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					The Documentary ‘Boom’: Myths, Movies and Marketing
Dr Thomas Austin
University of Sussex


In the period from late 2002 to early 2004, trade and popular film publications and
websites in the United States and Britain began to identify a „boom‟ in documentary
cinema. In addition to relatively big earners like Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for
Columbine, and, more recently, The March of the Penguins, the total number of
documentaries gaining theatrical release in the US climbed significantly, from an
average of 15 in the late 1990s to around 40 in 2003 and 50 in 2004. As Paul Arthur
notes, this figure accounted for „roughly ten percent of total film releases but more
than one-fourth of the rosters for smaller, nonstudio distributors.‟
This paper considers a number of possible explanations for the rise in visibility and
popularity of (some) documentaries in theatrical and DVD markets. (These range
from audience disappointment with television news and „reality tv‟, or with
Hollywood blockbusters, to Mark Cousin‟s identification of a „new classicism‟ in
documentary). The paper also moves beyond these proposals to explore the key role
of marketing in the so-called „boom‟, along with related issues of form, content, and
the significance of ecologies of production, distribution and exhibition in the US and
UK markets.

The paper concludes with a very brief look at two boom hits: Touching the Void,
which grossed more than $4 million in North America and £2million in the UK after
being marketed not as a documentary but as a mountain-top thriller; and Capturing
the Friedmans which grossed $3 million after being promoted as a family melodrama
/ thriller and an unresolved controversy about which viewers were invited to make up
their own minds.


The Publicity of French and Hollywood Stars in Pour Vous in the 1930s
Jonathan Driskell
King’s College, London

Although stars from various countries appeared in Pour Vous – a leading French fan
magazine during the 30s – those from France and Hollywood featured with the
greatest consistency and it is the nature of this coexistence that my paper explores.
Promotional materials appearing in the magazine (reviews, articles, special features)
of stars from both nations are analysed, considering how their stardom is represented
through text and photographs/illustrations. In addition, the magazine layout is
explained, discussing where stars of these nations appear in relation to each other;
whether either group are favoured in regular features; and if those from France or
Hollywood are given more space, either within articles or in the consistency of their
appearances. In discussing this publicity, I question the ways in which Pour Vous
represented the relationship between these groups of stars and how cultural
differences were emphasised or diminished. I also explore how the articles and layout
fostered the impression that French stars were comparable in stature to those from
Hollywood. In doing so, not only does Pour Vous represent the comparable
importance of French and Hollywood stars, but also, implicitly, the equal significance
of their films and of the two industries to which they belong. Indeed, one of the main
things being promoted in Pour Vous is the French film industry, which is able to
create stars as bright as those of Hollywood.



The Politics of Promoting the New Iranian Cinema

Dr Christopher Gow

University of Warwick


This paper attempts to provide an overview of the way in which the New Iranian
Cinema has been promoted and marketed internationally following its rise to global
prominence a little over twenty years ago with the success of Amir Naderi‟s The
Runner at the Nantes Three Continents Film Festival in 1985. It begins by outlining
briefly the state of the Iranian film industry immediately prior to and following the
1978-79 revolution, as well as the largely failed attempts by the regimes of both
periods to promote their own distinct brand of Iranian cinema overseas. It then goes to
onto to examine how the opportunities for promoting Iranian films internationally, as
well as the marketing strategies of the Iranian authorities, have changed since the
revolution. At the same time it examines how the New Iranian Cinema has been
promoted in both Europe and North America as a quintessential „art cinema‟. The
paper concludes by considering how an insight into the international marketing and
promotion of the New Iranian Cinema can contribute to a better understanding of the
frequently contradictory nature of this cinema, as well as its practitioners.


Selling Spectacular Sound: Dolby and the Unheard History of Technical
Trademarks
Dr Paul Grainge
University of Nottingham


This paper expands the horizon of cinematic branding to include the technologies that
lie at the centre of contemporary film experience. In doing so, it asks questions of
how the sensory affect of sound has been made visible in brand terms. With new
developments in digital surround technology in the 1990s, fierce corporate battles
emerged to control the industrial and technological promise of theatrical sound,
creating new competition for what the Los Angeles Times called “the hearts and ears
of US moviegoers.” My paper examines the attempt by Dolby to accentuate the
industrial and affective significance of its technologies. With the development of DTS
and SDDS in the 1990s, Dolby had to imagine its relation to sound in more
determined ways as a means of asserting itself against its rivals. This meant
developing new digital systems but also a provision for selling (and standardizing) its
trademark technologies within new theatrical and consumer markets. My paper will
examine a number of cinematic audio trailers - with titles such as Train, Aurora,
Canyon, and Rain – that convey a scenic inhabiting of the Dolby universe, inviting the
active listener to enter the very world of the trademark. If contemporary cinema is
defined by a concept of “total entertainment” – what Charles Acland describes as a
mode of experiencing “a world of new images, sounds, and specifically fabricated
sites” - Dolby has sought to visualise itself as a world for audiences that have come to
recognise sound quality as a component of choice in their encounter with film and its
ancillary entertainments. Critically, this paper examines the poetics of branding in the
fleeting but distinctly familiar life of entertainment trade names.

