Re: 45th Ann Arbor Film Festival

From: 40 Frames (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Mar 28 2007 - 08:51:15 PDT

> I hate VHS screeners, especially those sent to us in SLP. But, some of
> my favorite work, even 16mm, comes to us that way. I have a 56" DLP HD
> TV, and a 400 disc DVD changer. Call me lazy, but I have come to
> accept, even like, DVDs for screening purposes, as they are so quick
> and easy to handle, look good if the transfer is good, and don't
> present any chance of damaging an expensive print. We have had entries
> done originally in HDV that looked better than most commercially
> produced DVDs of 35mm films. I do miss the old days, of screening all
> on 16mm, but it just isn't possible any more.
> Ken Bawcom

The drawback of this approach is the difference in translation in screening
or pre-screening VHS/DVD compared to a 16mm print. When I have the option
(which is unfortunately very rare) I will request the print for screening.

I agree that this convenience has become a *necessity* as it's believed to
cut cost, but this cost cutting seems to be more on the side of the
exhibitor who is paying less in postage (to ship prints) than for the
filmmaker who is paying to xfer the film and duplicate DVDs and (as is
often the case) cover postage. (Of course now xfers and duplication of
video media is also a *necessity*.)

Locally, this idea of convenience has made the writers for the weekly and
daily newspapers very lazy, and many have told me they *prefer* a tape or
DVD even if a press screening can be organized. And when we have had press
screenings (let's say there is NO tape or DVD of the film we are showing)
we're lucky if one person shows up out of three or four invited press

In the current scenario there's also less running of projectors which is
not a good thing. Continual operation of projection equipment and
maintenance of that equipment often go hand in hand. It also can help
prevent the damage that results from lack or use/practice for the

I understand the convenience side (I am an exhibitor after all), but I
also believe there are enormous compromises in doing this... for both
maker and exhibitor.


Alain LeTourneau
Pamela Minty
425 SE 3rd, #400
Portland, OR 97214
United States

+1 503 231 6548

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