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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Friday, April 15, 2011
Blog posting by Brian McCormick, Film & Photo '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA
I'm currently in Park 220 for an ongoing meet up with FLEFF guests. Come for any of these presentations -- it's FREE!
Here's the line-up: 10am --Rodrigo Brandão, Kino Korber Films 11--Helen De Michiel, Lunch Love Community, 1--Philip Mallory Jones, new media artist 2--Franklin Lopez, media activist , moderated by John Scott 3--Danny Schecter, moderated by Todd Schack
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Rodrigo Brandão is the first FLEFF guest. He graduated in 2001 from Ithaca College, with a double major in Cinema/Photo and Art History. He is director of publicity at Kino Lorber films.
Brandão starts off by going around the room letting everyone introduce their majors and interests in order to gauge the discussion. I'm seeing that there is a large range of guests -- graduates and undergraduates and professors, from IC, Cornell, UCLA, and more -- all with general interests in film and media studies.
His company specializes in silent films and foreign films -- 90% of their catalogue is foreign cinema. This is all considered Art House cinema. He identifies challenges of distributing these art house films -- how do you get people to go to the theaters or rent foreign films on Netflix? Even, why are they considered Art films? How can kids be educated to read subtitles?
He acknowledges that DVD sales for Art House films are going down. In addition, less theaters are showing art house films.
One of Kino Lorber's film was "Dogtooth", it was a big winner at Cannes Film Festival. After showing it in NY, but they tried to get LA bookers to show it, they said no because it was "too weird." Critics complained, and it ended up receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. A good example of how you must push and push to make things happen.
He talks about how you don't have that sense of loyalty anymore with film critics, partly result of newspapers going out. Now you need to find the critics who write about what you're showing, so it's a bit more complicated nowadays knowing where to direct your efforts. For every film, there's someone who has a little bit more authority on it.
Next he shows growth rates of where audiences are going for press, and the only place where there is a growth rate is online. Everywhere else -- TV, newspapers, audio -- are going down. It's a very telling graph. This means, when people are looking to find information about what films they want to see or might want to see, there's a big chance they'll be looking on the web.
The dependency of online is even creating problems for small businesses -- now popularity depends on millions and millions of hits. There isn't much space for small businesses and communities it seems on the internet.
One shocking statistic he gave: Over 20% of Americans don't use the internet. That's roughly 50-60 million people. This is largely a rural-urban divide, as it's difficult to get Broadband access to rural areas.
There's a wealth of ideas disseminating throughout this group: one audience member who is a theater critic discusses the diminishment of newspaper reviews, and how critics strive to continue their dialogue about films, for free, because of their dedication and love to doing it. Additionally, Brandão says how one critic's review can be reprinted and reprinted, which destroys the dialogue.
Helen De Michiel -- who will be presenting next! -- talks about the small, crumbling exhibition spaces in the area, in contrast to viewing spaces in other parts of country. "I'm looking forward to when exhibitors are going to have to change," she says.
Wrapping up, Brandão talks about how NGOs are entering the exhibition market, and how festivals like FLEFF are saying: "We are going to exhibit these films, we are going to curate them here." These festivals get and show films that otherwise would never be shown.
When asked how Kino Lorber deals with the change in marketing, Brandão responds how his number of outlets has increased, but there is also more of a challenge of how to categorize all of these critics. "We have to create more subcategories and kind of filter things out." At Kino Lorber they are looking to hire people that are not only good markets, but even those who speak multiple languages, know extensive film history, and have great programming skills.
Much of FLEFF is owed to Kino Lorber, the distributor responsible for bringing the silent films to FLEFF!
The first of those films is showing TONIGHT: 7 p.m. @Cinemapolis, The Last Laugh, silent film with live music by John Stetch, jazz piano
Hang around for updates on the next presenter, or come down to Park 220 to hear from them yourself!