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Old April 14th, 2005, 01:59 AM   #1
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Future of Digital Screening to be owned by the big Studios?

From HDforIndies.com:

Technicolor/Studios Digital Cinema deal designed to block outsiders?


This could be bad news for those of us who thought digital projection was going to make it easier to distribute content theatrically.

Excerpt:

"The plan is to allow others to screen their digital movies in those theaters...but only if they pay. And pay a lot - something in the ballpark of the cost of a film print. Per screen. So there is ZERO cost savings available to those outside of the club as compared to film, and they definitely have to pay MORE to go digital, even though digital offers production and distribution cost savings. So it's a double whammy to keep the indies out."
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Old April 14th, 2005, 02:45 AM   #2
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In Ireland governmet sposoring conversion to digital projection. Reason is to give local filmakers easy inexpensive way to present digital productions.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 07:41 AM   #3
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Well unfortunately this is probably just the way of the world. I don't know a lot about the economics of movie theatres, but I am very familiar with live entertainment.

I have seen the following scenario play out time and time again: a big new performing arts center is built and the bulk of the money comes from public sources. The grant requests talk about how much the complex will benefit the community and how it will provide a new home for all the little local theatre companies. After it's built and the inital funding for the first couple seasons evaporates the little theatre companies can no longer afford to perform there.

They can't afford the high cost of the union crews, the building rental and all the other add-ons. In reality, it was never reasonable to assume they could have afforded such a venue but it all sounded great on the grant proposal and enabled the complex to get millions of dollars in state and local funding. But now, a few years down the road, the little theatre companies are right back where they started and would have been better served to just be realistic and find a home they could afford.

So my point is that it may not be reasonable to think your $10,000 indie will be showing at the megaplex anytime soon. By the same token, you aren't likely to sell your home-made arts and crafts projects at the local Target or WalMart either...
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Old April 14th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #4
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My Two Cents

My knee jerk response is thus:

Independent digital filmmakers jumped for joy when the technology allowed them to see their projects come to fruition outside of the studio control. Remember when we all thumbed our noses at the "Big Boys" after we purchased our XL1ss and DVX 100As and screamed that we didn't need them any more to see our visions come true? Remember our coffee table discussions and wicked, evil, gloating laughs about how the major studios were wiping sweat from their brows at the new digital revolution?

I think they figured out a way to humble us. Am I wrong? Why do I get the feeling independents are locked in a skirmish with the majors? I just may be paranoid.

My two cents (really worth about 1/3 of that)
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Old April 14th, 2005, 08:19 AM   #5
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My guess is that such a plan would not withstand the many legal challenges sure to be brought against it.

Never fear; if your movie doesn't make it to cinemas, it'll still probably be because not enough people would pay to see it.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 11:45 AM   #6
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"Never fear; if your movie doesn't make it to cinemas, it'll still probably be because not enough people would pay to see it."

THAT is a damn good point.

:)
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Old April 14th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #7
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Look at something else. Sony is one of first of studios in this pact. It also makes digital projectors for theaters and makes production and postproduction equipment, owns MGM, Columbia, TriStar, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Company, owns the largest film library, deceloped Blu-Ray that will be used distribute films, makes PS2 and PSP and licences others to make movies to games and charges them 10 USD/game licensing fee. And it can't make decent profit. To think these companies are to make friends with indie filmmakers, would ridiculous. They need make profit. They form aliances and pacts we don't even know about.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 03:35 AM   #8
 
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Wow,

I must admit this news SUCKS. I really thought we'd start to see some REAL theatrical independent features come out of this HDX-200 sporting DVCProHD and 24p. But I should have known that the giants would never release control so easily. The idea of charging people such a cost to distribute their own cheaply made / well made stuff is true horse crap. Put simply, projected digitally, you DON'T NEED BIG MONEY FOR SHOOTING OR PRINTS . . . IS THIS NOT THE POINT OF DIGITAL INSTEAD OF FILM????!!!!!

If this goes through, we'll need to find Hoffa and rewire his brain to start a huge following against the studios. But at least now we can spend whatever money we do have getting a name actor involved, which hopefully will help sell your film.

God, I hate the big whigs sometimes.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 03:38 AM   #9
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Look, guys, they already lost this game...this is just the first shot across a bow that isn't even there anymore. Just like digital world of music, soon this will all be a moot point. Let them have their big dinosaur theaters while the rest of us go on about the business of creating art. I don't agree with Robert's point about how if people will pay for it, it'll get shown in theaters. Fact is, most of movie history goes directly against that assumption. The lost classics, butchered masterpieces, undistributed beauties and plugs pulled on genius are littered all over the landscape. Anyone who's ever gone to a film festival and seen a sold out audience stand up and cheer at the end of a movie that's never seen again knows this is true. The difference with the new technology is that independent filmmakers will have all kinds of new ways to cultivate their own audiences without need of the big labels. Look at all the indie bands who aren't major hits but make a fine living and have a nice fan base. Why can't filmmakers do the same? Whether it's online, DVDs, cheaper and better projectors, or some unforseen force like Napster, the cat is out of the bag. Greedy gestures like this are just the last thrashings of a beast that sowed its own doom.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arne Johnson
Anyone who's ever gone to a film festival and seen a sold out audience stand up and cheer at the end of a movie that's never seen again...
I'm curious--any examples of this you had in mind?

Generally, positive audience response at a festival contributes to a film getting good distribution.

I can think of only one festival film I ever saw that was never really distributed in a meaningful way. It was called Turning Paige, but looking back on it, I must have only liked it at the time, considering I don't remember much about the story or the characters. I do remember an amazing shot from the opening credits montage of a big chunk of ice falling from a roof.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 07:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Knecht Schmidt
I'm curious--any examples of this you had in mind?
Well the foreign examples are too long to list here, but for instance when was the last time you saw an Ousmane Sembane film at a theater? In the last decade of Fellini's life maybe every other film of his got distribution in the U.S. What was the last Polish film that played at a cinema? Know what Wadja's up to these days? Miramax alone is sitting on about 25 Asian films that will never see the light of day.

Domestically, I've seen several amazing docs at festivals that never see the light of day. "A Family Undertaking" was a beautiful film about people who bury their own dead, don't go to funeral homes. As far as I know, none of Jay Rosenblatt's films. Not sure if Frederick Wiseman makes his movies available for theatrical distribution, but as far as I know none of them have shown in theaters at the time they're made. One of the best films I saw in the last decade, called "Drylongso" never made it past the festival stage. (give me a couple days to go over my old festival catalogs, and I'm sure I could give you more)

Audience approbation doesn't always mean distribution. Companies buy things and then go out of business. Sometimes they just sit on them, a moment passes. Sometimes the subject matter, as in the "Undertaking", doesn't seem commercially do-able.
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