Played at the April 2017 LA FEEDBACK Film Festival.
THE NEON STRUGGLE, 38min, USA, Documentary
Directed by Bert Simonis
A family fights to keep their neon sign business alive as the light of the industry fades away. The process of creating these delicate signs is beautifully photographed to capture the intricacy of this populist American art form. Interviews with neon historians and experts are interspersed with vintage neon signs from across the United States.
Review by Kierston Drier:
The Neon Struggle, directed by Bert Simonis, is a story that will take you back in time. It follows one family and their small business passing down the true art and craftsmanship of building and creating Neon Lights.
There was a glorious time when Neon was new, fun, flashy and authentic. It took nearly a decade to learn the trade of sculpting, crafting, installing and repairing it A viewer may remember the day when Neon Lights were the only lights to catch your attention. But Vegas, once the Neon Capital of the world, would one day switch to LED.
And though this is a dying art, this family, with unapologetic charm, and passion, takes us through the work they do, the journey they have made through decades of lighting up the night with electric ions and phosphorescent hues.
Cinematically, this is nothing short of a colorful, and it is a piece brimming with authenticity. It is like stepping into an episode of Pawn Stars, with the cheerful characters and the educational, yet conversational atmosphere that the family creates while recounting the truly fascinating history of Neon. We wouldn’t immediately think that Neon went out of fashion for political reasons- that it was the victim of Marketing tactics hailing it as “colorful clutter” instead of the message board of the masses. That LED hit the stage in a time of Public Relations and Marketing, a platform that mom-and-pop neon shops never had been made to work within.
A fascinating look at sliver of history- a history that is as rich and bright as the lights themselves.
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