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CNN Today

'Reality TV' Inspiring Filmmakers

Aired February 9, 2001 - 4:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN ANCHOR: "Survivor" is interesting enough, but what if they gave the contestants weapons? That's kind of the premise of a new film that takes reality TV to a brand-new extreme.

Sherri Sylvester reports that it's one of several new movies with a reality theme.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHERRI SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here's a reality check for those fascinated with the "Friends"/"Survivor" ratings battle. Feature filmmakers are taking a closer look at the trend, reflecting on the reality of their TV counterparts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SERIES 7")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is freedom within Tony's grasp?

(GUNSHOT)

Can Lindsey make the cut?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

"survivor ii" pulled in an estimated rating and while "friends" was limited to an 18.5. Mad dog was off the show, she's been busy since making the media rounds.

Survive this all of this media attention, all of these interviews, or this could wind up being the ultimate survival challenge, not just for me, and but for everybody who is to come.

She can do? judge

SYLVESTER: Coming next month to a theater near you, "Series 7," a black comedy in which six randomly chosen contestants are given a weapon and a cameraman. Surviving here means killing off the competition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SERIES 7")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What are you going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I'm going in there, I'm going to blow (UNINTELLIGIBLE) man's head off.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And who's going to be sitting here waiting for you when you come back?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIEL MINAHAN, DIRECTOR, "SERIES 7": People are tired of big formulaic spectacles. And so now there's this, you know, in a weird way the mundane, everyday lives of people have been elevated to this grand spectacle.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Director Daniel Minahan made his movie for less than the million-dollar prize money won by "Survivors," and he shot it before that show's success.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHAIN CAMERA")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to throw up, stick my finger in my throat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVESTER (voice-over): For those who prefer the stylings of "Big Brother," there is "Chain Camera," a documentary which began when 10 cameras were delivered to a Los Angeles high school.

KIRBY DICK, DIRECTOR, "CHAIN CAMERA": I came up with this idea where the cameras could move from one person to another like chain letters, and everyone who got the camera shot something about their lives and then passed it on to another student.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHAIN CAMERA")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's funny is that like I have guy hormones, dude. It's like I want sex just as much as a guy right now.

SYLVESTER: 200 students chronicled their lives, but only 16 made the final cut, including Cinnamon Hunter.

CINNAMON HUNTER, STUDENT: It's not like he said, shoot this, capture this, you've got to do this. No, it was like take the camera, give us what you want. And it's just the real reality that I think people respond to.

SYLVESTER: Does the roller-coaster reality of a dot-com seem entertaining? "Startup.com" trains its cameras on an Internet company, from the boom of a new CEO,to the inevitable layoffs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STARTUP.COM")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that this a serious crisis time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SYLVESTER: Cameras are capturing our lives as never before. That reality struck the cast of "Series 7," as real folks failed to notice an actor covered with blood playing dead.

BROOKE SMITH, "SERIES 7": We were in a quick stop that was a gas station, and people were literally just stepping over the dead guy, going, you know, "$10 on tank 3."

SYLVESTER: It may be some time before reality bites the dust.

Sherri Sylvester, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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