Saturday, April 28, 2012


Informant, a new documentary which premiered this week at the SF International Film Festival, profiles Brandon Darby, who went from founding member of the anarchist collective Common Ground, to FBI informant, to Tea Party blogger. Mr. Darby was interviewed extensively for the film & comes across as both charismatic & desperate for recognition. He even portrays himself in the film's dramatic reenactments. Interview subjects contradict each other outright, & Mr. Darby's role as an FBI informant is made to look fraught with ambiguities. There is also the subtle implication that the radical left & the radical right have a certain affinity.

Director Jamie Meltzer, who teaches at Stanford, was present at the screening & pointed out colleagues in the audience who also worked on the documentary. We learned that it took a year to convince Mr. Darby to participate & that he initially hated the film. Mr. Darby did not attend because he was at a Tea Party event, though he has agreed to appear at subsequent screenings. A woman in the audience who had worked with Common Ground vilified Mr. Darby & emphatically denied that the group advocated any sort of violence. Before the screening, Programming Coordinator Joseph Flores conducted a Jamie Meltzer trivia contest to award 2 t-shirts.

§ Informant
director, Jamie Meltzer
USA, 2012, 80 min

55th San Francisco International Film Festival
Sun, Apr 22    9:00 / Kabuki
Mon, Apr 23    6:30 / PFA
Fri, Apr 27    9:00 / Kabuki

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