MEDIA - February 2000

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  • BBC to move its Asian headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore. Singapore Straits-Times 02/29/00

  • I-CRAVE SETTLEMENT: settles lawsuits and agrees to stop retransmitting TV channels over the internet, effectively shutting down the internet TV website. Variety 02/29/00 

  • i-FILMS AND THE FUTURE: "If you love Hollywood movie-making you are in heaven right now," says filmmaker David Cronenberg. "If you are making so-called alternative films that is what you are fighting, not Hollywood per se, because they don't care about you, but people's expectation of what a movie is. Expectations have to change and I think something like the Internet might be the only way for that to happen." National Post (Canada) 02/28/00

  • PAY UP OR WE'LL KILL YOU: Criminal gangs have penetrated the Indian film industry, where producing a Bollywood hit can result in death threats if you don't pay up. New York Times 02/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • SUNNY SIDE UP: Art translated through television usually gives up a lot. But public TV's "Egg" explores what the tube can add to understanding of the arts. New York Times 02/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • NOW READ THIS: Words embedded in movie trailers are all the style these days. "The creators of trailers and titles say dramatic use of words on the screen mixed with fleeting, powerful images has the greatest impact on movie audiences, which these days are bombarded with up to 20 minutes of commercials, promotional tie-ins, information about the sound system and movie previews before the feature starts." Los Angeles Times 02/27/00

  • GOLD RUSH: Just as 20th Century entertainment was dominated by TV and film, many in Hollywood are betting the 21st will be shaped by the internet. The gold rush is on. London Telegraph 02/27/00

  • ARMS' LENGTH: A Boston public radio station faces questions about its journalistic independence after a series of underwriting announcements. Boston Globe 02/24/00  

  • NOT BANNED...MERELY "POSTPONED": In the past year Egypt's censors have declined to allow showings of "The Matrix," "Devil's Advocate," "Meet Joe Black" and "City of Angels." "The reasons for banning "The Mummy" are so illogical it's almost humorous," says the former chief censor. "The censors felt the movie portrayed Egypt and Egyptians negatively." Time for a little reform? Egypt Today 02/00

  • WHERE FOLLOWERS FEAR TO TREAD: A Chicago arts station changes with the times, to the dismay of one critic. "Secure in its knowledge of the arts and their value, the old WFMT led, whereas the new follows. Management tells us that listeners sustain the enterprise because they get what they want, but in truth this will not benefit either side for long. Giving listeners what they want does not give them what they need to keep a relationship with the arts growing." Chicago Tribune 02/23/00

  • MUPPET SALE to German media giant illustrates difficulties faced by the few remaining independent production companies. San Francisco Chronicle 02/23/00

  • SLIPPING THROUGH THE CRACKS: There are too many films being made. And even those which are highly touted by critics at film festivals often don't get distributed or seen by general audiences. Now a New York entrepreneur has an idea to help the forgotten best. New York Daily News 02/21/00 

  • "MAGNOLIA" wins top prize at Berlin Film Festival. CBC 02/21/00

  • RADIO BROADCASTERS ask American courts to set aside last month's FCC ruling that would allow thousands of low-power FM radio stations to flourish. Philadelphia Inquirer (AP)  02/20/00

  • THAI TRY: Thai movie fans claim world movie-watching marathon record after staying awake through 25 movies played back-to-back in 51 hours. BBC 02/20/00

  • A TALE OF TWO NETWORKS: While Canada's CBC is reeling from cutbacks and layoffs, America's National Public Radio, by contrast, is thriving. As it marks its 30th anniversary this month, NPR is flush with cash. Its audience has tripled in the past six years, reaching 15 per cent of Americans, and its network of stations is expanding. Are there lessons for Canada in NPR? Toronto Globe and Mail 02/19/00

  • PASS THE RAVIOLI: Sergio Leone created the "spaghetti western" and launched the career of Clint Eastwood. But popular success wasn't his ambition. A new biography reveals the Italian director's ill-fated plans for an epic picture that ought to have constituted his final masterpiece. London Telegraph 02/19/00

  • BAD "TREATMENT" Chinese film crew in St. Louis to make a movie about a Chinese couple in the Midwest, say their reception in America has been anything but welcoming. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 02/18/00

  • ITALIAN FILM with no budget wins short-film prize at Berlin Film Festival. Die Welt 02/18/00

