Re: UbuWeb: Bad for Business!

From: Zev Robinson (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Jun 17 2008 - 10:48:20 PDT

Hi Dominic,

I started going to the cinema on a regular basis as a teen in 1971, and have seen movies first on TV and then in cinema, and vice versa, and am well aware of the difference, how much visual impact can be lost on a smaller TV screen. Then there's the whole experience of being in a dark room without interruptions or distractions, and the collective experience of it. I don't go to the cinema much these days, but that is for personal circumstances and priorities that have nothing to do with cinema.

Maybe it's because I grew up seeing everything from B movies to world cinema to
a-g films to hollywood fare, but seeing things on places like ubu makes me want to see a screening of some of the things I've seen before, and somethings I haven't. It makes me aware of certain artists I was vaguely familiar with or didn't know. There are films I've seen many times, both as film and as video tapes and dvd, and still would love the chance to see it projected in a cinema.

I am sympathetic to the dilemma that you and others face, but I am also sympathetic and supportive of Ubu in that it disseminates a knowledge of a culture with which I identify and from which I have receive a lot, and welcome that others can too. I think that that's a healthy thing, and although I don't doubt that dvd sales are down, I'm not yet convinced that _on the whole_ artists and distributors are worse off.

Especially since you say screenings are alive and well, and given that a lot of what is on ubu was made in an era before video or dvd rentals were even dreamed of, and screenings were the only way to see them.
There may be a number of other factors contributing to the decline in dvd sales other than ubu, but if your screenings are going well and attracting audiences, then ubu hasn't hurt that, and perhaps has even helped.

It is just that it has to be looked at in a balanced way and within the whole context of a digital culture that has changed a lot of things for a lot of people.



Zev Robinson

Thanks for responding try and respond
about the shifting audience and fans for experimental
cinema.....there are many micro cinemas appearing
across the United States and now in Europe. These are
small groups of experimental film lovers who banned
together once a month, once a week or once in a while.
They pool their funds together and project 16mm S8mm
and R8mm films from the collection of work at Canyon
Cinema....there people are mostly young 22-32......I
do not ask them their age, sex, etc........I only make
sure that they know how to project the films, have
proper equipment and will be responsible for the
careful handling of the films being projected.....

The rising in micro cinemas, and movie galleries has
increased quite a bit over the past decade and has
filled in a large gap created by "film" schools" who
no longer show films.  I had a class of 25 beginning
film students arrive for a visit from a well known SF
University. When they came in the office two 16mm film
inspectors were rewinding films, and I took them to
the back storage space where we keep our inventory of
more than 3000 motion picture films.

One student asked me "what are these" pointing to the
film cans, and "what are those people doing" pointing
to the film inspectors rewinding
movies...Interestingly enough the film "professor" who
brought the students in...had already snuck out of the

In March I presented an experimental film showing on
16mm and 35mm to a sold out audience at the Nashville
Film Festival in Tennessee.....the show was a hugh
success showing films of Ken Jacobs, Shirley Clarke,
Ken Anger, Stan Brakhage, Michelle Silva, Donna
Cameron and a very minor sampling of some of the work
in the Canyon Cinema collection.

After the showing there were a lot of questions,
people hung out to talk about the work...most were
about 25.....they were happy to finally see a Ken
Jacobs film IN FILM and a Stan Brakhage film IN
FILM....this grroup  will soon be renting films for
the small theatre they run independently of the Film

So I cannot agree that fans and audiences are
decreasing.....I am not experiencing this when I go
out at exhibitions. In Nashville before my screening
there was a showing or short documentary
films......and not more than 10 people were at the

There is still a large interest in experimental cinema
both new and old around the world....the program I
took to Cuba last year had three standing room only

Dominic Angerame
Filmmaker, Director, Canyon Cinema
--- Jorge Amaro <(address suppressed)> wrote:

Thank you David, that was a remarkable post.

