SCREENING THE PAST 37 and LA FURIA UMANA 17

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The Future of Cinema: Discussion with David Bordwell, Simon Field, Andréa Picard and Alan Franey

A very quick post at Film Studies For Free today to bring you a fascinating futurological film and film studies resource: the video of a very well informed panel discussion on where cinema is going.

It features, among others, film scholar extraordinaire David Bordwell, who, as a phenomenal researcher of (practically) the entirety of cinema’s past and present, is definitely one of the best qualified people in the world to comment on cinema’s future.

The video is a must see if you’re interested in the future of film technologies of production and especially of distribution and exhibition. It is part of the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival collection at Vimeo.

Future of Cinema – Looking Forward After 30 Years
Event description:

The first few chapter headings in a film we did not program at this year’s [Vancouver International Film Festival] VIFF are: “Technology Is Great”, “The Industry Is Dead”, “Artists Have the Power”, and “The Craft Is Gone.” To which celluloid-loving film festival organizers might ask: Is it? Do they? Where on earth are we headed? And why?

VIFF has come a long way in its 30 years and never has the future of cinema–and VIFF‘s future–been more uncertain. Will it be bright and splendid and fair or will it move so quickly that a great deal of what is valuable will be lost before we know it? There are now dramatically more “film festivals” and “films” being made than ever, yet some fear that the industry may be dead. Filmmakers are acutely worried for funding, yet need to operate on a growing number of fronts. Given that the numbers of hours in a day and the numbers of days in a life remain fixed, what limits should we council for our own appetites? Why might we miss the Hollywood Theatre and Videomatica? Given that cultural agencies seemingly have shrinking resources but more new media and film festival applicants every year, will the centres hold or is babble ascendant? Will VIFF‘s function as an annual international universalist festival be superseded by myriad niche events?

Technology is indeed great in that it has put the means of creative motion picture production in almost everyone’s hands, but will the best artists be the ones to be recognized? The entrepreneurial spirit tends to favour change in hopes that it may profit from it, but will artists have the power? When entrepreneurs benefit, will consumers benefit? Will cultural institutions that have taken years to build remain viable? Will cinema, metrics of quality and craftsmanship and, ultimately, quality of life be improved or even be sustainable? What do you personally care about for the future of cinema to offer? What should VIFF 2020 aim to be?

Here to wrestle with these sorts of questions—and yours—will be a distinguished group of panellists including: David Bordwell, film critic, academic and author of numerous books on cinema; Simon Field, film producer and former Director, International Film Festival Rotterdam; Andréa Picard, film critic and programmer, formerly of the Toronto International Film Festival and the Cinémathèque Ontario; Tom Charity, film critic and Vancity Theatre program coordinator; and Alan Franey, director, Vancouver International Film Festival.

>Cinema at the Periphery: world cinema studies articles and videos

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Sequence from Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, featuring Samantha Morton as Morvern and the psychedelic song ‘Some Velvet Morning’ written by Lee Hazlewood in 1967 and performed by Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra (for more on Ramsay’s great film, see Scott Tobias, ‘The New Cult Canon: Morvern Callar‘, The A.V. Club, February 27, 2008; as well as John Caughie, ‘The Angel’s Share: Morvern Callar and the Difficulty of Art Cinema’, video also linked to below)

With Spring (and a spring) in its step, Film Studies For Free brings you a whole, golden, host of articles as well as little video tasters to the work of some of the world’s leading film scholars on the topic of international (and/or ‘interstitial‘, or ‘transnational‘, or ‘peripheral‘) cinema.

The videos are recordings of presentations from the Cinema at the Periphery conference held at the University of St Andrews between June 15th and June 17th 2006. While those external to that university can only see the first ten minutes of each presentation, they’re still very informative, and showcase, in miniature at least, some brilliant film studies research.

They’ve been newly publicised on the occasion of the publication of the conference book Cinema at the Periphery by Wayne State University Press, part of its series on Contemporary Approaches to Film and Television, under the general editorship of Barry Keith Grant. The book is edited by Dina Iordanova, David Martin-Jones, and Belén Vidal.

As FSFF always endeavours to add value to the free resources it links to, it decided also to assemble an accompanying list of related, high quality, freely accessible, online articles:

The clips can be viewed using Quicktime player 7, VLC player or similar MP4 player. Just click on the pictures to access.
The clips are currently set to stream at a quality of medium (512Kbps) – they are also available to watch as low (56Kbps) or high (2Mbps)

Dina Iordanova and Keith Brown
Dina Iordanova and Keith Brown

University of St Andrews
“Introduction and welcome”
(8min 16sec)
Mette Hjort
Mette Hjort

Lignan University, Hong Kong
“Homophilic Transnationalism: The ‘Advance Party’ Initiative”
Rod Stoneman
Rod Stoneman

Huston School of Film & Digital Media, Galway, Ireland
“Dimpsey at the Edge”
Duncan Petrie
Duncan Petrie

University of Auckland, New Zealand
“Small National Cinemas in an Era of Globalisation”

Sheldon Lu
Sheldon Lu

University of California at Davis, USA
“Emerging from Underground and the Periphery: Independent Cinema in Contemporary China”
Lucia Nagib
Lucia Nagib

Leeds University, UK
“Japanese Cinema and Local Modernity”
Laura U. Marks
Laura U. Marks

Simon Fraser University, Canada
“Geopolitics Hides Something in the Image; Arab Cinema Unfolds Something Else”
Faye Ginsburg
Faye Ginsburg

New York University, USA
“Black Screens and Cultural Citizenship”

Dudley Andrew
Dudley Andrew

Yale University, USA
“Turbulent Waves, Stagnant Seas: Awash in World Cinema”
Bill Marshall
Bill Marshall

University of Glasgow, UK
“Deleuze, Quebec and Cinemas of Minor Frenchness”
John Caughie
John Caughie

University of Glasgow, UK
“The Angel’s Share: Morvern Callar and the Difficulty of Art Cinema”
Pam Cook
Pam Cook

University of Southampton, UK
“Out from Down Under: Baz Luhrmann and Australian Cinema”

Patricia Pisters
Patricia Pisters

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
“Filming Tanger: Migratory Identities in North Africa”
Hamid Naficy
Hamid Naficy

Rice University, USA
“Interstitial, Transnational, and National-Iranian Silent Cinema”
Kristian Feigelson
Kristian Feigelson

Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France
“A Visual Map of the Film World”

>Studies of censorship and cinema: in solidarity with Jafar Panahi

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Image from Dayereh/The Circle (Jafar Panahi, 2000)

Film Studies For Free brings you a list of direct links to valuable and noteworthy scholarly material on the frequently iniquitous, and certainly far from just academic, subject of censorship and the cinema. 

Today’s list is brought to you in solidarity with Jafar Panahi, the Iranian filmmaker who, on March 1, was arrested and imprisoned (reportedly at present in solitary confinement) ‘apparently while working on a film that, rightly or wrongly, the authorities understood to be “anti-state.”’

As Vadim Rizov wrote for the IFC website:

Panahi’s brilliant series of films from 1995’s “The White Balloon” (his first feature) onwards have steadily ramped up the contentiousness. After “Balloon” and “The Mirror,” Panahi ditched children altogether (normally the standard way of avoiding censorship) and began focusing on adults — specifically, those damaged and abused by society. “The Circle” and “Offside” focus on women (enough said), and “Crimson Gold” manages to indict an entire society through the desperation of one pizza-delivery guy. Observing from a chilly distance, Panahi gives the disenfranchised a voice in the traditional visual language of the contemporary arthouse film — until, all of a sudden, he’s in the same spot as the people he’s filming. What makes Panahi brilliant (and dangerous to the regime) is that he’s a visceral filmmaker above all, in his masterful feel for the hustle of urban Iran.

To find out more about the campaign to free Panahi and other political figures imprisoned in the aftermath of the Iranian elections, do follow the links in Jeffrey Overstreet’s post for Filmwell; also check out the Free Jafar Panahi Facebook group; visit the Our Society Will Be a Free Society: Campaign to free imprisoned writers and journalists in Iran website; or explore the website for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. If you would like to donate money to support the aims of the latter organisation, a direct donation link is right here (thanks to the Self-Styled Siren for highlighting this link). You can also follow, as filmstudiesff does, the micro-bulletins (and blogs) of the brilliant US-based film and media studies academic Negar Mottahedeh via Twitter to keep up with events in Iran, along with academic and other responses to these.


FSFF also wanted to publicise a related call by the Index on Censorship for short film submissions on ‘the subject of freedom of expression or censorship, dealing with issues or events from a unique perspective that is not often acknowledged’.  

The call is on behalf of Index on Censorship, one of Britain’s leading organisations promoting freedom of expression and protection of human rights. We are currently in the process of curating a series of monthly EPIC short film nights with a focus on freedom of expression and censorship, in conjunction with English PEN at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London. The launch night for the event will be in mid-May, kicking off with a night of short films made by the Go Group in Georgia. You can find more information about the night here. If you do have a short film or documentary that you would like to be screened at one of these nights, email intern1@indexoncensorship.org with a short 100 word summary of your film, or a link to your video online and details of any charities/organisations that you are affiliated with. As Index on Censorship is a non-profit charity, we cannot offer any payment for the artists, just a platform and opportunity for new filmmakers to screen their film to a large public audience.

Studies of ‘Third Cinema’ and anti-Eurocentric film culture

Subtitled introduction to the first part of Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino‘s 1968 Third Cinema classic La hora de los hornos/The Hour of the Furnaces (made by the Grupo Cine Liberación collecive), 1968 on YouTube. Also see the first part (‘Neocolonialismo y violencia’/’Neocolonialism and Violence’) in its entirety, without subtitles, HERE.

Two events in particular provoked Film Studies For Free‘s posting, today, of a webliography of openly accessible, online material about Third Cinema and anti-Eurocentric film culture: the revamping of the website of Michael Chanan, one of the most important anglophone writers on Third Cinema (note the updated page for his online essays and papers and his new blog address); and the publication of a new issue of online film journal Offscreen (volume 13, issue 6), with an article on Third Cinema by Nicola Marzano.

The film-studies links are below, but first, here are links to three essential ‘Third Cinema’ Manifestos: Julio García Espinosa, ‘For an Imperfect Cinema’ ; Glauber Rocha, ‘Aesthetic of Hunger’; and Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, ‘Towards a Third Cinema’ (Published online courtesy of Revolutionen aus dem Off: EINE RETROSPEKTIVE DES DRITTEN KINOS IM AUFBRUCH, ZEUGHAUSKINO BERLIN, April 18-May 27, 2009)