Posted tagged ‘youtube’

Open Video 101: A dispatch from the intersection of arts, technology and public policy

June 22, 2009

conference_kickerOver the weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Open Video Conference at NYU. A far cry from other tech events I’ve attended seemingly packed with suited entrepreneurs pressing cards into your hands, this diverse gathering felt both more practical and more full of possibilities about the future. But it may be a sign of the times that fast-talking spiels about whimsical startups to sell us stuff we don’t need have been pushed aside in favor of discussions about the public engagement with online media.

Like “open source,” “open video” focuses on the free exchange of ideas, predicated on the idea that collaboration and exchange will foster better ones, and maybe even a better society. Situated as it was on the convergence of technology, public policy and the changing face of journalism and media, the Open Video Conference raised a number of questions pertinent to both media producers and media consumers:

How much media should be free?

Unsurprisingly, there seemed little consensus here. The Internet has long been a monolithic, unstoppable force pushing the free dissemination of everything, but without funding, who will create content that inspires, illuminates and informs?

One panelist drew attention to the Academy Award-wining short documentary “Smile Pinky,” which was funded by the nonprofit organization Smile Train as a compelling model for funding content that serves the public good. We better come up with others before the web is taken over with videos of cats playing the piano. (No offense, Keyboard Cat)

Do we get the public media we deserve?

Oh, Canada. Your National Film Board not only gives scratch to deserving filmmakers, it has also seen fit to create a free archive of the work they make. Unfortunately, we are not as blessed in the U.S. with a comprehensive system for media producers. But as one panelist said, paraphrasing H.L. Mencken, perhaps we get the public media we deserve. And if we don’t like it, it’s incumbent upon us to reinvent the system.

Who will be the librarians of digital media?

Amazingly enough, there is no national body with the mandate to collect and preserve our public media. It’s true that President Obama has plans to strengthen the nation’s “digital infrastructure,” but it’s a little staggering to think about all those thousands of tapes out there moldering, time running out, and YouTube just isn’t going to cut it.

At present, it’s really up to nonprofit media organizations to build those archives, and in the coming months, look to the filmlinc blog for a more in-depth exploration of moving image archives and the important work they do.

What does Open Video mean for the social web?

My favorite illustration of what open video might mean for content creators came from the Middle Eastern television network Al-Jazeera, who decided to license footage from the conflict in Gaza under Creative Commons, meaning people can freely use the footage with attribution. It was exciting to see the different types of people who picked that footage up: Wikipedia, filmmakers, artists, educators, video game makes, activists, independent media and more.

The conference program postulates that by 2013, online video will account for 90% of all Internet traffic. We are long overdue for a serious discussion of what that will mean for the film business, online media and journalism. Packed with developers, public policy experts, and content creators, this conference was an important step in that direction.


Show us your Python for the chance to win Secret Policeman’s Film Festival passes!

June 5, 2009


The “secret” is out: for six glorious days in late June, the Film Society will be host to The Secret Policeman’s Film Festival. To the uninitiated, that’s a collection of benefit shows, made in Britain on behalf Amnesty International, that feature the leading lights of comedy and rock in the service of a good cause. These concert specials, many of them never screened in the States before, and unavailable on DVD or VHS, feature live renderings of some of Monty Python’s best bits. To wit:

We know all you Python fans out there will be positively swooning over this chance to immerse yourselves in so much comedy gold, and so we wanted to invite you to be a part of the fun. Show us your best interpretation of a classic Python sketch in a video of under five minutes and you could win the V.I.P. treatment during this rare line-up:

A pair of series passes to see any FIVE of these great films over six days, complimentary popcorn and soda, and ultimate bragging rights.

To play the “Show us your Python” video contest:

1. Create a video interpretation of a classic Python sketch in less than five minutes. For inspiration, see above. Act it out, animate vegetables, have fun with it. Creativity and originality are the most important criteria.

2. Upload your video to our YouTube Group.

3. Videos must be received by midnight E.S.T. on Tuesday, June 23rd.

4. Winner will be announced on the filmlinc blog on June 24th.

Please note:

Videos will be judged on creativity, originality and humorousness ONLY. You do not have to be a technical genius for this one, or even own a nice camera or fancy editing software. A single set-up will suffice.

Good luck!!

RSVP to the Secret Policeman’s Film Festival at the Film Society on Facebook.

Get your tickets early, before all those Python maniacs get to them!

Our totally new and improved YouTube channel!

April 24, 2009

picture-271Our YouTube channel has a totally new look! And the changes aren’t just cosmetic either–we hope to use this enhanced new interface to better connect you to some of our favorite filmmaker Q&As, video diaries, and trailers. But we want to hear what you think. Please subscribe to our videos to never miss another great Film Society video moment, and let us know what you’d like to see more of!

ND/NF: How do YOU live in public? Tell us and win tickets to Closing Night and party!

April 1, 2009


“It’s amazing how much of our lives we share online. YouTube, Twitter, MySpace updated from your iPhone to represent your iLife as you send regular status-updates/tweets/voice-or-video recordings of your current physical/emotional/technological situation–it almost makes blogging seem hopelessly archaic. But it’s this obsession with our rapid technological melding that informs We Live in Public, a documentary by Ondi Timoner,” writes Nick Feitel in his review of New Directors/New Films Closing Night selection.

It’s as true for people as it is for institutions. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center “live in public” by having active presences on Facebook, Twitter (@museummodernart and @filmlinc), YouTube, and Flickr. Further, MoMA lives in public by creating a community-focused website that allows visitors to create their own collections. The Film Society lives in public  by inviting a talented group of New Voices to take over our blog.

