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Re: <nettime> An Infinite Seance
Tilman Baumgärtel on Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:06:48 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> An Infinite Seance

At 03:03 28.01.2007, you wrote:

>How authors managed to escape YouTube and curators got rid of
>interactive installations.
>Several days ago I was in the jury of Film Winter in Stuttgart, an
>Expanded Media festival, and it made me think a lot about moving
>In the times of Cine Fantom Club, which was based at the Museum of
>Cinema in Moscow, we often discussed the fate of short films and the
>situation in which they always found themselves, or, more exactly,
>into which they always seemed to be forced. Theatre director and
>founder of slow video movement, Boris Yukhananov used to say that the
>programs put together by festival curators were "ghettos", meaning the
>curators' lack of respect for authors and films alike, which showed in
>the way films were forced into each other's context, and all of them
>­ into the concept developed by the curator, just because he or she
>needed to compile a full-length program that would last at least 90
>minutes. The reasoning behind this was that no one would ever go to
>the theatre solely to see a one-minute, or even a twenty-minute film.

The lack of interest of short films might be a 
problem in Europe. In South East Asia, watching 
digital shorts is the "in" thing right now. Here 
in the Philippines, but even more so in Thailand, 
young people attend short film screenings and 
festivals in droves, many of these films are even 
distributed on DVD. Some of the people who made 
their debuts at the short film festivals have 
gone on to direct feature films, for example 
Apichatphong Weerasethakul. A book on Thai pop 
culture that I recently picked up in Bangkok, 
even claims that the short films are part of a 
whole "Indy" lifestyle: "Indy" people watch 
digital shorts, buy their clothes on second hand 
market, and produce their own zines. 
Interestingly, the rise of independent film in 
Southeast Asia goes hand in hand with a 
inundation of fanzines, hand-made books etc.

Apart from that, I don´t understand what is wrong 
with YouTube as a medium for the distribution of 
short films (apart from the legal restrictions 
they harass their users with and the unclear 
situation regarding copyright).  Wasn´t the good 
thing about the Internet, that everybody can put 
their stuff there? It certainly helped film 
makers such as Martyn See, whose documentary 
"Singapore Rebel" was banned in Singapore, but 
found an audience on YouTube. So, obviously 
YouTube is not every film makers greatest fear.

If a film goes unnoticed there, maybe it was 
probably not very good in the first place. If I 
had the choice of reaching a handful of people at 
a video festival in a curated selection, or 
potentially reaching billions of people on an 
Internet video site on the Internet, I would know where to put my stuff.

(Ok, ok, that is populist rhetoric, but since 
when are these festivals the only place where you 
can show your work in dignity?)


Dr. Tilman Baumgärtel
Film Institute
College of Mass Communication, Plaridel Hall
University of the Philippines, Diliman
Quezon City 1101, Philippines
office hours: Mo, 12:00 nn - 2:00 pm
email: mail {AT} tilmanbaumgaertel.net

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