Re: [Frameworks] media in the classroom

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Oct 18 2010 - 05:01:12 PDT

OK, let's say we all agree it would be great if college and university
classes could screen more experimental film from actual film prints.
Then let us ask what it would take for that to happen. Three problems
I've identified and others have confirmed would need to be addressed.

1. The cost of print rentals is too high for current academic budgets.
2. There is no support for 16mm projection.
3. Print rental is not an effective means of facilitating scholarly

How might we change these things.

1. Fees. The distribution would have to be subsidized by governmental
arts agencies, private foundations, etc.
2. The distributors could no longer see their role as merely supplying
prints, but would need to offer a complete 16mm projection service.
They would need to maintain an inventory of quality 16mm projectors
and a wide selection of lenses, employ projector technicians, and
develop programs to train new people in that craft.
3. Print rental would need to be accompanied /supplemented by digital
copies that can be studied in a library or on an Blackboard-type system.

That is, whenever a school wished to offer an experimental film class
with 'real film', they would pay one modest comprehensive fee for
which they would receive a.) a package of rental prints, b.) rental of
a freshly serviced 16mm projector or two for the term, fitted with the
proper lenses for the screen size and throw of the screening room to
be used. c.) rental for the term of a tape splicer and tape to repair
damaged prints d.) some sort of video training course in the operation
of the equipment, care of the prints, and use of the splicer to repair
broken films. e.) rental, again for the term, of digital copies for
study after the prints have been screened (to be returned/deleted at
the end of the course).

I am well aware that the coops as now constituted have nowhere near
the resources available to do something like that. What would be
required, it seems to me, is for Canyon, FMC and MoMo to combine
operations into some Center For The Personal Film, so there would be a
single source for all the schools to deal with, a single target for
all fund-raising and support, a stronger focus point of advocacy. Yes,
this would be a total change from the independence the coops have now,
and would not come without certain losses.

But the reality is that the market for conventional 16mm rental is
going away, and is already functionally dead in most corners of
academia. And the only alternative I can think of for the distributor
is some form of patronage or subsidy. One would start, I suppose by
getting George Lucas to put up or shut up about his love for Lipsett
and his self-identification as an experimental filmmaker (and to begin
to atone for his cinematic sins). If the new organization was called
the George Lucas Center For Experimental Film, I'd grimace every time
I encountered the title, but I'd live with it. Scorcese, Coppola,
DePalma and others are known to appreciate experimental work, and
while they may not have Lucas's money, they have influence. If all the
little stakes-holders in 16mm and experimental joined hands and worked
together, they might be able to accomplish something. Continuing to
operate in the fragmented manner they do now offers little hope for
the future. Franklin: "We must all hang together, or surely we will
all hang separately." Dylan: "Your sons and your daughters are beyond
your command / Your old road is rapidly agin'/
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand / For the
times they are a-changin'."

Is there an organizer in the house?

(Before you lay smack negativity of my little plan, realize that I've
anticipated a lot of it, and think it through OK? Try to make a better
scheme, not just trash this'un.)
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