Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ire Deutchman on the condition of art-houses

Ire Deutchman on the condition of art-houses

For more information, visit: Art House Convergence Kicks Off: Here's Why Art Houses Need to Be Advocates

The primary notes of the speech that stuck out to me:
A) We're in a greedy business.  Everyone's incredibly independent.  At a certain point you want everyone besides you to lose.  It was more of a side-note and comparison of the times to indicate that now we're working together as proof of the existence of some shared enemy.  The machine isn't supporting itself.  Too many are struggling and we need to come together.

This isn't unheard of at stages as early as film school.  There are two philosophies that are staggeringly apparent.  When I became president of the Brooklyn College film society I spoke out about a unified push toward understanding what I now know to call direct distribution.  Before I just labeled it as a mission to turn filmmaking into a sustainable lifestyle.

When I did this, and I hadn't yet known this was on the mind of so many other people in the industry(we really didn't have a contemporary context in class with economic considerations) I received quite a bit of nay-saying: The ideas were too broad, the students won't listen, no one has the time, it's all about who-you-know, it's good that not everyone is equal, it's not the school's responsibility to promote career success - just education, but also film education is a joke - it's all about getting into unions, screw your classmates cause too few them know why they're here and less have half a chance in hell at making it and half of that small amount will live in slavery and fear of being exiled, and the few left will be comprised of one-hit-wonders and early-age stroke victims, and maybe there's one guy who'll do OK if one of us doesn't kill him first.

I had to look all that in the face and take a deep breath.  Thank God general possitivity in the professional world is a rule rather than the exception.  And thank God twice that there's a whole other argument that ignores and disproves the first.

Ira moved onto Art-houses specifically but I think a lot of what he said has loose translation for independent artists.  He explained the need for community-entities to become politically outspoken.  He explained the need for standards of operation as well as flexibility.  When he talked about the deals made between distributors and exhibitors, he might as well have been talking about emerging filmmakers and the need for constant negotiation.

I've been accused of exclaiming "kum-ba-yah" non-sense, but when Ira reminded us that despite cinema being this less than stable industry within the states, it's a cornerstone of our culture (implying its unique historical, global value as a major US export).  There's no reason why U.S. policy shouldn't be in greater support of the arts when it has the capacity to employ so many and such a wide array of professionals.

Later on when he explains why this is, and should be treated within, a global context, it reminds us what to do with all the supply we have considering the proliferation of digital content.  We have this capacity, even within a low income range, to share our content with the world.  It's a unique privilege for any class of citizen to have, and made possible by the era.  As cultural diffusion becomes more powerful, less so the dividing lines.  There's a real human benefit here that is being sponsored by the artistic democracy in effect with platforms such as Kickstarter and VHX.

Working together is something our generation owes itself and the planet.  Every industry comes across this truth and I'm always inspired to see speakers that have clout within ours in support of a better tomorrow.

Let's get what we came for,
C.M. Sanchez III