Someguy and a host of participants in the "1000 Journals Project."
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY
In the summer of 2000, a San Francisco graphic artist named Someguy released 1000 journals into the world. Some people found the blank journals, while others received them from friends or strangers or by signing up for the project on a website.
The "project" stated no rules and the journals had no monitors. Some people wrote in their others, some doodled and some pasted photographs. In September 2003, journal #526 was returned to Someguy having been completely filled.
This documentary, directed by Andrea Kreuzhage, shares the story of what happened the journals, some of those who've participated in the project and how the "1000 Journals Project" has connected thousands of people around the world all beginning with a simple, blank journal.
Despite traveling all over the world, from San Francisco to Connecticut to Croatia, "1000 Journals" isn't nearly as appealing visually as it is in terms of sheer human interest. Someguy wants adults to fill the journal to their heart's desire, and clearly hopes that the project itself strikes a note deep within the participants. That said, it becomes clear not long into "1000 Journals" that even those who take the project quite seriously don't really have that much to say and what they do say doesn't exactly make for exciting cinema.
There's Hollie Rose, a Connecticut woman who wants to be sure Someguy receives at least one journal back. She tries desperately to keep track of her journal, journal #526, to ensure it is returned to Someguy.
There's Dampas Donelli, a Croatian who arranges to pick up a journal at a local bar only to arrive with no journal to be found.
There are those who use their journal to vent and those whose journals are filled with page after page of artistry. There are those who fill practically every blank space of their journal, and those who write what they can then pass on the journal.
"1000 Journals" spends a large amount of time interviewing the participants themselves, an interesting approach given the artist's own stated interest in the power of anonymity as an influence in the project. More intriguing, however, is how many of the testimonies feel incomplete, abbreviated or simply edited at an awkward moment.
Ralph Kaechele's HD camera work largely enhances the proceedings, though at times the pristine imagery contradicts the desired intimacy of the project.
An interesting idea that never quite gels as a documentary, "1000 Journals" may be best experienced as part of the project itself. For more information on the film, visit:
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic