Independent. Avant-Garde. Cult. Underground. Sticks and stones.

Tribulation 99.

Why are film festivals cool? Because sometimes you get to travel in time. At FLEX 2007 (Florida Experimental) the fest director Roger Beebe brought down Craig Baldwin as a juror and screen his first feature TRIBULATION 99 (1991). Beebe introduced Baldwin and revealed a fact about many of us age 30-40 folks – TRIB 99 got us into experimental film. For Beebe, he got inspired by Baldwin and started making work. For me, it was a new type of film viewing experience all together.

Connecting the dots of underground cult horror, terrifying conspiracy theories, maniacal documentary and avant sensibilities, TRIB 99 is an important a document of the second half of the 20th century as you will ever need. Cramming almost every oddball conspiracy theory – and underground government fact – together through found footage, 50s style shock narration and superhuman editing, TRIB 99 holds up today as it did when I first saw it 15 years ago. At the time, I thought I had seen cult films, but TRIB 99 struck new ground for me. At turns hilarious and terrifying, 15 years later I laughed just as hard and got totally freaked out by this fucking world. Baldwin has cultivated Bruce Conner, B movies and secret reports into a career of culture jamming. We are all the better for it.

So you have the DVD instead of the theater experience I’m talking about. But still a great deal with Baldwin’s commentary and two early, rare shorts by him, ROCKETKITKONGOKIT (1986) and WILD GUNMAN (1978). See where it all came from.