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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Opening Night, 7th Reykjavik Int’l Film Festival

A quirky festival in a fascinating land: I attended last year’s sixth Reykjavik International Film Festival, and just got the press release from Friday night’s opening of the seventh: “The seventh edition of the Reykjavik International Film Festival was officially declared open by Jón Gnarr, the Mayor of Reykjavik, at the Festival’s opening party on Thursday evening. The party, attended by a host of Iceland’s film, stage and television personalities including Oscar Nominee Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Best Foreign Language Film, Children Of Nature, 1991), took place at the National Theatre building which is more accustomed to hosting stage plays than film screenings, obviously. However, the architect Gudjon Samuelsson designed the grand theatre early in the 20th Century also to be suitable as a film screening room, albeit a very grand one.

“And that was only too fitting, as the National Theatre did very well in hosting the screening of the opening film of RIFF 2010, Cyrus, which is presented in the Special Presentations category and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, was met with several fits of belly laughter as well as repeated nods of approval, and a rapturous applause when the lights came back on. The comic relief was met with welcoming spirits after a rather acidic “Festival Splash” opening speech where veteran film producer Thor Sigurjonsson took the opportunity to lash out at the Icelandic government’s plans to cut down grants to film and tv production.

“But spirits were high, happy and optimistic in the party after the screening, where copious amounts of champagne were washed down with greetings and congratulations regarding the happy days ahead. After all, RIFF has only just begun and it promises to be a feast of fine, fresh cinema as always. We’ll see you when the lights are switched on again.” [Photos: HAG]

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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