DID YOU READ

Will Digital Projection Convert Arthouses Right Out of Existence?

Will Digital Projection Convert Arthouses Right Out of Existence? (photo)

Posted by on

While heading up the Northwest for the Seattle Film Festival, it was hard to miss the attention-grabbing headline of this week’s Portland Mercury, “Celluloid Cemetery,” noteworthy to cinephiles not only because of its subject matter, but because Portland is a place where passion for film is strong enough to land the wonky technological transformation of cinemas going from projecting physical film to digital on the front page of an alternative weekly. As it turns out, “How to Die in Oregon” doesn’t only refer to this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Documentary, but could also easily refer to the arthouses in the state.

These are interesting days for exhibitors across the country who will soon come to a crossroads if they haven’t already of upgrading their projection system to digital or face extinction. For the large chains, the $60,000 to do so is a pittance and a convenience since they’ll no longer have to deal with transporting bulky film canisters, worry about prints wearing out and give them the ability to charge for extras such as 3D that come with the digital form.

But what’s left behind are the mom-and-pop operations, often in less densely populated areas with thin profit margins, that have already suffered the slings and arrows of potential audiences eroding first with the availability of DVDs before a film ever comes to their town and now the more immediate threat of video-on-demand.
(At a recent summit of VOD distributors, representatives from distributors including our corporate sibling IFC Films claimed that the increased growth of VOD hasn’t come at the expense of theatrical revenues, but in communities such as Portland, it isn’t hard to imagine theatrical runs being bypassed altogether in favor of a strictly-VOD run.)

Although it would be a major stretch to believe places like Portland would be left without the theatrical experience of arthouse cinema altogether, it’s isn’t so hard to imagine a future where they would be stripped of some of their most interesting theaters. In an era where the experience of moviegoing is becoming more integral to the audience experience than the movie itself, that would be a tragedy. As Anthony Kaufman noted in a recent piece for IndieWire, the arthouse successes of recent years have owed much of their good fortune to building a strong community foundation around a specific theater such as the growing Alamo Drafthouse chain out of Austin or Florida’s Enzian Theater, both of which offer amenties such as high-end food and drink as well as eclectic programming and since they’re newer, digital projection.

There’s a similar theater in Portland – Living Room Theaters, a six-screen theater that boldly states itself as “the first all and only digital cinema in the U.S.,” which will allow it to reap considerable rewards if many of the arthouses in Portland don’t make the conversion by 2012. The Portland Mercury‘s Erik Henriksen surmises that this is unlikely to happen in his neck of the woods, but that indeed is what the Mayans predicted may come true for quite a few American theaters – in Portland, the locally-made “Cold Weather” couldn’t screen at the Laurelhurst Theater since it was shot on digital and no film print actually existed.

It’s hard to root against the onward march of technology if it means more films like Aaron Katz’s brilliant mystery, which financially couldn’t exist on any other form besides digital cinema, but it’s an interesting trade-off where the decrease in the cost of making movies is potentially adding to the cost of distribution since the idea always was that digital would lower costs for everyone. Exhibitors have certainly had time to prepare, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept, especially considering it’s a medium given to nostalgia.

As Roger Ebert laments in this week’s issue of Newsweek, the experience of seeing quality cinema in general is “being abandoned” and it would seem it starts with the closure of some of our oldest theaters, which for arthouse films is still where the conversation and all-important word-of-mouth often begins. Instead, that conversation may have to reside online, just as the films filter through Internet and cable connections, which is contrary to what cinema, like all great art, aspires to do – to push something theoretical and intangible into reality. To find out that digital could do the reverse by steering some theaters out of existence where all we have left is the fond memories of moviegoing is a step in the wrong direction.

Watch More
FrankAndLamar_100-Trailer_MPX-1920×1080

Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

Posted by on

“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

Posted by on

He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet