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November 10, 2004

Micro-Movie Distribution

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

In a commentsfest a while back, J.C. raised a good point: even though digicams and tabletop movie-editing are making certain kinds of moviemaking financially do-able for amateurs, what difference does this make if the resulting films can't be seen? Distribution, as ever, is key.

It seems that the distribution and enjoyment of at least small, short films over the Internet is becoming more and more viable. (And, perhaps, less and less exclusively the domain of rabid IFC-style filmfans and pornfans.) For evidence, take a look at what Amazon is offering this Xmas season: a series of five short movies which can be watched on the store's homepage or from this page here.

Only one of the films is up at this point. Although it stars Minnie Driver, and I'm a fan, I found it uninteresting except as an example of what the Internet can currently deliver. The sound quality? It's fine. The image quality? It blows. The only real surprise the film delivers comes in the final credits. Click on some of the credits and you'll be taken to other Amazon pages. A new -- and upside-down/inside-out -- way of doing product placement? Freaky.

Amazon: the new Paramount?



UPDATE: I just noticed that Ifilm has made the murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's film "Submission" available for viewing here. Here's a prose account of Van Gogh's funeral. Newsday reports that Van Gogh's murder has set off a wave of violence in Holland.

posted by Michael at November 10, 2004


"A wave of violence" is a huge exaggeration, considering it's probably just a couple of loons on the loose. What use is it in a "battle" against Muslim fundamentalism to burn down an elementary school?

Most mosques in the Netherlands and maybe even most Qu'ran schools have been vandalized before. There was hardly ever any media attention for it, and that's telling me more.

No, a wave of panic in the media should be better description. No journalist or programm maker seems to grasp they shouldn't add to the confusion. Still, they do nothing else. I simply hate the current media attention for people that are unable to express anything, because they never learned how to think, and whose opinions seem to matter more then those who really did ponder about things for a couple of years.

The murder of Theo van Gogh was an incomprehensible deed. But spreading hate and confusion because of this incomprehensible deed isn't helping.

Posted by: ijsbrand on November 11, 2004 10:19 AM

"A wave of panic in the media" -- that's beautifully put. And puts everything in perspective too. Thanks for the bulletin.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 11, 2004 11:05 AM

If it's not too much to ask, ijsbrand, could you please
- give us examples of people whose opnions you'd like to see in the media, as oppose to mutes who are incapable of expressing anything;

- what is so confusing about that murder that you call it incomprehensible?

- in your opinion, presumably one of those who "ponder about things for a couple (why only couple?-TE) years", was media coverage of Bali, 9/11, Madrid, etc a "wave of panic"?

Posted by: Tatyana on November 11, 2004 01:09 PM

[could you] give us examples of people whose opnions you'd like to see in the media
Tonight, our main current affairs programm interviewed the former West-German minister of internal Affairs, Gerhart Baum, who was responsible for special laws that were introduced to attack the Rote Armee Fraktion [RAF]. Thirty years later he regrets the damage he did the Constitutional State, with laws that had no effect in the battle against terror, but did harm everyone's individual freedom.

That's the first time since 11/2 that someone said something sensible in our media about what a now proposed Dutch Patriot Act-equivalent could mean.

I really don't want to hear any street interviews about Van Gogh, or the attacks against mosques anymore.

- what is so confusing about that murder that you call it incomprehensible?
That the deed was performed as a ritual slaughter. That the alledged murderer used to be a completely assimilated Dutchman, who suddenly remembered the Moroccan roots of his forebears and went fundamentalistic.

This, and that the murderer showed in the letter he pinned to Van Gogh's body he meant to get MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But she has bodyguards. Van Gogh was not an innocent bystander, but not the main target either.

was media coverage of Bali, 9/11, Madrid, etc a "wave of panic"?
Is a bomb explosion - are several bomb explosions, or exploding planes - in a seemingly randomly chosen spot, randomly killing lots of people, something different than a single murder attack against a hand picked target? I should think so.

