This isn't the first time an alien has visited earth on a fact-finding mission. They've been coming here for hundreds of years, studying our planetary communications systems. The alien is grey with elongated fingers and toes, has an insatiable curiosity, and is the star of the CUP produced film "The Internet is Serious Business" which had it's premiere at Anthology Film Achives tonight.
The alien conceit (the alien is totally adorable, btw) takes what could easily be a snooze-fest --an examination of Internet access, the "digital divide" and technology governance issues-- and whips them into an entertaining and informative mix that is truly all ages. Claymation Internet packets and clever youthisms will keep kids' attention while the subject matter at hand with it's related, thorny questions of who 'controls' the internet provides food for thought for adults and geeks.
"The Internet is Serious Business" (which takes it's title, not-surprisingly, from a popular Internet meme catch-phrase) was produced by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) with assistance from Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and features MNN's previous IT Director, Damien Barrett, who explains broadband infrastructure to the visiting extra-terrestrial. (Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in that interview but had a scheduling conflict.)
CUP Teaching Artist Helki Frantzen and students from City-As-School worked with the People’s Production House Digital Expansion Initiative to produce this video about the huge networks of cables, routers, and servers that we call the Internet.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion with spectrum advocate Dharma Dailey, People’s Production House Policy Director Josh Breitbart, and others who worked on the project. There is no date currently set for the DVD release, although the producers assured me they were working on it.