More film and media stories I’ve been following this weekend:
- Time Out London has an article discussing the transition to digital projection and its implications for projectionists. It’s a pretty solid piece, and although it discusses the nostalgia for film, it also notes that the financial incentives for digital projection likely mean that the traditional projectionist is an endangered species.
- Flow TV has a new issue out, and Randall Livingstone’s article on the “Get a Mac” ads, featuring John Hodgeman and Justin Long as PC and Mac, respectively, is well worth a read. One of Livingstone’s key points is that the laid back everyman, Mac, is presented as easily accessible: “The myth employed in these ads tells us it is easy and straightforward to be this person—to become Mac; it’s a myth that supports the dominant ‘classless-society’ thesis and hides the real societal hurdles that such a personal movement would have to navigate. Livingstone’s article also explores how the rhetoric of the Mac/PC campaign permeated other advertising campaigns.
- Dawn Hudson has been selected to be the new CEO of the MPAA. David Poland offers one of the most thorough analyses of the transition.
- Jason Sperb, while acknowledging his appreciation for the original Tron, explores some of the reasons Disney decided to relaunch Tron as a franchise now and successfully grounds that in Disney’s longer history of marketing nostalgia, exploiting technological innovation, and producing transmedia properties. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about Tron for a project I’m doing, and Sperb’s comments offer a nice overview of the logic behind Tron: Legacy.
- The National Association of Theater Owners cites several more articles that criticize the studios’ decision to release movie on video-on-demand after a 60-day theatrical window. The most prominent comes from Avatar director James Cameron, who describes his opposition to VOD as “enlightened self-interest.” The AMC Theater Chain has also released a statement against premium VOD.
- Thompson on Hollywood has an interview with Barbara Kopple, who is promoting her latest film, Gun Fight, which is about the ongoing debates over gun regulation. I will be seeing Kopple’s film at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, so I’ll have more to say later, but for now, I wanted to mention that I recently taught Harlan County., U.S.A., her 1976 documentary about a coal mine strike, and my students and I were blown away by the film’s immediacy and power.
- Finally, in maybe my favorite post of the day, Richard Brody reports that the Chinese government has banned time travel films because they “disrespect history.” Apparently the genre is currently quite popular in China, but the concern is that time travel is the source of simple “culture shock” amusement and that “the producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore.” Maybe it’s time to dust off some of my research on time travel movies, after all.