The Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation says the public broadcaster’s English service earlier this month began destroying acetate transcriptions, as well as audio and video recordings that span eight decades, after converting the master copies into a digital format. The foundation asked the CBC earlier this year for time to find a suitable space to archive and preserve the material, but says it was turned down.
In partnership with the non-profit Social Science Research Council, Facebook’s social-science program will put out a call for university scientists to apply for grants to study the effects of social media on democracies and elections, potentially using proprietary Facebook data. The money will come from various foundations known to give to Democrats, Republicans, and journalists.
Although no cinema deal has materialized, the idea of Netflix buying a theater chain would mark a new phase in the company’s rapid ascent to become one of the most powerful players in the entertainment industry.
“The reaction to Matilda represents, in microcosm, many of the contradictions of contemporary Russian culture. It should have been a flagship Russian movie, … [and] originally had Oscar ambitions. Instead, the film’s reception was derailed by religious purists. Part of Vladimir Putin’s narrative is that he, too, is part of Russia’s imperial legacy. Some think that he believes he has been divinely ordained to play his role. In some ways, this has been an embarrassment for the government: they part-funded the film. But they couldn’t defend it, as the protesters were articulating one of the key tenets of Putin’s presidency: Russia needs to return to the greatness of the tsars and to its Orthodox church roots.”
“Five years ago, Haifaa al-Mansour made history with her moving and critically-acclaimed drama Wadjda, making her not just the first female Saudi filmmaker, but the first director to have shot a feature film in the kingdom. At the time, the idea of Wadjda being released on home soil was ludicrous: its cinema and theaters had long since been closed following the country’s adoption of strict ultra-conservative Islam in the early ’80s. On April 18, 2018, however, a new cinematic dawn broke over the kingdom with the opening of Saudi Arabia’s first cinema since the movie theater ban was lifted in December … [Al-Mansour] wrote to The Hollywood Reporter with her thoughts on the cinema opening, the “seismic shift” now sweeping over her home nation and why nothing will be the same again.
“If someone hands you a million dollars, they expect you to turn out an amazing product. It’s a huge thing to carry on your shoulders.”
Matt Zoller Seitz: “Shonda Rhimes’s Scandal, which ends its seven-season run Thursday night, is a rare revolutionary TV drama that never became full of itself. It dealt in controversy on the regular, tackling everything from racial politics and sexual power dynamics in a workplace to PTSD, executive privilege, and the efficacy of torture, even letting its heroine have a rare TV abortion that was entirely elective and presented as no huge deal. … Scandal was also a little miracle of genre fusion, somehow managing to be several seemingly incompatible shows at the same time.”
Since MoviePass slashed its monthly subscription costs last August from $50 to $9.95, its user base has exploded from roughly 20,000 to more than 2 million. In the process, it’s become the fastest-growing paid-entertainment subscription service in history, signing people at a greater clip than Netflix or Spotify. All that disruption in the movie theater business has created enemies and fueled skeptics, but whether MoviePass survives or dies, it has undeniably shaken up an industry that hasn’t changed much since the silent era.
Emily Nussbaum: “It would feel good to critique the new version [of the show] with a tolerant smile – to say simply that you shouldn’t judge any sitcom too harshly, early on. … I can’t write that review, though, and it’s because of zingers like the one above, dog whistles that won’t let you stay inside Roseanne.”
“Von Trier was made persona non grata by Cannes after jokingly declaring himself a Nazi and expressing sympathy for Adolf Hitler during a 2011 press conference for his Palme d’Or-nominated film Melancholia. … However, speaking to French radio station Europe 1, festival director Thierry Frémaux suggested that negotiations to lift Von Trier’s outcast status were ongoing and that an announcement regarding his latest film, The House That Jack Built, would be made in the coming days.”
France’s protectionist laws, which require a 36-month window between a film’s theatrical opening and its streaming debut, seem like the last gasp of a rapidly dying era. And the manner in which Frémaux handed down the Cannes ban, at the same time as the festival announced it was putting the kibosh on red-carpet selfies, was high-handed and doctrinaire. (In other words, it was French.) It’s increasingly evident that Netflix doesn’t just want to “disrupt” the business of showing movies in theaters. They want to destroy it. But it’s also increasingly evident that Netflix doesn’t just want to “disrupt” the business of showing movies in theaters. They want to destroy it. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told reporters last year the company wanted to “unleash film,” but he also spoke of the current state of exhibition with glib contempt.
By putting its movies online immediately, the streaming service represents an existential threat to the French theater industry’s business; the Cannes rule change is just the latter’s mode of resistance (as the festival director, Fremaux is under tremendous pressure from French exhibitors). In announcing his decision to pull the company from Cannes, which is widely viewed as the world’s most prestigious film festival, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, framed it to Variety as a battle between cinema’s past and future.
The company is competing against a range of traditional entertainment companies around the globe, and of course, against the need to work, sleep and do other things. Speaking at TED in Vancouver, CEO Reed Hastings noted that $8 billion is about what Disney spends. “That’s spread globally,” he said. “It’s not as much as it sounds.”
