Sunday Links

In celebration of being listed as one of the 100 Top Blogs about Film Studies, here is a long links post full of pointers to some recent debates about film distribution, documentary, and the new media landscape:

  • Pretty much every post Ted Hope writes is worth reading, but I found his list of “18 Actions Towards a Sustainable Truly Free Film Community” especially engaging.  A quick glance at the list will show Hope’s deep enthusiasm for the ways in which social media can revive independent film.  In particular, Hope emphasizes practices such as mentoring, curating, and networking as useful practices for indie filmmakers.
  • Also via Hope, a reminder about Jon Reiss’s research on digital distribution, coming soon to a bookshelf near you in the form of his book, Think Outside the Box (Office).  Reiss has posted sections of his book on his website, and it looks like a great resource for those of us who are thinking about the new distribution practices.  I think it’s easy to underestimate how significant these “nuts-and-bolts” guides can be in helping to reshape media practices.
  • Speaking of indie distribution, Anne Thompson’s Toronto International Film Festival coverage offers a starkly pessimistic account of the prospects for a number of well-received films that face a tough distribution climate.  When the word “bloodbath” is invoked in the title, you know it’s not good news.
  • Via The Film Doctor, several notable links including an intriguing online documentary project, Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, which looks at the increasing practice of marketing toward children.  The seven-part video series is anthologized here.
  • The Good Doctor also provides a pointer to this excellent video on media convergence produced by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod.
  • The New York Times has a fascinating analysis of Wikipedia’s response to Joe Wilson’s outburst uring Barack Obama’s health care address.  Robert Mackey’s blog post traces the history of the debate by looking at the Joe Wilson discussion and track changes pages, noting that a number of editors worried at first that Wilson’s remark would be too transient to be worth documenting in an encyclopedia entry.  Include in the discussion is a debate about whether the merits of Wilson’s charge were actually true and whether that should be included in the entry.  The discussion is, in fact, a great illustration of the politics of knowledge, showing the ways in which history is written on the fly in this 2.0 age.  It’s also a perfect model for my students’ Wikipedia projects, which they will start drafting later this week.  Sometimes the gods smile upon you, my friends.  So I guess I owe Rep. Wilson my heartfelt thanks for being a bit of a jerk and breaking with two centuries of American political protocol (link via Tama Leaver).
  • Here’s Part One and Part Two of a recent debate about instituting micropayments to help subsidize the lagging newspaper industry from PBS’s MediaShift.  I’m skeptical about whether micropayments would work, but it’s an interesting conversation nonetheless, especially given that newspapers now have a wider readership than ever before, even while advertising and subscription revenues are rapidly declining.
  • In the spirit of indie distribution, a quick reminder that Sally Potter’s latest film, Rage, will be available to mobile viewers starting on September 21 and on the Babblegum website starting September 28 (thanks to Matt Dentler for the tip).  The film will be available on DVD in the US, starting Tuesday, September 22.
  • Finally, a blog post from Henry Jenkins announcing the call for papers for the first Digital Media and Learning Conference. My conference dance card is relatively full, especially given the relatively thin state travel budgets this year, but it looks like a really cool event.

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