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Thursday, February 12, 2009

OUCH! - Swanberg/Mumblecore hate continues at Glenn Kenny's blog in comments, starts to widen to Dentler, Pierson, iW, et al.

For sheer spectacle, I've been following the comments at Glenn Kenny's post/article re: Joe Swanberg's movies (let me get my take on the films & the maker out of the way quickly: Swanberg is very productive, Mumblecore is a good way to generate publicity for low-budget/no-star movies, I am not a fan of KOTM or LOL, however, did somewhat enjoy HTTS - some characters had funny moments - I think that's about it - oh, also, it is cool that the M-core crowd has embraced Barry Jenkins - I am sure MfM benefited from it), anyway, this latest comment from AlexJones (at the end of PAGE 4!!!??? of comments) is kinda explosive/feels explosive ('cause it attacks many indie scene makers?), here's a part of it:

"First, Matt Dentler rode the Mumblecore hype to a job at Cinetic Rights Management and needed to continue to generate this hype in order to legitimize his hiring and raise his profile with companies like Amazon. This year his replacement, Janet Pierson, has programmed a film IN WHICH SHE IS AN ACTRESS. Bujalski's Beeswax, which has already been torn-apart in Berlin. Now, can you imagine Geoff Gilmore programming a film in which he acts? No, you cannot. Why? Because he is a professional and above that sort of thing.

If that weren't enough, Sarasota Film Programmer Holly Herrick, recently appeared literally naked and in bed with Swanberg for Young American Bodies (http://blog.spout.com/2007/11/14/young-american-bodies-preview/). Now, can you imagine Geoff Gilmore filming himself getting in bed with a filmmaker? No, you cannot. Why? Because he is a professional and above that sort of thing.

If you continue to look at the circle of indiewire, hammer to nail, Spout Blog, SXSW, etc. you begin to see the same names appearing again and again and again, as performers as reviewers as bloggers and as programmers. They sit in a circle, facing inward, and tell each other how great they are. They do it in a variety of ways and over and over again. Any dissenting opinion - like Amy Taubin - is drowned out with attacks that the criticism is (somehow) personal. Meanwhile, good films go unnoticed and the larger public struggles to understand what all that chatter is about. The further from the world-at-large the group drifts the worse the films get and the further detached they become... but they never know it, because their only mirrors are each other, and their friend's blog said it was great, so keep going... and all the while we wonder where the great filmmakers are."

Read the rest of the comment at Kenny's blog.

And since my blog appears on iW & I have promoted some M-core movies (stuff by Katz, Duplass bros, Mutual App) I'll say - for myself - yes, attention from blogs definitely fuels indie filmmaker activity (i wanted to say careers - but a lot of indie filmmakers are not making all their money from making movies - so, pursuit is perhaps a better term) - I guess I am guilty a tiny bit for keeping M-core alive. Blogs are tiny gatekeepers to one tiny area of the indie film world (but i guess it all depends on how you look at it, one person's tiny scene can be another person's whole world). BUT...

But is M-core & blogging about it positively or negatively ultimately a good thing for indie film? Possibly. It's drama (very light drama, but drama for indie film geeks) - people like spectacle - draws people in, entertains people. Also, any filmmakers who are enraged that Swanberg's not so spectacular movies get a ton of attention due to his networking abilities & peer support can motivate themselves to create such a situation for themselves AND to use it to make better films - or at least films that they think are better & more deserving of praise & support than Swanberg's.

OK, back to real work... :)

Here's Kenny's post w/ all the hot -!caliente! - comments. Enjoy the drama.

- Sujewa

2 comments:

1Way or Another said...

Fascinating post Sujewa. Thanks for letting us know what drama is going on. Looks entertaining! I also agree with some of your points in the post itself. Good stuff.

The Sujewa said...

Well, we may want to bookmark that page for future reference - 'cause, if we keep making movies, the bell that tolls for Swanberg in those comments may toll for us one day.

And, aside from its entertainment value, not too much to worry about, art/entertainment can always be viewed in two ways by two camps - "best thing ever" or "worst thing ever". The Kenny post seems to bring the two camps together for an explosive encounter.

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