Friday, June 30, 2006
Free and open access to the internet is something all Americans should enjoy, regardless of what financial means they’re born into or where they live. It is profoundly disappointing that the Senate is going let a handful of companies hold internet access hostage by legalizing the cherry-picking of cable service providers and new entrants. That is a dynamic that would leave some communities with inferior service, higher cable rates, and even the loss of service. Not to mention inadequate internet service — in the age of the information.
This bill was passed in committee over our objections. Now we need to fight to either fix it or kill it in the full Senate. Senator Wyden has already drawn a line in the sand — putting a “hold” on the bill, which prevents it from going forward for now. But there will be a day of reckoning on this legislation soon, make no mistake about it, and we need you to get engaged — pressure your Senators, follow the issue, demand net neutrality and build-out.
SaveTheInternet has links for action - and take it today, because after July 4th, the Senate returns and simultaneously tries to kill the Net and figure out a way to allow Bush to get around the Supreme Court's orders yesterday that he act civilized on Guantanamo. Busy folks.
Monday, June 26, 2006
New York, NY - Cinema Village
Monday, June 19, 2006
As I've written elsewhere, this trend is also hitting the media arts, and the recent closing of AIVF can, in part, be seen as indicative of this change. Is the same trend mentioned by Galapagos starting to be seen in NYC's media landscape? We're probably in better shape due to the continued imnportance of NYC as a film town, even for Hollywood production. But, I would argue that what Robert of Galapagos mentions below could easily be seen occuring in the film world next. Perhaps filmmakers and media artists that call NYC home should start addressing this possibility now:
The original article is quoted almost entirely here, and is worth reading:
"The canaries in
As more and more cities begin to understand the advantage they can place in their populations by proactively attracting the emerging arts and either establishing or buttressing their own creative economies, the bidding for our young cultural participants will begin. Smart cities will soon make
What we need to do:
The cost of real estate is crushing the emerging arts. We’re about to see a huge exodus of emerging artists leaving
If emerging artists and the best young cultural thinkers can’t see themselves possibly affording to live here then we’d better find ways to make them think they can’t possibly afford to live anywhere else.
In the end only one-thing matters: good artists and the best young cultural thinkers follow ideas, and ideas flourish when and where there is opportunity to realize them. .
No one can roll back the cost of real estate or prevent small performance spaces from becoming chic little clothing stores, but to create so much opportunity in this real estate climate that we remain an effective cultural capital and not simply a wonderful museum city where art isn’t made, there are a number of questions that must be asked.
What can our City government do?
What can the largest cultural institutions do?
What can the foundation and funding community do?
What can the business community do?
What can our next Governor do?
What can you, the audience, do?
Director, Galapagos Art Space"
Thursday, June 15, 2006
A quick shout out to wish filmmaker Julia Reichert Happy Birthday, and to congratulate her on getting to this day. (Okay, her birthday is June 16th, but I had to post this a day early). As some of you probably read in IndieWire or heard through others, Julia found out in January at the Sundance Film Festival that she had cancer, and her doctors advised her to leave Sundance immediately and return home for treatment. Julia had been at Sundance with her partner in life and film, Steven Bognar to premiere their documentary A Lion in the House, a four-hour long film about kids and their families struggling with cancer (filmed over eight years). Since that time, many of us have kept up with them through emails that both she and Steven have been sending out chronicling her journey. It’s been harrowing, sad, honest and lately it’s been turning for the better - much better.
I’ve known Steven and Julia for years, having first met Steven at the Atlanta Film Festival in the early 1990s. I later met Julia at the same festival, and have always found them to be among the most genuine filmmakers I’ve ever met, not to mention quite talented. When I arrived at my current gig in
Bognar’s documentaries and short narratives have screened widely at festivals and on television. He has produced feature films, taught media production and received several fellowships. Reichert has directed and produced both fiction features and documentaries, and teaches filmmaking at
A Lion in the House has been playing at several festivals, and has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival. It just ended a run at the Makor Theater in
Best wishes to Julia as she celebrates an important birthday!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I'm not sure, however, that trying to relaunch the organization is a good idea. As I described in an earlier post, AIVF is dying for a variety of reasons, and no one has been able to step forward and offer a plan for revitalization during the appropriate time - which would be the last five months of reorganization. Furthermore, part of AIVF's problems were due to having a board comprised mainly of filmmakers without much ability to raise funds. The group coming together sounds like more of the same.
It would possibly be much wiser for people to rally behind any of the numerous other groups that serve filmmakers, and that are also currently struggling, and help them transition. During the beginnings of the (public knowledge) of the AIVF crisis, several filmmakers gathered and made it clear that they didn't feel that any other organization was serving their needs. This is probably true, but organizations are really what their members make of them. If organization X isn't serving filmmakers needs, then their members (that means those of you willing to pay for the right to complain about them) should gather and force change. These organizations have to respond to their members needs, but they won't if those needs aren't articulated.
I continue to believe that even in this new age of media, where access is near ubiquitous and everyone seems to be a filmmaker, artists still need a group that can advocate on their behalf, serve their needs, get them information they can use and possibly help them get their films made and seen by more people. Such a group will undoubtedly need a stronger web presence, new business models and stronger commitment to its members, but the need is still there. Perhaps it's time for media artists to get more vocal about what they want and deserve.
Friday, June 09, 2006
"JPB: I've got good news and bad news and good news. And the good news is that you guys have managed to buy every major legislative body on the planet, and the courts are even with you. So you've done a great job there and you should congratulate yourself.
But you know the problem is - the bad news is that you're up against a dedicated foe that is younger and smarter that you are and will be alive when you're dead. You're 55 years old and these kids are 17 and they're just smarter than you. So you're gonna lose that one.
But the good news is that you guys are mean sons of bitches and you've been figuring out ways of ripping off audiences and artists for centuries....."I've never met Dan Glickman, but a friend has and they told me he's actually a nice guy. I've been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it appears he is hopelessly confused about the potential economics of the internet. Says Glickman:
"It is ridiculous to believe that you can give product away for free and be more successful. I mean it defies the laws of nature."
Well Dan, you should talk to Rick Prelinger at Prelinger Archives. He made all of his content available for free, and his sales increased more than 40% defying all laws of nature. Or check out one of the numerous studies showing that free availability of music has had zero statistical effect on music sales.
The MPAA is going to keep fighting this war, and keep losing, for quite some time. It would be interesting to see them take their collective heads out of the sand and think about the possibilities of addressing the changes due to the internet, instead of reacting in a manner that alienates their consumers.