I spent the whole day at a new review event arranged by SeeFilmFirst which, in a rather progressive move, specifically targeted online writers. Better yet, they hosted it at my favourite screen in London (Empire Screen 1). There were advance screenings of two films but there’s an embargo on writing about them until tomorrow evening. That information may be enough for the curious to deduce the big film in question. At any rate, expect a review to land around 10pm.
In addition to the films there were dozens of trailers and a couple of panel talks, one on building an online audience and one on tackling film piracy. The former had a varied panel from larger and smaller sites, introducing me to the delightfully irreverent Ultra Culture, which certainly offers a fresher voice than much of the UK offering. It also highlighted the common mistake (particularly by companies) in identifying “the online audience” as a single entity rather than a range of varied groups and communities with differing views and interests, as well as the way in which “the online film audience” is often unrepresentative of audiences as a whole. The latter served more as a reminder that the film industry remains slightly out of touch with its core audience. A director essentially described as empirically wrong the increasingly held view that a good home theatre setup now offers a higher fidelity experience than dealing with cinema crowds talking and using mobiles throughout. One panellist noted that the film industry tends to be a step behind music industry which, let’s remember, had to have its arm severely twisted before consenting to sale via DRM-free mp3 downloads. And suddenly they discovered that internet users weren’t all the cheapskate leeches they had imagined and were actually quite happy to pay money. The film industry, by comparison, has only just switched to thanking paying customers rather than threatening them before every film they watch. Restriction-free downloads clearly remain some way off.
After a brief pit stop at the flat, I headed to Rav’s for a Leslie Nielsen memorial night. Order of service: Naked Gun followed by Airplane. The former inspired my all-time favourite Family Guy opening (season four’s PTV), and Shirley everyone enjoys the latter. There are those who may argue four films in one day might be considered excessive. Well, in a single day I’ve [REDACTED], followed Police Squad, flown on a plane and [REDACTED]. Not necessarily in that order.