The Art of Selling Things Twice. Trailers, Marketing and the Culture of
Re-Consumption
Professor Vinzenz Hediger
University of Bochum

In this paper, I will argue that film trailers are indicative of major shifts and trends in
patterns of film consumption. Adopting a long term perspective and drawing on the
results a serial analysis of a significant corpus of examples, I will trace the history of
the (American) movie trailers through five major innovations since the early 1910s. In
particular, I will argue that in the mid- to late 1970ties, a significant shift in handling
story information took place which may be related to the emergence of a film culture
of re-consumption. While the trailer has always been a key marketing tool of the film
industry, it has now become aligned to an overall marketing strategy that one Wall
Street analyst recently highlighted by pointing out that “Hollywood has become very
good at selling things twice.”


What Are Film Festivals for?
Professor Dina Iordanova
St. Andrew’s University

We still lack consensus in some areas of our understanding of film festivals, and I am
planning to outline some of the questions that we would need to address in our on-
going studies. Are festivals economically viable? Do festivals really form an
alternative distribution network? Does the hierarchy of festivals help the marketability
of films? Why are festivals getting more heavily involved in production and
distribution? What is the relationship between festivals and film markets?

'The most anticipated two minutes of film ever': Selling Star Wars in the Digital
Age
Keith Johnston
University of Kent

On November 17th, 1998 the „most anticipated two minutes of film ever‟ was the
trailer for Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (Empire 116, p. 44) – but the
only place to see this new trailer debut was at the cinema. During the day, television
news and entertainment programmes began to show clips from the trailer, but by that
evening, the trailer had been uploaded onto the Internet – bootleg versions recorded
by fans, digitised, and made available on a variety of websites. In an attempt to curtail
these low quality bootlegs, Lucasfilm posted the trailer online at starwars.com. 450
Star Wars fans a second attempted to download this trailer, over 200,000 in 48 hours,
an estimated 1.5 million downloads in the first week, rising to an estimated 35 million
in total: shattering all previous Internet download records.
Unlike the 1950s, when widescreen trailers promised „something BIG‟ was coming,
the development of technologies such as the Internet, iPods and videophones has
offered smaller, mobile screens on which to view trailers. This paper will consider the
growth of this new media revolution through a consideration of the trailer strategy for
the recent Star Wars 'prequel' trilogy. Analysing cinema, online and videophone
trailer advertising, the paper will explore the changing nature of trailer aesthetics and
structure in the age of new media screens.

The ‘Alternative’ End of Marketing: Building Audiences for
Artists’/Community Film and Video
Julia Knight
University of Sunderland

This paper will look at the distribution, marketing and promotion of moving image
work that has been produced at the extreme non-commercial, grant-aided end of the
UK sector – looking mainly at artists‟ film/video and community/political activism
tapes. It will explore how extensive and resource intensive promotional activity is
absolutely essential if such work is to find audiences, but will also highlight the
difficulties presented by the fact that in such cases the earned income generated never
covers the cost of those promotional activities and hence has to be subsidised by
grant-aid, volunteer labour, low pay, payment in kind, cross-subsidy from more
commercial product, or some combination thereof. This will be contextualised within
debates that arose around the distribution potential offered by the VHS cassette in the
1980s and more recently by DVD and the possibilities that these technologies seemed
to offer for reaching wider audiences. These issues will be illustrated through
references to intiatives such as the Shoot Shoot Shoot, held at the Tate Modern in
2002, focusing on the first 10 years of the London Filmmakers Co-op, the Miners‟
Campaign Tapes (1984-85), the work of Amber Film Collective, the women‟s
distributor Cinenova, and a DIY sell-through initiative by video artist George Barber.



