Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Yr3 Week 8 (Wed 26 Nov- MDA3300 Film Research and Context - Programming)

Today, we continued on from last week on the subject of being a 'Programmer' for film events.

First, we looked at what being a Cinema Programmer entails: Usually the titular venues have a dedicated programmer, and they, in turn. have to have several key requirements. These include Audience Knowledge (Maintaining them and knowing what they seek/crave), Venue Knowledge (all about the logistics of what your venue can offer (where and when)), Economic Realities (self explanatory given what these venues offer) and Sourcing (where to get your films from, usually by means of distributors and sales agents, as well as bearing in mind what's hot on the festival circuit.) Also, working at a 'Multiplex' (Odeon, Cineworld, VUE, generally catering to large productions) vs. a 'PictureHouse/indie cinema' (smaller/niche films that may not play as well to a large audience) can have an impact on all of these choices too.

 However, to add some 'spice' and variety to these method, in recent years something called the 'OurScreen Model' has come up, which I've discussed in past weeks (getting audiences and film fans involved in what gets seen at their local theatres, usually through the aid of a third party website). Of course, a 'spiced up' programme does lead into the next type of Programmer: The Festival kind. For a point of reference, Elhum used her experiences with the Bird's Eye View Festival (also discussed in previous weeks).

Their array of tasks include the Research Brief (Self-explanatory: doing homework on the films that are appropriate for the festival and its themes, as well as cultural and commercial viability), sourcing (Much like above) and working with teams on supporting events and hospitality (creating more of an expansion/extension to the festival and making it more of an 'event'). Another important aspect as well, sort of tying to the last point, is acquiring venues for the festival to take place in (this in turn has a knock-on effect with the rest of the festival, especially concerning the length and popularity of a film selected), and like their Cinema counterparts, knowing the audience whom the festival is aimed at, and programming films accordingly (you wouldn't programme a children's animated short at a festival about surrealism and violence in media).


Her closing advice, should any of us be interested in working at a festival or even submitting, was to know our stuff (information is key, know the rules and specifications of what the festival is) as well as being paramount on the strongest talent and voice out there. Indeed, I agree and would do much the same myself. Speaking from my experience as an online reviewer, I find that a lot of films out there do bleed into one another, and never feel like they have a strong identity of their own. It is critical, even in bad works, to at least have your own voice/style/perspective on filmmaking and how you go about, otherwise, you just blend into the crowd.

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Today's site of choice is one which, for once, I am actually familiar with and have visited before: FilmSchoolRejects. FSR, started in 2006 and still going today, are you typical pop culture site: they do reviews of theatrical and home release, they cover breaking news in the film and television, have a podcast called Broken Projector, and do editorials/articles/discussions on a major topic or issue that has come up in the world of creative media.

Honestly, I don't have much to comment on here; they are like many other review sites on the web (IGN, SchmoesKnow, the now defunct Spill.com), covering a broad host of topics for a dedicated audience of media geeks, or as the site calls them 'Connoisseurs', with something for just about every type of taste and want. This certainly gives them a broad appeal and demographic potential, but given they don't offer much more about their own history or have anything drastically different from other sites, I have not much more to add.

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