Lazy Tuesday Links

I continue to be interested in the ongoing renegotiation of moviegoing habits, and indieWire points to some interesting discussions of this topic. First, a Tribeca panel on the changing distribution platforms for movies featuring Steven Soderbergh, distributor and theater owner Todd Wagner (2929 Entertainment, Landmark Theaters), Dean Garfield from the MPAA, and Ashwin Navin of BitTorrent.

Navin makes the point that digital distribution via technologies such as Bit Torrent has pretty much arrived and that the indie film community is central to digital distribution, while Soderbergh continues to argue for something like day-and-date release, claiming that “Cinema is a language that you use to make a movie, so I don’t care where (people) see it, because I know that that the language I use to make it is in tact. So, I am not precious about that.” While I would tend to favor multiple forms of distribution, especially for art house and indie films that are only screened in a few major cities, I don’t think Soderbergh is entirely correct here. I think it matters deeply where people see a movie, that the trappings of a Landmark Theater where you might be able to buy a glass of wine and an expensive dessert shape the movie experience far differently than watching the same film on DVD at home or on a computer work station in your office (I have in mind the MoveOn movie parties here as one powerful illustration of this principle).

Alongside the Tribeca panel, I found it interesting to learn that AMC Theaters is planning to enter the art house market, with 72 screens in 39 markets (more from Reuters). According to Reuters, moviegoing demographics have shifted in some surprising ways: “Between 1986 and 2005, the annual percentage of admissions of 40-and-older moviegoers rose to 35 percent from 14 percent, while 12- to 29-year-old ticket buyers fell to 49 percent from 66 percent, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.” Not sure I have much to say about this right now, but it represents an interesting shift in movie attendance (update: The LA Times is also reporting on this story, and the tone of the Times article leads me to wonder how thi smight affect smaller cities where art house movies are often unavailable).

Finally, a documentary that will likely make me feel very guilty: California Newsreel has secured distribution rights to Black Gold, a doucmnetary that “explores the world of coffee, from the Ethiopian farmers who grow it, to the international coffee culture that has grown to make coffee a multibillion dollar business.”

2 Comments »

  1. dvd Said,

    May 2, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    I’ll be looking forward to that documentary, too. Hopefully it won’t uncover too many dirty secrets about the Fair Trade Coffee I do my best to stick to.

  2. Chuck Said,

    May 2, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

    I’m hoping they’ll generally have positive things to say about Fair Trade as well. I haven’t been as diligent as I would like about using Fair Trade and organic coffee this year, but it’s certainly my preference and not only for political reasons; it’s usually really good coffee.

    I’ll be curious to see what, if anything, they do with the “culture” of coffee, especially as it has developed in the last two decades or so.

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