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9th Annual Big MiniDV Festival Sets Records

Festival goers had a lot to cheer for on November 12 and 13, 2010, as the 9th Annual Big MiniDV Festival
set attendance records at Long Island University-Brooklyn.

“We packed the house and the crowds loved it,” festival associate director Ken Cohen said. “These films
and the audiences that saw them were a great match.”


The film’s the thing is which we’ll catch, the conscience of the CEO (part 4)

The film’s the thing is which we’ll catch, the conscience of the CEO
Cannes is of course a perfect place for understanding how this supersaturation of the
consciousness of the market is affecting the films themselves, or the “product.” Let’s take for
example Argentine veteran director Pablo Trapero’s Carancho, featured in Un Certain Regard,
about an on-the-skids lawyer, Sosa (Ricardo Darin), an ambulance chaser who meets a young
inexperienced EMT doctor, Lujan (Martina Guzman), two people trapped amid Buenos Aires’
daily carnage who are trying to do their best. (Sosa’s lawsuits against the insurance companies
are explained as the victims’ only chance of redress in an inhuman system.) Trapero is a brilliant
director; Crane World his first film is about the dignity of a migrant construction worker was the
best Ken Loach film Ken Loach never made and El Bonaerense is a systematic laying bare of the
corruption and brutality at the heart of the Buenos Aires police force, one of the most violent in
the world. He is also a product of the New Argentine Cinema, whose force at least in part comes
from directors responding to the economic crisis of the early part of the decade and of one of the
world’s great film schools and of a thriving live theater, both of which breed filmmakers. Yet
here is Trapero remaking his film to have it play for the wider global audience in a way that is
dictated by the market rules established by Hollywood. What Argentina offers, boasts director
Daniel Burman in a Variety special on the Argentine Cinema, is the ability to mesh “market
appeal with auteurist sensibility,” to compete with Hollywood using “maximum script potential
and…good image quality and sound” (director Diego Rafecas whose latest film is a drug drama
Paco). The idea is for Argentina to enter the world of the global blockbuster, as producer
Mariano Llinas describes it ‘…every year there is a film that is original, something that must be
talked about and that once again changes the parameters of making of films” (May 15, A7).
Unfortunately Carancho, which adopts aspects of the blockbuster formula, is not that film. It uses
Argentina’s new global star, the lead in the Academy Award winner The Secret in Their Eyes’

The Film Festival as Site of Resistance: Pro or Cannes (Part 3) by Dennis Broe

Production, Distribution, Exhibition: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil Richard Porton’s excellent anthology on the film festival sees the always underlying purpose of the festival as product distribution and Cannes, rather than being no exception, is the most potent festival vehicle for fostering film diffusion. “Typically 10 days in Cannes denotes raising … Continue reading

Deanne Myrick’s Review for “For Colored Girls…..”

For Colored Girls, directed by Tyler Perry is absolutely a must see film for all women; it’s emotional, it’s dramatic, it’s all around good story telling. The screenplay (also written by Perry) is an adaptation of playwright Ntozake Shange’s award winning play “For Color Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf”.

The Film Festival as Site of Resistance: Pro or Cannes (Part 2) by Dennis Broe

To Be or Not To Be (Commodified), That is a Question, But a Better Question is,
‘Is there Any Way to Avoid It?’

