Saturday, April 29, 2006

Strictly Film School

A pretty amazing site given that its authored by a single person. This site is devoted to serious and usually esoteric cinema much of which is difficult if not imposssible to find on video. In a nutshell, it teaches the average joe, myself included, just how little he/she really knows about film. The author is extremely literate in several film genres and writes intelligent descriptions and criticism. He uses the nom de plume of Acquarello and is described as a NASA design engineer and a writer of film program notes for the National Gallery of Art.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Upcoming event from the Center for Social Media - May 3

The Center for Social Media at AU and Women in Film and Video will be holding a session "Getting the Rights Right" on Wednesday, May 3. Everything filmmakers should know about copyright, public domain, creative commons and fair use. Panelists include: Pat Aufderheide, Director of the Center for Social Media, School of Communications, AU; Lauren Cardillo, Independent Producer; Bonnie Rowan, Researcher; Dolly Turner, Music Industry Executive, and Laura Possessky, Entertainment Lawyer.

Wednesday, May 3
6:30 pm Networking
7:00-8:30 pm Program
American University
Wechsler Theater, Mary Graydon Center - 3rd Floor

Space is limited. Advance RSVP Strongly Recommended Free for WiFv Members & AU Students with ID. $15 Non-members. Space is limited, so advance registration is highly recommended. RSVP through the member-only section of WiFv's website or by sending an e-mail to

The Center for Social Media puts on many interesting and worthwhile events. Check out their events calendar.

Monday, April 24, 2006

TV-Turnoff Week is this week, April 24-30

Can't say I support this cause. I mean, really, does it make sense to categorically denounce all television? But in case you are more sympathetic, here's the mission statement of the TV Turnoff Network.

Speaking of cultural literacy, this image is from Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (VHS 1942).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

'nother list: This time it's Roger Ebert's 101 Movies you must see before ...

The criterion is different from his list of the greatest films in that he chose titles for their cultural significance. Included are lesser films that nevertheless attained iconic status including Carrie, The Crying Game, Easy Rider, The Exorcist, and Fight Club. Most major directors are represented by no more than a single film, intentionally.

My quibble is that the list still errs on the arty side, disregarding comedies other than older films such as Duck Soup and Some Like It Hot and action films. Excluded films like American Grafitti, Animal House, Rocky, Rambo, and Brian de Palma's Scarface are certainly more widely known and referenced in American and global culture than such art-house darlings as The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeousie and Children of Paradise.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

AU Library Website Goes Mobile

The AU Library has created a version of the website optimized for browsing on your PDA. Imagine it’s a sunny spring day; you walk across the quad headed for the library. As you pass Hurst, you search for that book your professor told you to look at. You pause in front of SIS. The book is checked out. No problem, you make a detour into Davenport, and while you wait for your latte you place the book on hold. Now go enjoy some time in the sun.

Look up library hours and contacts, see library system status, check on interlibrary loan requests and use ALADIN from your handheld device.

Friday, April 07, 2006

AIVF is on the ropes

The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, the publisher of The Independent Film and Video Monthly, and host of trainings, films festivals, and filmmaker seminars and networking events for thirty years is in what look like desperate straits. The organization is probably known by every independent filmmaker but its effectiveness and importance have waned during recent years - due to the communication explosion wrought by the internet. Can they retool to regain their former level of relevance? Stay tuned. To learn more about their troubles, visit their website.

Filmmakers up in arms: Smithsonian sells out - Can they do that?

The Smithsonian has cut a deal with Showtime allowing them the right of first-refusal for works created using Smithsonian archival material. This means that if a filmmaker uses materials owned by the Smithsonian in his/her film, then Showtime on demand is given dibs on airing it first, unless they choose not to. Many filmmakers and lawyers are now wondering what it means to be a public trust, especially a tax-funded one, if the organization has the ability to sign this kind of exclusive deal with a private company for the use of its vast collections. Many thorny issues have been brought to light by the arrangement along with various misconceptions and it has become the subject of much online chatter.

