The collection, is available not only to view, but for other filmmakers and journalists to use the footage for their own projects, as many of the interview subjects were notable artists, activists, and scholars. Subjects include internationally known photographer Joel Peter Witkin, anthropologist William H. McNeill, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Attorney for the American Atheists Edwin Kagin, punk icon Ian MacKaye, the Godfather of Death Metal Jeff Becerra, American Indian Movement activist Dennis Banks, the black metal band Averse Sefira, and eyehategod's Mike Williams, in addition to these diverse individuals the duo spoke with a Baptist minister, a Texas cattle rancher, UFO trinket shops owners in Roswell New Mexico, and a variety of others.
The Project called A YEAR AT THE WHEEL documented the full year leading up to the momentous 2008 presidential election, with the trip ending in Washington DC the day after the election. Ironically, nearly none of the dozens of interviewees spoke of the particular presidential candidates, but rather voting, the American Dream, and questions about art, religion, our societal structure and our political system. Their footage has been featured on syndicated news shows, and even in the Peter Jackson documentary 'West Of Memphis'. Being on the road for a year is a daunting task, even more they managed the entire thing with no grants, no sponsors, and not even a credit card, in fact Shane and Amy Bugbee began their trip with $180 between them! Against the odds, the couple traveled the entire trip with their trusty friends and cohorts, their dog Cheyenne and turtle Myrtle in only a Chevy Blazer.
The couple chose to give the footage to The Internet Archive to assist its founder Brewster Kahle fulfill his dream of creating a library more vast than that of the Greeks. While many millionaires choose to buy sports teams and such things, Brewster Kahle chose to help the entire world gain knowledge, something the Bugbees feel very strongly about, as both are self educated by libraries and private study, never attending a University. The project of uploading the bulk of the footage took a full week at Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco, and it continues to take a great deal of time to organize, label, and describe the work so others can view and use it for themselves. "The purpose of doing this is to share our work with others to not just watch, but to use in their own video projects," explains Shane Bugbee. When viewed in order, it may very well turn out to be the world's longest documentary.
The short videos that were released from November 2007 through November 2008 captured America in a state of flux and a snapshot of America's last bit of media innocence. The Bugbee's were on the forefront of citizen journalism, they saw the manifestation of frustration from the people, as those on all sides of the political spectrum started to agree that the system was broken. Those frustrations led to the advent of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Tea Party. Shane and Amy Bugbee's fearless and brutally honest project certainly shed light on these events and helped inspire others to hit the road. The Internet Archive was thrilled to accept such a large collection of America's recent history, they believe it will serve generations far into the future.
• For more on the collection at the Internet Archive, go to: https://archive.org/
• For more on Shane and Amy Bugbee's project: http://www.usaodd.com/
• For more on Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive: https://www.ted.com/