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America’s next Wal-Mart: The Indie Film Industry

Beanie Barnes argues that cheap labor and subsidies have created an unsustainable bubble and that we need fewer indie films, not more.

Indie Cinema

The indie film industry is cannibalizing itself. Manohla Dargis is right – there are too many films in the ecosystem. And this oversupply didn’t just happen. John Sloss warned back in 2007 that the industry’s problem was not a shortage of films, but a shortage of eyeballs (Mark Gill issued a related warning in 2008). But the industry’s response to this warning has been to make more films. This is creating an economically valueless cycle where unprecedented “cheap” money is flowing into the industry and films are being made at their highest rate ever. Meanwhile the percentage of indie films (let’s say films made for less than $5 million outside of the studio system) that are financially successful has not increased, and the amount of money people make from these films has actually decreased.

Many in the industry still refuse to acknowledge that film is subject to the economic laws of supply and demand. The hard truth is that it is, and ignoring that fact won’t make it go away. All industries have to adapt to stay relevant and viable, and film is no exception. That is especially true in the U.S. where, unlike some other countries, the government doesn’t fund production as a cultural initiative. And if the challenges in the industry are not addressed, everyone in it stands to lose.

Salon.com | Read the Full Article

The Rules and Restrictions of Shooting at the Olympics

Jeff Cable gives us an inside look at the rules and restrictions of photographing the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Olympics shooting

Now that the 2014 Winter Olympics are over, I thought I would tell you all about some of the rules and restrictions we had here at the Games. People might think that we have freedom to shoot wherever we want, or that we can set up remote cameras in any position, but this is not the case. For the last 3 weeks, there were a lot of rules that we have to follow, and these are typical for almost all Olympics.

The credentials

As I walk around the Olympic Park, or even outside the park, you see thousands of people wearing their credentials. The credentials are issued to everyone involved in the Games. This includes, editors, photographers, video teams, broadcasters, athletes, coaches, trainers, support staff, medical, operations, IOC, and thousands of volunteers. There must be hundreds of different credentials here. I am issued an EP (Event Photographer) which has the very important “All” printed on the front. This gets me into any venue (but not the Olympic Village where the athletes live). You see the number 4 at the bottom of the credential, this designates which areas I can enter, and through which entrance. Each venue has entrances for spectators, but also designated entrances for athletes, media, family, IOC, workers…

Jeff Cable | Read the Full Article

Walter Murch: From The Godfather to The God Particle

Join legendary film editor Walter Much in this fascinating masterclass covering his body of work, including his new feature documentary Particle Fever, which is screening at this year’s Doc/Fest. Universally acknowledged as a master of picture editing and sound design, Murch has worked with, among others, director Francis Ford Coppola on such cinematic milestones as The Conversation, The Godfather I, II and III, and Apocalypse Now. From the point of view of someone who started working in theatrical features when computers were completely absent, to now 45 years later when they are omnipresent, Murch will explore the constants that nonetheless remain after the “bones” of celluloid and sprockets have dissolved away, and examine the salient technical, artistic, and philosophical differences between the post-production of a theatrical scripted film and a feature-length documentary.

Via Filmmaker Magazine

Crime Jazz: How Miles Davis, Count Basie & Other Jazz Legends Provided the Soundtrack for Noir Films & TV

Film Noir is an unmistakable genre yet also incredibly difficult one to define. Beyond the visual chiaroscuro images, Noir can best be invoked through music – the hard bop sounds of 1950s jazz from Miles Davis that came to define urban cool.

Miles Davis

 

When we think of film noir, we tend to think of a mood best set by a look: shadow and light (mostly shadow), grim but visually rich weather, near-depopulated urban streets. You’ll see plenty of that pulled off at the height of the craft in the movies that make up “noirchaeologist” Eddie Muller’s list of 25 noir pictures that will endure, which we featured last week. But what will you hear? Though no one compositional style dominated the soundtracks of films noirs, you’ll certainly hear more than a few solid pieces of crime jazz. Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing, writing about Rhino’s eponymous compilation album, defines this musical genre as “jazzy theme music from 1950s TV shows and movies in which very bad people do very bad things.” She links to PopCult’s collection of classic crime jazz soundtrack album covers, from The Third Man to Charade (the best Hitchcock film, of course, that Hitchcock never made), to The Man With the Golden Arm, all as evocative as the music itself.

“Previously, movie music meant sweeping orchestral themes or traditional Broadway-style musicals,” says PopCult. “But with the growing popularity of bebop and hard bop as the sound of urban cool, studios began latching onto the now beat as a way to make their movies seem gritty or ‘street.’” At Jazz.com, Alan Kurtz writes about the spread of crime jazz from straight-up film noir to all sorts of productions having to do with life outside the law: “In movies and TV, jazz accompanied the entire sordid range of police-blotter behavior, from gambling, prostitution and drug addiction to theft, assault, murder and capital punishment.” Get yourself in the spirit of all those midcentury degeneracies and more with the tracks featured here, all of which will take you straight to an earlier kind of mean street: the theme from The M Squad, “two minutes of mayhem by Count Basie and his mob of heavies”; Miles Davis’ “Au Bar du Petit Bac,” improvised by Davis and his Parisian band against Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows; and Ray Anthony’s “Peter Gunn Theme,” a “quickie cover” that “beat Henry Mancini’s original to the punch.”

Open Culture | Read the Full Article

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