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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

In Bulgaria, it's Alan Parker Central Time

Disappeared UK director Alan Parker gets some attention at the 10th Sofia Film Fest; Lucy Cooper listens. “Sometimes, if I’m watching TV late at night, or you’re going through jetlag or insomnia and you put the TV on in the middle of the night and there’s a film on, you go: ‘This looks good,’ then you suddenly think: ‘Oh, actually I made this film!’ You forget sometimes. But I think most directors would prefer not to see their work after all these years, which is peculiar.” What would he change? “I don’t think you should really…If you see Picasso in his blue period, he’s not going to look at it 30 years later and say: ‘I’m going to go back and paint everything yellow.’ You make your statement at that period in time and really you should stick by it. It always amazes me when you see these things saying ‘the director’s cut’- you think, well the original should have been the director’s cut. Parker picked a peck.jpgThe films that I put out are the films I wanted to put out and if they don’t work it’s my fault, not some studio’s fault. So, no, I don’t have any regrets – sometimes I regret that I put so much anxiety into the making of it. Some directors I really admire are able to just sail through a film without getting a heart attack or an ulcer. I think I’m the opposite – every moment is so painful to do, day by day, because you’re so concerned and so worried – but that can be good work…”

Of Stephen Frears, Parker says, “he has no care in the world – it’s kind of a much better attitude I think! … What’s really interesting is that a film like Birdy or Midnight Express – because Midnight Express had nobody known in it, it didn’t cost much money, it was filmed in Europe, that kind of film now, today, would be made as an independent film, but in those days they were studio films. Studios don’t do that kind of film anymore… I think it’s good really, it’s good in that the studios acknowledge that there’s another kind of cinema other than their big blockbusters. On the other hand, they bring to that kind of cinema the same kind of disciplines, the same kind of aggression about what it is they want. They’re not great patrons of art; they’re there to make money. But on the other hand, the most debilitating thing, the most depressing thing that film makers go through is not the making of the film, it is trying to find the money to make the film…That process can sap all your energy- it’s not such a terrifically good thing, but once you’ve got your money, you make the film you want and no one’s going to interfere with you, that’s the good side.” In terms of new technology, Peter Greenaway’s name comes up. “It doesn’t matter what the technology is – no one will watch a Peter Greenaway film anyway!… New technologies mean that anyone can tell a story really, and that’s good because you’re going to get lots of different stories told by lots of different people. But, I have yet to be convinced that to watch a film on an ipod, or even on a computer screen, is as good as watching the experience with an audience in a cinema…How you record it, how you cut it, how you edit it, all those things are helpful, but if it means I’m going to watch it on my phone, that’s not an advance.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch