Are Drones an extension of the selfie

In the current social media landscape, some people believe that we use other people as a reflection in order to understand our own personality (Evans 2016). This video will challenge that idea as technological devices like the Drone is the reflection which helps us to understand our true identity. Through capturing ourselves and placing further emphasis on where we are.

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Blackfish leaves a big imprint that we can’t escape

Blackfish is a documentary released in 2013 which was co written and directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. I first saw Blackfish in 2014 on television and was a documentary which was gaining a lot of attention. After watching it once I couldn’t think about watching it a second time. For week 4 in BCM310 I watched it just before the lecture. This is a very powerful documentary and a great piece of advocacy journalism. It is successful as Sea World decided in 2013 to stop breeding orcas in captivity. It makes you think differently about Sea World in America but most importantly promotes awareness towards caring for orcas. Orcas are commonly perceived as vicious killers when in fact they are a smart and intelligent mammal. Below I will show how this documentary conveys sympathy towards captive orcas through the use of interviews, archival footage and commercials shown in the documentary.

maxresdefault(The Telegraph 2014)

Blackfish reveals a 40 year history of orcas being horribly mistreated at Sea World. Sea World lied to the public about how they treated the orcas. The first strategy the documentary used was interviews which helped us identify with not only the interviewees but the story that is communicated. The film maker interviews former sea trainers and marine scientists who have a highly intelligent knowledge on these mammals. Earlier in the film a fisherman tells the experience of what it was like capturing an orca from the wild and transporting it to Sealand Washington. The Orca was with its family as he states:

‘it was the worst thing I have ever done’.

When he says this visuals show archival footage of the orca being taken away from the ocean. Blackfish uses this storytelling strategy repeatedly throughout. As someone describes an event where an orca is treated terribly archival footage is shown, displaying quite a long take. By having a longer take we memorise the scene clearly. It still has an effect days after you have watched the film.

After showing an incident whether it’s an orca bleeding or a person being attack by an orca. The documentary then shows a commercial. For example there is a commercial where a family say how great their experience was at Sea World. After being shown the brutality this commercial is shown to communicate one of the documentary’s main messages a lot more powerfully. How can Sea World encourage people to see orcas for money and run advertisements when they are lying to the public about the condition these mammals are in.

Another reason why we sympathise with the orcas is because of the regret that sea trainers felt. They feel regret of decisions they made in life. Some of them wish that they chose a very different lifestyle. They were in positions where they tried their best to help orcas. They realise they added to the problem as well. When people admit regret it is hard for the audience not to feel sympathy for these trainers. Blackfish is a documentary which educates people about orcas and where there true habitat is. It highlights the distortion of facts and repetitive practices of propaganda by Sea World.

Black Fish is a simply constructed documentary. 83 minutes. That’s how long it is. It doesn’t have to go for any longer. By having a small running time the documentary has long and lasting impact. It does not further support mainstream perception of orcas and does not offer any attempt to rationalise. It has resulted in a mass decline of tourists visiting Sea World parks around the world. It makes them human like us. When a baby orca is taking away from its mother an interviewee states:

‘can you imagine been taking away from your family’

I can’t because it’s too hard to imagine. Asking questions that are directed to the audience make us think. Especially questions that hit us particularly hard like that one.

References

Blackfish 2013, film, Manny O Productions, San Diego California USA, Written by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Eli B. Despres, and Tim Zimmerman, Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Evans, N 2016, ‘looking at animals’, lecture, UOW, 23 March

Inside the space and attendance of Cinema

Cinema has always been a great part of people’s lives. Each time you go inside a movie theatre you are in for quite an experience. We all have different reasons for going. These could include going on your first date. You’re a film buff and you feel obligated to watch everything that comes out or it could be a thing where you say you know what I might go to the cinema today just for the sake of it. Well I am the film buff kind of guy. I love going to the cinema and embrace the story that is being told on the screen. It is the best medium to tell a story. Cinema is spatial because people have access to it. It is changing in new and innovative ways. Cinema enhances our understanding of space through the showing of stories which people can relate to in their own lives.

5-CROWDS-not-an-empty-seat-in-the-house

(New City Film 2015)

The global film industry faces a lot of significant obstacles each and every day. Movies are always changing in terms of the way they are made, what movies people are seeing and what influences people to go to the cinema. Before conducting extensive research I managed to interview my cousin Grant Davies. He is a film projectionist at Paramount pictures in Echuca. He has worked in cinema for 26 years and started as a volunteer worker. It was a locally run cinema which also had a live theatre venue. The first film projector he used were typical ones that were used in the 1920’s. They had carbon arc lighting system and two thousand foot spools as you can see below.

film projector
(Criterion Collection 2015)

In 2000 he completed his TAFE course on film projection and began work for Independent cinema where he looked after commissioning and installation of 35 mm film projectors. Davies is someone who has been a part of the space of cinema for an extensive period of time. The ultimate question to identify on why people grow accustomed to the atmosphere and public space of a cinema would be this: Why do people go to the cinema? My cousin replied by saying.

“Most people attend movies at the cinema to see the latest release movies on a big screen, in comfort and with good sound.”

We go to the cinema not to embrace the public space but the feel of it. We want to live it by having the comfort of listening to certain sounds at a higher level. Sounds meaning anything that is being heard by the audience whether that is conversations, music or ambient noise. In Australia, cinema can be one of the most popular forms of cultural entertainment that can be embrace audiences from a wide range of demographics (Aveyard 2011, p.124). Australia is a multicultural country and cinema can be a way for cultures to integrate through watching a story unfold through the medium of film. In rural areas like Echuca Victoria Grant Davies experiences a different kind of space than cinemas in capital cities.

Rural cinemas provide a public setting for friendships to be established (Aveyard 2011, p. 126). They can help gain a sense of attachment to where the cinema is located geographically. I can definitely relate to this as I live in a rural town called Kiama. The nearest cinema is Greater Union Shellharbour which I consider my second home. I try to go there once a fortnight to watch any new release which interests me the most. I remember a couple of years ago when I saw Interstellar. It was one of the best experiences I ever had at the cinema. I was in comfort and the sounds of the space crafts and dust storms were intensified. Through embracing the sound I managed to engage more with my surroundings.

Now that we know why people attend cinema there has been a gap created. If people like to go to the cinema to hear sounds amplified why in Australia especially is declining even if people really like attending the cinema. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 68% of Australians in 2014 attended a cinema. Over the past ten years that percentage has fluctuated between 67 to 69%. Cinema can appeal more to certain age demographics than others. For example in 2010 93% between of people from the age of 15 to 17 have attended the cinema once in a year. As the demographics people tend to find it harder to attend cinema as that percentage declines. 71 % of people between the age of 35 to 44 have attended the cinema whilst only 32% of people aged 75 and above. From these statistics we can see that the space of cinema has been transformed to attract younger people. It is replicated in the studio films that we today. For example The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars are films which are likely to attract younger audiences. (The jury is still out on whether those movies are good or not). Its films like this the younger generation can feel comfortable in the cinema. Even though they embrace the space of new technologies there will always be an urge for them to enjoy films in the oldest tradition.

My cousin Grant Davies can understand the trend in declining audience numbers. He feels it has a lot to do with how new cinema releases do not stay long enough.

“Over the last six to eight years the time a new release movie stays at a cinema on average has decreased. For example, a good movie title may have shown on average six weeks before we stopped playing it. Now we are lucky for that to be two or three weeks on average”.

When he told me this it brought me back to the start of the year when I wanted to see Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. It played in Sydney for two weeks but nowhere in the Illawarra. I was frustrated because I knew it was going to be a good movie so I waited a couple of months to rent it out on DVD. It all depends on the success of the film. For example the highest grossing film to come out this year was Jurassic World which stayed in American theatres for almost 16 and half weeks after release. It grossed 1.5 billion worldwide and made 218 million on its opening weekend. But then there are other films which only get released for a couple of weeks. This means people are trying to find another space to feel comfortable in order to watch a film. So if you wanted to watch a film so desperately you would seek alternatives. We would choose the option which would give us more satisfaction. In the video below AMC Theartes explain what factors influence a movie to stay longer at the cinema.

If audiences can’t see the film they opt to choose other ways to watch their film. For example the rise of Netflix has not only impacted cinema but television industry. Netflix has grown on an international front over the last few years. It provides unlimited rental access to TV shows and movies via online or mail on a low monthly subscription rate (Allen, Fells and Disbrow, 2014 p.136). Netflix will make it hard for DVD stores and cinemas as they cannot provide the fast and efficient service quick enough. People demand things and want to be in a space where they have all of their wants given straight to them. Some people do not want to wait months for their movie to come out in theatres. They can instead get it straight away for cheaper money. Netflix can be accessed on different types of platforms like Iphone, I Pod Touch, Nintendo touch and other internet services (Allen, Fells and Disbrow 2014, p.137). Grant Davies also feels that Netflix is not only problem that cinemas face but feels that some people do not have the attention span that they used to.

“it seems that the attention span of the younger generation has fallen and so they feel more comfortable in the space of their own home. So with the way the internet is movies are becoming easier to access”

Cinema does have quite significant obstacles to face. There are strategies to overcome these problems by as Grant Davies points out:

  1. They have to be far more engaged with social media
  2. ensuring cinemas have the latest technology e.g 3D vision, things which families do not have in their own household.
  3. cinema owners talking to studios and allowing them to cash in online market

But for me cinema will not be erased away from society. There are still people out there that enjoy the space of cinema. Its a place where we can clear our thoughts and embrace the surroundings and people around us. It does not matter what type of cinema going person you are. Whether you are a film buff or you just go for the sake of it. Going to the cinema can stamp an instant moment in your life which you will never forget.

