MEDIA - May 2000

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Wednesday May 31

  • DO ART FILMS SELL TICKETS? Was Cannes a success? Ask film lovers and they'll answer yes - plenty of interesting movies to get engrossed in. Ask film distributors and you'll hear a chorus of NO - nothing to buy, they complain (translation: nothing that would guarantee them big bucks.) Village Voice 05/31/00
  • THE MP3 OF MOVIES? DivX video compression technology is supposed to  turn the web into a big video library, doing for video what MP3 has done for music. "I just wanted, longed in fact, to spend half a day - which is what the DivX savvy told me to expect from my T1 line - waiting for a movie to amble onto my computer. It apparently takes anywhere from two to 10 hours to download a DivX version of a film, but I was ready." With all the hassles and complications, though, as it stands now DivX "remains a technology with a lot of theoretical potential and some very practical failures. Great it may become; MP3 it is not." Salon 05/31/00
  • EIGHT BUCKS OR EIGHT HOURS: It takes as long as eight hours to download a full-length movie over the internet. But people are jamming onto the net to get bootleg copies of Hollywood's latest blockbusters - and the movie-makers are fuming. New York Post 05/31/00
  • LIVE TO WEB: Web company buys classic San Francisco theater with the aim of webcasting every show that comes to town ( if the artists agree, of course). Wired 05/31/00

Tuesday May 30

  • INTERNET MOVIE NOT MORE THAN A CURIOSITY: It's widely assumed that our TVs and computers will someday get married and everybody will live happily ever after. Now a highly-touted film called "Quantum Leap" is the "first major motion picture" to premiere on the Internet - downloadable for $3.95 for the standard version, $5.95 in hi-rez. Is it a soul-trembling experience? Not hardly. After you get all the technical specs squared away (and they are considerable), the movie just isn't that good. So much for pioneers. Chicago Tribune 05/28/00 
  • MINORITY POSITION: Last fall minority groups complained that the television networks didn't have enough programs featuring minorities. Now next fall's lineups are shaping up - how are they doing? Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Baltimore Sun) 05/30/00

Monday May 29

  • BLOCKBUSTER BOX OFFICE: Hollywood is on a pace to score its third record year in a row at the box office. "Through May 21, U.S. audiences had spent $2.44 billion on movie tickets, up from $2.25 billion in the same period a year ago." Chicago Tribune (AP) 05/29/00
  • FUN WHILE IT LASTED: "Five years ago, Vancouver animation studios couldn't find people to fill positions. Today, it's a different story. Every eight weeks, another 22 Vancouver Film School grads are sent out into the marketplace, competing against more than 100 others who graduate annually from another half-dozen animation schools in the area. The city's industry is closely linked to what happens in Los Angeles, and animators here are feeling L.A.'s downswing. Vancouver is in a downcycle." Toronto Globe and Mail 05/29/00
  • THE UP(DOWN)SIDE OF DIGITAL: New projectors to show movies in theatres cost about $100,000, about ten times what a standard film projector costs. But the payoff might be good - audiences grade the picture quality and film experience better. The cost might be prohibitive even though the longterm costs of getting the movies to theatres goes down. "We did a modest survey with audiences on previous digital runs and the numbers support the digital performances. They were just graded better." Los Angeles Times 05/29/00

Sunday May 28

  • ASIAN GAINS: More and more Asian directors, producers and actors are making it big in Hollywood. This new presence has nothing to do with diversity, though. It's about cashing in at the box office. Boston Herald 05/28/00
  • CRISIS OF JUDGMENT: If last year's selections were absurd, this year's choices of Bjork as best actress and "Dancer in the Dark" as best picture defy understanding. What is going on at Cannes? The Observer 05/28/00

Saturday May 27

  • STAR SEARCH: Hollywood's on the hunt for new faces (the old ones are fading at the box office). "Yes, there's a changing of the guard, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the days of the Brat Pack. Everywhere you look, producers and casting directors are scrambling for fresh new faces to plug into their prefabricated teen comedies and slasher films - each hoping to stumble onto the next Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Winona Ryder." National Post (Canada) 05/27/00

