Wednesday Links

I’m not sure how many local readers I have, but I just found out that the local art house, the Cameo, will be screening Sin Nombre this week (and for one week only).  I’ve heard really good things (in fact, I’d originally planned to drive up to Raleigh just to see it), so if you’re in the neighborhood, definitely check it out.

It’s a few days old, but I came across a New York Times article discussing the fact that Hollywood is now grabbing pullquotes from the blogosphere for trailers and other promotional items.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the article views this practice as somehow deceptive, implicitly suggesting that it’s somehow “egregious” to take the reviews of film bloggers out of context (rather than professional film critics).  But the article is missing quite a bit, especially when it comes to the role of film bloggers in nurturing and promoting independent, DIY, an documentary films when newspapers don’t always review those films (a point raised in the soucre, now lost, where I originally found this article).

Jonathan Gray uses the news that a number of shows being cancelled (including a personal fave, My Name is Earl) to ask a couple of really good questions that might also apply–in a slightly different way–to the indie film industry: “How could either the television industry or fans better circulate information about shows?…How could the industry, writers, critics, and/or fans try to improve our information center and improve how we hear about shows, rather than simply hope that next year the viewing public will all discover all the shows we love, and nothing we dislike will ever be canceled again?”

Alissa Perren mentions news that the Weinstein Company might be in financial trouble.  Like her, I’d hate to see another major indie company disappear (and David Poland offers an even blunter assessment of the Weinstein Co’s financial struggles), although I also share her sense that the traditional methods of distributing “niche” movies don’t seem to be working that well.  Alissa also points to the news that IFC was the most active buyer at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and addresses their apparent success with video-on-demand distribution options.

On a related note, Matt Dentler, citing a Variety article by Dave McNary, notes that some indies are seeing “hopeful signs” in using video-on-demand (VOD) debuts.  McNary, in particular, points out that VOD can provide alternatives for people living outsie of city centers who read about the latest indie films online, whether in film blogs or in more traditional venues such as The New York Times. Living outside of a major city, this has been my experience.  It’s unlikely, for example, that I would have seen Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience without VOD access, so my sense is that, promoted properly, these modes of distribution can reach out to a previously underserved niche audience.

David Hudson has a pointer to a Current TV interview with Errol Morris in which the Thin Blue Line and Fog of War director lists his “five favorite films, kind of.”

Also check out Nick Rombes’ interview with the LA Times about his book, A Cultural Dictionary of Punk.

Update: I keep forgetting to mention iReel, another competitor in the expanding world of online movie distribution.  iReel is affiliated with Paramount, so most of the movies, from what I can tell, are connected with Paramount.  The site invites members to rent or buy from their catalog.  There is a pretty decent collection (American Teen, Baraka, Iron Man, Ben Button, as well as older films such as The Virgin Suicides), and I’ll be curious to see how this model works in comparison to “free” ad-supported services (such as Hulu and SnagFilms) and monthly rental services such as Netflix.

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