By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn November 26, 2008 at 7:02AM
I was very happy to have attended the Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT. This two day event tackled nearly every major issue of convergence culture facing the entertainment industry today, and it did so through the opinions of some extraordinarily wise people from the industry and academia alike. I found that bringing these two perspectives into the same room generated a refreshingly coherent dialogue. You can read about it in my indieWIRE dispatch, and also check out the FoE site, where MIT students live-blogged all the panels. Thanks to Daniel Pereira, Ana Domb Krauskopf, Professor Henry Jenkins, and everyone else who helped make the trip to Cambridge worthwhile.
On an unrelated note, Cinetic's Matt Dentler recently wrote to let me know that, in addition to One Day Like Rain (which, after recently blogging about Cinetic's strong promotional tactic for the film, I have rented on Amazon VOD), the company has made several other titles available on Amazon. One of them is The Cult of Sincerity, an ultra-sentimental story about some Brooklyn hipsters trying to do good deeds.
Actually, I'm not trying to sound facetious: The sappiness of this film mostly works, and so has its unique distribution strategy: Cult of Sincerity made history earlier this year when it became the first feature-length film to officially premiere on YouTube (Four Eyed Monsters often gets credited for this, but that film officially premiered at Slamdance; Cult skipped the festival circuit). Now that's it's available for rent or purchase on Amazon, the movie has been pulled from YouTube, where the filmmakers were making a profit from an exclusive deal with Amie Street. (And how did that arrangement work out? Anybody know?)
I originally spoke with directors Adam Browne and Brendan Choisnet, as well as screenwriter/producer Daniel Nayeri, a few days before the premiere. You can read that interview, from Stream, here.
My favorite part of the discussion is Brendan's response when I ask him if the indie film scene allows room for everyone:
We want to have a dialog with our audience, which is something a big studio movie probably can't do. Anybody can interact with us. That's hopefully the way movies are going. They're creating a shared experience.
It's this mentality that will allow filmmakers to keep expanding the possibilities of the medium — not only from a promotional perspective, but from a narrative one as well. To wit: Video games have become more potent objects of creative investigation than they ever were before. I'm especially intrigued by the news Terra Nova brings today about a rehab center for video game addicts in Amsterdam closing down because researchers there have concluding that gaming itself is not an addiction. Interesting. I'm still under the impression that gaming can BECOME an addiction if those who are susceptible to addictive behavior don't take certain precautions. But you could say the same thing about movies, and you don't see any rehab centers for those. Thankfully.
Speaking of which, happy holidays, y'all!