Friday May 26

  • BROADCASTING AS WE KNOW IT: A former broadcaster tells colleagues that: "the video and audio streaming opportunity will undoubtedly change everything we know today about the business of broadcasting, both radio and television." CBC 05/26/00
  • SUMMER SHORTAGE: Movie industry execs are worried that the usual line of sequels, remakes and event film blockbusters hasn't materialized for this summer. Without them, what's to drive the buzz about movies? Boston Herald 05/26/00
  • LAYING TRACKS: Lavish soundtracks have become an increasingly integral part of movie-making and movie-promoting. Madonna, Metallica, and U2 have all contributed new songs to big-budget movies recently. “Soundtracks have been the sleeper album chart success story of the last decade. In 1996 US music buyers were snapping up four times as many soundtrack albums as they had been 10 years before.” The Guardian 05/26/00
  • IT’S THE WORDS, NOT THE MONEY: Huge amounts of lottery money have poured into the British film industry in recent years. So, “Why are British films so terrible? So stunningly, excruciatingly, exquisitely bad? The "high concept," Cecil B DeMille once said, can be scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet. But most Brit-flicks have the entire script actually scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet, written in the time it took for someone to buy a drink at Soho House.” The Guardian 05/26/00
  • DOING THAT CHINESE MATH With their eyes on China’s potentially massive market for entertainment exports, Hollywood cheered the US House of Representatives’ Wednesday vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations status. Variety 05/25/00
  • MOVIES OF THE FUTURE: Trials are being conducted with digital movie projection at 16 selected locations in the United States, Europe and Japan. Half-million movie-goers have already experienced digital cinema. "The prototype projector is called a DLP, or digital light processor. It's basically a glorified DVD player that uses a new micro-mirror engine to interpret, then "throw" a video image on to the big screen. The result is comparable to, and in some cases better than, the way movies have been projected for more than 100 years, with a light shone through sequential, sprocketed celluloid frames pulled by a claw mechanism through a synchronized shutter." National Post (Canada) 05/26/00

Thursday May 25

  • PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION?: Hispanics make up 11.5 percent of the US population but "rarely occupy more than 2 percent of the available jobs in the film and television industry," according to a study by the Screen Actors Guild. Minorities have tried to make their case to Hollywood as a social cause. "Studio executives will lend half an ear to a social case, but the bottom line is that the corporate suites are running a business, and business is about profits or potential profits. Develop a business case, and you will bring about change." Dallas Morning News (AP) 05/25/00
  • A MATTER OF ATTITUDE? "What has hurt Latino and black efforts to pressure the industry is that these minority organizations have lost credibility. We hear about [television viewer] boycotts, and these boycotts aren't even conducted during [ratings] sweeps week. Or we hear about a press conference where Latinos are going to boycott a show, and the Nielsen ratings don't reflect a drop in viewership." Los Angeles Times 05/25/00
  • CALLING ALL AUTEURS: Speaking to a graduating class of media students in Liverpool, Steven Spielberg said the British film industry is in need of a “great leader” to revive the art form to the greatness it achieved in the ‘40s and ‘50s. BBC 05/24/00
  • AND AUTORI: Italian film lovers are bemoaning the fact that not a single Italian film was selected in the main competition at Cannes this year - reflecting the absence of a new generation of filmmakers to rival the postwar greats Fellini, De Sica, and Passolini. “Italians are talking again, as they have been off and on for 30 years, about the "crisis" of cinema, a word usually reserved for falling governments and train strikes.” New York Times 05/25/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • FILM CPR: Several directors earned notice at Cannes this year for taking their work in altogether new directions - like Lars Von Trier, Wong Kar-wei, and Joel and Ethan Coen, all of whom played with reviving the musical. “The festival was proof that a director's vision can resuscitate any genre. Already the buzz is that westerns will be the next to be rescued.” New York Times 05/25/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • SUBVERSIVE SCOTS: Scottish filmmaking is enjoying a renaissance, with more than 5 films by Scots to be released in the next 5 weeks - many linked by unconventional plots and narratives. “Ultimately, it is this subversive streak that unites so many Scottish film directors, whether they are making films about oil magnates, public schoolboys, London gangsters, or Hebridean islanders determined to outwit the English Home Guard captain and make off with the whisky.” The Herald (Glasgow) 05/25/00

