Friday Links

It’s Spring Break. I have papers and midterms to grade. And I’m gearing up for the annual Society for Media and Cinema Studies conference, which will be held this year in New Orleans, where I will be participating in a panel on “Teaching across Media” (and where I imagine I will run into more than a few of my readers). I’ll be talking, specifically, about some of the challenges of teaching film courses in an English department and how I have negotiated them. For now, though, here are some links that have been distracting from grading this morning:

  • From the 3-D snark files: According to the Los Angeles Times, Fox has announced plans to release the first installment in its big-screen 3-D re-release of the Star Wars films. A converted version of George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace will hit theaters in February 2012, just in time for the 3-D novelty to have worn off for about a year. I didn’t like Phantom Menace the first time, so I’m not sure what adding an extra dimension will do to make the film better.
  • Doug Liman, director of Go, Swingers, and The Bourne Identity, has collaborated with the ACLU and multimedia artist Jenny Holzer to stage a performance piece that draws from the massive archive of materials documenting the torture of detainees in Guantanamo. The eventual goal is to produce a feature-length documentary both about the materials and about public reactions to the staged performance as it tours the country.
  • Jon Reiss has posted an incredibly rich guest post from filmmaker Solomon Mac-Auley, who discusses Egg Up, a resource that filmmakers can use to distribute their films online via electronic sell through.
  • Lost Remote has an interesting post highlighting Clayton Christensen’s discussion of “disruptive innovations.”
  • Via Chris Becker’s indispensable News for TV Majors, pointers to news about DirecTV and Cablevision’s plans to expand their video on demand offerings, with Cablevision planning to make all of their VOD selections available on the iPad. DirecTV’s plan would allow users to download and rent a movie for $30 within two months of its theatrical premiere, about a month before the same film would appear on DVD. Naturally, theater owners have complained about the further narrowing of the theatrical window.
  • The Cablevision story is especially fascinating in that the streaming rights are actually somewhat narrow. An iPad user could only watch some VOD programming in his or her home, but it also points to the ways in which tablets like the iPad may make it easier for users to navigate VOD menus.
  • Speaking of tablets, David Poland’s image illustrating reactions to the iPad 2 is priceless. His commentary about the new iPad is also well worth reading.

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