Tuesday 6 January 2009

AFI's 8 2008 Moments

At the end of last year the American Film Institute (AFI) announced its 2008 Moments Of Significance: eight noteworthy events "determined to have had an impact on the world of the moving image during the calendar year 2008."

This is a decidedly American perspective, but contains some perceptive insights into how the industry has shifted in the past year:

Slumdog Millionaire – A celebration of the global film

The AFI called the film "a monument to the possibilities of cross-cultural storytelling", and "a signpost in America's search for greater authenticity in its stories." Other films deemed to reflect this cultural shift included Gran Torino, The Visitor, Australia and television's Heroes.

Television and new technologies provide a global oracle for America's Presidential race.

The race to the White House saw "television and web coverage played to each other's strengths, as every nuance of the long, arduous campaigns was accessible for public celebration and scrutiny."

NBC coverage of summer Olympics brings the world together

The AFI praised Zhang Yimou's direction and choreography for the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing, as well as the news coverage provided by American TV channel NBC during the Olympics.

"Age Of Anxiety" as business models for the arts evolve.

The writers' strike and ongoing threat of an actors' strike underscored tensions between artists and executives. "The one certainty in these uncertain times is that the film and television communities continue to redefine their business models for the digital age."

Tina Fey – America's First lady of laughs

Tina Fey, former Saturday Night Live head writer, and writer, producer and star of 30 Rock, returned to the SNL with her acclaimed impersonation of Vice Presidential candidate hopeful Sarah Palin.

Independent film artists face distribution crisis

Several specialty and smaller labels like Warner Independent Pictures, Picturehouse, THINKFilm, New Line and Paramount Vantage folded in 2008. "Despite the unprecedented availability of filmmaking tools and the explosion of opportunity in on-line exhibition, the challenge for independent voices in American film is perhaps greater than ever. Now, an artist outside the studio system must also master finance and distribution to have their stories told."

Film critics lose voice

"In 2008, many of the ardent voices of film criticism were silenced. Full-time posts at Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice and Newsday, among others, were eliminated as the circulation of newspapers and magazines declined. As a result, writing about film has moved to the Web-a world where authority can be lost among the voice of the masses."

Dr Horrible operates in explosion of short form

Writer-director Joss Whedon's comedy musical, Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, became an international hit after it was released online for free as three 13-minute webisodes. " This movement was catalyzed in part by the Writers Guild strike of 2007, when artists from film and television came together in greater numbers to express themselves in the short form, an integral part of the moving-image experience since the dawn of cinema."

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