References
Allen, G, Feils, D, & Disbrow, H 2014, ‘THE RISE AND FALL OF NETFLIX: WHAT HAPPENED AND WHERE WILL IT GO FROM HERE?’, Journal Of The International Academy For Case Studies, 20, 1, pp. 135-143, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 October 2015.

Aveyard, K 2011, ‘WHAT THE COUNTRY TELLS US: THE PLACE OF THE ‘RURAL’ IN CONTEMPORARY STUDIES OF CINEMA’, Media International Australia (8/1/07-Current), 139, pp. 124-132, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 October 2015.

Hancock, M 2007, ‘METRO 155 The Big Picture’, Metro, 155, pp. 154-157, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 October 2015.

Kelly, S 2012, ‘Going to the cinema: does this rant against Odeon strike a chord?’, The Guardian, 30 August, viewed 25 October 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/30/cinema-odeon-rant

PITTS, V 2011, ‘Technologies of culture: Digital feature film-making in New Zealand’, New Cinemas: Journal Of Contemporary Film, 9, 1, pp. 3-17, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 October 2015.

Is there anything better than cinema

Personally I cannot think of anything better than going to a cinema. I have done many great things in my life for example family holidays, High School formal, weddings or going to watch Australia play in the cricket at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Cinema is a place where you can go and get lost and go to a different world and sometimes it can be a reflection of our own personal lives.

Cinema has been a big part of my life as I have been going since I was 5. The first movie I saw was The Rugrats Movie and the theatre was packed. There must have been about 200 to 300 people there as I sat alongside my mother and sister. It was a great experience and ever since then I make sure I went to the cinema once a month.

According to Torsten’s Hagastrand’s there are three constraints to cinema that you must follow.

  1. How did you get to the cinema?
  2. What happened in the cinema?
  3. What will happen with cinema attendance in the next five to ten years.

(Bowles 2015)

These three constraints sum up the whole cinema experience and helps us identify place. It is important to know how we got to cinema, what happened and the future of cinema because with these questions it will help us understand why we make certain choices in order to feel comfortable in our place.

I recently went and saw a film called The Gift which is an American film written, directed and produced by Australian Joel Edgerton who also stars in the film. I really wanted to see this film as Joel Edgerton is one of my favourite Australian actors and he has proven that he has the talent to write a screenplay with films like Felony and The Rover. Other than knowing that Joel Edgerton was in this film I did not know a single thing about this film as I try my very hardest to come into a movie with a free mind.

O Malley 2015

I Drove 20 kilometres to the nearest cinema and I was with my sister. As we watched the film we could feel the suspense and we very intrigued by the story. We sat in the middle of the theatre where we normally sit when we go to the movies. The theatre was half packed and they all seemed to be gripped by this film. There were moments of this film which were quite scary. There was a scene which was building up to a jump scare and a person opened the door to go back into the cinema and everyone looked to the back right. There was one girl who gasped as she heard the noise of the door and everyone laughed. Overall this film is a great film to go and see at the cinema. The performances are amazing and a film that cannot get out of my mind. Joel Edgerton has proved that he is not only a talented actor but he is an artist and a very gifted director and screenwriter.

With films like The Gift the notion of Cinema can become quite easy to define. Cinema is a public place and also a place for interaction and has changed over a long period of time. If you go back to the 1950s and 60s it was common for people to go to the cinema quite regularly but soon as television it has not become a norm for people to go to the cinema anymore. Today there are still a lot of people that go to the cinema and I feel that it does have a future. If we can get more films like The Gift I expect cinema attendance to increase.

References

Bowles, K 2015 “cinema strangers in public” power point presentation BCM240, UOW,viewed 24 August

Representation of Australian Film in the Media

Australian cinema is powerful and it does not get the recognition that it deserves.But in Australia the film industry is just not profitable as it gets hardly any promotion. Instead print media outlets and online social media sites tend focus on what is coming from Hollywood.

In the 1970s and 1980s there were plenty of Australian films that got people going to the cinema. For Example Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Mad Max (1979) and Crocodile Dundee (1986).  These films were considered as box office smashes and these films are just a small representation of how profitable the film industry was back then. A lot of these films were gaining a worldwide audience as people started to take notice. CEO of the Australian and NSW film Tanya Chambers stated:

“We have become disconnected from the audience, the notion of a must see local film is something that we have lost in Australia” (Bosanquet 2007, p. 98).

This is quite a concern as the Australian film industry has now become close to being unprofitable. The concept of what is a box office success in Australia has changed as well. Films that make 500 000 to 800 000 are considered to be a success.

