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BFI London Film Festival


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Power to the Pixel: The Brave New World of Cross Media: Like it or not, there's no going back

The Brave New World of Cross Media:  Like it or not, there's no going back - Power to the Pixel in conjunction with the London Film Festival

Anyone in the Entertainment industry who does not already use cross-media/ mixed media/ new media or any of several terms used; owes it to themselves to attend a conference like the Power to the Pixel, held in London last week in conjunction with the London Film Festival. The massive paradigm change that is going on is clearly the equivalent to the model of silent movies vs. the model of talking movies.  The old model of making a film, getting it distributed to movie theatres for people to go and see at fixed time, is in the process of being eclipsed by the new paradigm using all forms of media, internet, gaming, cell phones, etc. In many cases, film makers plan the use of these tools before writing the screenplay, working all media tools into the plan.  It's a brave new world, which gives the power back to the people  and makes it inter-active in a way never imaginable.

Audiences are fragmented and they are taking charge. ‘American film-maker, M dot Strange whose feature premiered at Sundance said, ‘Traditional distribution is starting to crumble because of the internet.  We are all distributors now.' Was a theme repeated by several experts. 

‘Most independent films don't get a release. Once you start thinking your story no longer has to bend to the traditional format, you can build a more substantial audience in a different way. The next generation of film-makers is very experienced at building audiences outside traditional film-making, said Liz Rosenthal, founder and producer of the event.  We have to adapt quickly to the cross platform evolution of media.  Peer-to-peer distribution is the best form of business model according to film-maker Jamie King.

There was much discussion of competing with free product and how to use it to your advantage.  Brian Newman, Consultant and Former President of the Tribeca Film Institute, explained ‘How to be better than Free'. Notions of value have changed. He gave concrete examples of what the audience will pay for: immediacy, access, personalisation, interpretation and authenticity.   There were a number of examples where people who made considerable donations to film-makers for product being offered for free.                  

Exciting new cross-media forms offer exciting potential to increase extend the life and quality of film product; and are changing the face of the international film industry forever.

By Lana Poole

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