S. G. Collins
Stephen Giles Collins
|Born||9 February 1958|
|Occupation||Film maker, novelist, musician|
|Residence||Amsterdam, The Netherlands|
|Alma mater||Emerson College, Boston|
Collins was born 9 February, 1958 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA, a mill town in the valley of the Merrimack River. He was the youngest of four children of Olivia, an electronics worker, and William, a photojournalist and newsletter editor. He grew up in the Arlington District of Methuen, Massachusetts, and attended Methuen public schools from 1963 to 1975. He became interested in filmmaking at age 11.
Buffalo and Nullstadt
Turning to electronic music, in July 1983 Collins co-founded a group called Nullstadt, together with keyboardist David Kane and singer-lyricist Donald Kinsman. He wrote, composed and performed with that group until 1989.
Nullstadt's musical and lyrical style seemed to resonate with the Reagan Era youth of the post-industrial Rust Belt. Poet and labor activist Mark Nowak wrote: "In their name, sound, lyrics, and overall demeanor, they encapsulated the necro-ideology of a city amid industrial collapse ... From the very first show, Nullstadt's performances had engaged in the aesthetics of then-emerging first-wave industrial goth bands, deftly fused with a beat aesthetic lifted from the German electronic music pioneer Kraftwerk ..."
Return to Boston
In 1989 Collins returned to the Boston area, and found freelance work with various commercial production companies. From 1992-1998 he was a staff creative director with National Boston / NMD, writing, directing and designing marketing films. From 1998 he continued as a freelancer for the same company.
In 1998-99 he wrote and directed a shoestring digital dramatic film, "The same side of Rejection Street" (2000), starring Michael Henderson and Karen Ball.
In 2001, living in the Boston neighborhood of Allston, Collins made a low-tech documentary, "Searching for Mister Butch", with the ‘homeless icon’ Harold Madison III. The film featured in the 2003 Boston Underground Film Festival. Reviewer Ken St. Onge wrote: “Collins’s film depicts Mr. Butch as ghost, and its power derives from the pure fusion of existence and performance that Butch exemplifies.”
Move to Amsterdam
Collins emigrated to the Netherlands in 2003 and settled in Amsterdam. While continuing to make for-hire marketing films in his new location, he also became more active as an independent artist, creating music videos, documentaries, short dramatic films, audio dramas, and personal video essays.
His short opinion films touched on diverse subjects: anarchism, nationalism, racism, privacy, nuclear power, urban design, and the obsolescence of time zones. In "Moon Hoax Not" (2012), Collins gained attention with his argument that the Apollo moon landings could not have been faked using analog video technology of the 1960s. In The Washington Post, Brad Plumer wrote: "Collins offers up his own elegant explanation for why the video clips of the Apollo moon missions couldn't have been a hoax. Back in 1969, we simply didn't have the video technology necessary to fake what people saw." Jake Swearingen in Popular Mechanics said "Collins has a kind of Deputy Dog deadpan thing going on that makes it surprisingly watchable." Actor/writer Stephen Fry tweeted: "Stupendous. Watch all the way through for his amazing wrap-up."
Public policy criticism
In late 2016, Collins became an outspoken opponent of sweeping changes to the Amsterdam public transit system, publishing first a video essay "Don’t kill my trams" (2016) and later a Dutch documentary "Volk vs visgraat" (People versus fishbone) (2018). Collins said: “The big plans are made for the benefit of people who don’t yet exist, at the expense of those already here, who must foot the bill.” [Translated from Dutch]
- The same side of Rejection Street (drama) (2000)
- Searching for Mister Butch (documentary) (2002)
- Our little star (documentary) (2006)
- Niets zeggend (documentary) (2009)
- Burgerzaken (drama) (2015)
- A different Texas (drama) (2016)
- Bang (drama) (2016)
- Heidi Helressel’s weirdest Tuesday (drama) (2017)
- Volk vs visgraat (documentary) (2018)
- Tubular apocalypse (2011)
- Moon hoax not (2012)
- Privacy is over (2013)
- Me and racism (2014)
- Return to civilization (2014)
- My trouble with nations (2014)
- Nuke skeptic (2014)
- Don’t kill my trams (2016)
- Time zones are stupid (2018)
- Be nice to conspiracists (2018)
- Anarchy lessons (2018)
- Love me later (2012)
- Gallus Gallus (2012)
- Vienna escapes (2013)
- Lady Springtime (2013)
- The guy in 13 and other fictions (collection) (2017) ISBN 978-9402159370
- Angel guts (2017) ISBN 978-1977800398
- Susan at the center of the universe (2017) ISBN 978-1976414251
- Anne who lives (2018) ISBN 978-1986401036
- Malibu Jesus (2018) ISBN 978-1721515165
- Insignificance doesn’t matter (memoir) (2018) ISBN 978-1986237796
- The girl with two goats and the guy who stole her (2018) ISBN 978-1790990535
- Johnny Rothschild goes to Roswell (2018) ISBN 978-1790996094
- The diary of Gabo S. (2019) ISBN 978-1091236851
- Collins, S. G. (2018). Insignificance doesn't matter (a memoir). Amsterdam: Postwar Media. ISBN 978-1986237796, p. 31.
- Collins (2018), p. 219.
- Nowak, Mark (2007), in Goth: Undead Subculture. Lauren M. E. Goodlad and Michael Bibby, eds. Durham and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0822339212, p. 178.  (Retrieved 8 January 2019)
- Switala, Tim (22 January 1984). "Nullstadt: a musical blend of fantasy, history". The Buffalo News.
- Nowak (2007), p. 180
- Collins (2018), p. 249.
- Cooke, Chris (1 February 2001). “Down and out in Beacon Hill: a review of The Same Side of Rejection Street”. New England Film Magazine.  (Retrieved 8 January 2019)
- St. Onge, Kenneth (13 December 2004). “The King of Kenmore Square”. The Comment.  (Retrieved 9 January 2019).
- Plumer, Brad (23 January 2013). "Why the moon landing couldn't have been faked". The Washington Post.  (Retrieved 9 January 2019)
- Swearingen, Jake (27 July 2015). "Watch a filmmaker describe why the moon landing couldn't have been faked". Popular Mechanics. (Retrieved 9 January 2019)
- Fry, Stephen (4 February 2013). Twitter. [https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/298448087452631041 (Retrieved 9 January 2019)
- Collins, S.G. (November 17, 2016). "Don't kill my trams". YouTube. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
- Collins, S.G. (January 27, 2018). "Volk vs visgraat". YouTube. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
-  (Retrieved 10 January 2019)