Dominic, I am sorry, I wont argue with you about
that, you clearly
know that more than I do, I am just a young man and
as a young man I
dont see my friends taking any interest whatsoever
in those films,
even with screenings and dvd's released.
Experimental Cinema needs
fans, needs people that see films out of sheer love,
not only critics
and acadamics, and teachers that 'force' students to
watch them. And
from what I see the interest is declining. People
just dont care,
either if they are in ubu or whatever. Most people
of my age, I am 25,
dont even know what a 16mm print is! I'm sorry if I
sounded harsh in
any way, but I will stick to my believe that low res
clips had nothing
to do with the decrease of rentals. And as reagrds
for the dvd's on
canyon as much as I like to support artists, i have
bills to pay, and
if I dont get the money by the end of the month, no
artist is going to
help me. It is my deepest believe that any artist
should be paid for
their work, but I also believe they should be
reasonable with the
prices they charge. And i can not travel at all to
see a film like
most of you people can, its unthinkable. Without the
internent I would
have never ever knowed what films lay out there, I
would never be
interested in supporting artists like I have done in
the past, or try
to find like minded friends to set up screenings
(this as proven to be
an endless crusade). While I have some resevrations
about UBU posting
crappy quality films online, i think that online
snippets or even full
films is the way to go and I stand by what I say,
that no one will
think they have seen the fiilm after seeing an
youtube version, if
that is true, why do people still flock to cinemas
to see Indiana
Jones and such films? They are all over the internet
in several

2008/6/16 Brook Hinton <(address suppressed)>:
 Two things:
David: "The only times 21st century people step
out of their individual
media cocoons is for 'special' events"
My experience with students is quite the opposite.
But that may reflect that
my last two primary teaching gigs have been art
schools. I do note some live
component adds greatly to the excitement
(filmmaker in person, live
film/video/audio generation of some sort).
Dominic: "we pay the
artist 50% not 10% that amazon pays"
Just for the record, depending on means of
distribution via Amazon
(createspace - where it can range from 0% to 90%
depending on the list price
-or direct sale to amazon, etc), the percentage is
much closer to 50 than to
10. I haven't calculated mine in a while but I
believe it works out to close
to 40%.
As someone who has chaired a film department, I
believe that while it is
possible online video sources have reduced coop
rentals, the more likely
culprit online is torrent sites, and the likely
culprit is not online but
the astonishing, shocking, wholesale slashing of
rental budgets. A semester
of avant-garde film history on a budget of two or
maybe three hundred
dollars anyone? And it's not just a film problem -
how many rentals from VDB
can you get for that same amount for a video art
The problem for me remains: making the best art
one can and advancing the
form requires that artists have the option to do
it full time (yes, some can
do it part time and produce great work, but these
are exceptions), yet
obscurity wlll kill the forms outright, and we
need a culture where every
single high school student in the country can see
Sadie Benning's video
diaries, Serene Velocity, Window Water Baby
Moving, and the list goes on...
multiple times, in class AND on their own. How do
we meet the needs of the
culture and the artist? Can we make the age of
infinite digital reproduction
work to support this or are we going to drown
ourselves sticking to existing
models and fears?

On Sun, Jun 15, 2008 at 3:45 PM, DOMINIC ANGERAME
<(address suppressed)> wrote:
Hi Jorge...actually 16mm rentals have not been
disappearing....I think that is what most people
to think.....just not the case.......

Canyon's prices for sale dvds are high...we pay
artist 50% not 10% that amazon pays....

I do not know where you get that figure of
decreasing...however I would recommend you buy
MacDonald's new books called "Canyon
where the figures are listed from 1966 thru the
present....regading the rental figures.

Canyon Cinema sells this book for $29.99 plus
shipping, tax.

(address suppressed)

Rentals have fallen ONLY SINCE DVD COPIES, UBU,

I am sorry to be so angry...however, if you
want my professional advice and experience you
have to
pay for you would any other
whether it be teacher, researcher, scholar,
or shrink....I will quote you unaffordable rates
the list.

I would like to know how much Re-voir and others
a year in sales and how much goes back to the


--- Jorge Amaro <(address suppressed)> wrote:

Well, the dvd's and vhs i see for sale on
canyon are
very overpriced
compared to the dvd's amazon sells. I never
accross a single
person that was happy with seeing the version
Fuses on UBU.  It has
a low resolution was badly transcoded and
from some bootleg
that is totally messed up. If there was a
version i would
gladly buy it, and i'm very sure other people
aswell. I dont
know the numbers of microcinema or re-voir but
pretty sure they
sell, otherwise they would be out of business
and if
you search hard
enough you'll find most of the stuff they
on the internet for
viewing and downloading.

 Hasn't the rentals in the last 20 years being
decreasing any way?
There was the big boom of experimental cinema
=== message truncated ===

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__________________________________________________________________ For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <(address suppressed)>.