CITY, Mich. -- The weekend of the 2012 Traverse City
Film Festival certainly spread out the celebration of past cinema
and the anticipation of new releases, with films like "Detropia"
and "Red Flag" representing the latter and retrospective
series on German director Wim Wenders and pioneer animator Winsor
McCay affiliated with the former. Both stages of movie achievement,
however, received their most definitive focus in two major presentations
morning of August 4, the upstairs area of the City Opera House
played host to a discussion panel moderated by Director and Festival
Organizer Michael Moore about a fast approaching transition in
filmmaking being finalized. As the event moved forward through
to its final acquisitions during the Q&A sessions, it became
surprising how star-studded in terms of film industry representation
the audience was also. You had commercial directors from Hollywood
all the way to the Head Film Archivist of the New York Museum
of Modern Art.
as Film is Dead! Long Live Floppy Disks!, the panel discussed
the possible effects of digital movie-making finally making film
a defunct print format and whether the overall outcome should
be positive or negative. Filling out the panel was the Festival’s
Presentation Director Bill Hill (though preview packet information
listed Wenders as a panelist), Principal of Boston Light &
Sound Chapin Cutler, "Red Flag" Director Alex Karpovsky,
"Side by Side" Director Chris Kenneally, and "Belfast"
Director Mark Cousins, who had the most expansive project of that
week (but more on it in a bit).
concerns voiced by the more experienced in the panel were aimed
toward who would be left in the dust when digital cinema becomes
an absolute. “There are 10,000 theaters without a digital
projector,” voiced Hill, saying that updating all of them
by the end of the year would be extremely difficult.
meanwhile, kept the evolution of quality in mind: “Some
of the worst films I’ve seen are on film.” Another
factor was that like the internet had done with writing, digital
film made the art limited no more. Said Kenneally: “It used
to be [only in] New York, L.A., Chicago that you could [make films].”
Now, he added, it could be done anywhere.
end it was driven home by Cousins that while technology and style
will forever change, the art at its core as of now remains the
same. “I passionately believe that film is still young.”
It’s this kind of progression and connection across the
decades of the said art’s existence that comprised the editing
theme of his created series showing at the Dennos Museum Center’s
Dutmers Theater down the street.
at 9:00 a.m. that Saturday, his compilation documentary called
"The Story of Film: an Odyssey" was extensive enough
a narration on the art’s 1800s-to-now existence that it
totals fifteen hours total and was split among fifteen parts over
that day and the next.
of the sections viewed, the topic flow theme was to cover movies
released within the time frame of the part’s time range,
while also squeezing in that gave or received a varying influence
that created spontaneous unexpectedness on where I as a viewer
would end up.
films referenced were not there as a visual claim to each period’s
best work. What contributed to the series most was Cousins’
voiced background and analysis on what every film contributed
through it captured details (though such analysis wasn’t
perfect; I didn’t have the heart to tell Cousins in person
my belief that a Seven Samurai character was matched with the
wrong name several times).
a length just nine short of a day, it does enough to merge the
past, present and future in equaling the overall festival’s
celebration of what cinema was, is, and can become.
more information about the Traverse City Film Festival, visit
night is an animated one for the 50th Ann Arbor Film Fest;
McCallum honored as Michigan Independent Filmmaker of the Year
at 3rd Annual MI Film Awards