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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Head of UK Digital Screen Network: 'Smaller screens are of little consequence'

   
Author Topic: Head of UK Digital Screen Network: 'Smaller screens are of little consequence'
Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 7044
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 10-27-2005 01:36 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This was posted on another list I read:

quote:
BBC Radio 4 had a You and Yours item on the Film Council’s Digital Screen Network (DSN) back on Monday 17th. They keep items on the 'Listen Again' facility for two weeks, so I think that tomorrow, Friday (or maybe up til Sun?), is the last day you can listen again to this five-minute item here. They look at what the network was meant for, how it’s been set up, and which cinemas were left out.

Sight and Sound magazine is also covering the topic. In the November issue, the letter of the month is from Tony Carr of distributors MatCine, London, who makes the alarming claim ‘When I raised some of these issues with Peter Buckingham, head of the Film Council’s distribution and exhibition fund, he said the multiplexes are the future of cinema in this country, the smaller screens are of little consequence, and there is no place for distributors unable to persuade the major exhibitors to take their movies.’

[...]

The reason I’m mentioning this is because documentary falls into the category of ‘specialised film’ that the DSN is set up to promote, as the FC explains in its overview, to be found here:

'In return for the UK Film Council's financial contribution towards the equipment, network cinemas will devote a set percentage of playing time to specialised programming. [...] The UK Film Council will also contract with each cinema for a certain number of programming slots to be booked centrally by the UK Film Council. These additional slots are likely to consist of educational orientated content, archive material, short films etc.'

On the FC’s site you can see the full list of cinemas that successfully applied to the scheme, and, interestingly, a list of films that qualify as specialised. [...] But something that doesn’t appear to be on the Film Council’s site is details of exactly what each cinema receiving public money undertook to provide by way of specialised programming. Because if we, the cinephile and filmmaking public, don’t know what each cinema promised to offer, we can’t tell if they’re actually providing it, (unless the Film Council feels moved to report on this). And it would be great if this initiative that has the potential perhaps to increase distribution for our films, and certainly to give us access to other independent films, worked properly.

[Mad] [puke]

Brad or moderator: please feel free to edit or delete the following if you think it's too political.

I think it's fair to say that very few people on this forum thinks much of the DSN (I certainly haven't seen any posts here which defend its cultural justification). But even so, if - and, given that the S & S article referred to above hasn't been published yet, that's a big if - Buckingham's remarks have been reported correctly, it truly defies reason that someone who believes that small, independent cinemas/theatres have no role to play in our cultural life has been placed in charge of the little public subsidy which exists to support 'specialised' (to borrow FCUK's jargon) film distribution and exhibition. In Buckingham's brave new world, the government is going to buy shiny new 2k DLP projectors for the private owners of ring-road multiplexes, which their operators will most probably use to screen mainstream Hollywood features (as Peter Hall pointed out in another thread, probably on DVD).

Incidentally, it's interesting that PB's remarks are being published by Sight and Sound (a magazine which is published by the British Film Institute), just as FCUK and the BFI seem to be climbing into bed with each other in order to administer film-related public arts funding. I anticipate some mieowing and hissing when PB discovers that he's been outed by the BFI's own magazine!

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Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005


 - posted 10-27-2005 10:47 AM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From an interview with Howard Kiedaisch:

quote:
DCR: How, if at all, does the fact that the DCI has finalized digital cinema standards affect your business?

HK: Its very good news for all involved. This will help overcome some of the hesitation in the market to adapt as there has been concern about the lack of standards and fear that there was no globally accepted technology. With DCI agreed, we can get on with implementation.

If I'm to understand this correctly, they were waiting for the completion of the DCI-specs before implementing the DSN. DCI was established by the MPAA member studios to provide standardization for digital distribution and playback of their films. Why be concerned with DCI specs if you weren't planning to play Hollywood content?

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Daryl C. W. O'Shea
Film God

Posts: 3977
From: Midland Ontario Canada (where Panavision & IMAX lenses come from)
Registered: Jun 2002


 - posted 10-28-2005 04:53 PM      Profile for Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Author's Homepage   Email Daryl C. W. O'Shea   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why wouldn't you? Standards allow for economies of scale that make hardware affordable. Digital cinema is digital cinema, it doesn't matter who's crap you're playing.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1547
From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 10-28-2005 05:21 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Goold old PB, he's never been the same since the Canary Wharf thing...

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