strangers on the street. There's a fine line between mockery and sincerity, after all.

The success of How's Your News? lies in its cunning ability to present various slices of America through the simplistic viewpoints of five mentally disabled individuals interviewing common folks on the streets of New York, Nashville, and Las Vegas. With producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) and independent film producer John Pierson's financial backing, the movie's director Arthur Bradford takes the special summer campers at Camp Jabberwocky, loaded them up in a run-down RV with tons of camera equipment, and hit the road as a roving team of news reporters. The result is an often hilarious and engaging road-trip.

Continue reading: How's Your News? Review

Reel Paradise Review


OK
In June 2005, my friend Mark Frauenfelder moved his family (with wife and two young daughters) from first-world America to third-world Rarotonga, a small island in the South Pacific, for reasons that are best left explained in Mark's copious writings on the subject. By October, they'd moved back to civilization, having experienced rundown accomodations, the perilous difficulty of living virtually off the grid, hungry insects, and a series of debilitating illnesses in a land unprepared to deal with epidemics. I can totally understand why he left.

John Pierson's adventure in Reel Paradise is hauntingly similar, though somewhat more successful. As old-school indie film supporter, producer, and star of IFC's Split Screen, Pierson found himself bored after four years of dragging himself to student film festivals and low-budget junkets, and he struck on the idea of visiting the most remote movie theater in the world. He found it -- or one of them, anyway -- on the Fijian island of Taveuni, a 300-some seat movie theater which he promptly purchased.

Continue reading: Reel Paradise Review

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