Wednesday May 24

  • INDECENT LAW: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a section of the 1996 Communications Decency Act - which restricts sex-oriented programming on cable TV - may be overly restrictive and threaten first amendment rights. The CDA, “introduced after complaints from church groups and conservative family lobbies, restricts sex-oriented channels to operating at night unless they "scramble" their signal.” The Age (Melbourne) 05/24/00
  • ANYWHERE BUT HOME: The Chinese film "Guizi Lai Le" (Devils on the Doorstep) was well-received at Cannes. But rather than trumpeting its success at the prestigious festival, the Chinese government hasn't yet even granted permission for the movie to be shown at home. China Times 05/24/00
  • SHOO-IN: Despite recent media reports that he wants to spend the rest of his life as a shoemaker in Italy, Daniel Day-Lewis has signed on to star in Martin Scorcese's $100 million historical gangster epic, “Gangs of New York” which begins filming in August in Rome. Day-Lewis hasn’t acted since he appeared in “The Boxer” three years ago. Irish Times 05/24/00
  • CIRQUE DU CELLULOID: French Canadian circus/performance troupe Cirque du Soleil released its first IMAX film, “Journey of Man,” a collage of acts drawn from the company’s popular shows “O” and “Mystere.” Backstage 05/23/00 
  • REEL DISASTER: “Mr. TV” Milton Berle has sued NBC for more than $30 million, accusing the network of losing 130 original copies of his popular 1950s comedy shows. Times of India 05/24/00 (Reuters)
  • NOT RATED FOR VIOLENCE: A new study of movie violence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a "G" rating doesn't guarantee no violence. "G"-rated movies "averaged 9.5 minutes of violence, with the 1998 King Arthur tale 'Quest for Camelot' topping the list with 24 minutes of violence, or almost 30% of the movie." Los Angeles Times 05/24/00
  • "G"-SPOT: "The amount of cinematic violence--ranging from body blows to swordplay to gunshots--so alarmed researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health that they recommended that the Motion Picture Association of America consider changing its age-based rating system to one that provides specific warnings about a movie's content." Washington Post 05/24/00

Tuesday May 23

  • THE FUTURE OF FILM: "Digital filmmaking might be the solution to spiraling production costs that plague all the major studios, where the average cost of producing a film has soared above $50 million. 'On a film like 'Godzilla,' we shipped $13 million worth of prints. There will certainly come a day that that won't be the protocol any longer. We will be sending our signals to theaters through satellites or other means.' " Cleveland Plain Dealer (LA Times) May 23, 2000
  • POOR RELATIONS: Now that the prizes have been given out, the post-mortem bitching about what Cannes is and isn't begins in earnest. "The always tetchy on-off, love-hate relationship has reached an all-time low between the 'majors' (as Hollywood's studios are known in industry parlance) and Gilles Jacob, the famously self-important sovereign of Cannes, now serving his last year as director - or rather dictator - of the festival." Singapore Straits-Times 05/23/00
  • BRIT PICK: Why do so few British films make it to Cannes? "You always dream of a British discovery but you know in your heart that the offering from Liechtenstein or Albania is probably a better bet." New Statesman 05/22/00

  • REEL DANCE: Australia hosts its first festival devoted to dance movies. Just one question though - how do you define what's a dance movie? Sydney Morning Herald 05/23/00

Monday May 22

  • CANNES'T BUY ME LOVE: Controversial director Lars von Trier wins the Palm d'Or in Cannes, then insults the head of the festival and "assured his leading lady - whom he called a 'mad woman' only a fortnight ago - that he 'loved her very much'." The Guardian 05/22/00

    • A DISSENTING VOICE: "Daft as a brush, and about as visually interesting, for most of its extended duration, Lars von Trier's 'Dancer in the Dark' arrived in Cannes on a wave of anticipation and to prolonged applause, with some viewers reduced to tears. There were others who, like me, found the entire exercise self-indulgent, pointless and even unintentionally funny." Irish Times 05/22/00

