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December 12 at 8:15am

15 Predictions On The Future Of Indie Film

The future shines brightNote: If you’d like to share this post, please use this link: http://bit.ly/18LXym8

I have written about the good things in indie film. I have done it quite a bit. I have written about the bad things, and more than several times there too.  I have written about the thinkers and doers who are shaping where we are (and will post that later this month).  I have examined the cultural changes, the realities of our industry, and provided recommended best practices. I examined why it is sooo slow to change. I would like to help us find our path forward; what more can I do to help?

I tried to take action.  I left the city of my youth (and many years well beyond that), and the practice that I had dedicated my labor to (i.e. producing films), on the hope that the support of an organization in a land of innovation could accelerate the pace of change for my industry and culture (taking the reigns of the San Francisco Film Society). Okay, so that wasn’t to be, and I have now resigned from that gig and again I am pushing new boulders up the mountain now. But where are we all headed? What will we see on the way? Will we miss the path before us? How can we shine a light so we don’t stumble and get crushed by our own labors?

Specifically, what really is on the horizon and what is the mirage? Where will the seeds that have already been planted bloom most glorious in our indie film evolution?

Can we actually future-cast #IndieFilm? [...]


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October 28 at 9:52am

The Next 100 Years Are Safe! Exhibition Is Not Under Threat From Netflix

by Russ Collins

Why Theatrical?

1)     Aesthetic mandate – for the film to have its full impact or be fully appreciated it must be perfectly presented on a BIG screen in a beautiful darkened room full of strangers full of artistic anticipation and cultural curiosity – the ART demands it. It is also why we go hear live music concerts, live stage and dance performances at theaters and actual paintings, sculptures and other visual art works in museums and galleries and have real art, not reproductions, hanging in our own homes.  Art authenticity is a virtue!

2)     Marketing godsend – [...]


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June 18 at 8:16am

Close Encounters Of The Implosion Kind

By Russ Collins

Gary Meyer wrote: I do not like to be a doom and gloom guy but I think there are big changes afoot for commercial cinemas, but not the scenario predicted here.  Steven Spielberg Predicts ‘Implosion’ of Film Industry

 
Like Gary, I am not a doom and gloom guy. However, it is tempting for older cinema artists (like Steven Spielberg and soon to retire artists like Steven Soderbergh or maybe it’s just filmmakers named Steven!) to see gloom in clouds of change. Change is hard. It frequently makes us feel discouraged or unfairly challenged. The shifting sands of change can cause us to see threats everywhere and feel the world as we know it will end.  However, maybe we feel this way because it’s true. The world as we know it will indeed come to an end because change is the only constant, and creativity in art, business and all things is frequently born from what might appear to be destructive forces brewed from dynamic change. It is a defining story of living; a baseline truth, an ever repeating cycle of human existence that the Hindu religion represents so effectively in the story Shiva, whose joyous dance of destruction celebrates the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.
 
SHIVA DANCED ON THE MOVIES IN THE 1950s
 
Movie attendance at theaters in the USA by the late 1940s appeared stable at 4 BILLION admissions per year.  By the early 1960s movie attendance at theaters had fallen dramatically and re-stabilized at around 1 billion admissions per year – the theatrical audiences was just 25% of what it had been 16 years earlier. It’s hard to imagine. [...]


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May 3 at 8:30am

17 Things About The Film Biz That Should Significantly Influence Your Behavior

Note: If you’d like to share this article, this is the short link: http://bit.ly/FilmBizRealities

On May 2nd, 2013, I launched the A2E (Artist To Entrepreneur) program at the San Francisco Film Society with OnRamp (The Direct Distribution Lab).  This is a pilot lab of a pilot program designed to give filmmakers the necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve a sustainable creative life amidst this changing paradigm.  We will be working out some bugs but I hope to launch the second iteration as soon as possible (but to do so requires some support, both financial and otherwise, so if you know anyone or any organization that might be interested in advancing film culture and enterprise, please do send them my way!).

As part of the lab, we have a first day of big ideas and case studies that hopefully will give the participants the foundation for a design for living and thriving on their art.  As part of that I have prepared three brief lectures focused on what every filmmaker needs to recognize about the business, the culture, and their practice if they want to have a sustainable creative life.  Split between the three categories, I came up with fifty things you should know.  I will provide them to you over the next week or two, but I wish you all could have been there.   It’s always different when you are in the room.

Today, I will unleash what I think it is necessary to recognize about our industry if you are a filmmaker looking to survive from the work you generate.

It's Not That We Are Alone, It's That We Are Still Green

WARNING: taking any of these points out of context, could create unnecessary fear or depression. If you want to [...]


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January 28 at 8:30am

The Brave New American Art House

Art House Convergence Welcome Address

by Russ Collins, Director

(Ted’s note: I have participated in the AHC three times now.  Over the last 6 years, the American Art House Exhibitors have gotten organized.  Their mission of instituting best practices for community theaters is lifting our culture.  I have found it incredibly inspiring and exciting.  Filmmakers everywhere should take note as to what’s afoot.)

January 15, 2013 – for the Art House Convergence conference, Zermatt Resort, Midway, Utah

Welcome to the Art House Convergence. Welcome as we celebrate the Brave New American Art House. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to gather here in Utah with colleagues and friends and, with strangers who will soon be friends, to execute the mission of the Art House Convergence.

The mission of the Art House Convergence is to increase the quantity and quality of Art House cinemas in North America.  We hope you will help us pursue this mission by: 1) constantly improving your own Art House; 2) helping colleagues make their Art Houses better places for audiences to experience cinema art and 3) working to make all Art Houses serve as highly effective community cultural centers.

This conference would not be possible without the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers. Thanks to the Art House Convergence Conference Committee – if you participated in one or more of those Friday calls that happen throughout the year as we plan the Art House Convergence, stand and be recognized.

It is wonderful to see so many of you here! How many are here for the first-time?  Wonderful, welcome to Utah to the Art House Convergence.  How many of you are staying, for at least a day or two to go to Park City and check out the Sundance Film Festival?

I see a lot of friends; friends that have grown from the 25 brave souls who came to the first Art House Convergence to this year, with nearly 350 registered delegates, the sixth annual gathering of community-based, mission-driven cinema operators.

The strong theme of this year’s conference is The Brave New American Art House. So, what’s the Brave New American Art House?

The Brave New American Art House is a set of ideals that looks something like this: [...]


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October 19 at 8:30am

Is Independent Exhibition/Distribution Saved? Or Doomed…

Was it good news for film lovers everywhere that Cinedigm, a company that provides smaller theaters with digital projection, said it helped arrange funding to save 3,000 screens from extinction when studios phase out film prints of movies?

Early this month I wrote about how Independent Exhibition & Distribution In The US Is Seriously Threatened by the conversion to digital.  If only it was simple as putting in the digital projectors and servers.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great leap forward… in some ways.

Virtual Print Fees (VPFs) may provide a way for exhibitors to afford the equipment to go digital, but they indirectly, but severely, limit the type of films that can play theatrically.  The answer to [...]


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October 3 at 8:30am

Independent Distribution In America Is Seriously Threatened

And the reason is because independent exhibition is even more seriously threatened.  This is likely the last year of 35mm projection and the problem of that goes much deeper than whether you appreciate grain or not.

Sure the promise of digital projection & delivery is partially lower costs, but [...]


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