VIDEO ESSAY: “We Sleep: On the Enduring Propheticism of John Carpenter’s They Live (1988)”

[UPDATE, 4/24/2017: So, wow: this video essay has gone supernova, thanks to Vimeo “Staff Pick”-ing it. As of today, The AV Club, Gizmodoio9Boing Boing, Films for Action, and Konbini have all done write-ups about it. Thanks to all!]

[UPDATE, 4/17/2017: I’m flabbergasted and humbled to report that Vimeo has named this video essay as one of their coveted “Staff Picks.” I really wanted more people to watch this one in particular — it’s as though they read my mind! But, in fact, they have honored this work in a way that far exceeds the wildest hopes I had for it. Thank you so much to Meghan Oretsky, the whole curation team at Vimeo, and the kind soul (or souls) who nominated the video essay!]

[UPDATE, 4/16/2017: I’m both very happy and grateful that Filmscalpel, which also offered a generous reflection about my “Spielberg and Surveillance” video essay, has written a lovely piece about this video essay. You can read it here. Thank you so much, Filmscalpel!]

Posted in Video Essays

VIDEO ESSAY: “Visualizing Chomsky”

Posted in Video Essays

Faces Places Voted the Best Documentary of 2017 in 5th Annual Nonfics Year-End Poll”

As a contributor to Nonfics, I participated in their year-end poll. The results are in, and you can check them out right here.

Individual ballots aren’t included, and I won’t share mine. However, I will say that documentary fans should make it a point to see Karl Marx City, The Work, and Starless Dreams. The 2017 docs that you’ve heard about are very fine indeed, but it was this year’s comparatively less ballyhooed titles that really stayed with me.

Posted in Writing

“The Best Video Essays of 2017”

I’m honored and delighted to have been a contributor to Sight & Sound’s “Best Video Essays of 2017” poll. Big thanks to Kevin B. Lee, David Verdeure, and Sight & Sound!

You can see my ballot and everyone else’s right here.

Posted in Writing

VIDEO ESSAY: “I Am Not Your Documentary”

Posted in Video Essays

VIDEO ESSAY: “McElwee on McElwee”

Posted in Video Essays

The Docs Factor Podcast, Episode 21: The Corporation (2003)

I had the enormous pleasure of appearing as a guest this week on episode 21 of Neil Hopkins and Chris Foster’s wonderful new Docs Factor Podcast. We discussed Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s 2003 documentary adaptation of Joel Bakan’s book The Corporation. It’s a favorite of mine, and one of the films I mention on the “Influences” page of this site.

You can listen to the episode here, or with whatever app you use for podcasts. (Don’t forget to subscribe to the show while you’re at it!)

Also, if you haven’t seen The Corporation, I should point out that Achbar and Abbott have made it freely available to watch on YouTube. Get hip to it.

Posted in News


Posted in Video Activism

2018 Society For Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference

We just got the news that our proposal has been accepted, so I’m happy to share: I’ll be co-facilitating a workshop with my good friend Dr. Vicki Callahan as part of the 2018 Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Conference here in Toronto. Our workshop topic will be “In the Mix: The Collaborative Video Essay in Theory and Praxis.” If you’re planning to attend the conference, I do hope you’ll make some time for our workshop.

For more information, visit

Posted in Events

DAY 61

Posted in Video Activism

“Laura Dunn on Look & See and the Challenge of Documenting Wendell Berry”

I’ve got an interview with Laura Dunn, director of the new documentary Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, over at Nonfics. Laura’s first theatrically released feature, 2007’s The Unforeseen, not only boasted Robert Redford and Terrence Malick as executive producers but also garnered rhapsodic reviews, an Independent Spirit Award and television distribution on both PBS and the Sundance Channel. Special screenings of Look & See are currently taking place around the country, and it’s now available on Netflix U.S. as well.

Take a look at out our conversation here.

Posted in Writing


Posted in Documentaries

VIDEO ESSAY: “Before Charlottesville: Ten Documentaries that Confront White Supremacy”

Posted in Video Essays

Dunkirk: Keep Calm and Carry On?”

I’ve got a new article, my first for Culture Matters, up now at their website. It’s my political reading of Christopher Nolan’s critically-acclaimed new film Dunkirk. In the piece, entitled Dunkirk: Keep Calm and Carry On?”, I discuss the moral obligations of the artist, the World War II combat genre, and the potential for a “truly radical flowering” of progressive film culture.

You can read the whole thing here.

Posted in Writing

VIDEO ESSAY: “On Thom Andersen’s Pick for the ‘Most Remarkable’ Documentary of the ’00s”

Posted in Video Essays

“‘Just Wait’: On the 35th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)”

I’ve got a new article, my first for the genre magazine Diabolique, up now at their website. Entitled “‘Just Wait’: On the 35th Anniversary of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)”, it argues that the classic 1980s horror film is “the best exemplar of a hugely influential director’s gifts.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Posted in Writing

VIDEO ESSAY: “Towards an Anti-War Film Canon: Ten American Essentials”

Posted in Video Essays

VIDEO ESSAY: “The Dark Knight Resists”

[UPDATE, 5/16/2017: I’m humbled by the rhapsodic write-up that this video essay just received from H. Perry Horton of Film School Rejects. He writes that “The Dark Knight Resists” is “the best, most poignant, most salient video essay I have seen thus far this year… Fisher has crafted a hauntingly captivating line of thought that will change the way you see these films, their director, and indeed the world surrounding you. There are things you should watch, and there are things you need to watch. Fisher’s video, without a doubt, belongs at the top of the latter category.” Horton is video content editor for FSR and its very popular Twitter feed @OnePerfectShot, where he also shared this video essay. In addition, he previously wrote a lovely reflection on another of my video essays, “Spielberg and Surveillance”. From the bottom of my heart: thank you, Perry.]

Posted in Video Essays

VIDEO ESSAY: “Spielberg and Surveillance”

[UPDATE, 3/16/2017: My cup runneth over! “Spielberg and Surveillance” just got another considerate write-up, this time from H. Perry Horton of Film School Rejects. Horton is video content editor for FSR and its very popular Twitter feed @OnePerfectShot, where he also shared the video essay. Thank you so much, sir!

[UPDATE, 3/13/2017: I’ve just now noticed that Christopher Campbell shared this video essay in his daily “Today in Movie Culture” post at on February 21st. Check it out here. Thanks, Christopher!]

[UPDATE, 3/5/2017: Wow — now Filmscalpel has given this essay a lovely, substantial write-up of their own. You can read the post right here. Thanks, Filmscalpel!]

[UPDATE, 3/1/2017: I’m both delighted and grateful that No Film School has given my video essay an exceedingly thoughtful, incredibly generous write-up. Read author Max Winter’s post here. Much obliged, Max.]

Posted in Video Essays

“The Problem of Access: Weiner (2016) and the Limitations of the Fly-on-the-Wall Documentary”

I’ve got a new article, my first for Bright Lights Film Journal, at their website. It is entitled “The Problem of Access: Weiner (2016) and the Limitations of the Fly-on-the-Wall Documentary”. In it, I observe that “the response to Weiner shows us (yet again) that the greater the access to a subject, the more likely a documentary is to be lavishly praised…no matter how questionable its politics.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Posted in Writing