    • MIXED CONSENSUS: "The bad news for Trier-watchers, who since 'Europa' and 'Breaking the Waves' have included most intelligent cinephiles on the planet, is that dozens walked out - noisily - on this Death Row musical about a Czech-American worker condemned for killing a cop who stole the savings earmarked for her child's eye operation. The good news is that it is a daring, fascinating, boldly unorthodox film." Financial Times 05/22/00

  • MOVIES IN THE BANK: Australia's main film funding agency has built up a $26 million cash reserve, leading the government to investigate why more of it isn't being spent on funding movies. Sydney Morning Herald 05/22/00

  • REVENGE OF THE CONSUMER: Time Warner's throwing ABC off its cable system in dozens of cities a few weeks ago ranks as one of the all-time stupidist corporate decisions. "What the company said, at a time when people everywhere expect to be able to get what they want when they want it, was, We won’t let you have it, if it doesn’t suit our corporate agenda. Disney took out ads in the papers, offering free installation of satellite television to Time Warner cable systems customers. Over twenty-five thousand Time Warner customers took them up on the offer. New York Press 05/22/00


Sunday May 21

  • SHOWCASE TO NOWHERE: This year audiences at Cannes have sat through a phalanx of French films and a good sampling of the best Asia has to offer. And from Hollywood? Flops and second raters. "Cannes is in crisis. The Hollywood studios prefer to advertise their films here rather than show them, and nobody seems to know where the festival is headed." Sunday Times (London) 05/21/00
  • NAME GAME: Movie names sound so much alike these days, how to keep them straight? "Was 'American Psycho' the sequel to 'American Beauty'? Was 'Waking the Dead' the follow-up to 'Bringing Out the Dead'? Philadelphia Inquirer (Entertainment News Service) 05/21/00

Friday May 19

  • LONGING FOR BREVITY: Not a lot of consensus about the offerings at Cannes this year except for this: many of the films are too long. "It's like that old joke, I didn't have time to write a short speech, so I wrote a long speech," filmmaker Brian de Palma said here last week, commenting on the increasing length of movies. "If you're not sure what you want to say, it takes longer to say it." National Post (Canada) 05/19/00
  • LOOKING EAST: Asian and Middle Eastern films are making a particularly strong showing at Cannes this year, with several vying for the Palme d’Or. BBC 05/18/00
  • TRUCE TIME: Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin announced at Thursday’s annual shareholders meeting that he has reached an agreement with Walt Disney Co. that should end the dispute between the two companies over program transmission on Disney-owned networks. New York Times 05/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • COUNTER ATTACK: Blockbuster Video has refused to promote the video release of Oscar winner “American Beauty” and is hiding the majority of its copies behind its store counters to protest DreamWorks’ refusal to meet proposed revenue-sharing terms. But resourceful customers are already flocking to other chain stores to get the film. Variety 05/18/00 
  • BUT WILL THEY EVER SELL AT AUCTION? Sega’s soon-to-be-released video game “Shenmue,” has been in production for 6 years and cost millions to design. But will it turn any heads in the art world? “There is no real concept of the video game artist, and hence no one to wax pretentious about their work. Games will at some point become more a point for artists to gather about and discuss in the way that they now make work relating to film and cinema.” London Times 05/19/00
  • REEL REVOLUTION: " 'Quantum Project' is the vanguard of the new internet movie business, and its makers believe it will change the Hollywood system for ever. The company bankrolling the project,, is keen to position itself at the centre of this new market of downloadable film. 'I don't want to overstate this, but there is no other way to say it: it's absolute history. This is an historic endeavour.' " New Statesman 05/15/00

Thursday May 18

  • GETTING A FOOT IN THE DOOR: A burgeoning number of web sites that showcase short movies - like,, and Spielberg’s - are helping unknown first-time filmmakers reach Hollywood. Forty-eight hours after two novice filmmakers aired their nine-minute film “Sunday’s Game” on the web, Hollywood execs and producers started calling. “I don’t think our ideas are any better than they were six months ago, but now people are listening.” The Age (Melbourne) 05/18/00
  • PHANTOM CROWDS: No need for a cast of thousands for today's blockbusters. Just push a button and the computer fills in the crowds. But is something artistic being lost? "Is this wizardry being used promiscuously, or is it just a new color on the special-effects palette that audiences will learn to accept, much as they accept the painted backgrounds of Rome in movies such as Ben-Hur?" Philadelphia Inquirer 05/18/00

