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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

World Cinema Huge List


A while back was reading an article by Guy Lodge called "This year's foreign Oscar race reflects a growing global medium" which I found interesting because tells a brief history of how the category has evolved thru the years with the Academy modifying rules to more fairly accommodate country submissions. Not all cases are explained in the article, but I believe gives some good examples to support what he's talking about. You can check the article here.

The article left me thinking and my thinking evolved into something related but different. Started to wonder why the American Academy hasn't fully realized that the list generated by the country submissions to Oscar foreign film category is the ONLY list in the world that has what we can sometimes call the "best of the best" in world cinema. There is no other cinema related source or event that generates a similar list. You can say that big and famous festivals have films from all over the world; but none, not even Cannes, has 70 plus films from almost all the countries with an active cinema industry.

Then, assuming that the Academy knows, why they haven't made category more relevant within the awards show? The last becomes more interesting if we consider that the Oscar show is about the ONLY American television show that is broadcast live to huge world audiences. This issue has always puzzled me as know there is a huge opportunity in promoting the category to world audiences. Still also know that what show producers really care is about the American show ratings, so don't foresee any changes on how the category is promoted within the show. Which only makes me wish there was an organization that could capitalize this list into a true World Cinema event. Sigh.

This year, as has been happening with many other events, social media exploded with news, comments and yes, one remarkable controversy about country submissions. During September and only considering Twitter, Facebook and "new comer" Google+, we were swamped with information about this Oscar category. Never before, not even last year, there has been so much buzz, noise and hype about the category. This "new" media has become an impressive source that has expanded "old" word-of-mouth into unthinkable levels. But most relevant is that has become a major source of free unregulated publicity for films.

Not all films have marketing and/or advertising budgets to promote them to local audiences, much less to a world audience, and is precisely those that don't have who get their "15 minutes of fame" in local press and now, in world social media. If before selecting a film to this category gave film an opportunity to be known that exists, now perhaps becomes the most effective free source to gather audiences for a film on worldwide basis. But not only the film benefits as also directly or indirectly the local movie industry gets promoted. I believe that some countries have already figured out all this, so it is no surprise for me that the category got a record 71 films submitted, even when last year winner country called for a boycott this year.

Some of the 71 films submitted were unknown to me and surely for you too; but now we are aware of them and some called our attention enough to be interested in watching them. This is priceless for those films and is what really drives me to with full enthusiasm gather the list, gather videos and information about each film. In the end after all the work my viewing queue has increased exponentially and I really hope yours too, as there are some new non-festival films that seem to really deserve wider audiences, deserve to be seen.

For so many reasons maybe list has never been the "best of the best" but surely this year huge list gives us a great reason to continue loving World Cinema. Then wouldn't be just nice if a VOD service will give us the opportunity to be able to watch ALL films in the list? Alright if not all, maybe those from smaller cinema industry countries? There you have a great business opportunity that surely will please many, especially me.

Cheers!!!

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