Re: Experimental films showing at various Universities

From: Steve Polta (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Nov 26 2008 - 10:51:35 PST

Not to start a big fight or anything but perhaps it would behoove the distribution coops to address this more directly than by posting to a discussion board. Yes——the material conditions are changing, and loyal faculty are retiring. But perhaps it would be worth the coops developing outreach strategies by which their collections could be "sold" to institutions. To play devil's advocate here, let's ponder: "Why are these films important?" "Why *should* instructors show these films to their classes?" "Who really cares?" Many of us on the list have opinions on these questions, but these opinions are not penetrating into the classrooms (other than obliquely). What can a distributor do to infiltrate these institutions? Creation of study guides? Convincing creation and distribution of information (i.e. promotional material) on collections? Assembly of rental packages and possible related reader-type material? These are just ideas. The co-ops' business
 model (from what I can tell, and I worked at Canyon for three years and was on their board for——was it four?) is, by its nature, passive——essentially a wait-for-the-phone-to-ring type deal, virtually no outreach or promotion of collections. You can bet that such operations as text book distributors, mainstream video distributors, and the more active "niche" distributors (such as Newsreel and Women Make Movies) work very hard to create "sales tools," make phone calls and otherwise talk up the educational/cultural value of their holdings in an effort to "drive business". While I realize the cultural forces "against us" are great, in my opinion, such strategies would be something for the co-ops to consider...

Steve Polta

--- On Tue, 11/25/08, DOMINIC ANGERAME <email suppressed> wrote:

> From: DOMINIC ANGERAME <email suppressed>
> Subject: Experimental films showing at various Universities
> To: email suppressed
> Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 1:31 PM
> I originally address to Gene Youngblood, however thought I
> would put this out there to the entire list.
> Dear Gene,
> I know that you have retired,  however, I was curious if
> the
> person who replaced you had any experimental film
> inclinations. Canyon
> no longer receives any rental requests from the College of
> Santa Fe and
> it was, until your retirement, one of our biggest
> renters,  The
> unfortunate situation appears that a lot of experiment film
> classes or
> programs are mostly one person driven. Once that person
> retires the
> replacement is no longer interested in experimental cinema.
> I first
> noticed this when Dick Myers retired from Kent State. He
> use to rent at
> least $1500 a year for film screenings. Canyon has not
> received one
> film rental request since he left. The same is true for
> Occidental
> College when Chick Strand left, all rentals stopped. Stan
> Brakhage use
> to rental at least $5000 worth of experimental films from
> Canyon a
> the requests from UCB have dwindled down
> considerably. This
> is the same for the San Francisco Art Institute, School of
> the Art of
> Chicago, University of Oklahoma and many more places too
> numerous to
> list here.
> What I might suggest to those on the list that are still
> teaching and
> plan to retire to try and have a say about the replacement
> and their
> interest in experimental cinema. It would certainly help
> the field stay
> alive. I realize that often times teachers have no say in
> who their
> replacement will be.
> Thanks
> Dominic Angerame
> Exec. Director, Canyon Cinema
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at
> <email suppressed>.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.