Title:  The Last Broadcast

Release Date:  1998

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: about 90 Minutes

MPAA Rating:  n/a (PG-13)

Distributor and Production Company: Wavelength Releasing

Director; Writer: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler

Producer: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler

Cast:   David Beard, Jim Seward, Rein Clabbers, Michele Pulaski;

Technical:  DVD

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: Independent film, early DVD projection

Review: Review; The Last Broadcast; Wavelength Releasing, 1998; PG-13; Producers: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler; Starring: David Beard, Jim Seward, Rein Clabbers, Michele Pulaski; About 90 Minutes; Score: 9.5/10

I'll start with this comment: in both title and weird substance, this film reminds me of Peter Weir's The Last Wave (1977).

This film is a sensational early example of electronic film exhibition. A digital picture-sound print of the entire film is transmitted by satellite or fiber-optic T1 lines to the theater, where it is exhibited, with the help of a very large and high-speed PC. This film is, right now, being shown in only a few cities. I saw it at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

And it presents an intriguing premise. Rather than conventional melodrama, the film presents a murder mystery as a "docudrama," a semi-documentary with some acted scenes and some interviews. The case in point is a brutal murder of three young men in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in December 1995. The men were camping out and documenting evidence of the "Jersey Devil" (also a theme of an X-Files episode) when one of their (Jim Suard) party had a disagreement with them and left. Mr. Suard gets accused and convicted of the crime with the help of a politically ambitious, over-zealous prosecution. A year later he has committed suicide in prison, launching the premise for the documentary film.

The characters are apparently associated with the "Fact of Fiction" show, and that is part of the joke. The audience is supposed to believe this is a true story, but the actors' names (unless they are "stage names") are permutations of the names of the real people. The characters, for the most part, are of an appealing sort, the sort you expect to find on any campus.

The presentation is compelling, and the soundtrack and picture are mostly reasonably good technically. The corpses are graphically portrayed. The situations are goofy, though - young men camping out in subfreezing December temperatures (although the Pine Barrens, near so much ocean, should have milder winter weather than the nearby major metro areas) and yet spending hours banging away on their laptops while covered with goose down in unheated tents.

The actual film script supposedly cost only $900 to shoot. Conversion to conventional 35mm format for wider distribution would be expensive, about $45000. This film represents a significant example of "self-published" film-making. I won't let this one go unnoticed; the could concept could work for my own DADT book.

For more info, see wavelength.


Related reviews: The Blair Witch Project


Return to doaskdotell movies

Return to strike page for reviews

Return to home page


Email me at