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1000 Journals is a film about people whose lives are touched by 1000 traveling journals. These blank journals were released into the world in the summer of 2000, by Someguy, a San Francisco based artist. Some people found a journal, or got it from a friend or stranger. Some signed up on the web and received it in the mail. Some wrote in them, others doodled, pasted in photographs, or added artworks. Some kept them. Some passed them on. There are no rules, and no one really monitors these journals and their movements. And yet, they are connecting tens of thousands of people worldwide, provoking and inspiring them. In September 2003, one of the 1000, number 526, returned to Someguy, filled. What happened to the other 999? This film tells their stories. 1000 Journals shares the experience of their worldwide journeys, and chronicles the self-governed collaboration of thousands of random people who have added to this global 'message in a bottle.'
In a surprising region where art, performance, psychology and interactivity overlap, during the summer of 2000 a wonderful project was born. A San Francisco artist who mysteriously calls himself 'Someguy' began a unique adventure that touched thousands of people all over the world. He compiled and released 1000 blank writing journals into the world - placing them in cafes, restaurants, parks, bookstores, on streets, and in many other places where random people would be likely to find them. He invited people to contribute some content, then pass them on, and asked that the filled journals be returned. His message to those who found the journals said: 'This is an experiment and you are part of it.' Someguy's inspiration for creating this project came from his fascination with messages that people scribble on bathroom walls. Three years later, only 1 journal had come back to him. His curiosity was overwhelming - he wondered where the other 999 journals had disappeared to, so he tried to find them.
Southern California filmmaker Andrea Kreuzhage chose to follow this quest and deeply immersed herself in the human drama of it. She joined Someguy to document the bizarre and always interesting story of what happened to these journals and this unique experiment, and the process took her around the world. She found herself on a wild treasure hunt which included many wonderful and fascinating people, and a singular look at a whole new world of art, serendipity and possibility. In fact, she discovered a microcosm of human nature, personalities and experiences that left me breathless with the sheer brilliance of it. This film is not to be missed!
In some strange way the journals became therapeutic experiences for some of those who found them, and acted like a mirror for others. It opened up many people's worlds and changed many lives as some pondered why this experience touched them. For others it motivated them to face some parts of themselves that they had never dealt with before, or even realized existed.
This film, which is masterful in both concept and execution, expresses the enormous range of creativity of the artist, the filmmaker and the people who contributed to the experiment, and the drive to creatively collaborate. It's an exciting exploration of a variety of emotions, from joy to rage and everything in between. Perhaps most important, it's about the juiciness of surprise and the belief in hope and the goodness of people. Like most truly great works, it has a deeply satisfying and uplifting way of pointing out universal themes and puts a focus on our humanity and our instinct for contribution and sharing. This is a unique and deeply moving film that has stayed in my awareness since I saw it. It will be equally interesting to people whose world is related to art in their every day lives, and to those who have little opportunity for creative expression.
-Karil Daniels --Rotten Tomatoes
Even in the wired world - the world of pure information and the disembodied networks along which that information travels - there are those of us who yearn for things tangible, things that carry expressions from one person to another through their pure, solid actuality. Undoubtedly this yearning is what made the idea for the 1000 Journals Project so irresistible to Someguy - a San Francisco based artist - in 2000. Over a two-year period, Someguy released into the world 1,000 journals with this declaration: 'This is an experiment and you are part of it' and instructions to contribute, pass it on and return it when it was filled. Some journals he left on park benches, others were specifically requested through the project's website, and all of them, he hoped, would find their way back home. As of the beginning of Kreuzhage's film, a strikingly seamless doc for a first-time filmmaker, only one journal was back in Someguy's hands. But, as the film proves by tracking down dozens of people who once had a journal (or still have a journal), the project was an astonishing success - not just as a venue for stories, expressed in words, painting, collage, but also as a catalyst for new stories and as a fascinating social document. - Eric Larson --Conscious Choice Magazine
Inspired by the random acts of art and personal confession found in public bathroom stalls, a San Francisco-based graphic artist known as Someguy sent 1000 blank journals out into the world. Stamped on the inside of each journal were these instructions: 'This is an experiment and you are a part of it. Add anything you like, then pass it on.' Intrigued by this project, director Andrea Kreuzhage decided to track down these journals, which have made their way to 35 countries, including France, Australia, and Iceland. As interviewees describe the journal's serendipitous arrival, the challenge to find their creative voice, and the reluctance to part with the work of art they've helped create, Kreuzhage shows the remarkably profound impact that Someguy's idea has had on the lives of those lucky enough to participate. Occasionally poignant - one woman desperately tries to locate the journal that her recently deceased brother contributed to - and humorous, as when two young women in Australia take it upon themselves to spruce up a few entries they find dull, 1000 Journals is a celebration of global creativity. - Amber Humphrey --San Francisco Bay Guardian
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Top Customer Reviews
Here's the story: In June of 2000, a graphic designer, known in this project as Someguy, had an idea for a collaborative art project. He would distribute 1,000 blank journals, allow people to fill them in any way they wanted to, and return them to him.
According to Someguy's story, "In August of that year, I began distributing blank journals around San Francisso. I left them in bar bathrooms, at cafes, and on the bus, and gave them to friends and strangers. Each journal contained instructions inviting participants to contribute something to the journal, and then to pass it along to someone else."
He had no idea if the journals would ever return. But he started a website on which people could post their journal artwork and sign up to have a journal sent to them when they returned. The documentary tracks the story of the journals that have been returned or have known whereabouts.
People who found the books eagerly looked forward to leaving their mark. Faced with filling a blank page, some filled it eagerly, some couldn't decide how to fill it. Many had trouble sending the journal onto the next person. (Artists frequently have trouble letting their work go into the world without adult supervision.)
Because the books traveled to every state in the union and into 53 countries worldwide. People began to add rules to the journals. "Finish them in 24 hours and pass them on." "You have two weeks." And then, some artists decided they didn't like the writing of others, painted over the pages and added their own artwork. Some people who got the journals wrote angry, damaging entries to previous artists and sent the book back to the original artist. The documentary covers it all--the joy, the sadness, the weird rationalizations.
You meet the woman whose husband died the day she received the book, and the memorial she made of her page. You see the book having cross-cultural stumbles and snags. You visit with the woman who received the book back, and the cruel drawings of her that a collaborative art project risks.
The documentary is best savored with the book, but it does a great job of exploring our culture and the control we want over our writing and our lives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
don't marvel in the everyday, you can still be moved by this documentary.Read more