A pair of unlikely art-themed films, one about the hucksterism and commercialization that breed amidst street art, and the second, a moving portrait about art wrought from trash, have been nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary.
World-famous and elusive graffiti maven Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop is a romp through the graffiti scene’s eccentric underbelly. The film was cut using footage shot by amateur filmmaker and street art impresario Thierry Guetta, who also makes his own creations under the moniker Mr. Brainwash.
STILL FROM EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
Through his cousin, a street artist dubbed “Space Invader,” he gains access to the nighttime escapades, which eventually lead him to the holy grail of street art: Banksy. After viewing Guetta’s dreadful rough cut, the fiercely secretive street artist got on board as director, sifting through thousands of hours of footage to create a cogent narrative. A youthful Shepard Fairey figures prominently, along with other well-known names such as Neck Face and Swoon.
In Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, the viewer tags along with artist Vik Muniz while he’s at work on a new project. He travels to his native Brazil with the intention of making portraits from garbage gathered by “catadores,” trash pickers at the world’s largest landfill, near Rio de Janeiro. The film becomes a portrait of human dignity and Muniz’s art, in the process, transforms the lives of some of its subjects through, yes, art.