Web 2.0

Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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‪Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as ClairesKneeFan and THXForAllTheFish1138 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two finally manage to answer last week’s question while reveling in the continuation of Sundance and the totally old revolutionary model of distribution that Kevin Smith wants the world to take note of. But instead of wasting more internet words on Smith, the question is far simpler and far too high concept to attempt without some Sandlot references: Is the movie distribution system really broken?

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Want to feel insignificant? Stop reading this review and take a second to contemplate 6.8 billion. It’s an extraordinarily vast, staggering sum, almost unfathomable. And yet, throughout the world, every day, 6.8 billion people laugh and cry, love and fight, experiencing the joys and heartbreaks that are fundamental to life, as their own stories are written. Last summer, YouTube put out a global call for user-generated submissions of home movies depicting life on July 24, 2010. Life in a Day, the resulting film (assembled by director Kevin MacDonald, with an assist from producer Ridley Scott), culled into an hour-and-a-half from 90,000 entrants, is an extended montage of select clips drawn from the submissions.

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sxsw09-onditimoner-weliveinpublic

Part one in our one part series with director Ondi Timenor examines the world of the internet, the proliferation of technology, and the way our lives are being changed as we continue to live more and more in public.

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