Though many podcast networks are on the move right now, one has been dominant since its founding, taking advantage of “a quirk of the iTunes chart, which appears to reward an influx of new listeners rather than the overall size of an audience. As Mr. Quah put it, ‘it’s a hotness meter, not a bigness meter.'”
For a National Geographic documentary, astronaut and engineer Paolo Nespoli turned into a cameraman – with a famous trainer. But that didn’t help much when space intervened: “The sensor seemed to be badly damaged, and this is normal when cameras go into space. … We are outside the atmosphere, yet all of us, including the cameras, get an abnormal dose of space radiation.” Oh.
It’s an ironic question, or rather it could be an ironic result, considering that Disney essentially built the modern cinemagoing experience. “To save the kingdom, however, Disney may have to blow up the castle.”
What even is “elevated horror,” for that matter?
Oh, Thierry Frémaux, did you really say this? You did. “Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux remarked at a news conference Thursday morning that the world ‘will never be the same again’ after sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein boosted the #MeToo movement, IndieWire reported. But he added that the industry’s related gender inequality issues and the lack of female filmmakers represented at Cannes had nothing to do with each other.” Sure, buddy. Sure.
Univision has billions in debt left from its leveraged buyout a decade ago, and is struggling with the same headwinds facing all linear operators. The company also made an aggressive play for millennials by acquiring the former Gawker Media sites, which are now known as the Gizmodo Media Group, a subsidiary of Fusion.
Once upon a time — specifically, from the dawn of the “talkie” in the 1920s until just a few years ago — Hollywood’s calculus regarding how sequels got made was simple. A movie came out, did big business, won over fans, and the captains of industry in the studio C-suite called out for another one: the same again, only different. These days, however, the forces dictating which films get sequelized and which don’t has become a much weirder science.
“It’s ironic, then, that Wayne LaPierre and the NRA’s other spokespeople blame Hollywood’s glorification of violence whenever there is a mass shooting. What they ignore is that nearly every American film involving weaponry might as well be an NRA infomercial. On the big screen, guns rarely kill innocent bystanders, they don’t go off by accident, and they aren’t used to slaughter children in classrooms. Pick any action movie at random, and I’d wager it could be advertised using LaPierre’s catchphrase: ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.'”
“Thirteen black film companies were operating by the end of World War I, although most of them released only one film. … Black producers and directors founded their own film companies out of a desire to counter racist images and enable blacks to see themselves on the screen as they really were.”
Cannes earlier banned any films without theatrical distribution in France from its Palme d’Or competition. That essentially rules out Netflix movies, which are released either day-and-date — on Netflix and in some theatres — or simply go straight to Netflix. In France, it’s a law that films can’t be released on home entertainment platforms until 36 months after their theatrical release.
“The virtually nonexistent relations between the United States and Iran extend to their copyright relations. While many countries have agreed to international standards such as the Berne Convention, which affords foreign artists the same copyright protections countries offer to their own artists, Iran has not. And this is how the Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui – one of the premier auteurs of Iran’s New Wave cinema – seized the opportunity that no Western filmmaker could. In 1995, Mehrjui released his film Pari, a composite of Franny and Zooey and ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish,’ from Salinger’s Nine Stories.”
“I no longer believe that the Internet can be saved: it’s too late. The arguments that it can be saved by a bill of rights-style Magna Carta or through more specific regulation are too little too late. That is because calls to save the Internet are based on the false assumption that it is a neutral system. The Internet’s central design features – protocols, domains, networks, servers, data, codes – and its governance structures are deeply political and embedded within political and economic structures.”
Today, recommendation engines are perhaps the biggest threat to societal cohesion on the internet—and, as a result, one of the biggest threats to societal cohesion in the offline world, too. The recommendation engines we engage with are broken in ways that have grave consequences: amplified conspiracy theories, gamified news, nonsense infiltrating mainstream discourse, misinformed voters. Recommendation engines have become The Great Polarizer.
In Sign Gene, the first feature by deaf filmmaker Emilio Insolera, “the plot centers on an international band of deaf people, who, thanks to a genetic mutation, can channel superpowers through their use of sign language. The independent film is a fast-paced, genre-bending romp, shot on three continents with a cast made up entirely of deaf actors and CODAs (meaning children of deaf adults).”
Manipulated video will ultimately destroy faith in our strongest remaining tether to the idea of common reality. As Ian Goodfellow, a scientist at Google, told MIT Technology Review, “It’s been a little bit of a fluke, historically, that we’re able to rely on videos as evidence that something really happened.”
Hmmm. “She effectively exerts her own gravitational force field, magnetized by strategically deployed invitations, introductions, magazine features and messages of support. If that disappears, particles previously held together by her atomic network will disperse and collide before renegotiating themselves into some sort of new order, which is one way of saying it would affect not just glossy magazines, but also the broader fashion establishment and the Hollywood-sports-fashion industrial complex.”
How did director Kay Cannon get the job of helming the new sex comedy Blockers – and making it “a harder R” than it had been in its original script? She went to a meeting. “Point Grey and Good Universe had a writer’s roundtable for Neighbors 2. They had invited a bunch of lady writers to give their lady perspective. When I come to that kind of a thing, I come prepared. I had my computer out and I was basically running my mouth and giving any ideas I had. From that, they thought I had the potential to do a nice job directing.”