There have been times where Australia films have generated more publicity overseas but still couldn’t do enough at home. Animal Kingdom (2010) won the World Cinematic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival. It grossed 6 million worldwide but only made 1 million in Australia. Recently The Babadook was critically a success in the United States of America. It played at a number of film festivals in America including South by Southwest and Sundance.

If we look over the past ten years of Australian films that have been highly successful at the box office we can understand that distribution and marketing are essential for an Australian film to succeed. Wolf Creek (2005) was made on 1 million; it grossed 30 million worldwide and grossed 4 million in Australia. The film generated publicity for a whole year before it got a theatrical release in its home country. It received appraisal at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. In 2011 Red Dog became the 11th highest grossing Australian film. It got a release at the Berlin film festival.

Both of these films offered something new which attracted audiences.

There are two solutions in order for an Australian film to be profitable in Australia.

  1. More money spent on distribution, marketing and advertising
  2. Getting a release in other countries before being released in its home country.

Australians need to get behind the local film industry because I have seen some wonderful Australian films over the past few years like Ten Canoes, Mystery Road and Charlie’s Country. These films are examples of great Australian films that don’t get enough notice and they deserve a how lot more. For people who read this I ask you this, when was the last time you saw and Australian film at the cinema?

References

McKenzie, J. & Walls, W.D. 2013, “Australian films at the Australian box office: performance, distribution, and subsidies”,Journal of cultural economics, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 247-269.

Bosanquet, T. 2007, Behind the Scenes: Marketing and Distributing Australian Films, The Australian Teachers of Media Inc, St Kilda.

Why Slumdog Millionaire is a crossover classic

In late 2008 Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire was released. A film which grossed over 377 million worldwide and winning 8 Oscars. But most importantly it became a cross cultural cinema hit and laid a foundation to show how a story can appeal to so many cultures.

Crossover cinema can be defined as an emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural borders at the stage of conceptualisation and production and hence manifests a hybrid cinematic grammar at the textual level, as well as crossing over in terms of distribution and reception. (Khorana 2014)

This means that production companies can collaborate with other production companies to distribute a film that is inspired by a broad range of aspects of different cultures in order to find a large audience. Before cross over cinema, global film was defined by the terms transnational and world cinema.

Transnational cinema: is the broad range of theories that relate to the effects of globalisation upon economic and cultural aspects of movies.
World cinema: refers to when countries that have an English speaking background are themselves referring to films from non English speaking backgrounds.

But if we look at it from both English and non English speaking backgrounds it just means all films across the world.
Cross over cinema is different as it does not rely being representative of all cultures.

Slumdog Millionaire is the major success story to come out of cross over cinema. Production Company Warner Brothers combined with flim4 and cleador films to produce and distribute the film.
Slumdog Millionaire is praised not just because of succeeding in the cross over phenomenon. It achieved the creation of an significant platform for cross cultural content and talent that successfully cross over to a mainstream audience. Roger Ebert is one of the world’s greatest ever film reviewers. He gave the film a perfect score. In his review he stated:

The films universal appeal will present the real India to millions of moviegoers for the first time”. This means that through films like Slumdog Millionaire and other cross over films can benefit from audience member s identifying with global issues and concerns that are displayed.

References

Lim, D. 2009, what exactly is slumdog millionaire, published 26Th January 2009, viewed August 28th 2012 http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_oscars/2009/01/what_exactly_is_slumdog_millionaire.html
Khorana, S. 2013, “Crossover cinema: a conceptual and genealogical overview” in Research Online,

Why building a local film industry, Can help a Developing country

Nollywood has been a major benefit for the country of Nigeria. This film industry is a solution to decrease unemployment, improve overall quality of life and increase jobs. Nigerian films are hugely popular in Africa as this industry is proving to be one of the most prolific film industries in the world. It has been making 250 million dollars per year since 2000 and employed thousands of citizens. The average budget is 15000 as production only lasts for 10 days. A total of 500 to 1000 films are released on average per year. With statistics like this it shows this country is working with the available technology and distributing films that are about their culture.

Films in Nigeria are film on cheap digital cameras and are burnt onto cheap CD’s and and DVD’s and are sold for the equivalent of 1 to 2 US dollars. The films have plots that are exaggerated and contain quite melodramatic acting.

More third world countries need to model what Nigeria has done to its country. By building some sort of film industry it can try and reduce widespread poverty, unemployment and crime. Citizens can be employed to obtained skills in certain aspects of film making like acting, camera operation, directing, editing, music composition and writing. There is no denying that there is still economical and social struggle in Nigerian society but they work within their limitations. They can create films that are about their culture which can be exposed for the rest of the world to view them.

References
Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial text 3.2.
http://www.voanews.com/content/nigeria-nollywood-movie-industry-rolls-at-high-gear/2423930.html
http://www.thisisnollywood.com/nollywood.htm