But we want to know how you live in public on popular social networking sites. Do you use LinkedIn to find new jobs? Twitter to make new friends? Facebook to share the most intimate details of your life?

Tell us and win a pair of tickets to see the highly anticipated New Directors/New Films Closing Night film, We Live in Public, plus passes to the exclusive afterparty!

To play, use Twitter to Tweet your answer (“I live in public by…”) to @filmlinc. Please include the hashtag #ndnf. See example below:


Winner will be chosen at random at 5PM EST, Friday, April 3rd. Winner must be able to attend the Closing Night screening and afterparty on Sunday evening, April 5th at the Museum of Modern Art.

Comments are closed. Please participate using Twitter.

ND/NF Closing Night We Live in Public: Everyone is famous now (like it or not)

April 1, 2009


It’s amazing how much of our lives we share online. YouTube, Twitter, MySpace updated from your iPhone to represent your iLife as you send regular status-updates/tweets/voice-or-video recordings of your current physical/emotional/technological situation–it almost makes blogging seem hopelessly archaic. But it’s this obsession with our rapid technological melding that informs We Live in Public, a documentary by Ondi Timoner.

Ostensibly, the film follows a “dot-com-kid,” Josh Harris, through his meteoric rise and fall through the dot-com boom/bust of the late 90s and, seen through one prism, We Live in Public could be seen as a sort of bio-pic. But really what we are seeing is beyond any one person, even one as fascinating as Harris. For as Josh forgoes the “second cars and second houses” of his millionaire buddies, he instead invests in alternative-art parties and cult-like experiments using human “rats.”

His projects involve trapping people in a pod-like “hotel” where they sleep, eat, fight and screw with impunity in front of thousands of cameras watching their every move. He’s so interested in this, in fact, that when his first try is busted (by the Giuliani administration), he turns the camera on himself. The result in both cases is relative disaster. After a short period of time, a televised life becomes one of exaggerated drama, performance, where people are alienated from themselves and others. Eventually, even Josh’s own ties with reality, which were tenuous at best, are severed as well.

This would all seem like a morality tale, except that the future for Josh Harris is now and the bulk of the film takes place before anyone even knew what “MySpace” was. Instead, at it’s best, We Live in Public plays like Shakespeare; it gives us a tragic figure to illuminate the folly in our own lives. For if we can intuit from the film that a world where we are all in the public eye is one doomed to failure, then we must wonder what sort of world exactly we live in now.

-Nicholas Feitel, ND/NF New Voice

Our in-house critics weigh in on Time’s top viral videos

December 31, 2008

As the clock runs out on 2008, there’s still time for one more year-end list. This one comes from Time magazine, which scoured the landscape of user-generated videos to find the most searing portrayals of small fuzzy animals in slapstick predicaments, grown men bringing the world together through dance, and other various and sundry viral video novelties.

We here at the filmlinc blog wondered why is it only cinematic portraits of the central Asian steppes or wrenching stories of girls and their lost dogs that get all the critical ink? So we tapped our in-house team for insights on the year’s top viral vids.

Eschewing Time’s #4 pick “Hamster on a Piano (Eating Popcorn)Film Comment’s Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa supplies this worthy alternative, “Walrus Plays Saxophone.” He says: “The walrus, long associated with the sinister and the ugly, from the myths of the  aurora borealis  representing lost souls playing ball with it’s head to Kipling’s description of the animal as an “old Sea Vitch—the big, ugly, bloated, pimpled, fat-necked, long-tusked walrus of the North Pacific, who has no manners except when he is asleep,” has finally been vindicated in this viral video which demands that we no longer think in such black and white terms as beauty vrs. beast or good vrs. evil.”

NYFF Correspondent Tom Treanor picks Time’s #7, How To Pretend You Give A Sh*t About The Election, above, as his top pick. Tom says: “The most informative news segment broadcast all year; a pointed, decisive, and altogether wildly educational crash course on how to get by at a cocktail party when discussing 2008’s favorite ad nauseum topic:  the presidential election.  When, after all, it’s hard to have a well-informed opinion about the mess of it all, it’s best to turn the discussion to the never-fail fallback: just say ‘swing state.'”

When pressed for his take on the state of viral video 2008, Film Comment Senior Editor Chris Chang issued this statement from his winter retreat in Sunset Park: “While the top ten viral-video list is indicative of salient, yet ominous, societal trends, there are more menacing tendencies at play. The contemporary bastardization of direct-cinema, Kino-Pravda, and other forms of “authentic” documentary, specifically as a means of social propaganda, continues to detract from the ontological value of documentary as such. On a purely ideological level it leads toward a forced normalization of intellectual condescension, i.e., a status quo of social elitism—or cultural fascism. Albeit a spatio-temporal impossibility, there can be only one (true) recourse: Bring PUPPY CAM back.”

[Time magazine’s Top Viral Videos of 2008]

Remember to check out our channel on YouTube. It’s filled with great director interviews and clips, and guaranteed to be 100% hamster free.

A visual compilation of Andrzej Wajda’s art and craft

October 22, 2008

Unfamiliar with the work of Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda? Then take a look at this tribute reel prepared for the 2000 Academy Awards.

Truth or Dare: The Films of Andrzej Wajda runs October 17 – November 13, 2008

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest.

Video tribute courtesy of Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Editor: Jeremy Workman