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Drones In My Backyard

How comfortable should Americans be with the growing use of drones by all segments of society?

A printer-friendly version of this page 13 minutes
Directed by Alan Snitow
Produced by Alan Snitow, Deborah Kaufman
Written and Edited by Alan Snitow
Produced by Snitow-Kaufman Productions

"Does a spectacular job of exploring the implications of drones entering our domestic air space...[A]sks all the right questions." Ken Rinaldo, Director, Art and Technology Program, Ohio State University
DRONES IN MY BACKYARD is a funny and scary video mash-up about the coming of aerial drones to the United States.

One day a drone appears in the filmmaker's backyard, hovering over his head. It's the catalyst for an extended meditation and free association on the presence of drones in war-making, the role of drones in surveillance, and the thrill of flying when you put on goggles to see what the drone sees.

Whether it's the Predator, the Argus, or cute little Hummingbirds, drones of all shapes and sizes are flying to a rock and roll beat. We see them following us...and listen to the incessant buzzing of cameras overhead.

Other films by Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman are Secrets of Silicon Valley, Thirst and Between Two Worlds.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2014     Copyright Date: 2013
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-505-X

"Drones In My Backyard does a spectacular job of exploring the implications of drones entering our domestic air space by 2015. It asks all the right questions, presenting perspectives of those in Gaza and Pakistan who live with the buzz of drones daily, as do the directors who wonder about the loss of their individual privacy as drones hover in their backyard...The film conflates this footage with positive uses for drones - hobbyists playing, juggling drones, farmers monitoring crops, environmentalists watching for proper care of rivers and forests - and we are presented with a compelling aerial vision: A vision that suggests, while we may have a flyby view of the Statue of Liberty, we are also set to lose more liberty as drones enter our domestic airspace invading our every privacy."
Ken Rinaldo, Professor and Director, Art and Technology Program, The Ohio State University, Director of Emergent Systems

"Whether constructed for recreation, surveillance, law enforcement or for subject elimination, drones have become a topic evoking an even greater range of emotion and responses. This DVD describes in a masterful way the diversity of sizes, construction materials, designs and purposes for these machines...Whether the drones evoke fear, wonder, or hope, this DVD provides the viewer with not only information about them but poses questions that allows for further probing on one's own views about what glides, soars and or hovers above us. Drones in My Backyard is a concise but revealing overview of this continuing emerging form of technology."
Marylin Lisowski, Eastern Illinois University, Science Books and Films

"A good...introduction to key issues concerning the advent of military and civil Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known by the public as drones. The adverse consequences of UAVs are emphasized over the benefits."
Dr. Robert Finkelstein, President, Robotic Technology Inc., Collegiate Professor of Management and Technology, Director, Intelligent Systems Laboratory, University of Maryland

"I could easily see the film presented in courses on science, technology, and society, with students themselves applying various theories to the 'case' of drones...Entertaining and fast-moving."
Lisa Stampnitzky, Teaching Sociology Journal

"An unforgettable short film that beautifully captures an increasingly surreal aspect of the twenty-first century, Drones in My Backyard is highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review

"[The filmmaker] uses original interviews and footage, spliced together with clips from PBS, the Israeli Army, YouTube, and other sources to demonstrate the potential uses of drones...With a playing time of 13 minutes, robotics or government classes would have ample discussion time for practical or ethical issues, and budding engineers could consider positive and negative possibilities before assembling any unmanned aerial vehicles."
Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, School Library Journal

"A solid, short overview of a hot topic...This is recommended."
T. Keogh, Video Librarian

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
DVD includes SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and scene selection.

The producers' website

Awards and Festivals
Silver Chris Award, Columbus International Film+Video Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
Dallas VideoFest
Science Books & Films Best Videos of 2014

American Democracy
American Studies
Law Enforcement

Social Psychology
War and Peace

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... more Reviews

"Snitow's sighting of a neighbor's drone in his supposedly private backyard leads to a musing on drone technology's growing ubiquity. How comfortable should Americans be with current uses of unmanned aerial vehicles?"
Peter Wong,

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