NYT article

Daily Kos Blog article

Monday, April 03, 2006

“The 50 Greatest Independent Films”

A British film website called Empire Online has a list of what they deem “The 50 Greatest Independent Films” Here it is along with Media Services call numbers for the ones we own.

In countdown order:

50. El Mariachi VHS 2947
49. Run Lola Run DVD 92
48. Cube DVD 78
47. Blood Feast
46. Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD 352
45. Mad Max (Library owns Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior VHS 3155)
44. Amores Perros DVD 262
43. Shadows DVD 1390
42. Swingers VHS 5429
41. Dead Man’s Shoes
40. The Descent
39. The Passion of the Christ DVD 943
38. Grosse Point Blank
37. Being John Malkovich DVD 91
36. Buffalo ’66
35. THX-1138 DVD 1401
34. The Blair Witch Project DVD 24
33. Shallow Grave - on order
32. Two-Lane Blacktop VHS 5770
31. Pink Flamingos VHS 4638
30. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss’ Song VHS 4318
29. Bad Lieutenant
28. In the Company of Men
27. Dark Star
26. Lost in Translation DVD 741
25. Drugstore Cowboy VHS 3260
24. Happiness VHS 7040
23. Evil Dead (Library owns Evil Dead II – DVD 926)
22. Nosferatu DVD 393
21. Roger and Me DVD 1166
20. Slacker DVD 1347
19. Lone Star DVD 379
18. Withnail and I
17. City of God DVD 849
16. She’s Gotta Have It VDD 111 (laserdisc)
15. Blood Simple VHS 2648
14. Stranger Than Paradise DVD 144
13. Memento DVD 256
12. Eraserhead DVD 1491
11. Bad Taste
10. Mean Streets DVD 1813
9. Sideways DVD 1316
8. The Usual Suspects DVD 1671
7. Sex, Lies, and Videotape DVD 383
6. Night of the Living Dead DVD 600
5. Monty Python’s Life of Brian DVD 970
4. Clerks VHS 4389
3. The Terminator VHS 3416
2. Donnie Darko DVD 381
1. Reservoir Dogs VHS 2915


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Must-see video: Ilha das flores = Isle of flowers (1989) VHS 2926

What starts out as a humorous take on the food chain from a middle-class Brazilian perspective suddenly evolves into a scathing indictment of the social system as it looks at what becomes of the garbage produced by the inhabitants of Porto Alegre, Brazil. This 13-minute film is little-known in the US, but it garnered enough votes on to rank #14 on its list of the Top 50 Documentary Films by average vote.

Though much more clever in how it jolts it's audience's sensibilities, the light narrative style that belies the film's dead serious subject matter is in the vein of Fahrenheit 9/11 (DVD 775), Supersize Me (DVD 955), and Atomic Cafe (DVD 536).

Cool ALADIN e-books: VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever, 2006 Ed. and International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers , 4th Ed.

Gale Virtual Reference Library is a group of reference works in digital format.

Videohound contains an "extensive listing of movies available on video--more than 23,000 in all", however it does have a serious shortcoming. The electronic edition lacks many of the great cross-referencing indexes and subject lists that set the print version apart from its competitors. One thing I like about the e-version though is its annotated "Web Site Guide" with links categorized by cult movie resources, film festivals, film magazines, film studios, filmmaker resources, film reviews, general entertainment, and video sales outlets.
link (AU ID required for remote access)

International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers , 4th Ed. is "written for film students and film buffs alike, this set features thorough coverage of legendary films, actors, actresses, directors, writers, and other production artists through detailed essays and commentary by experts. Entries include biographies, filmographies, comprehensive credits, production information, major awards, and bibliographies." I checked the entry for Tod Browning, the director of Freaks and Dracula, and it included a full filmography, a photo, a bibliography of books and articles, and a five paragraph career summary.
link (AU ID required for remote access)

Both of these titles can also be found on the AU Library's Databases by title page.