The financing of the Cannes film festival itself illustrates the interpenetration of art and
money that so dominates the festival. The festival for 2010 had a 20 million euro budget of which
a little under half was state funding from the national (Centre National de la Cinematograph-3.1
million of the also 20 million budget in 2009), regional (180,000), state (Conseil General-
155,000) and city level (Ville de Cannes-5.3 million).4 The remaining half is from two sources:
the first is from, in the festival’s term, “parrainage,” the paternal godfather or sponsor, of which
the most omnipresent in this festival was the computer company Hewlett Packard which paid for
many of the technical installations while hawking its own personal computer, the Envy, “un bijou
de technologie,” and the second is the entrance fee paid by distributors to see the nearly more
than 5000 films, including documentaries and shorts, circulating in the Palais. Cannes is to be
commended for continuing to have such a high level of public financing but it must be borne in
mind that all three levels make their demands, that is that the economic base is constantly
prescribing the limits of the art house competition superstructure. Thus, the public funding must
produce its own return to justify the public outlay, with 2009’s festival supposedly generating
$250 million euros, and must be conscious of having that outlay being part of a national, regional
and city money making machine. Likewise, the rationalized branding of the corporate sponsor
HP must justify its parrainage to its shareholders and thus had festival employees in front of the
huge HP banner asking in a survey “What computer companies have you heard of?,” making sure
everyone got the message about purchasing its “jewel of technology”. Finally, the largely staid
genre fare of the films in the Palais basement and above not only finance the competitions, but
also, by prescribing the market that the competition films must enter as well, increasingly dictate
how far and in what way the art fare in the Palais will differ from the commercial films if they
are to survive outside of the fragile structure of the festival circuit.

Searching for Serial Success: Arrested Development’s Narrator as Postmodern Guiding Light (Part 2)

by Ken Cohen Utilizing postmodernist aesthetics, Arrested Development does not have any overriding agenda, which fits it well within a postmodern structure, as Robert Stam explains: “The most typical aesthetic expression of postmodernism is not parody but pastiche, a blank, neutral practice of mimicry, without any satiric agenda or sense of alternatives, nor for that … Continue reading

The Film Festival as Site of Resistance: Pro or Cannes (Part 1)

In recent years in the film critical imaginary the film festival has replaced film noir as overweening (and perhaps last) remaining “site of resistance” to the capitalist machine in the area of film production. The idea of the festival itself has sparked a vast literature and a new legitimate area of study within media studies. The individual studies themselves make a useful contribution to understanding the phenomenon but behind them lays the unspoken assumption that the festival is a last outpost where art may have at least a chance of triumphing over commerce in an area where the hunting down of all resistance to the commodity form is ruthless.

Searching for Serial Success: Arrested Development’s Narrator as Postmodern Guiding Light (Part 1)

Ken Cohen
Media Arts 501
Dr. Broe
May 5, 2009

During the mid-to-late 1980s, ABC tried to change the way serial television worked, “In the quest for so-called ‘quality demographics’ (i.e., spending power, not simply ratings)… involving targeting wealthier baby boomers who are especially attractive to advertisers.”1 Moonlighting, thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, Twin Peaks… These shows were serialized, and other than The Wonder Years, did not have non-diegetic narration. (The Wonder Years was narrated by an adult lead character looking back on his elementary school and junior high school time.) Additionally, these programs featured crossing narratives that spanned single episodes, multi-episode arcs, seasons, and in some cases, the entire run of the show, demonstrating the “self-reflexivity and pastiche of postmodernism. What set Twin Peaks apart, and made it even more postmodern, was its omnivorous appetite and its multivalent digestive system… The multiple generic worlds invoked in Twin Peaks exist as fragmented realities that may indeed collide, but never finally come together into a univalent totality.” 2 The programs listed used the postmodern storytelling techniques like self-reflexive narration and pastiche to draw “quality demographics” but Twin Peaks’ enormous initial success waned as the narrative became more fragmented and it was cancelled after its second season.

Call for LIU Media Arts Blog Entries

Have you got something earthshattering about media to say… and don’t want to put it on your own blog or your Facebook? People around the world want to read what you have to say – not just your professors! What are you waiting for???? Send it to the LIU Media Arts website and get your … Continue reading

Cannes Wrapup: Auteurs in Wonderland

 The Tim Burton led jury has rendered its verdict and it is as is to be expected from a big budget visual genius with little or no grounding in social reality. The consensus top prize, the Palme d’Or, went to the Thai film Uncle Boonmee (Who Can Recall His Past Lives) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Film … Continue reading