The Image Formed

Previewing the 12th Austin Film Festival

Pirate Radio USA

D: Jeff Pearson, Mary Jones

Driven by the ingenuity that DIY conditions demand, this subversively cheery documentary gives an A-to-Z primer on low-power radio broadcasting. But as the filmmakers would readily admit, they are not out merely to entertain but to provoke viewers to action. By charting how radio started as an open medium, how it fell into corporate hands, and how federal agencies meant to protect the public good have set their sights elsewhere, it's clear the filmmakers are on a mission. Even NPR doesn't get by unscathed. But Pirate Radio USA is much more than a leftist tantrum. What started as a documentary about existing pirate radio stations before the FCC completely snuffed them out, serendipitously shows citizen journalism at its best when the filmmakers find themselves on the ground at the 1999 WTO demonstrations. This alternate facet, ignored in the mainstream media, is the film's best argument for its cause. – B.A.

10/19, 9:30pm, Hideout; 10/25, 9:15pm, Hideout

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Belinda Acosta
Margaret Moser Tribute: Marcia Ball
Marcia Ball
“She’s a music writer who writes to enlighten”

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: Eliza Gilkyson
Eliza Gilkyson
The best advice she ever received? Keep your dogs clean.

June 30, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle