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zerechak “It’s a little unnerving, but it’s also bliss, because you finally decide that this is my new project, my baby, my monster—whatever you want to call it—this is what I am going to immerse myself in intellectually, creatively, and from an investigative standpoint for the next three years.” jeremy zerechak

have made, including the role that the social networks played in the Arab Spring. “Code 2600 puts these privacy and security issues on the table, tells you why they are a problem, suggests how they could be affecting you, and gets into the sociological, historical, and philosophical aspects of that,” he says. What it doesn’t do, he adds, is force an agenda on the viewers or suggest where they should stand on the issues. He rejects the idea that documentaries should serve as normative “solution films.” “When you roll the first foot of film knowing exactly what you want to say about the subject, you are approaching it from a premeditated angle, and that’s rhetoric, that’s propaganda filmmaking,” he says. “It’s not storytelling, it’s not exploration, and it doesn’t serve the genre of documentary film very well.” At the Atlanta Film Festival, Code 2600 was named winner of the 2012 Grand Jury Documentary Film Award. This distinction is one of the more significant qualifications for Oscar Award nomination eligibility. “I was ecstatic that day,” Zerechak says. In the months since that win, Zerechak has been invited to screen the film around the world. He’s traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., where the documentary was shown to the former

director of the National Security Agency. While Zerechak promotes Code 2600, he’s pursuing his master’s degree in film at Ohio University. He joined the program because he believed it would exert a positive pressure on him to complete more projects. Steve Ross, director of the School of Film, says that the relationship between Zerechak and the graduate program is mutually beneficial. Students like Zerechak who come into the school with prior experience in the field often become “additional professors on the ground,” he notes. He also recalls Zerechak’s donation of an extensive personal collection of film props to the school, as well the time he used his carpentry skills to voluntarily upgrade the film equipment room. “So much of what he’s doing is really just a gift to the School of Film,” Ross says. Zerechak is currently in the exploratory phase of a project that focuses on the “old world sensibilities” of Amish and Mennonite communities, and is hopeful that his time at Ohio University will better prepare him for the future he intends to devote to documentary content. “Documentaries allow us the intimate opportunity to engage in real life with real people that otherwise we never would have known about, met, or identified with,” Zerechak says. “And that experience is priceless.”

film descriptions:

the films

land of confusion a b o u t t h e f i lm

From the heart of Baghdad to rural Iraqi farms, Land of Confusion offers a neverbefore seen account of working with the then-secretive Iraqi Survey Group as they travel the country searching for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. The film reveals the extraordinary perspective of soldiers on the ground in Iraq as recorded by one of their own, and goes far beyond what the conventional mainstream media shows audiences about the war in Iraq.

CODE 2 6 0 0 a b o u t t h e f i lm

Code 2600 documents the rise of the Information Technology Age as told through the events and people who helped build and manipulate it. The film explores the impact the new connectivity has on our ability to remain human while maintaining our personal privacy and security. As we struggle to comprehend the widespanning socio-technical fallout caused by data collection and social networks, our modern culture is caught in an undercurrent of cyber-attacks, identity theft, and privacy invasion. Both enlightening and disturbing, Code 2600 is a provacative wake-up call for a society caught in the grips of a global technology takeover.

film Images: Courtesy of jeremy zerechak


Perspectives 2013 graduate edition  

Ohio University Perspectives magazine graduate student special edition 2013

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