Fully Booked Film Series

June 12, 2009

June 13, 2009: Profit motive and the whispering wind

Filed under: Films Screened — Alexis @ 4:19 am


Profit motive and the whispering wind
Directed by John Gianvito

An extraordinary meditation on the nature of democratic progress in the United States, John Gianvito’s one-of-a-kind documentary journeys from the gravesites to the public markers that document the people and incidents that make up over 400 years of struggle against economic oppression. Mesmerizingly shot and edited with a dramatically mounting pace, PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND is both a fascinating history lesson and a jolting rumination on how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. (Source: Koch Entertainment Distribution)

Screening schedule: 8-10pm, June 13, 2009
Duration: 58 minutes (+ post screening discussion)
Location: U-View Cinema, Basement level, Fully Booked Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Language: English

*screening with permission from the director

Link: http://www.cinema-scope.com/cs32/int_sicinski_gianvito.html
Excerpt from interview linked above –
John Gianvito: After September 11, 2001, “I found myself re-reading stretches of Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’, re-encountering some measure of what is admirable in this country’s past, the words and deeds of so many, known and unknown, who contributed to the historical struggle for a more just and egalitarian society. In time the idea took root to pay homage to this significant history, as well as to this book which continues to mean so much to so many of us, and by so doing, the hope was to draw sustenance from the sacrifices and efforts of those who came before us. ‘Profit Motive and the whispering wind’ was intended to be a small poem to this progressive past.”

Facebook event page

Update, June 13, 2009 –
Gianvito’s e-mailed introduction, read before the screening:

When Alexis proposed screening my film to you folks this evening, I was honored that he wished to do so and at the same time apprehensive about how such an odd film might play in Manila. Not that I think audiences in the Philippines have any particular aversion to odd films, especially since some of the most wonderfully strange films I’ve seen in recent years have come from your country. It is more the issue that my film concentrates on a spectrum of American history that the majority of folks I encounter in the United States know little about. While you are likely to feel terribly frustrated that you are being presented with a succession of names and events that few of you may recognize, it is important to understand that this experience is not so different here in the US. But my film is not actually a history lesson, at least not in the traditional ways in which we tend to think about pedagogical films. Instead I thought of myself as writing a kind of poem about this history.  My initial inspiration was  the desire to pay tribute to a book that has meant a great deal to so many of us on the political left in the US, a book by renowned historian and activist Howard Zinn entitled “A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.”  What this book attempts to do is to tell  a version of the history of the US from the arrival of Columbus up until the present, but from the perspective of those who are traditionally left out of the standard textbooks. Instead of focusing as always on the lives of the Presidents and industrialists, the robber barons and the generals, Zinn writes about the struggles and deeds of America’s women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers. But, as always in his work, Zinn’s emphasis is not about merely recounting the details of the past but consistently Zinn focuses our understanding upon what that past means to the present and how this knowledge, so much of it suppressed and kept out of view, can be used to guide us forward. As Zinn says, “writing about history is never a neutral act.”

As will soon become apparant, my film is a very meditative work (“meditative” if one is into the film, “boring” if one rejects it). In a certain sense, I have come to think that I have only made 50% of this movie. The other 50% is made–or not made–by what you do with the contemplative space the film provides you.

For those who will say that this is a meaningless film, at least meaningless to audiences in the Philippines, I would simply say that if I had grown up in a country that had the US’s foot on its throat my whole life, I personally would be interested in knowing that there exists another US inside the America we all think we know, an America committed to the eternal struggle to forge a more just and egalitarian society.  And if you don’t think of the United States as having had its foot on your throat than this is itself proof of the suppression of history.

Finally, as my film suggests, and as I believe, we are all, in fact, surrounded by the dead.  And they have things to tell us.

I dedicate tonight’s screening to the future memory of Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Macario Sakay, and all the other “bandoleros” of the spirit.

– John Gianvito



  1. Mr. Editor, why don’t you publish the special introduction filmmakers have been sending for Fully Booked screenings?

    Comment by Nika B — June 12, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  2. Good idea. Will do, commander.

    Comment by Alexis — June 12, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  3. Gianvito’s letter of introduction to the screening added at the end of the post.

    Comment by Alexis — June 14, 2009 @ 12:21 am

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