... an open community devoted to the development of wisdom in and through films.


filmtank.org is a primarily web-based institution that seeks to promote the development of otherwise merely exposed films through the collaborative effort of its contributors and participating members to identify and evaluate their meanings. Registration is free and open to everyone.

Open Forum


The following audio file is an advance version of the first episode in the filmtank.org Film Development Podcast that will soon be available for free subscription through iTunes and other leading podcast directories.

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film.tänk, n. A novel entity with an ancient, but still current, purpose. Its form could be understood as arising out of the combined suggestions of two more familiar entities:

  • a film developing tank, a container in which exposed film is placed in order to produce from it useable negatives.
  • a think tank, an institution devoted to collaborative, innovative thought, inquiry, and policy formation.

filmtank.org is a primarily web-based institution that seeks to “develop” otherwise merely “exposed” films, through the collaboration of its members in the innovation and exchange of ideas concerning their meanings.

As filmtank.org is concerned with the meaning of films, it is not principally devoted to film reviews or criticism, that is, to the evaluation of films as entertainment or in merely aesthetic terms (although one will find space here for those purposes). It is also not primarily concerned with “film theory” or the “philosophy of film,” in as much as those disciplines direct concern away from particular films and toward the examination of film in general. Rather, filmtank.org’s foremost purpose is to facilitate the development of the thinking of films, regarded in themselves as thought. Better regarded as devoted to the philosophy of films, it aims to think through, along with, and/or against films, to make sense of them, to learn from them.

What is a film, regarded as thought, thinking about? What is it claiming? What is it basing those claims on? Out of what elements--details, movements and forms--is that thought constructed? Lastly, but perhaps most significantly, of what value is that thought to those to whom it has been exposed? Is it intelligent, insightful, innovative, wise or clarifying? Is it uninspired, mindlessly conventional, opaque, or frivolous? Might it be stupid, stupefying, dissipating, or even dangerous?

As films (and other film-like media) are exposed—and they are increasingly exposed everywhere on a staggering proliferation of screens—we are exposed to them. We are exposed to their thinking but, barring concerted examination, that thinking generally remains inchoate and inarticulate. The thinking in films is heard, seen, and, given the volume in theaters today, often felt, but not understood, not developed—not subject to consideration and evaluation.

If we remain animated by the ancient conviction, originally articulated by Socrates, that an unexamined life is not worth living for a human being, then we must take account of the fact that our lives are increasingly conditioned by, suffused with, subjected to—but also potentially informed and enriched by—film. The purpose of filmtank.org is nothing less than to expand that humanizing activity of examination—of films, and of ourselves and our world through films.