A feature-length documentary about the political, social and cultural impact of television on American life.
A feature-length documentary about the political, social and cultural impact of television on American life. Read more
About this project
American Ritual is a feature-length documentary exploring what television does for us and what it means to American culture. Through vérité footage, in-depth conversations and archival film and audio, American Ritual examines the relationship between cultural promise and lived experience, while considering the possibilities of the privately felt public imagination.
American Ritual arises from the assumption that the televised image is both representational and generative. The film will examine how television fits within American mythology and creates new readings of history. Since it’s debut, television has taught Americans who to be, how to love and what to want, simply by presenting a concrete image of life.
Watching television is a way of knowing. In this new epistemology, it doesn’t matter if something is real, only that it’s visible. American Ritual posits the television sitcom as a uniquely American product—like jazz or comic books—and uses the formal logic of the small screen to structure a polemic devoted to the medium.
In 2010, the average American watched over five hours of television a day. We are making this film because—like many Americans—we love TV. Mr. Rogers was our neighbor. Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Rachel and Ross were our friends. We can recall the name of Little Pete’s tattoo before we can remember our grandma’s birthday and we’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld at least six times.
As critic David Marc notes, “the number of people who condemn television are exceeded only by the number of people who watch it.” Television is at the heart of American culture. It’s unavoidable. We’re not interested in whether television is good or bad, we want to find out what it does to us.
HOW YOUR FUNDING HELPSAmerican Ritual is a completely independent project: we don’t get government funding or grants. We are paying for this film out-of-pocket because we believe it needs to exist. The film is currently in pre-production and your support will help us finish this project. All the proceeds from our Kickstarter campaign will go towards equipment, research, trips to speak with experts and collect footage, music rights, editing, sound mixing, color correction and a host of other expenses. $25,000 is the minimum amount of money we need to finish American Ritual. If we exceed our goal, we will have more time and resources to make a better film. Help us bring American Ritual to the public!
Limited edition production book featuring behind-the-scenes visuals and interviews!
Special release American Ritual TV Test Pattern T-shirt!
A signed production still! (Previous work by David Elliott, you'll get a new photo)
Thank you for your time and consideration.
David & Martine
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