Friday, April 15, 2011

New IVFF Schedule

Now that I've been working on the Instant View Film Festival for approaching two months, it's time to re-tool it a bit to work better for everyone, especially for you the reader.  I've been getting good feedback from everyone (thank you), but I've become a bit frustrated with the initial schedule that I designed to get the blog up to speed and maximize the number of posts through the week.  That initial schedule has served its purpose, namely to get an initial collection of films worth your attention and worth consulting when you are looking for something to watch.  My frustration has become that I have been less than satisfied with the writing in many daily entries because I was just keeping to the schedule.  I want the blog to evolve into not just a resource for titles (there are other resources available for that), but also something that I enjoy writing and you enjoy reading.

With that in mind, I will continue with the Quick Picks each day according to the topics I originally designated for this blog: international films, documentaries, animation, experimental films, popular genres, and American independent films.  On occasion these will be films I have added to my queue myself, so the entries will be shorter because I haven't seen them, but I will try to convey why I think we both should give them a look.  And often these entries will constitute a "mini-festival" of two or three films on a theme or a topic, such as a particular genre, national cinema, or filmmaker.  At the minimum, these entries may consist of a few sentences before the list of links.  But even in these cases, the entries will guide you to films worth watching.  Once again today I read Twitter entries like, "Good to see that the Netflix Watch Instantly selection is still a wasteland." and "Why is Saw 6 the only saw movie you can watch instantly on Netflix? Does it actually suck that bad?" Even the shortest Quick Pick entries will show that these sentiments are wrong. 

While the Quick Picks will be daily, I will post three Spotlight entries per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  These will not follow any particular theme, but I will try to focus on films that have been recently added to Netflix Watch Instantly, Hulu, or other streaming resources.  These Spotlight entries will most often be in the form of a review of an individual film, but sometimes they will be a short essay on a theme or topic relating a group of films together.  Sometimes the Spotlight entries will be more thought out, organized essays with historical or contextual information, other times they will be very informal, off-the-cuff responses or attempts to pick fights with other reviewers and bloggers.  This will also give me more flexibility in what I watch to prepare for these entries, making the viewing process more enjoyable rather than seeming like a chore to watch a particular film to prepare to write on a specific theme for a specific day. 

Opening up the format in this way will hopefully make visiting the blog on a regular basis more fun and engaging.  I would like to try to get more reader comments and discussion for each entry, but I realize that the initial format did not really encourage that, since most often there wasn't really something to respond to in each post. I now realize that this blog gets quite a bit of views from around the world (particularly Germany), and I would love to see this transform into more than just one-way communication. If I open the entries up to more opinion in addition to information, perhaps readers will want to respond more directly to the entries.

So here is the new schedule, with some recommendations thrown in so that this isn't just a meta-post, and you can follow up and watch some good stuff.

International Quick Picks, short entry focusing foreign national cinemas and international filmmakers.

Example: White Material (Claire Denis, France, 2009, 105 minutes)

Monday Spotlight: Longer review of an individual film or short essay on a collection of films.

Documentary Quick Picks, short entry focusing on contemporary and classic documentary films.

Example: Restrepo (Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington, USA, 2010, 93 minutes)

Animation / Experimental Quick Picks, short entry focusing on animated features and short films, as well as experimental films and new media on the internet.

Example: Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 2008, 103 minutes) 

Wednesday Spotlight: Longer review of an individual film or short essay on a collection of films.

Popular Genres and Television Quick Picks: short entry focusing on popular genres of cinema and television, both classic (westerns, musicals) and contemporary (sci-fi, action).

Example: Monsters (Gareth Edwards, UK, 2010, 93 minutes)

American Independent Quick Picks: short entry focusing on classic and contemporary American independent feature films.

Example: Goodbye Solo (Ramin Bahrani, USA, 2008, 91 minutes)

Friday Spotlight: Longer review of an individual film or short essay on a collection of films.

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