From: Ken Bawcom (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Dec 18 2007 - 18:54:18 PST
While I quite agree with you about the value of this sort of catalog
writing, I do object to labeling festivals that don't do it that way as
lazy. As you point out, it takes time, and many hands, to generate such
work. I would add KNOWLEDGEABLE hands. This is not something you can
turn over to student interns. Festivals, non-profits, often are
stretched thin for resources, and the volunteers, especially the
knowledgeable ones, have many demands on their time. I am sure it is
simply not possible for all to do such in-depth work on the program as
you would like.
Further, in a Festival with submissions open to all, a good number of
the film makers programmed may be relatively unknown. Writing something
"establishing a clear, specific, and thoughtful context" for
filmmakers' whose work one is familiar with is one thing, but doing
that for someone one has never encountered before is quite another. One
could write a completely objective description of the work, without
drawing any inferences as to its intentions. But, when one writes of
the meaning of an abstract piece by an unknown maker, their
interpretation may be nothing like what the filmmaker intended. So,
yes, it IS safer for the festival, but it is safer for the filmmaker as
well, to use the supplied blurb. Perhaps the best of both worlds would
be to use the filmmaker's short description, followed by the
interpretation of the work by the catalog writer. But this will not be
possible for all festivals to do.
Quoting Jason Cortlund <email suppressed>:
> I agree with Brook's assessment--festivals often just use the filmmakers own
> statement, which I think is safe and lazy on the part of programmers who do
> this. And it short-changes what programmers are offering--establishing a
> clear, specific, and (hopefully) thoughtful context for the works they're
> In my past experience as a programmer, that kind of catalog writing takes
> time and many hands to generate. At Cinematexas, writing and rewriting took
> about a month after the programs were locked, it always went to the ultimate
> deadline for printing, and it was always painful for the catalog
> coordinator. But the copy was usually much appreciated by filmmakers. W got
> feedback that our catalogs were seen as valuable resources by other
> organizations. And our work was often widely republished (sometimes it was
> even appropriately credited to the author, and not just plagiarized--wow!).
> I think it was worth the trouble.
> As a filmmaker, I've found it rare to get anything more than a paraphrase.
> Even if someone has a completely weird take in what they write--I'd like to
> know what that is. Then again, I've also never had anyone publish something
> I totally disagree with that I feel was a misrepresentation. But it's worth
> the risk.
> Jason Cortlund
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
"Those who would give up essential liberty
to purchase a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty, nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin 1775
"I know that the hypnotized never lie... Do ya?"
Pete Townshend 1971
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.