A Hundred Dollars and a T-shirt

Maybe you’ve seen one at a local bookstore or coffee shop on a metal turning rack with rough graphics and interesting and obscure topics adorning the pages. These faceless publications have a powerful voice and philosophy for a community, city or town. Joe Biel explores the makings and social culture of zines in “A Hundred Dollars and T-shirt.”

Biel’s film takes place in Portland, Oregon where most zinesters find that their creativity and lifestyle can flourish. Zinesters range from early teens to mid-30s and build their lives on creating zines and supporting the zine community. The film explores creators of different types of zines, shedding light on individual reasons for making zines and the humble lifestyle one must expect from making this art form a way of life.

The scope of zinesters this film covers allows for a great description and educational background on zines from various perspectives. The interviews with creators inspire the viewer to take life into their own hands and create their own zine. The film covers how many creators put together their zine, how they get it distributed, and the way to connect business relations with other zinesters.

“Hundred Dollars” humanizes the zine process by giving these paper booklets faces. The contents of the film are thorough and captivating, but the presentation of the film is amateur and boring at times. From beginning to end, the film loses momentum, mostly due to repetition of style and content. The editing serves as a divider between topics that thwarts smooth transitions. Usually elements like these make for a poor film, but the subject of the film itself is a low-budget art work. In this way, the film reflects the topic.



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