Publishing is often understood as the process of production and dissemination of literature or information, and as the activity whose purpose is making information available for public view. But, publishing also mobilises the complex relationships between content and exchange, statement and practice, intentions and effects, the start and end points in the global circulation of material and immaterial goods.
—  “Publishing the Public: Why bother?”, Jelena Vesic
What your yearly taxes pay for (assuming a 50K salary):
  • $3.98 for natural disaster relief through FEMA
  • $6.96 for welfare
  • $22.88 for unemployment
  • $36.82 for food stamps through SNAP
  • $43.78 for retirement/disability for government workers (civilian/military)
  • $235.81 for YOUR Medicare
  • $247.75 for defense
  • and $4,000.00 for corporate subsidies

Are you sure you are pissed off at the right people?

“In a first deal of its kind, Netflix and the Weinstein Company said Monday that they planned to release next year’s sequel to the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” simultaneously across the globe on Netflix and a select number of Imax theaters.

The film, a follow-up to Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning martial arts drama, is the first major motion picture to make its debut on the streaming service and in movie theaters at the same time. It will be available on Aug. 28 at no additional fee to Netflix subscribers and is the first of several films that Netflix is backing that will follow this new model for release. Only Imax is involved; other theater chains will not screen the film.”

Netflix Takes Aim at Hollywood | NYT

Anthony Kaufman has penned a piece for Filmmaker Magazine reflecting on articles in The New York Times, Salon.com, and The Wrap that suggest media saturation may be plaguing the film industry. In other words, there are too many films being made for the industry to keep up.

I really couldn’t give a shit about the poor old gatekeeper’s problems keeping up with an onslaught of previously disenfranchised voices. I said as much back in March when I originally wrote about this goofiness.

However, Anthony managed to find a few people in the distribution game that really get it. Dylan Marchetti, executive vice president of theatrical distribution and marketing at Amplify had this to say:

I think it will get a lot better when there are better systems for finding films — whether that be curation, better UIs [user interfaces] on the VOD platforms or a more social way of sharing movies with each other.

Filmmakers don’t need to make fewer films. We need better tools to connect with the audiences that may want to see them; audiences need better tools to find films; distributors need better tools to connect the two. Somebody is going to make a lot of money solving this problem.

[Image from Kentucker Audley’s brilliant change.org petition]

Filmmaking for the 99%: 

A quick look at Sundance in 2014:

  • 8,161 short films were submitted.
  • Sundance likes to screen 6-7 films in each program, running 90-100 minutes total.
  • Using those numbers, let’s say the average film is 14.6 minutes.

That’s 119,151 minutes or 1986 hours or 83 days of short film submissions. It would take an individual screener a year to watch, consider, and review each film. Keep in mind, the top films are watched multiple times before being programmed. And all this is actually done in 6 months, with a heavy time crunch in the last 60 days.

It’s difficult to imagine any system being able to maintain a true sense of merit-based objectivity applied to all 8,161 submissions.

Enter DigiPops, an online festival that is attempting to change the game for independent filmmakers: 

DigiPops is the short film discovery application of the future. Here you can submit, vote, and promote yourself and others.  You are recognized for your work through a transparent, fair system of organization and curation called The Pop Machine. The Pop Machine provides you the tools to even the playing field and give everyone an equal chance to be recognized for quality filmmaking. We hope DigiPops can be an alternative to the current market realities: 

  • 99.2% of short films rejected at Sundance 2014
  • Over 99% of theatrical distribution is owned by 13 companies.
  • Less than 0.3% of box offfice distribution is truly independent, not owned by a major international media conglomerate.

I’m trying out the platform with a film I made called A Simple Reminder. Go watch, vote, and submit your own films to participate in the beta season.

This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas.
—  Edward Bernays, "Manipulating Public Opinion", American Journal of Sociology 33 (May, 1928)

In Why We Must Free Film From Running Time Prejudice, Andrei Severny discusses film length and attention span. He cites Roger Ebert to underline his premise:

Why is it nobody seems to realize how lots of short little things are exhausting? You have to keep setting your mind back to zero. But the long, deep stuff – the long books, the long movies, and even the TV miniseries – are refreshing, because they give you the time to understand other lives and even, for a time, seem to share them.

Andrei concludes -

With internet streaming we are no longer restricted by the length of reels, tapes, DVDs or preset air time. Festivals and distributors should revisit their policies of acceptable film duration. Theater programmers may consider running original sets of selected films of various lengths – a successful practice which existed in the 1930s - 1950s.

Let us set cinema free from marketing limitations and prejudice. The audience does not discriminate based on the film length. It is not the distributor who should dictate the running time, but the very thing cinema is built on – the RHYTHM.

I, of course, couldn’t agree more. In Minor Cinema, movies are intimate experiences. The manifesto’s modest distribution requirements idiosyncratically free the filmmaker from arbitrary restrictions placed upon the art form. 

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Distribution of wealth in the United States.

If you haven’t seen this before, i urge you to watch it, this gave me chills.

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