Sunday, January 17, 2010

Notable film and media links--January 17, 2010

---Paul Morley's interview with Brian Eno

---the weaknesses of the vampire genre

---the new world of D.I.Y. film distribution (with thanks to Chuck Tryon):

"If the D.I.Y. drumbeat has grown louder in recent years, it’s not only because the major studios have backed away from the independent sector. That’s a factor, but there are other issues involved, among them that the economic barriers to filmmaking have never been lower. Martin Scorsese once said that John Cassavetes’s first feature, “Shadows,” shot in the late 1950s with a 16-millimeter camera, proved to filmmakers that there were “no more excuses,” adding, “If he could do it, so could we!” Still, even in the glory years of the new American cinema movement, from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, when the major studios appeared more open to original voices, Cassavetes had to self-distribute his 1974 masterpiece “A Woman Under the Influence,” which he did successfully, pulling in $6 million domestically.

Inexpensive digital cameras and editing software have lowered the barrier for filmmakers even further. Yet even as the means of production have entered into more hands, companies — large and small — continue to dominate distribution. Hollywood’s historical hold on resources and the terms of the conversation have made it difficult for an authentic alternative system to take root in America. The festival circuit has emerged as a de facto distribution stream for many filmmakers, yet the ad hoc world of festivals is not a substitute for real distribution. And then there’s the simple fact that there are independent filmmakers who do not fit inside the Hollywood (and Hollywood-style) distribution model and do not want to. For some stubborn independents D.I.Y. distribution has at times been either the best or only option.

In 1992, the year before Disney bought Miramax Films, thereby initiating the indie gold rush, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky became a model for true independence when they distributed their own documentary “Brother’s Keeper” (1992) to substantial critical and commercial success. In the years since, those entering self-distribution have included emerging talent like Andrew Bujalski (who initially sold DVDs of his 2005 film “Mutual Appreciation” online) and established filmmakers like David Lynch (who released his 2006 movie “Inland Empire” in theaters himself). As self-distributed movies have found levels of critical or commercial success or even both, others have followed, including “The Talent Given Us,” “Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037,” “Ballast,” “Helvetica” and“Good Dick.”

---on filtering as the most important skill on the internet

---Lemonade and stories of those who have been laid-off

---historians and Google

---scamming the Ivy League

---This Is Where We Live: a video in celebration of books

---Gary King supplies tips for guerrilla filmmakers. Also, guerrilla marketing

---Flintstones smoking

---Jeff Keen's experimental films:

"Gazwrx surveys the 50-year – that’s right, 50-year – career of British artist and filmmaker Jeff Keen, and is essential viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in the history of experimental film and video. Keen’s films – from his first 8mm work Wail, made in 1960, to recent films such as Joy Thru Film (c. 2000) andOmozap Terribelis + Afterblatz 2 (2002) – are high-voltage visual shocks, eruptions of pulp imagery, eroticism, violence, language games, uncensored imagination and sheer giddy exuberance. His early films are love-letters to cinema history: to silent film and B-movies, to slapstick, thrillers, exploitation flicks and sci-fi apocalypses, his later works disquieting parades of video news imagery and documentation of his own creative processes. Frankenstein and Godzilla share the screen with Keen’s own cast of heroes and villains such Motler the Word Killer, Dr Gaz, Silverhead, Omozap and Mothman (often played by friends and family). Edited into machine-gun sprays of imagery, Keen’s pedal-to-the-metal, high-speed films are like animated collages – action painting with the stress very much on action. (‘If words fail use your teeth’, as an inter-title in one of his films declares.) In an interview from 1983 included on Gazwrx …, Keen argues how his fast cutting technique emphasizes the brutal way in which film works – the claw of the projector dragging the film through the gate, 24 frames per second, rapidly devouring and spewing images – although, as he also wryly puts it, ‘speed is relative, you know?’"

---Wes Anderson's acceptance speech in stop motion

---behind the scenes of the sinister Facebook command center

---the upcoming changes of corporate websites

---digital dissidents in China

---intriguing film of the moment: Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (a related interview with Michael Fassbender)

---the right to link

---Film Studies for Free's tribute to Eric Rohmer

---lastly, the upcoming changes in augmented reality

2 comments:

Joe said...

Fish Tank is truly wonderful.

FilmDr said...

You are lucky to be able to see it.