Date(s) - Thursday 11/13/2008
6:00 pm - 8:54 pm
Join legendary media prankster and provocateur Alan Abel as he presents an exhilarating documentary about his 50-year career of fooling the news media.
Abel Raises Cain (trailer) is an unprecedented glimpse into the bizarre career of Alan Abel, the infamous media hoaxer. Like a reverse Jon Stewart, Abel has been producing fake news for the masses for over 50 years. He has made a name for himself several times over with stunts that are just ridiculous enough to be believed, especially to a media that feeds on salacious, lurid and wacky stories.
Abel’s hoaxing career began in the late 1950s with S.I.N.A., the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals. This tongue-in-cheek moral crusade, whose purpose was to clothe all animals for modesty’s sake, was actually a commentary on censorship. After launching the campaign, however, Alan soon found himself in the midst of a national craze. Newspaper, radio and television reporters couldn’t seem to get the story fast enough. Abel realized that, with very little funds and very few props, with a straight face, he could convince America, and the media, that an absurd idea like S.I.N.A. truly existed.
Over the years, Alan continued masterminding scores of other allegorical satires and outlandish stunts, all with the purpose to amuse and provoke. Ultimately, with his hoaxes, Alan’s goal has always been to give people, what he calls “a kick in the intellect.” Abel continues to taunt the media and the masses with his nutty ideas, imaginary organizations and seemingly nonsensical campaigns. In 2000, Life Magazine recognized Alan as a cultural icon during the 20th century in their volume edition, Century of Change.
In this loving documentary portrait of an eccentric father, Alan’s daughter, Jenny, tells her firsthand account of what it was like growing up with a prankster dad. Abel Raises Cain takes the audience on a roller coaster ride through the myriad of elaborate hoaxes and schemes that Abel pulled off over the years, all of which were designed to provoke and amuse… while at the same time, make people question everything that they see, hear and read.
The UTNE Reader praised the film for showing us that “long before the Yes Men satirized Exxon and Halliburton, and before Ashton Kutcher was born, Alan Abel was the undisputed king of media hoaxers.” Reviewers at slate.com called Abel Raises Cain “an invigorating and often hysterical look at a gifted comic and the nation of dupes he continues to use as his medium.” Abel Raises Cain has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary (Slamdance, Newport), Top Ten Audience Favorites (Hot Docs), and Best Feature (Brooklyn Underground).
This event is made possible by the Experimental Television Center’s Presentation Funds. The Experimental Television Center’s Presentation Funds program is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts.