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September 1998, Week 1


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Mark Langer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 10:50:38 EDT
text/plain (59 lines)
Jessica Rosner writes:
> For years prints have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Basically
> rights holders HAVE NO INTEREST in actual film prints. They only care about
> video, cable & other more lucrative rights.
>   The saddest part of the above is the virtual elimination all the truly
> great things done by Turner Entertainment before Warner Bros ate them. Turner
> preserved and made widely available more prints than any archive could.
> Within reason the were generous to Museums & film users aroung the country.
> A few months ago they fired the head of the classics division and the new
> head has told museums and even some rep theaters that they no longer care
> about that stuff. Their only mandate is for putting big titles in as many
> theaters as possible ( the AFI TOUR) and the rest of the collection is of
> little interest.
I share your views.  I've been programming for various archives and
festivals.  Never have things been as difficult as they are now.
Currently, I'm working on a Tashlin retrospective, and the change in
Turner Entertainment's policy that has caused havoc in the programming
world is certainly affecting my most recent effort.  35mm prints of colour
Warner Bros cartoons and such Tashlin films as THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT or
WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? are not available at all, or are only
available in poor quality prints.  Collectors that I am dealing with
say that they have been inundated with requests for their 16mm prints
since Turner has changed direction.
Ironically, Warner Bros. is making films available for the Tashlin show
when Turner is not.  Yet, they are parts of the same company.  One hand is
unaware of what the other hand is doing.
There is a wide difference in the attitudes of various companies to the
exhibition of their films in festivals and archives.  Some, like the
Disney Company, are keenly aware of their history.  While Disney does
appear skittish about the showing of some of its films (such as EDUCATION
FOR DEATH -- a pity, as it is a seminal film in animation history), it is
very cooperative on the whole and well aware of the positive publicity
that ensues from such cooperation.  Some companies can be as cooperative as
Disney if you manage to form a relationship with a sympathetic person on
the inside.  Other companies will cooperate, but seem to view the screening
of such films as an opportunity to charge extortionate fees, rather than
as a positive public relations move.  Others simply won't cooperate at all.
Unfortunately, this final category seems to be growing.
Mark Langer
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