Plenty to think about as usual in the film and new media blogosphere, especially with the discussions taking place at and around the Cannes Film Festival this week:
- It’s a few days old, but this Criterion interview with Chris Marker is terrific: Marker, posing as his Second Life avatar Sergei Murasaki, expounds on Second Life’s “sense of porousness between the real and the virtual,” while modestly characterizing his own work in film as “cobbling” (and his work in SL as “supercobbling”). I had a chance to “see” Marker, in the case appearing as Guillaume the Cat, in Agnes Varda’s The Beaches of Agnes this year at Full Frame. I didn’t write about it at the time because I felt like I needed to see it again, but like many of Marker’s films, it is a playful meditation on cinema, memory, documentary, and identity, and where those categories intersect (here’s a short segment on YouTube).
- Via Dr. Strangelove, a link to Birgit Richard’s “Media Masters and Grassroots Art 2.0 on YouTube,” from Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer’s Video Vortex Reader. Dr. Strangelove also provides an ongoing bibliography of academic essays and books that focus on YouTube (h/t Adrian Miles).
- Pamela Cohn reports that The Good Pitch is making its North American launch. The Good Pitch, which was developed by the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation, not only brings together documentary filmmakers with potential funders but also allows them to connect with other institutions and groups that might aid filmmakers in building an audience for their films. Filmmakers could connect with “foundations, charities, NGOs, campaigners, distributors, advertising agencies, and other third sector organizations” to raise awareness for their films, allowing them potentially to have a much larger impact (Pamela cites the ACLU, Amnesty International, and WITNESS as possible examples). It sounds like an incredible project, so hopefully I’ll be able to write about it in a more sustained fashion in the next few days.
- Salon has an article by Wolfgang Höbel asking whether the moment of the big film festivals has passed. Citing a gloomy economy and a declining independent and art-house film sector, Höbel argues that the art house cinema no longer has the same resonance it once did. I think it’s easy to look at past festivals through rose-colored glasses (a point that Roger Ebert acknowledges in one of his Cannes diaries), and I also wonder if the auteur cinema that Höbel mourns ever had the popular resonance that he seems to imply. But the article is a good overview of the current economic concerns that are haunting at least one sector of the film industry.
- Höbel also discusses The Auteurs, a new resource for discussing and viewing films that bills itself as an “online film festival,” which includes a number of world cinema classics curated by none other than Martin Scorsese (note you may have to be a member to view specific pages).
- Finally, Ted Hope, in preparation for his appearance on Fox Busienss Chanel, lists “38 American Independent Film Concerns and Problems.” While Hope, who was one of the producers of Adventureland, a film I quite liked, has generally been one of the more optimistic figures in debates about the future of independent cinema, here he identifies a number of the problems the indie sector is facing. It’s a pretty convincing, if discouraging, list.
Update: Someone left a random and seemingly irrelevant comment (or several actually) that I didn’t recognize as pertaining to this entry, so I deleted it. Turns out it was part of an ARG connected to Lost. But for the sake of the game, I’ll try to add the comments back. See below.