Thanks to MOMA and indieWIRE, some 60 or so representatives of the “indie” film world got together yesterday to discuss the state of the business. A tip of the cap is due to Eugene Hernandez and Anne Thompson for their valiant attempt to reign in a group of outspoken, opinionated and polarized people arranged around a conference room that was clearly designed for far fewer active participants than were attending this particular event. The very existence of such an event, and the number of notable people who showed up, is both a testament to how hungry we are for this type of discussion, and a reason to be hopeful about the future of the business. In the course of a rambling two plus hours of talking, some deep arguments were addressed, some real insights were made and some of the attendees slipped into the kind of self-serving pitches that we hear on a million panels. But by the end of the day, I felt that all the real issues facing our business had at the very least been thrown on the table. My only frustration was that each of the many topics that came up deserved further exploration. Hopefully this can happen in a series of more focused discussions some time in the future.
One personal frustration was that the format didn’t allow me to get in my two cents on a number of points that I felt needed to be made. So, I’m going to use this space to do that very thing. At the beginning of the conference, Eugene asked that the particulars of who said what should be kept off the record in order to allow people to be as open as possible. I am going to respect that and deal only in the issues that were brought up without naming names. I am also going to take a piece of advice from Ted Hope and make this a list, which he says gets more hits than straight prose. So here goes… Continue reading “10 (9 actually) Responses to the Issues Brought Up at the “Indie Film Summit””
About 5 or so months ago, David Pogue wrote in the New York Times that he had tried out Twitter and wasn’t sure what it was good for. He wrote “Like the world needs ANOTHER ego-massaging, social-networking time drain? Between e-mail and blogs and Web sites and Facebook and chat and text messages, who on earth has the bandwidth to keep interrupting the day to visit a Web site and type in, “I’m now having lunch”? And to read the same stuff being broadcast by a hundred other people?” But then he had a revelation. He was on a panel and used Twitter to send out a quick request for an answer to a question, and got dozens of immediate responses from his followers. Continue reading “After 3 Months on Twitter, still wondering…”
Anne Thompson recently wrote a column in Variety about the “greening” of Hollywood–the attempts by certain folks in the biz to make the process of making films more environmentally friendly. I wrote her a polite note telling her that she’d actually missed an obvious angle–the fact that the current 35mm theatrical distribution process is quite unfriendly to the environment. It would take a lot of carbon credits for the industry to overcome the many trucks and planes that are necessary to delivery those 35mm film cans, not to mention the process of making the prints, which requires putting petroleum-based substances into baths of toxic chemicals. Then consider what has to happen to all those prints when they are ultimately “destroyed.” In other words, theatrical distributors have a lot to answer for with Mother Nature.
But rather than fret about it, perhaps the studios should wake up to the fact that there is a better solution than paying for carbon credits–digital theaters. Imagine a world in which film prints are merely digital files, and those files can be delivered electronically without the need for airplanes and trucks. Hollywood doesn’t want you to know this, but this world exists right now. Continue reading “Carbon Neutral Distribution”