The wife and I signed up for Netflix last month, just before the big move. This has led me to watch an awful lot of movies that I had previously never even heard of. I’ll try and review a few of them for ya in the coming weeks.

First up is a documentary called “Just Like Being There” from director Scout Shannon. I am not really a documentary buff, but for some reason Netflix is chock full of em, and I’ve been drawn to watch ’em. This one has been my favourite so far.

It explores the community of designers and silk-screeners that have been creating gig posters for underground and independent musical groups for the last ten years or so, the art they create, the collectability of the posters, and the revival of movie poster art brought on by Mondo and the Alamo Draft House.

Meeting with dozens of artists (including Jay Ryan and Olly Moss), one thing the film does really well is express the low-key, DIY tone of the community. These are creative, talented people who make the great posters, but they don’t come off as vain, unapproachable characters. They are everyday people doing their job, and doing it well.

The great thing about this movie is how it manages to talk to all of these nice, unassuming artists, about their work and about the ideas of gig poster design and printing and present them in such a humble and down to earth way, while simultaneously make you insanely jealous for the product they create. You want to have these posters. They are gorgeous and striking and you can see them all in the film but cannot touch them, cannot own them. More over, for me, I was also jealous of the job. I want to be one of these artists, and to be able to spend my days creating posters and dreaming up designs. It had a strong appeal to me, and I spent the second half of the movie also thinking about how I could start a screen print studio.

Just Like Being There doesn’t expose a great tragedy in the world, and it isn’t telling a sensational tale, and it doesn’t uncover some secret truth about the world, but as a film, it shows you some pretty great people doing some pretty great art, and I have no doubt that I will be watching this one again and again in the coming years. If you have ever created something that you consider to be art, and are looking for a pick-me-up to help spur you back to it, then I recommend a viewing of this movie to get your motor running.

Here’s the trailer:

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