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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Oscars-Netflix: Paul Schrader

Via Facebook: “THE NETFLIX DEBATE. I have no animus against Netflix. Ted Sarandos is as smart about film as any studio exec I’ve ever met. Distribution models evolve. The notion of squeezing 200+ people into a dark unventilated space to see a flickering image was created by exhibition economics not any notion of the “theatrical experience.” Netflix allows many financially marginal films to have a platform and that’s a good thing. But here’s my query: it involves FIRST REFORMED. First Reformed was sold at a bargain price to A24 out of the Toronto FF. Netflix, which could have snapped it up as easily as it swats a fly on its ass, passed. As did Amazon. As did Sony Classics and Focus. But A24 saw a commercial path for this austere aesthetic film. As a result First Reformed found a life. A24 rolled it out through festivals and screenings from 2017 to 2018. And it survived. Not a big money maker but profitable for A24 and a jewel in their crown. Would First Reformed have found this public acceptance if Netflix and scooped it up (at say twice the price A24 payed) and dumped it into its larder? Perhaps Bird Box and Kissing Booth can fight their way through the vast sea of Netflix product to find popular acceptance, but First Reformed? Unlikely. Relegated to film esoterica. A different path? My proposal: For club cinemas (Alamo Draft House, Metrograph, Burns Center, Film Forum) to form an alliance with a two tiered streaming system (first tier: Criterion/Mubi, second tier: Netflix/Amazon).Distribution models are in flux. It’s not as simple as theatrical versus streaming.”

2 Responses to “Oscars-Netflix: Paul Schrader”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    Film is going where book publishing has gone. I remember when a new book by an important writer was a cultural event. Now, there is so much good content, books and film have become like litter. Thousands and thousands of young people graduate from film schools every year knowing how to make movies, and the means of making them can be found nearly everywhere. Thousands and thousands know how to promote movies, too.

    We have a local authors event at our big central library every year. Dozens and dozens of authors show up with their self-published books. The library doesn’t even include their books in the local collection, that would be a huge success for a local author, to be included in the permanent collection of a local library. Seems to me that film is very close to a similar reality.

    That’s harsh, but as an architect, I can tell you that the architecture schools pump out tens of thousands of very talented young people every year, too. Talented filmmakers, like talented architects, are a dime a dozen these days. Being sucked into the Netfix maw would be beyond the wildest dreams of the vast majority of most.

  2. Sarag says:

    Gee bob who gives a sh-t about your prognostications on movies. One by the way everyone has thought before and offers nothing.

    Now Paul Schraeder on the other hand has a great idea.

    He’s wrong though on the theater experience.Exhibition Economics may have been the reason but it had the unintended consequence of becoming an experience and we gained something beautiful and ephemeral.

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