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(2000, Matt Ehling) VHS $20

 

In its three decades of existence, cable access television has become a low-rent, uniquely American institution: a sort of First Amendment way-station part soapbox, part party-line, part activist network where people from across the political and social spectrum come together out of a shared desire to be heard.  Matt Ehling's new film Access is a documentary journey into the colliding American realities that make up the cable access world, and a chronicle of the lives and works of three of its inhabitants:

  • itinerant preacher Homer Giles, who with his wife Maggie "has saved over 340 souls" across Minnesota and televised the results for the faithful back home;
  • "Militiaman" Mark Hansen, who gives annual Conspiracy Tours across the nation with a camcorder lashed to his wrist. As Mark says, "Gun safety is not shooting yourself or a loved ones. Shoot scumbags."
  • Perennial political candidate Richard "A-Bomb" Klatte, who when he's not organizing Grateful Dead tribute parties, claims his experience in outer space and other dimensions will aid him in his race for president or governor.

Access is a tribute to the tradition of the great American rant, and to the medium that brings it into our homes, unexpurgated, twenty-four hours a day.