DER Documentary

A Country Auction: The Paul V. Leitzel Estate Sale

A Country Auction: The Paul V. Leitzel Estate Sale

by Bob Aibel, Ben Levin, Chris Musello, Jay Ruby, Milton Machuca
color, 58/6/47 min, 1983/2012




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A Country Auction Film Project, based on the ethnographic research of Robert Aibel, Chris Musello and Jay Ruby, consists of a trio of films covering a period of almost 30 years.

In 1983 three ethnographers and a documentary filmmaker collaboratively produced two films — A Country Auction and Can I Get A Quarter? — that documented ethnographic research conducted on estate sales held in a rural Central Pennsylvania community. Over the next 25 years, these films were screened in numerous film festivals, broadcast on public television, and reviewed in academic journals.

The consensus among the filmmakers was that few people appeared to comprehend their intentions in producing the films. In 2008 they decided to return to the community where A Country Auction was filmed and hold an anniversary screening. In addition, the four filmmakers came together for a critical discussion about the successes and failures of the original Auction film. This discussion became the basis of a third film, Reflexive Musings: A Country Auction Study Film.

Films on this DVD:

A Country Auction: The Paul V. Leitzel Estate Sale (color, 58 mins, 1983) - launch preview watch a preview
Produced and Directed by Bob Aibel, Ben Levin, Chris Musello and Jay Ruby
An ethnographic film about an estate auction in a rural community in Pennsylvania. It examines the personal, social and economic processes involved when a family dissolves their homestead. The film portrays the auction process as integral to the social life of the community and as a method for a family and community to deal with the death of one of their members.

Can I Get a Quarter? (color, 6 mins, 1983)
Produced and Directed by Bob Aibel, Ben Levin, Chris Musello and Jay Ruby
A short observation of the auction of objects that remained unsold after the all day sale of the real estate and possessions of Paul Leitzel as shown in the film, A Country Auction.

Reflexive Musings: A Country Auction Study Film (color, 47 min, 2012) - launch preview watch a preview
Produced and Directed by Milton Machuca and Jay Ruby
A uniquely reflexive examination of the successes and failures of A Country Auction as an anthropological film. The four producers take part in a prolonged critical discussion of the original film.

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Gottingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, Germany, 2014

Related Resources
A Country Auction Revisited (archive of companion website)

View more photos on www.flickr.com

Related Films
Add & Mabel's Punkin Center
Oak Park Stories


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