Wednesday May 17

  • WHY MOVIES COST SO MUCH: A William Morris agent says big Hollywood stars are now demanding $30 million to be in big blockbuster movies - $25 million in salary and $5 million for perks. "Until recently, for instance, Travolta would only agree to do blockbusters if a private Lear Jet was put at his disposal, fuelled and ready for take-off 24 hours a day. Even Kim Basinger - who is not the draw she once was - demands $100,000 for her personal hairdresser. Most have entourages which also have to be paid for. The Guardian 05/17/00
  • ATTENTION DEFICIT: Video art has been gaining enormous popularity in recent years, with more museums devoting entire galleries to film and video installations. But what does it demand of its viewers? “It is a difficult medium for those of us who have trouble sitting still for more than 30 seconds. Because it is time-based, in most cases you can't simply stop for a moment in front of an example, see if it grabs your attention, and then move on. Had the artist intended you to have an instantaneous visual fix, he'd have used some other medium.” The Telegraph 05/17/00
  • GOING GLOBAL: Film schools in the UK, US, and Australia have joined forces to launch The Global Film School, an online film school which will open later this year. Courses in directing, producing, screenwriting, editing, design and cinematography will all rely on digital technology to provide internet-based lessons. BBC 05/16/00
  • THE WAY IT OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN: The new box-office hit "U-571" takes some liberties with World War II history and the Brits are none to happy about it. 'Hollywood is stealing our history - again!' complained BBC anchor Jeremy Vine. 'Why don't they make a film about brave American fliers winning the Battle of Britain?' " Washington Post 05/17/00
  • FIGHTING US MOVIES: South Korean filmmakers call for an international coalition to break the domination of Hollywood internationally. They "urged governments to resist what they say is the United States' attempts to use free trade treaties to expand the reach of American movies," echoing sentiments expressed last week in Cannes by French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. CBC 05/17/00
  • BORN TO WATCH: Live TV and internet access on airplanes? It's coming. Minneapolis Star-Tribune 05/17/00

Tuesday May 16

  • THE GRAND BAZAAR: When most people think of Cannes, they think art and movies. "When the world's more than 2,000 film buyers come to Cannes, by contrast, they think purely about commerce. And while many of them believe the work of auteur directors will sell tickets back home, many others have simpler needs better met by titles like 'Spiders 2' or 'Turbulence 3' (a hijacking saga on sale here with the tagline: 'One killer. Forty hostages. Ten million Internet viewers.')." Los Angeles Times 05/16/00
  • SCORE ONE FOR THE OUTSIDER: Director Mike Figgis has spent his career bucking the Hollywood studio system. Now he's created a fresh kind of cinematic structure with his newest film. "For Figgis, who received remarkable acclaim for Leaving Las Vegas, Time Code is a culmination of a lifetime of varied pursuits: He has finally succeeded in combining his background as theater director, documentary and narrative filmmaker, composer, and musician into one beautifully complex piece of cinematic deviation." Feed 05/15/00

Monday May 15

  • CROCODILE APOLOGIES: Time Warner send a letter to the US Congress expressing its regret about the way a recent dispute with Disney/ABC was handled. TW blacked out ABC from its cable systems a few weeks ago. But now the company is undergoing government scrutiny over its merger with AOL, so apparently it's time to make nice. BBC 05/15/00 
  • KEEPING THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE VIABLE: How will movie houses survive? "First TV, then the VCR had struck major blows to the viability of large cinemas, and by the early '90s it was clear that if cinemas were to be viable they were going to have to change." But there's a sameness to the big mega-screen complexes today that makes one long for the individuality of yesteryear. The Age 05/14/00
  • WAITING FOR BECKETT: A project to film all 19 of Samuel Beckett's plays for TV and the cinema faces the predictable backlash from Beckett purists. Nonetheless, the project - which has enlisted directors such as Anthony Minghella, David Mamet, Neil Jordan, Atom Egoyan, Patricia Rozema, Richard Eyre and Karel Reisz - has some big promise. Irish Times 05/15/00
  • SEARCHING FOR A BREAKOUT HIT: What's hot at Cannes this year? Comedies have captured some attention. But "no breakout hits have emerged yet at this halfway mark in the festival, with audience members scratching their heads at the solid, though hardly sterling selection of competition films." Indiewire 05/15/00

