Cracker Crazy (2007) – By Josh Samford

 Documentary filmmaking is an art form that is as mixed up as any other. At it’s core, a documentary is another form of searching for truth in the world around us, but unfortunately for man no matter how hard it seems he tries – we are all burdened with our conscious and given our own opinions. It takes genuine hard will to deny what we believe is "truth". Some filmmakers blindly ignore facts in order to stretch their point, which seems blind to reason since if one begins to ignore "fact" how can you argue that you are still right in your assessment of a given situation? Cracker Crazy is a very critical look at the history of events that have all but led the state of Florida to the point that it now rests at. From the days of the Seminole indians to the present, all the heartbreak, tragedy, bloodshed and horror that has come and gone throughout the years. Time is a beast that no matter what we all try to do, will in the end show the darker side of man in any given time and age. Cracker Crazy is a film not made so much for the audience to walk away hating the state of Florida, but more to enlighten the audience – and for that I applaud the film. As someone who finds history quite interesting, and having studied Andrew Jackson and his "wars" waged against the Native Americans during his time as a leader, Cracker Crazy is a very intriguing look at that particular area of time.

Although I haven’t studied the situation as deeply as Georg Koszulinski, I have to say the attacks he made towards Walt Disney in the film were not very accurate and possibly even offensive. Koszulinski makes a thinly veiled reference that since Disney met with Leni Riefenstahl after she made her trip to the United States (and if you don’t know, Leni Riefenstahl was a documentary filmmaker who made propaganda films for Hitler’s regime previous to WWII) and since Snow White was the only American film played throughout Germany during the war – surely that makes Walt Disney a Nazi sympathizer? No, it does not. There are some that claim that Disney was known to have attended Nazi meetings previous to the war, but claims like that are hard to substantiate and are not present in this film regardless. However, what is known is that Riefenstahl’s film Olympia showed at the Venice international film festival alongside Snow White in 38, and actually beat the Disney classic and won top honors in the festival – and that Disney met with Riefenstahl shortly thereafter in the states when no one else would welcome her. Although Leni’s propagandist work is sometimes vilified, there’s no denying that her work alongside D.W. Griffith’s may be incredibly controversial but both filmmakers contributed a great deal to the art and I just don’t think it’s very fair that Riefenstahl be thrown up (within a documentary as well) as a sign of evil (even though what her work was used for, most assuredly was) and a way of demonizing a human being. Let’s just say there are a lot of ways to have went after Disney, but I think bringing Riefenstahl into the equation was in somewhat poor taste. However, even though I have spent a full paragraph on this issue – this segment makes up about two minutes within the actual film.

As you can see, when things get topical – everyone has an opinion and my own gets in the way of my discussing the other portions of this film. Cracker Crazy is a film made with a lot of heart and whether or not I agree with the filmmaker on all issues; there’s no denying the suffering that the natives were put through and that although there are things wrong with every state, nation, city or town – but there’s always some good as well and I don’t think the filmmaker has the intention of showing ill will towards the state of Florida but rather to awaken some of its residents for what good they can do. Cracker Crazy is a passionate film that covers all periods of time to do with one place and is definitely an intriguing film to watch; I highly recommend it.