Saturday, April 2, 2011

Canyon Cinema

Financial troubles for the venerable Canyon Cinema.

You can read the organization's message to the community here:

http://canyoncinema.com/2011/03/31/important-message-to-the-film-community

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The shift from rentals of 16mm films to DVD and on-line access is certainly a major factor.  And to the extent that this change has been troubling to the finances of Canyon Cinema as an organization it in turn has an effect on the experimental filmmakers themselves.  To make a work of personal cinema you can have some other job to pay for your filmmaking art; or get donations, discounts, and discards; or get funding through a grant (if you're lucky); or maximize the use of cheap DIY techniques; or all of the above.  The filmmaker is subsidizing the work. As a filmmaker you might send work to a film festival and pay an entry fee (but not get a share of the ticket sales).  On-line distribution also leaves the filmmaker subsidizing the work. (Has UbuWeb ever sent a filmmaker a royalty check? I doubt it.)

The cooperative distributor is a model where funding actually flows back to the artist who made the work.  Let's hope that model can continue in some form or fashion!

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