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No matter where my stomping grounds happen to be at the moment, I have noticed there is predominantly one thing in common - in every mile, acre, nook and cranny there is a constant voice murmuring from the faces that pass by. This voice is what makes up the logistics of modern opinions. We are constantly bombarded by the loudspeakers of mainstream media of what we should or shouldn’t think, but the quiet voice is what truly matters. Not pressured by lobbyists, corporate statism or simple peer pressure, the murmurings of those around every one of us is the most powerful entity in the world.

Of course, I am speaking of the public opinions of everyday folks. Bill Maher refers to this as the “silent majority” - the predominant population that don’t hop on soapboxes to declare their extreme beliefs. Independent filmmakers and husband/wife duo, Shane and Amy Bugbee, sought out an expedition throughout the United States to capture the voice and see what it is that lights the fires in the souls of people around us.

The trip began with a planned year on the road in 2007. The Bugbees were activists in Minnesota and decided to seek better pastures. Not knowing where this would be, they packed their belongings and pounded the asphalt roads and documented their travels along the way.

As Ms. Bugbee puts it, “For our road trip, we decided to document America for a year, as it was 2007, and while we could see how bad the economy was, and how many people were losing their homes, the media was STILL saying the economy was booming. So we decided to document what we were seeing. While on the road we survived by getting odd jobs and places to stay off of Craigslist (no not like Craigslist Joe, we did this a full year before his measly 30 day vacation from his otherwise comfortable life), we also produced more than 150 short videos which we put on a website with dozens of blogs. Our videos got over a million hits in that year and continue to gain viewers.”

The videos broke the social norms of avoiding the royalty of conversational taboos - politics, art, religion and revolution - and sheds light on the genuine opinions and feelings of the unknown masses.

Since their days on the road, the Bugbees have collected their favorite interviews and compiled them into a avant garde movie titled, Politics, Art, Religion, Revolution. Ms. Bugbee also took her writings and created a beautiful documentation titled, The Suffering and Celebration of Life in America, which is part scrapbook, part journalistic prose. The result of the two works of art creates a poignant picture of the voices of musicians, activists, religious figures, photographers, writers, satanic priests, and the rest of the spectrum of social entities.

The work of the Bugees peel back the outer core of America comprised of Starbucks, Hot Topic, oil spills, and The Real Housewives of New York, and exposes the nitty gritty elements that make up the backbone of the United States. Everyone deserves a loudspeaker and these independent filmmakers are one of the few that have readily supplied them.


Listen to those that are speaking.

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