  • FLOWER OF IRAN: It's tempting to describe the deeply personal films being made in Iran these days as fragile flowers struggling to thrive through a repressive government. "But their relationship with the fundamentalist regime and its social agenda is more ambiguous than that. For better or worse, this is a cinema that exists in its present form not in spite of, but because of the restrictions it has to circumvent." LA Weekly 02/18/00

  • US AND THEM: The Berlin Film Festival is still struggling for identity ten years after the Wall fell. "When this was a divided and occupied city, the West Berlin festival had a clear political mission, first as a showcase of democratic freedom, then as a cultural bridge between East and West. Now, with Berlin reunited and the Soviet bloc a thing of the past, the festival seems to be adrift in the no man's land that divides the global movie industry between the United States and the rest of the world." New York Times 02/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • RUSSIAN ACTOR IN ORBIT: Russian space officials have agreed to send an actor up to the Mir Space Station and to film scenes for a movie there. "The film is among several projects aimed at keeping the aging space station aloft. Starved of government funding, Russian space officials have been forced to entertain unorthodox proposals for commercial use of the Mir." The Oregonian (AP) 02/17/00

  • CLASSICS 101: PBS series "The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization" successfully brings antiquity to life. "History is sometimes best told by ignoring contemporary academic disputes, and concentrating instead on the dramatic events of the past. Scholars who study the Classical period can have their enthusiasm unbottled when relieved of responsibility for ideological and political rectification by a skillful team of professional story-tellers." The Idler 02/16/00 

  • LOOKING AT YESTERDAY'S FILMS THROUGH TODAY'S EYES: "Films, even good ones, can suffer from age more than other arts because film is more immediate, more swiftly enveloping, than any other art except music (which itself often aids films); and that immediacy is frequently based on contemporary bonds with the audience, bonds both explicit and buried." New Republic 02/15/00

  • BASQUIAT.NET: The estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat threaten legal action against a Basquiat fan website and shut it down. 02/15/00

  • TRANSLATABLE: At the Berlinale, a rush to add subtitles to every film is a time-consuming and often last-minute art. Die Welt 02/16/00

  • ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED: "American Beauty" leads with most nominations - eight. "Cider House Rules" and "The Insider" get seven each. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/15/00

  • THE SPY WHO LOVED ME: Documentary cameras linger over everything these days. Have the little spy lenses made voyeurs of us all? Here's a history of "fly-on-the-wall" programming, from revolutionary Russia to "The Real World" Feed 02/15/00 

  • FILM ROT: Almost 50 percent of films ever made have been destroyed due to the ravages of time. "Many Hollywood classics of the 1950s and '60s, such as "Around the World in 80 Days" may look OK on home video versions. But the original negatives are so far gone that they can never again be used to strike theatrical prints." National Post (Canada) 02/15/00

  • THE "YEAR OF THE WOMAN": Not long ago, women were only a token presence in power positions in the movie business. At this year's Sundance Festival, though, one-quarter of the films were directed by women. "There's no questioning about it. It's a completely different world for women directors,'' says Diane Keaton. Boston Herald 02/15/00

  • LIVE INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Los Angeles radio station goes online with what it says is the first 24-hour international news stream, carrying programming from National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the BBC. Los Angeles Times 02/15/00

  • MOUSE FEARS: Disney announces it will close its Canadian animation studios, after weak revenues last year. CBC 02/14/00

  • NBC REPLACES SF AFFILIATE: TV network signs San Jose station to replace longtime KRON affiliate. San Francisco Examiner 02/15/00 

    • Previously: NBC VS. SF AFFILIATE: Bay Area tycoon buys KRON-TV, the local NBC affiliate, for a record price - $823 million. NBC, a spurned bidder for the station, demands new conditions for remaining network affiliate on new owner. New owner to NBC: Drop dead. We'll go it alone. San Francisco Chronicle 02/14/00

  • IN BLACK AND WHITE: "The secret imperative behind most of Hollywood's black and white star pairings remains: Look but don't touch. We've all been trained by years of movie-going to know that at some point in thrillers or romantic comedies - after the growing rapport, the looks that linger just a second longer than necessary - the male and female leads will get together. Except, that is, when the leading couple is interracial." Salon 02/14/00

  • ONLINE OBJECTION: Jack Valenti is president of the Motion Picture Association of America, and has shown with two lawsuits in the past few weeks that he's serious about grabbing control of copyright protection on the web. The high-profile suits threaten to curtail some of the freedoms that coders and Net entrepreneurs have been taking for granted. Salon 02/14/00

