Channel Zero: Planet Street

This Canadian program is self-described as a video magazine that brings the MTV aesthetic--quick cuts, stylized imagery, skewed camera angles, music--to intellectual and educational programming. The show focuses on liberal and human rights issues such as media control, poor conditions for blacks in South Africa, etc.

00:00Copy video clip URL Black

00:03Copy video clip URL Music starts, Channel Zero logo. The tape is a promo for a new video magazine show called Channel Zero. A man called Neil Postman says it lacks a “because” and is basically a bunch of “and’s”. The result promotes a world view of nihilism, a doctrine that suggests something meaningful has been left out of life.

01:20Copy video clip URL Clip from a segment on Robert Pitts who notes that street life is a university, a different kind of education. It’s survival. You have to be fierce, slick, cruel, practical not theoretical.

02:43Copy video clip URL Vignette: footage of a balloon bouncing through a city cut to ethereal choral music.

05:56Copy video clip URL Footage of a child bombarded by media.

06:17Copy video clip URL Another vignette starts with “Be Afraid.” This is followed by found footage of media transmissions with the suggestion that people are manipulated and corrupted by the transmission. A series of street interviews features people commenting on television. “TV is evil.” Two young men with lower thirds reading “Beavis” and “Butthead” (one is possibly Mike Judge), say TV  “sucks.” Others say: “It’s sad because you can’t share it with children” and “TV can be used to save the world.”

07:46Copy video clip URL A vignette with various found footage of violence and sex, trashy talk shows, and various comments on the degenerating factors of TV and media. Orson Wells shows remorse for 1938’s broadcast of War of the Worlds, media experts share thoughts on the abuse and misuse of media, they talk about the monopoly of corporate ownership, commercialism, and the mixed messages society feeds audiences: violence is bad, yet TV is filled with it. One man notes that the junk on TV will never fulfill viewers, only make them addicted to it.

12:20Copy video clip URL Stephen Marshall, director of Channel Zero, says that the magazine show will air quarterly and show the power video can have to comment on society. He wants his show to highlight provocative voices and create an alternative to modern TV programming.  He wants to take the MTV culture and give it an intellectual boost.

14:55Copy video clip URL Vignette, a clip from a piece about street vendors.

15:36Copy video clip URL Karen Thorne, media activist, says she wants to draw young videomakers together to create a challenging, exciting, meaningful media.

16:28Copy video clip URL Clip of a segment documenting Alexandra Township in South Africa, an impoverished and over populated community.

20:00Copy video clip URL Thorne says young people need to take their lives more seriously. If so, we can become very powerful. We can work together to create a challenge for TV and media.

21:50Copy video clip URL A clip from a segment on the illegal use of the drug Mandrax.

26:50Copy video clip URL A clip from a segment on Robert Pitts, a drug addict in a poor part of a city in Belize. He openly talks about his addiction and life on the streets. He takes drugs for the camera and then describes the experience. He says cocaine has taken away love from his life.

34:46Copy video clip URL Promo text: Coming this March on Channel Zero. The producers list a collection of segments: Neil Postman, Hate & Propaganda, Hassan Hackmoun, My Name is Hope, Hemp Culture, Gigolos in Paris, Sex Trade in Thailand, Gangs in Hong Kong,  Robert Pitts.

37:19Copy video clip URL Contact info: 507 King Street East Suite 16, Toronto, CA M5A1M3, (416) 868-1851 fax: (416) 868-3268 [email protected]

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