Sunday May 14

  • WHAT'S THE ENDING? The latest digital movie producers have a new way of involving their audience - as collaborators. "So far, only the first five minutes of Running Time – an "edgy, contemporary thriller" – have been shot. What happens next in the 10-week series is up to the viewer. After the first broadcast on Wednesday, they will have 48 hours to make their decisions known." The Independent 05/14/00
  • INVENTING A PHENOMENON: It's "Sound of Music" meets "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and it's the hottest new thing in high camp at the movies in London. Audiences are massing to sing along with the Von Trapps and dress up for the parts. Meet the man who invented a phenomenon. Los Angeles Times 05/14/00
  • HANDS OFF: How about a National Film Registry for films that shouldn't be remade? Some movies should just never be touched after the original, but they need protection from producers looking to make a buck off their names. Herewith, some nominations for such a list. Boston Globe 05/14/00
  • COME DANCE WITH ME: Ballet almost never makes it to the big screen these days. So the dance known as "Baby Baryshnikov" is happy for the new dance-centric  "Center Stage." Boston Herald 05/14/00

Friday May 12

  • RAIN ON THE CANNES PARADE: This year’s Cannes Film Festival pales in comparison to past year’s ultra-glamourfest, according to the festival’s disappointed organizers. Fewer big stars have shown up (those who did come have spent much of their time under umbrellas), American studios have withheld many of their best films, and the mayor has declared all beach parties must end by 12:30am. On top of all this, it's also been said that winning the coveted Palme d’Or does little to boost a film’s earnings anymore. Sydney Morning Herald 05/12/00
  • RAISON D'ETAT! At the Cannes opening ceremony, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin urged European film companies to fight Hollywood domination by creating European-centered film groups. He promised the French government would do more to promote foreign cinema. “Besides the cultural dimension, cinematographic diversity is also important for democracy. It is not just an image that cinema projects onto the big screen. It is a vision, a vision of society." Times of India 05/12/00 (Reuters)
  • DOT CANNES: -  a new website for independent filmmakers and distributors - was launched yesterday. The site offers a film-based search engine and message boards for filmmakers and investors, “a meeting place for 5,000 professionals from 70 countries.” The Age (Melbourne) 05/12/00
  • PLOT? YOU WANT PLOT TOO? There's been much buzz about Mike Figgis' digital movie. How's it look? "Shot simultaneously by Figgis and three other cinematographers, the unedited film takes place in real time at various locales on Sunset Boulevard. The plot, mostly improvised by the film's cast, is sure to reassure Hollywood's insecure screenwriters that they'll always have work. But then "Time Code" isn't really about anything except digital filmmaking." Washington Post 05/12/00
    • TIME TO BURN: Figgis talks about the difficulty of making a movie like "Time Code." Salon 05/12/00 
  • ELECTRO-DANCE: There's something about movies that makes dance pop out at you. No, you can't do some of the moves you do on a stage and make them translate. But the movie-dance tradition is electrifying. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 05/12/00

Thursday May 11

  • NO CANNES DO: Over-elaborate plans for the opening of the Cannes Film Festival mar the event for those actually trying to see the movies. Dallas Morning News 05/11/00
  • WHAT BECOMES A CULT (CLASSIC)? It's all too easy to proclaim a movie an instant "classic." But real cult status doesn't become just any "Rocky Horror" wannabe. It takes seasoning and... Daily Mail and Guardian (South Africa) 05/11/00
  • HOLY ****: The chairperson of India's film censor board is under fire for some recent cuts of "American Beauty." "I was adamant about all the expletives being deleted. I won't allow filthy language in any film." The Times of India 05/11/00
  • GOOD FAITH GESTURE: After losing its copyright case over music downloading last month, says it will remove major-label music from its site. The company is said to be negotiating with recording companies over a million-dollar settlement. Boston Globe 05/11/00
  • RADIO FROM YOUR WORKSTATION: About 100 new radio stations go online each month, streaming their programs directly onto the internet and into people's computers. There are about 3,500 stations now online, but everyone in the radio industry is watching the phenomenon anxiously, trying to sort out what it means for traditional broadcasting. Toronto Globe and Mail 05/11/00

