I wrote the following article, which ran in Indiewire on July 1st. Here it is in its entirety, with a couple of added points at the end…
As a believer and crusader for the theatrical experience, the closure of movie theaters all over the world was a punch in the gut. There was an immediate consensus among pundits of all stripes that this was the end of theatrical moviegoing. People would just get used to the idea that they could see what they want at home, so why would they ever go out to see a movie again?
Yet in the art films world, a remarkable thing happened: Several independent distributors created something called “virtual cinema.” Pioneered by Kino Lorber, Magnolia, Oscilloscope, and others, they made their stranded films available, online, in partnership with the independent theaters where the films were scheduled to play. Theaters used their patron lists to market the films; in return, they took a percentage of the gross as if they had presented the films in their physical theaters. Continue reading “How Virtual Cinema Could Help Arthouses Secure Their Future in 7 Easy Steps”
Last week, I moderated a master class on Independent Film Financing at the IFP’s Independent Film Conference. The panelists were Nekisa Cooper, producer of “Pariah,” Philipp Engelhorn, founder of Cinereach, Pat Kaufman, the Executive Director of the New York State Film Office, Richard Sheehan from HSBC Bank and Jonathan Gray, Senior Partner at Gray Krauss Des Rochers. It turned out to be an interesting overview of how to piece together financing in the current environment. I only wish it had lasted longer. You can read more about it at indieWIRE.
The video below is of a panel that I participated in last weekend at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It was in honor of the 15th anniversary of indieWIRE and the idea was to reflect on the changes that the film distribution business has undergone during that 15 year period. In spite of the large number of people on the panel, a lot of information was discussed. It was fun seeing all these people in one place (and several other prominent folks in the audience) especially because we’ve all worked together at one time or another. Anyway, enjoy!
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””
The offer from indieWIRE to publish 10 best lists from industry types and bloggers is a wonderful thing. The more voices we have out there, the less we are enslaved to the conventional critical wisdom. So why haven’t I posted something?
1. Academy Rules… As a voting member of the Academy (and BAFTA and the PGA), I am reminded at least once a year that we are not supposed to make our preferences known to the outside world, lest they be used to prognosticate the results. Nevermind that my Academy votes and my 10 best list might not resemble one another, because as we all know, voting for “Climates” for the Best Picture Oscar is about as useful as voting for Dennis Kucinich for President. Continue reading “10 Reasons Why I Can’t Write a 10 Best List”