VIDEO ESSAY: “We Sleep: On the Enduring Propheticism of John Carpenter’s THEY LIVE”


[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: “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 hear: thank you, Perry.]

Posted in Video Essays

“A People’s Buddhism?”

A new article of mine, my first for Political Animal Magazine, is now live on their website. It’s entitled “A People’s Buddhism?”, and in it I argue that it is high time Buddhist Americans took a second look at the dharma of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

You can read the whole thing here.

As you can tell from my “About” page and the content I’ve been producing, I’m currently transitioning out of the world of Buddhist Studies (in which I used to work) and into the world of nonfiction cinema (as a new student in Ryerson University’s Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media program). That being the case, this will probably be the last major piece of written work I’ll do on Buddhism — maybe ever. It’s possible I’ll touch on the subject in a future film, but this article represents the last holdover from my “past life” in the Dharma. I hope readers get something out of it.


[UPDATE, 4/7/2017: I was honored that my old pal Justin Whitaker shared and commented on this piece at his wonderful Patheos blog American Buddhist Perspectives. Thank you so much, my friend.]

Posted in Writing

A Response to the Responses to My Article “The Teacher Racket”

As I mentioned a while back, I wrote an article entitled “The Teacher Racket” for the Winter 2016 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. The piece generated quite a few responses, some of which appear in the brand new Spring 2017 issue of the magazine.

Tricycle invited me to respond to the responses as well, which I did. If you’re a subscriber, you can read what I wrote online here. If not, a snapshot is below:

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Posted in Writing

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 Movies.com 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

“Interview: Festival Programmer and Pure Nonfiction Host Thom Powers”

I’ve got an interview with Thom Powers over at Nonfics. Thom, who has been called a “kingmaker for documentaries” by the New York Times, is host of the podcast Pure Nonfiction, documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Artistic Director of both the Stranger Than Fiction screening series and the documentary film festival DOC NYC, co-founder of both the Cinema Eye Honors and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant, curator of documentaries for Sundance Now, and the host of WNYC’s “Documentary of the Week” program.

Check out our conversation here.

Posted in Writing

VIDEO ESSAY: “My Ten Favorite Documentaries of 2016”

Posted in Video Essays

Interview on the Secular Buddhist Podcast

My co-editor Nathan Jishin Michon and I did a podcast interview about our new book A Thousand Hands: A Guidebook to Caring for Your Buddhist Community with the delightful Ted Meissner for the Secular Buddhist Podcast. We talk about the book’s genesis, the writing process, some of our contributors, and the importance of works like ours in the era of Trump.

You can listen to it here.

Posted in Interviews