A few things were said at the Europa Cinemas Conference that particularly aroused my attention- a great deal of them came from Dr. Freyermuth’s mouth:
to get the audiences where they are, and they are online
.We have now reached a new level of privatisation with computer entertainment
- a significant new movement from outside to inside
.A democratisation of audiovisual expression is taking place, with the crowning of semi-professional content
However, and most importantly, these statements were counter-balanced with an optimism based both on the history of media entertainment and on contemporary studies on audience behaviour: nothing replaces the social experience of actually going to the cinema- and this powerful act endorses a performative dimension, as the film actually becomes film when displayed in a movie theatre.
This is what Upload Cinema
in the Netherlands seems to have understood. Following the changes not only in the ways film are distributed, but also produced and displayed, Upload Cinema had the brilliant idea to “bring the best videos of the web to the big screen”
. A jury selects the most convincing web productions and compiles a 90 minute long editorially driven programme out of them. This award-winning initiative places the concept of audience at the core of the cinema experience, relaying the idea that the more the audience is involved in the process of film-making, the higher its engagement with the final product will be.
Talking to the web generation by showing videos
2.0 in Arthouse venues, this is the successful gamble of Upload Cinema. The concept has now extended outside the boundaries of the Netherlands to Spain (Barcelona and Madrid), giving both a physical space and a social, event-like, international dimension to individual, home-based online productions.
Does this significant move towards alternative content challenge the cinema as a place of cult, where works of art are celebrated
? Or is it a clever use of digitalisation to break boundaries between high art (connaisseurs) and popular entertainment (fans) by reuniting both in the same place? – having younger audiences attend art-house venues, and older art-house audiences familiarise themselves with internet- oriented content?
To read more about Upload Cinema, they are online here, on Facebook, and in 16 cities in the Netherlands.