Wednesday May 10

  • GOING FOR THE GOLD: Cannes 2000 Film Festival gets underway Wednesday. Twenty-three films (from Europe, Asia, the U.S., and the Middle East) will be competing for the Palme d’Or. BBC 05/09/00

  • DEATH KNELL FOR CELLULOID FILM? George Lucas says he'll shoot most of the next installment of the "Star Wars" franchise with digital equipment, foregoing celluloid.  "Lucas's move this month reverberated like the first loud shot in a digital revolution that a growing number of people, both in and outside of Hollywood, believe is now unstoppable. Some insurrectionists are even convinced the cheaper digital cameras will unshackle them from some studio control. Before it's all over, it could even bring the studio walls tumbling down." Boston Globe 05/10/00

Tuesday May 9

  • MORE R&D THAN FEEDING FRENZY: With no single title or star generating advance buzz, acquisition execs at Cannes seem to have little to get excited about so far. “The 2000 Cannes Film Market looks a lot like this year’s Sundance: There’s little in the way of white-hot films, but plenty of unknown quantities…it’s more about finding the next generation of filmmakers.” Variety 05/08/00
  • FILM PORTAL: launched last week as the first online film portal to showcase every short and feature-length film available for viewing over the internet. Variety 05/08/00
  • THE POLITICS OF TV REAL ESTATE: Last week's Time Warner/ABC debacle point up the complex considerations of who gets to decide what channels get to live where in your TV box. Los Angeles Times 05/09/00

Monday May 8

  • CONTROLLING THE FUTURE: Last week's contretemps over ABC's access to cable systems figures to be only the beginning. "Many people argue that the trend of modern technology is away from closed systems to more open models." But those who control cable access know they control the key to the wired future and they want to hang on to it for as long as possible. Dallas Morning News 05/08/00 
  • ALL BUSINESS AND LITTLE SHOW: Last week's ABC/Time-Warner dust-up is the face of naked greed. "This is what the entertainment world has become, yet another mine from which global corporations can squeeze huge profits. And huge is the key, which we'll get to in a moment." Sacramento Bee 05/08/00
  • THE VIEWER AS DIRECTOR: A new type of streaming movie will debut at Cannes next week. The technology allows viewers to pan the camera angles of scenes to see the perspective they want. "The 360-degree concept explodes everything you've ever learned about movie-making and calls for new rules, new grammar, and most excitingly, a new kind of storytelling." Wired 05/08/00

Sunday May 7

  • LOSS OF INDEPENDENCE: Independent producers are under pressure to let TV networks own more of their productions. But what will that mean for what is produced? "It's not about the money. We all get paid well. It's about the fact that a show you own is your viewpoint, your vision. All that is dissipated when you're a hired hand. You can have the most brilliant people in the world running networks, but it's almost a scientific impossibility for bureaucracies to be inventive and edgy. They cannot. It's their nature." New York Times 05/07/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • SIX DEGREES OF SPIELBERG: Stephen Spielberg has decided on his next project. That one act reverberates around the movie world. "It's a kind of Six Degrees of Spielberg effect: He makes a single move, which sets off a flurry of activity at four studios across town, which sets off more flurries throughout the industry - ripples from a single stone cast in the movie pond by, as producer Mark Johnson calls him, 'an 800-pound gorilla.' Chicago Sun-Times 05/07/00

Saturday May 6

  • ON DOING THE CANNES CAN: So it's your first time in Cannes for the "The Festival." You're understandably nervous and want some guidance. Herewith some assistance with the details... National Post (Canada) 05/06/00

