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SEVENTEEN

USA, 1983 (MIFF 1984)

Director: Joel DeMott, Jeff Kreines

An extraordinary filmic record of the lives of a group of teenagers during their final year of High School. They are residents of Muncie, Indiana, the site of the oft-consulted "Middletown USA" sociological studies. The two-person team of DeMott (female) and Kreines (male) designed their own comprehensive camera-mike apparatus, weighing only five kilos; thus, when the situation required (all-girl, all-boy conversations), one could work independently. It was also part of their approach to the project to live with their subjects throughout the year.

The result was a degree of intimacy and revelation rarely captured on film, and a confrontation with the sheer ordinariness of the teenagers' perception of their own lives, which encompass booze, dope, illegitimacy, miscegenation, racial prejudice and accidental death.

Not surprisingly, 'Seventeen' was rejected for broadcasting by its television sponsor, and has encountered distribution difficulties because of its unrelenting frankness DeMott and Kreines electrified the 1981 Melbourne Festival audience with their "Demon Lover Diary".

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