Freex German TV

1971 | 00:20:00 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: Videofreex Archive, Single Titles

Tags: European Film/Video, Film or Videomaking, Media Analysis

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German filmmaker Valeska and her crew—soundwoman Constanza and cameraman Albert—arrive at Maple Tree Farm during the Thanksgiving holiday of 1971 to film a piece for German TV on the Videofreex. In this video, the Videofreex turn the tables so to speak, making the Germans’ filming process—and the artificiality of the filmmaker’s prefabricated shots—their subject. As a result, this video offers “behind-the-scenes” footage of both the Videofreex’ handling of microphones and Sony Portapaks, and the German crew as they set up their film equipment, create lighting environments, pose the group, and grow increasingly frustrated as the Freex poke fun and resist such social control.

For the Videofreex, much of their resistance to the German filmmaker stems from a fundamental dislike for the privileging of film over video, a credo that lies at the heart of their alternative media agenda and its emphasis on information, accessibility, and authenticity. In his biography of the Videofreex, member Parry Teasdale writes, “Film was the past, video was the future, and we let that German film crew know it right away” (Teasdale, Videofreex: America’s First Pirate TV Station and the Catskills Collective That Turned It On, 44).

—Faye Gleisser