On the Brink of Disaster: AOL-Time-Warner, and the Information-
Clearinghouse Website

Ian London

Royal Holloway


As many economic analysts observed in 2001, the “young” merger of AOL with
Time Warner could well have destabilised one of the globe‟s largest media
conglomerates––after posting a combined loss of $129 billion by 2002, the merger
was formally regarded a disaster. A production trend focusing on top echelon
franchise blockbusters became crucial to re-stabilising the company‟s stock price:
the promotion and marketing of all three of The Lord of the Rings films covers
this transitional period from 2001––2003 aptly. In the post-Phantom Menace
world of franchise film, New Line Cinema‟s (a subsidiary of Time-Warner)
marketing of the fantasy trilogy set an explicit challenge to Lucasfilm with its
compassionate but aggressive audience outreach program. While Star Wars was
already well positioned globally, aided by a mammoth licensing campaign, the
marketing departments behind The Lord of the Rings films appealed to and
secured the loyalties of its core demographic through the official website, making
viewers members and promising them related promotional “treats,” and by
becoming central “hubs” in a social sphere beyond the cinema.

To what extent are the franchise films developed by Warners assisted by the rise
of the website, and do these sites follow a shared model? The franchise-based
(Batman and Superman movies) and family entertainment (its Harry Potter series)
websites which The Lord of the Rings have spawned are valuable assets in a
blockbuster film‟s marketing campaign. These information-clearinghouse sites
further extend the “socially meaningful network of relations” described by
Barbara Klinger in her study of the commodification and reception of film texts. I
would argue the “mini-narratives” of which Klinger speaks, accumulate across the
course of a film‟s production phase in the world of the information-clearinghouse
site, supporting a personal internalising of the phenomena in the spectator, but at
the same time an outward globalisation of the phenomena as well.


The UK Film Council’s Digital Screen Network
Dr Stephen Perrin
Deputy Head of Distribution and Exhibition, UK Film Council



All in the Name: Tartan Asia Extreme Films
Dr Chi-Yun Shin
Sheffield Hallam University

This paper investigates the UK based exhibitor and distributor Tartan Films‟ flagship
label „Asia Extreme‟, which has played a pivotal role in promoting and disseminating
East Asian films in recent years. As the first distribution label that came out
specifically dealing with East Asian films in the UK, Tartan Asia Extreme has
successfully released a number of titles that include Audition (1999), Battle Royale
(2000), The Isle (2000), Infernal Affairs (2002), Old Boy (2003) and Lady Vengeance
(2005). With an extensive (and ever growing) DVD catalogue, Tartan has emerged as
the most high-profile label amongst the East Asian film providers in the UK, initially
through their highly successful, annual nationwide tour of Asia Extreme Roadshow
(2003-2005) and other marketing strategies specifically targeting young audiences. In
2004, Tartan also launched its US branch, employing the same marketing campaigns:
stand alone theatrical releases for stronger titles and a roadshow/cinema tie-in across
several major cities in the US. The output of the Asia Extreme label, however, tends
to „lump together‟ different types of films from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong as
well as Thailand. Questions are also raised as to the name of the label itself, Asia
Extreme, which invokes and in part relies on the Western audiences‟ perception of the
East as weird and wonderful. In addition, somewhat problematically, the label aspires
to be a genre (perhaps meta-genre is a more appropriate term) as the owner of Tartan
Films Hamish McAlpine has referred the label to be a “brand – a genre in itself”.
Indeed, the ways in which Tartan registers and navigates the vagaries of distinct
national cultures and different genres (horror, action, thriller, etc.) gathered under the
Asia Extreme banner provide a fascinating site to explore how the West consumes
East Asian cinema.


'Another medium entirely': Esther Harris, National Screen Service and Film
Trailers in Britain
Professor Sarah Street
University of Bristol

This paper will examine the work of Esther Harris at National Screen
Service (NSS) in Britain. Harris was the major figure in the production of
trailers for British films and in the preparation of trailers for American
films distributed in Britain, 1920s-1970s. Drawing on Harris's articles in
the trade press, and on an interview with her conducted by the BECTU oral
history project, I will convey the context of trailer production,
particularly in the 1940sand 1950s. As an aspect of advertising and
publicity, trailers occupy a particular space in both production and
reception which Harris described as 'another medium entirely'. In this
analysis trailers serve as mini-narratives which display particular
characteristics, themes and techniques that draw on, but often depart from,
a full-length film; another medium but at the same time related to the
final product. As well as providing an account of how NSS came to dominate
the trailer market in Britain and detail the major practices developed by
Harris, my paper will be illustrated with some key examples to suggest some
ways in which trailers can be analysed. In addition the paper indicates how
the study of trailers raises broader questions relating to the significance
of film marketing modes, including product differentiation; questions of
market domination; censorship; film form and style.

				
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