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American Film Market 2018

(Oct-Nov 2018)

We are already mid-year and so many factors are shifting in the Film/TV Industry crowned by “Hollywood” that, on one hand they try to adapt to the rapid changing business and cultural factors augmented by the IT and the AI rapid advancing high-tech formats combined with audiences shifting viewing-ways considering the multi-variety selections, on the other.

Funny, but not so funny, seeing someone watching in a cinema theatre a feature film or even TV Series on mini monitors, creates shock waves by comparison with them being viewed on a cinema large screen. Old timer or not still, I and many others, cannot imagine the viewing experience impact being the same, for in a cinema with large screens one can feel encompassed, while with the smaller devices you look at them! I even heard a debate that content is now being created for the smart phone and even watches. Wow! Despite the crude reality that "money dictates” like any other business, we still cannot believe that the time may come that even the IMAX format could be reduced to perform on these electronic devices, never mind their sizes...

What? IMAX? Ha!

So, I tested the waters again at the various industry events, starting with the annual AFM in Santa Monica, and including the traditional CinemaCon in Las Vegas and even Comicon in San Diego, let alone major international Film Festivals populated by film-makers from all over the world. Many I asked for their sincere opinions, just shrugged as if saying, "That's the way it is". Many more, however, offered all kind of opinions quite concerned regarding the potential missing attention-span and thus, of consequent emotions when viewing stories on the small screen. Compared with the overwhelming ambiance of a cinema as part of a large audience breathing and reacting together, it just cannot be the same. Although, I must admit, seeing many of them checking their smart phones and now watches, even during the screening, it is really disturbing!

I am reminded, though, that one should not be surprised finding that similar anxieties are happening behind the screens amidst the ability to equate the potential total costs of a film and its anticipated revenues, especially in a society who venerates money first and then the content, despite the studios executives' contention that making films is their long-time dream, although, recuperating the production costs and expecting large profits, sometimes competes with the good sense of selecting a meaningful story to tell the world.

Meanwhile, “Hollywood" seems to be in the avant-garde of social scandals on one hand, while trying to swallow each other's competition, just in case to keep up with the new Netflix-type phenomena. For, somehow, unfriendly forces speculating the audiences' switching both content genres and comfort taste preferences when viewing a film or TV screening seems to also be influenced by the almost extraordinary publicity, advertising and promotions accompanying a new story's launching, as long as it is entertaining. The question is for whom first? Consequently, AFM's guidance and help to facilitate the millennial's attraction to filmmaking and audio-visual expression will encourage and insure not only the creative side, but also the correct way of going about this extraordinary creative venue, including its business.

In addition, AFM's influence and guidance abroad helped even with the likes of trying to copy-cat, like Bollywood (India), Nollywood (Nigeria) and recently in China by the restricted Wanda Group, also encounter the traditional, yet expanding major Studios now spreading internationally. This includes the AFM Finance Forum that also seems to impacted abroad from Hong Kong to Europe and even Middle East. This year's AFM "show" in Oct-November, post the major Toronto International Film Festival, will present even more of the usual challenges at hand, not only regarding the expectations of new daring titles, their content and potential revenue globally, but also because of the current political climate sipping in, willy-nilly. Nevertheless, "Co-Educational Entertainment" that I coined years ago, remains the rational basis that both - the seasoned and the young Film and/or TV mesmerized generations - hold to their integrity and that of the complex art venues countered when, filming long or short form live, animation, or even commercials! Definitely the new film light weight cameras' devices for a fraction of the traditional studio-like ones, enable many try and test themselves in front or behind them. Properly guided, already local and global audiences are impacted also by the Social Media from where super-talented individuals are already surfacing and joining the professional world of Film.

Dela corespondentul nostru Ray Arco din Hollywood    8/20/2018


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