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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Blog posting written by Sam Stahnke Cinema Production, '17, FLEFF Intern, Brooksville, Maine
Brett Bossard opens up Cinemapolis’ side door and hits the lights. Grey boxes stand brick-like against one wall. Each box represents a new film for projection on one of Cinemapolis’ five screens. These digital prints supplanted film in 2013.
The reason for the switch lay in the distribution circuit. Film degrades with each run through the projector. According to Brett, the 35mm film platters made enough stops on their way to Cinemapolis to damage the picture.
As executive director of a non-profit cinema Brett’s job deals with often the unseen ritual of distribution. Distribution refers to the path a film takes from distributors to exhibiters to audiences.
Distribution’s constant flux means Brett and his booker (who determines a film’s availability) stay flexible. Change works as a constant and Brett made one just recently:
“Up until two weeks ago I thought The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was going to be played at Regal... but it just so happened that we were able to negotiate with Fox Searchlight to get it here.”
Conversely, films like Selma and Her have gone to Regal (Ithaca’s commercial cinema) instead. Brett links his fingers and looks at the posters on the wall, including Marigold Hotel. There are instances where films flip flop between art cinemas and multiplexes; changes stem from distribution companies themselves, says Brett. In the case of Selma Paramount handled promotion and made the call to shoot for commercial venues.
“I thought Selma probably would have done better here.” Brett says calmly.
Brett knows that in the world of distribution content and stars tip the film companies’ decision between Regal and Cinemapolis. Here, he points out that Oprah’s involvement nudged Selma into the mainstream.
However, Brett doesn’t see a Cinemapolis versus the mainstream situation. He went to the multiplex last week.
“There’s importance there (in multiplexes) because it is something that the world is watching.” Then he lets off a smile and adds “for better or for worse.”
Brett uses this analogy for Cinemapolis’ relationship with for-profit theaters: Galleries and museums differ from websites showing pop art.
“It (Cinemapolis) is a different kind of environment”
Intentionally or unintentionally the phrase matches FLEFF’s own tag-line.