By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Vadim Rizov

“Let’s talk about capital a bit more. Festival bumpers are nobody’s favorite kind of short film (content) — I’ve literally never heard anyone say how much they loved seeing that opening scroll of sponsors and vague images. Still, this year’s edition seemed to be driving everyone particularly off the walls. A series of words were slathered over stills in a font and colors that basically rip off the cover of ‘The Life of Pablo'; once the word salad is over, the music drops out and is recapitulated for the sponsor crawl. At one of my screenings, someone took their iPhone out and recorded this segment, presumably so they could hear this wonderful tune whenever they wanted for the rest of their life, and the running time for that back half alone turned out to be 39 seconds. One bright person at a party had a good idea of how to respond to this: every time a new word pops up, lean over to whoever’s sitting next to you and whisper “story.” This piece of content was credited as being animated by one studio + one person, but had three brand consultants listed; how do I get that full-time gig? It seems like a dream. Let’s not even get to into the “volunteer appreciation” bumper, lest I induce myself into an apoplectic rage. OK, fine: NB that it’s a bunch of quotes about The Power of Storytelling, sourced from, inter alia, Plato, Margaret Atwood and Robert Redford (all on the same plane!), who I’m sure wrote his own statement, just like I’m sure sponsor Kenneth Cole was one of the three (!) credited co-writers for a segment that takes all of a minute. If all of this seems like a specialized form of whining — well, it is, because it’s definitely a privilege and perk to be able to attend this festival as paid work. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to keep in mind how money works and shapes everything around us, especially in a realm where the question of where financing is coming from and what it takes to get it is especially pertinent. I’m unwilling to make a synoptic diagnosis about what kind of festival this shaped up to be or how it bodes for 2018 In Film; my one note here is that scanning the credits for every film almost always answers the question, ‘Why is this film screening here?’ There’s always a name tied to a known network of creators, which both makes sense and limits the chance for gatecrashers and new talent from the outside.”
~ Vadim Rizov

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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