  • NBC VS. SF AFFILIATE: Bay Area tycoon buys KRON-TV, the local NBC affiliate, for a record price - $823 million. NBC, a spurned bidder for the station, demands new conditions for remaining network affiliate on new owner. New owner to NBC: Drop dead. We'll go it alone. San Francisco Chronicle 02/14/00 

  • SCREEN TEST: The Smithsonian has entered the commercial movie business. The institution's experts are consulting on the latest Mel Gibson movie. Washington Post 02/13/00

  • VIOLENT REACTION: Two weeks ago, San Francisco Chronicle film reviewer Mike LaSalle wrote that it was time to do something about violence in movies. He suggested that any time a film showed a gun being fired, it should receive an NC-17 rating. Letters to the newspaper came flooding in, so the Chronicle is changing its reviewing policy. San Francisco Chronicle 02/13/00 

  • THE GOLDEN AGE OF HYPERTEXT: Ten years ago Robert Coover helped usher in the artistic and technological revolution of hypertext. Now the world wide web has brought us something new. "For those who've only recently lost their footing and fallen into the flood of hypertext, literary or otherwise, it may be dismaying to learn that they are arriving after the golden age is already over, but that's in the nature of golden ages: not even there until so seen by succeeding generations." Feed 02/11/00

  • THE DISAPPEARANCE OF A FILM The screen version of Otto Preminger's "Porgy and Bess" starred a Who's Who of 1950s-era black American actors. Released against the backdrop of the insurgent civil rights movement, the film sparked considerable controversy during its initial run and eventually disappeared from the public eye. Why is that? CultureFront 01/00

  • ART ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK: All internet, all the time. Coming to a website near you. New York Times 02/10/00 (one-time registration required for access)

  • IT'S A CHARLIE BROWN TV: As "Peanuts" finishes up its comic-strip run this weekend, a fan remembers the making of the first "Peanuts" TV special. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was a struggle to get to TV, and was at first considered a failure by its creators. Los Angeles Times 02/11/00 

  • COMPU-TALK: Artist at Canada's Banff Center invites scientists, computer designers to work on more body-friendly ways for people to interact with computers. "Art will be the model for creating new computer technologies. In turn, those advances will actually create new forms of artistic experiences." CBC 02/11/00

  • DIGITAL RIGHTS: Musicians and other artists whose work streams across the Web may finally see some of the profits after Microsoft announced new software that enables pay-per-view and pay-per-download distribution of Windows Media audio and video files. The Recording Industry Association of America strikes a deal to pay royalties to millions of major-label artists whose work is webcast. Wired 02/10/00

  • IT'S A ROUGH TIME FOR FOREIGN FILMS in the US, with the obstacles to getting distribution growing. So why does one of the country's leading art-house movie chains think now is the time to expand? LA Weekly 02/11/00 

  • FOREVER OR FIVE YEARS...WHICHEVER COMES FIRST: Archivists grapple with digital storage. New-media records of today may make researching us impossible tomorrow. Boston Globe 02/10/00 

  • CBS DISTRESS: The TV network has for several months been inserting "digital billboards" - promotional ads into the backgrounds of some of the stories it has covered on news programs, most famously on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Now CBS is threatening legal action against a team of Ohio sampler-jockeys for using digital snips of CBS broadcasts - including Dan Rather's voice - in their digital montages. Wired 02/09/00 

  • BERLINALE: A new Berlin awaits this year's attendees at the Berlin Film Festival. Founded in 1951 in a politically motivated act to add glamour to the divided, occupied city, the Berlinale has ballooned to one of the world's premiere film events. Die Welt 02/09/00

  • NEW PBS HEAD vows to pursue those things that set the public broadcaster apart. Pat Mitchell says she wants to make sure it remains clear that "what we stand for is something singular in this consolidated and commercialized world." Los Angeles Times 02/08/00    

  • ANATOMY OF AN OSCAR: It's coming into Academy Awards season. But first a lot of work. Choosing candidates and evaluating efforts is a time-consuming process. San Francisco Chronicle 02/08/00 

  • PACIFICA NETWORK'S SELF-IMMOLATION: The tiny "progressive" radio network is the last non-mainstream American network. "What began as a labor dispute at Pacifica's Berkeley, Calif., station nearly a year ago has degenerated into a tedious, slow self-immolation that has involved firings, resignations, court intrigue, lost listenership and a protest march of more than 10,000 people in Berkeley." Washington Post 02/08/00

  • AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION is the latest of the big national public broadcasters to find its role changing. After the government cut its budget, ABC went looking for commercial sources of revenue. The latest deal has some worried about the network's independence. Sydney Morning Herald 02/08/00 

  • NEW PBS CHIEF Pat Mitchell is a former reporter and a respected documentary maker. Her appointment is expected today. Los Angeles Times 02/07/00

  • HOLLYWOOD NORTH: Want to know where all that Hollywood movie and TV industry production is headed? North to British Columbia. The province's movie industry grew 20 percent last year, making it the third-largest producer in North America. Variety 02/07/00 

  • DIGITAL DOUBTS: Sinclair Broadcasting contends that the TV industry's new digital standard delivers less than the clear crisp picture that has been promised, and that the standard should be changed. Nope, says the FCC, in a unanimous ruling. Variety 02/07/00 

  • PORKY PIG BU HAO: Turner Broadcasting and the Cartoon Network have been banned from Chinese television. "Their actions violated relevant Chinese rules," an official with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said of the network, which airs cartoons by day and old Hollywood classics at night. "They know very well what they did." Times of India 02/04/00

  • CBS AND FOX TV NETWORKS make deals with NAACP to increase minority hiring on their programming. Boston Globe 02/04/00

  • YOUR TV ON ANTI-DRUGS (PART III): A  US Senate subcommittee hears that not only did the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy gave back to TV networks ad time worth millions of dollars for anti-drug messages in sitcoms and dramas, but also for shows about drugs: to music-channel VH1 for bios of drug-addled rock stars, for Fox's "America's Most Wanted" and ESPN's coverage of baseball player Darryl Strawberry's cocaine woes. Washington Post 02/04/00

  • PBS SET TO ANNOUNCE NEW PRESIDENT: Pat Mitchell, a veteran of ABC, CBS and NBC, and currently with CNN, will be the public TV network's first woman president. Announcement expected Monday. Philadelphia Inquirer 02/03/00 

  • PAY PER LISTEN: National Public Radio will launch a new satellite pay-radio service later this year as a means of raising money. San Antonio Express News 02/03/00 

  • KILLER ADS? A new series of ads for Benetton features pictures of American Death Row inmates. The words "Sentenced to Death" are stamped across the ads, and the company's logo is featured alongside the condemned person's image as well as the prisoner's name date and place of birth, and crime. It's just a joke, says the ad-maker. National Post 02/03/00

  • RUMORS OF MERGER TALK between media giants Bertelsmann and Sony. BBC 02/03/00

  • BUDDING STAR: One of the hottest new ads on TV isn't an ad at all, say its creators, it's a short "indie" film. The Budweiser spot is riding high on a website devoted to commercials - Something about the site has traditional ad agencies anxious. New York Magazine 02/07/00

  • THE BOYS FROM ETOY: The artists who work at keeping people guessing and stood up to the suits from Etoys are victorious. Wired 02/02/00
  • THE YEAR OF... There are too many films showing in a Sundance Film Festival to really get a grasp on which way the programming is really going. The NYT's Elvis Mitchell weighs in with a few highlights from this year's edition. New York Times 02/02/00 (One-time registration required for entry)

  A CULTURAL BASELINE: Columbia University study looks at how the arts are covered in American media. Newspapers have failed to keep up with cultural boom. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/16/99
AND:  Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Houston Chronicle, CBC (Canada), New York Times, Boston Globe (second item) Artswire, MSNBC, Houston Press (third item), The Idler and a contrary view
    AND: Read the report

  • FILM SET IN INDIA attacked and destroyed by protesters. Director Deepa Mehta, a leader of India's new wave of filmakers was trying to film in Varanasi. Hindu nationalists destroyed the set because they said it was disrespectful to their religion. BBC 02/01/00

  • THE END OF VIDEO STORES: Movie piracy is rampant on the web. And not just old stuff, but movies that are currently in theaters. Get yourself some broadband and the quality rivals today's VCR. For free. Tick, tick, tick... CBC 02/01/00

  • PIRATE POWER: The Federal Communications Commission recently approved licensing of micro-radio stations, and thousands of low-wattage broadcasters are expected to take to the air, increasing the diversity of voices. This despite vocal opposition by the radio industry. How did it happen? Thank the low watt pirates. Reason 01/30/00 

  • COURTS SHUT DOWN after American and Canadian TV networks sue to stop it. The Toronto internet site had been live-streaming television networks over the web. CBC 02/01/00