Film Blogging at SXSW

Like their past events, South by Southwest will be featuring a conference alongside its film and music festival programming.  This year, however, they’ve added a fascinating new wrinkle into the selection process, inviting anyone who is interested to vote for whatever panels and presentations they’d like to see included at the event.  I’ve applied, and my proposal has made it past the initial stage, receiving approval from the programming staff at SXSW.  Now, I need your votes to help ensure my panel is selected for the conference, so please click through and show your support (for a detailed description of the selection process, go here).

My presentation, “Film Blogs as Contagious Cinephilia: Amateur Criticism and Movie Culture,” will build upon and expand research that I conducted while writing my book, Reinventing Cinema, specifically focusing on how blogs have altered or transformed the culture of amateur film criticism and the implications of these changes for the broader entertainment industry, whether filmmakers themselves, print media, or film consumers.  Given the continued challenges film companies face, due to new distribution models, I hope that my presentation will be a valuable contribution to our understanding about how film blogs serve as an important site for fostering dialogue about the possibilities for a vibrant, active film culture, one that can feed into and shape the processes of film distribution.

Below the fold, I’ve included a full summary of the proposed presentation, including the questions I plan to address in my talk:

Title: Blogging, Delivery, Film Criticism, Policy/Politics, Social Networks

Description: This presentation will examine the transformations in film reception in the age of social media as audiences become participants in public conversations about movies. These conversations are shaped by the social structures of the film blogosphere and have bewildering implications for film workers, particularly indie filmmakers who strongly benefit from strong word-of-mouth and professional film critics who see their roles in facilitating conversations about movies transformed by readers prepared to talk back in a variety of formats, including blogs, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 tools.

Questions: All proposals are invited to list up to ten questions they’ll be addressing in their talk/panel.  Here are mine:

  1. What role do film blogs serve in building community or do they primarily serve to augment a process of transforming customers into commodities?
  2. What is “The Twitter Effect” and how do microblogging services such as Twitter and Facebook shape the reception of films?
  3. How can independent filmmakers use blogs and other social media to reach audiences?
  4. How do film bloggers influence cinematic tastes and, potentially, construct new modes of cinephilia, in part by developing and cultivating a shared “public memory” around specific films and filmmakers?
  5. How do blogs accentuate the circulation of viral or what Jonah Peretti refers to as “contagious media,” and what are the implications of virality for a vibrant documentary and independent film culture?
  6. How can blogs and social networking sites encourage public dialogue about movies, politics, or other important concerns?
  7. Can film blogs encourage forms of political participation, and if so, what forms will that participation take?
  8. What role do “professional” critics serve in an era of mass participation, especially as many newspapers are rapidly reducing staff?
  9. How do various blog genres—aggregator blogs, review blogs, etc—function within a larger blog ecosystem?
  10. To what extent do blogs extend or disrupt earlier models of cinephilia, especially when studio franchises dominate the box office charts?


  1. Erin Donovan Said,

    August 20, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

    Looks great, Chuck! I voted for it, good luck!

  2. Chuck Said,

    August 20, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    Thanks, Erin!

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