But, I would say that a problem with 9/11 as well was, there were such powerful images to show, and not many facts to give, that those images were repeated too often. That's maybe a different problem, and another discussion, about how a 24 hour news programm can be filled when there isn't news, though.

The Dutch media seem to think they have to cover everything extensively; even when there's not much news to give. But there are always opinions galore, doesn't matter who expresses them.

I don't remember Bali getting much attention here, apart from the fact that the single Dutchman on the spot came out alive.

I don't remember much media attention for the terrorist attack on that market in Casablanca, Morocco either, that was linked to Al Qaida, and cost >45 lives.

Posted by: ijsbrand on November 11, 2004 07:43 PM

I am sorry, Michael, to steer your mini-movie post further in political direction, but it is so interesting to see ijsbrand's reaction.

So, ijsbrand, I can understand you being fed up with street interviews and 24 hr media coverage of the event that doesn't fit in your, supposedly neat (supposedly, as far as I can conclude from your comments - I may be totally wrong here) - supposedly neat theory. It's disturbing, when facts do not behave like the our conceptual constructs.
The logical thing will be to ajust the faulty theory: not all assimilated muslims assimilate to the point of being Dutchman; people frustration with their life not necessarily take legal democratic form of protest; like heated metal, it flows by path of least resistance - in this case, into ready-made mold of Islamic fundamentalism; in other cases - RAF or M.Manson, etc. Why there are so many converted muslims in US jails? These people don't have Moroccan ancestry, but still find Islamic fundamentalism attractive.

Interesting to learn, what is the proposed solution to managing terror groups the official you quoted had? Or may be you have your own ideas? I, for one, would live to hear it.

I don't see anything incomprehensible in the note on Van Gogh body: it doesn't mean he was not a main target, it just means he was one of the targets, most accessible at the moment. I am sure there are lists of others waiting to be hit in due time.

Bomb explosions in NY, Bali and Madrid, as well as USS Cole, etc were NOT random events - it didn't just happenned like some natural disaster -earthquake, etc. Don't you think planning a terror act like 9/11 involved a bit more preparation than a street murder of one "hand-picked" public figure? In fact, about 3 years more. What is going on in Netherlands is a link in chain - the difference is in scale, not in substance.
I can say lots more but not wanting to bore you all to death - for those still interested in a subject (and we are made to be interested, like it or not) - let me refer you to this rather straightforward post over @ Sasha Castel.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 12, 2004 10:05 AM

For starters, ijsbrand wrote "seemingly randomly chosen spot." If we are made to be interested, then we should read carefully. If on the other hand, we are just noodling along on Blowhard topics...

now that the distribution problem is solved, let's discuss the worth of work - a large part of which is usually its popularity or place in the world. mourning the death of whatsname from Throbbing Gristle because that music was percieved as a special secret club - just as zillions of girls buy Mandy Moore albums because the enjoy knowing that zillions of girls love to hear Mandy Moore sing about her unique real-life personal problems in a way that shows she really understands and relates to the unique real-life personal problems of zillions of girls.

How often have you heard a fan-boy bring up the obscurity of what you are about to hear? Even when he's about to treat you by playing something sold in Wal-Mart like Little Joe y La Familia.

My guess: Amazon is offering these films to lure people to the site.

Posted by: j.c. on November 17, 2004 12:06 AM

J.c., glad to see you've recovered enough for side kicks [original meaning].
Hot black coffee, no milk/no sugar usually helps to see logic in what other people are saying (of course, if you restrain from patronising attitude as your premise)

Next "seemingly random" chosen target could be you. You personally. However uninterested in this whole distastefull business you might be.

Besides, what's wrong with noodling along? I always believed it get you more productive results in conversation than sticking to the approved agenda. (are you a connected to academic world and/or live in Europe, btw? Not that's anything wrong with that, of course...)

Posted by: Tatyana on November 17, 2004 10:58 AM

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