Friday May 5

  • BUILDUP BEGINS: It's still a year away from being released. But the buzz is building. "In the war of the film trailer promos distributed as premieres over the internet, the promo for the upcoming (2001) release of the first episode in the epochal live action version of JRR Tolkien's immortal novel 'The Lord of the Rings' did almost double the traffic of the similar trailer release for 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.' " Daily Mail and Guardian (South Africa) 05/04/00
  • A MATTER OF INTELLIGENCE: Just why do so many movies seem to be so anti-intellectual?  "Apart from the extreme theory that many movies are made by, and designed for, the brain dead, there is considerable evidence that the American film industry has long had a problem conceptualizing intelligence and prefers, instead, to glorify stupidity." Ottawa Citizen (CP) 05/05/00

Thursday May 4

  • AIRWAVE CLUTTER: Radio ad rates are high right now, tempting stations to pack ever more commercials on the air. "Since the Federal Communications Commission deregulated the radio industry in 1996, stations have increased their commercial load by 25 to 33 percent. That means most FM stations play anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of diet pill pitches and fast food ads each hour. News-talk stations play even more, mixing up to 20 minutes of commercials with baseball scores and headlines." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 05/04/00

Wednesday May 3

  • TIME WARNER CALLS TRUCE with ABC and restores the network to its cable lineup while the two companies continue to negotiate a new deal. Boston Globe 05/03/00
  • BLACKOUT HANGOVER: ABC is likely to feel “a quick and nasty pinch this May sweeps” after yesterday’s debacle, when Time Warner pulled the plug on seven Disney-owned ABC stations around the country. “One rival network exec expects ABC to take an immediate 2% to 3% ratings hit nationally, that might mean the difference between first and second place.” Times of India (Reuters) 05/03/00
  • SWEET REVENGE: Mettallica collects 335,000 names of Napster users it says have stolen the band's music. CBC 05/03/00

Tuesday May 2

  • PULLING THE PLUG: A dispute over transmission fees between Time Warner and Disney led the cable giant today to pull the plug on seven Disney-owned ABC stations around the country. Instead of regular programming, about 3.5 million homes were treated to a full-screen message that “Disney has taken ABC away from you”…and during sweeps week, no less. CNN 05/01/00
    • FOOD FIGHT: No deal, no stations, as of midnight Sunday. Washington Post 05/02/00

    • CLASH OF THE TITANS: ''It's one behemoth clashing with another for positioning.'' Boston Globe 05/02/00

    • ONLY THE BEGINNING: Our viewing choices are shrinking because of media mergers. Orange County Register 05/02/00

    • MONOLITHIC MANEUVERS: How does the high-stakes tug-of-war between the multimedia monoliths bode for the future of broadband Web-based news and information? Will Time Warner’s pending merger with AOL “create an impenetrable barrier to non-AOL Time Warner companies interested in participating in looming interactive TV technology”? 05/01/00

    • BULLY TACTICS? “It’s unique in the history of cable," said ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover of the Time Warner dispute. "I can only liken this to the behavior of a schoolyard bully. They will beat up the kid in the schoolyard and they don't care if the teacher sees it. They don't care that the other kids don't like it, they just do it because they can." Salon 05/02/00

  • HARD SELL: Some 75,000 actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists walked off their jobs, rejecting advertisers' attempts to pay a flat fee instead of residual compensation every time commercials run. The actors dramatized their dispute in rallies Monday in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Chicago Tribune 05/02/00
  • SOUND SCIENCE: First there were silents, then talkies, and eventually 3D, Dolby, and digital. Now a Savannah, Georgia screenwriter is developing a new film-sound technique called “Second Sound” that allows people sitting in the same movie theater to hear different sounds and frequencies at the same time. Yahoo (Reuters) 05/01/00
  • FILM AID: The British government sets up a £22 million investment fund to help revive Britain's film industry. BBC 05/02/00

Monday May 1

  • EBAY NATION: Artists have discovered the charms of the E-Bay auction site. Not just for buying material or selling work, but for finding collaborators and using the site itself as an artform. Like any good conceptualist, these artists know that "the art primarily resides in the idea and the often unconventional medium or approach, rather than the execution of the art object." MediaChannel 05/01/00
  • TURF WAR: Public Radio International is suing Minnesota Public Radio over the latter's purchase of "Marketplace." MPR has been expanding its empire, and will control PRI's two top programs. PRI is concerned that Minnesota Public Radio will start competing with it as a program distributor. Current 05/01/00