The lines between business and entertainment blurred somewhere between Whoopi Goldberg’s advertisements for Flooz.com and Napster’s controversial amalgamation of art, technology, and (lack of) revenue. Today, thanks in no small part to E*Trade and CNBC, business is now everyman’s entertainment — comedy, tragedy, and horror 24-7.
So it seems only fitting that the drama of the Internet boom and bust should play out on the silver screen alongside other period pieces like Pearl Harbor. This weekend, it will when the dotcom documentary Startup.com opens in New York theaters before a nationwide release on May 18. A play-by-play of the making and breaking apart of govWorks.com, Startup.com chronicles a true entrepreneurial odyssey less than 12 months after the company’s untimely and ugly demise. Instant gratification for masochists, the film suggests that today’s business catastrophe signals not the end of a dream, but the beginning of a new chapter in the same book.
Also playing in select locations is Secrets of Silicon Valley, a bootstrap documentary that exposes the Bay Area’s slimy underbelly. Centered around two local activists working to close the digital divide and to gain equal rights for temporary workers in the Bay Area, the film mixes political messages with humor and candor that need no Hollywood editing or special effects. The sincere, sometimes bleak, picture painted in Secrets of Silicon Valley serves as a long-overdue wake-up call for new-economy denizens who can no longer ignore or deny the reality they have created.