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| Following on from Darryl Wiggers' post on Kubrick and widescreen, would I
| be right in thinking that Hitchcock never made a film with a wider ratio
| than 1:1.85?  I can think of several VistaVision titles, but none in 'scope.

If you assume, from my argument, that because Kubrick had a preference for the 1.33:1 ratio that ALL filmmakers of his era (and before) should have felt the same way -- of course not. And I think I made it clear that even Kubrick saw the advantages of the wide-screen when he made 2001 (2.20.1 ratio) and, hence, made an exception.
.

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Date:         Wed, 10 May 2000 11:18:36 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Ed Owens <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
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Let me add a vast assortment of musicals (Gigi, My Fair Lady, Hello Dolly,
and The Music Man, just to name a few) where dance numbers are abysmally
cropped and parts of songs are often sung by offscreen voices (voices that
become embodied in the letterboxed versions).

Ed

In a message dated 5/10/00 9:47:48 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

>In _Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home_, Spock, Kirk, and Taylor cannot be
>shown in the same shot in the front of the truck in pan and scan.  In
>_Dark City_, The table cannot be seen extending in pan and scan.  In
>_Heart and Souls_ the four spirits cannot be seen in the same shot near
>the beginning, flying toward Thomas.  In _Star Trek: The Motion Picture_,
>Wise's immensity compositions are destroyed because there is not a human
>in every shot, as in the widescreen version.  These arer examples I can
>think of odd the top of my head.  I know a number of scenes in _Dune_
>don't make any sense in pan and scan, and there is a scene in Jun Fukuda's
>_The War in Space_ (1977), that has a conversation shot from under a glass
>table.  In pan and scan (the only way it is available in the U.S., where
>it was released directly to television), all we can see are the noses of
>Ryo Ikebe and Kensaky Morita, as they have their conversation.  I once
>gave a speech on letterboxing and used this shot as an example of just
>how
>damaging pan and scan can be.

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Date:         Wed, 10 May 2000 12:26:53 -0500
Reply-To:     [log in to unmask]
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
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Leo Enticknap responds:

> Mike Frank asks what the 'standard anti-letterboxing argument' would be.
> As I understand it, it holds that if a film is photographed in order to be
> shown in a certain ratio, thern showing it in any other ratio (i.e.
> carrying out the technical change necessary to achieve this) fundamentally
> changes the visual qualities of the image from those which were intended by
> the film-maker, and thus is not advisable.

I think that there is a confusion of terms here.  "Letterboxing" as I
understand the term usually refers to "preserving" the original
wide-screen format of a film.  This usually makes for a smaller image
overall on the TV screen (since it is not as high as the screen--the
top and bottom will be black; in some older version, there are
arabesque curlicues or other designs on the top and/or bottom to fill
the void.)

"Anti-letterboxing" would imply that one is against this practice.  I
think that the original post using the term was a typo--but if there
were such a thing, it might be justified on a few grounds:
a) that the larger image is simply clearer on most standard TV screens
and the smaller but wider image in letterboxing is too hard to see;
b) that some processes (in fact, most today) take full-screen
composition into account during filming, so nothing is lost from the
sides when the full image is shown on TV

Don Larsson

----------------------
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
[log in to unmask]

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Date:         Wed, 10 May 2000 14:11:41 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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In this debate about letterboxing, little has been said about the issue of
resolution; while video is of course much resolution whether letterboxed or
not, letterboxing (and I usually prefer it) can be quite a bit lower
resolution than pan-n-scan.  So it becomes a trade-off between composition
versus resolution; do you want your lost detail to be removed from the ends
of image, or uniformly from the entire image?  And then there's the issue of
color resolution; the delicate cinematography in Tarkovsky's films, for
example, become rather murky on video.  And there's plenty of other examples
in which resolution makes a big difference.

MJPW

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Date:         Wed, 10 May 2000 19:19:53 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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From:         Robert Hunt <[log in to unmask]>
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In the midst of this excellent discussion (many thanks for the fina
examples), I've got a question: Does anyone know the actual origin of the
term 'letterboxing"? How long has it been in use?

rh

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 08:43:46 +0300
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From:         "Vidovic, Boris" <[log in to unmask]>
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Scott,

I think you should try to contact Yugoslav Film Archive. Addresses,
e-mail etc can be found at:
http://www.kinoteka.org.yu/

Good luck,
Boris Vidovic
Finnish Film Archive
Helsinki

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 13:30:26 +0000
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
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Donald Larsson observes:

>I think that there is a confusion of terms here.  "Letterboxing" as I
>understand the term usually refers to "preserving" the original
>wide-screen format of a film.  This usually makes for a smaller image
>overall on the TV screen (since it is not as high as the screen--the
>top and bottom will be black; in some older version, there are
>arabesque curlicues or other designs on the top and/or bottom to fill
>the void.)

Sorry folks... got confused and inverted the terms 'panning and scanning'
and 'letterboxing'.  Swap 'em round and my previous post should hopefully
make sense.

L
------------------------------------
Leo Enticknap
Technical Manager
City Screen Cinemas (York) Ltd..
Coney St., York YO1 9QL.
United Kingdom
Telephone: 01904 612940 (work); 01904 673207 (home); 0410 417383 (mobile)
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 13:42:53 +0000
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Leo Enticknap <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
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Darryl Wiggers writes:

>If you assume, from my argument, that because Kubrick had a preference for
>the 1.33:1 ratio that ALL filmmakers of his era (and before) should have
>felt the same way -- of course not. And I think I made it clear that even
>Kubrick saw the advantages of the wide-screen when he made 2001 (2.20.1
>ratio) and, hence, made an exception.

Far from assuming that, I get the impression that most prominent
film-makers with this period ranged from experimenting with widescreen
(even if, like Fritz Lang, they found it a negative experience) to
positively embracing it.  It just struck me as a side-issue, reading your
post, that Hitchcock never went wider than VistaVision.  Having now looked
this up, it seems that 1:1.66 was his preferred ratio during the latter
stages of his career (e.g. Psycho, The Birds, Marnie).

L
------------------------------------
Leo Enticknap
Technical Manager
City Screen Cinemas (York) Ltd..
Coney St., York YO1 9QL.
United Kingdom
Telephone: 01904 612940 (work); 01904 673207 (home); 0410 417383 (mobile)
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 09:56:08 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Darryl Wiggers <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
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>In the midst of this excellent discussion (many thanks for the fina
>examples), I've got a question: Does anyone know the actual origin of the
>term 'letterboxing"? How long has it been in use?

My recollection is that it first appeared around 1981-2 on the VHS version
of Woody Allen's Manhattan (released by UA), one of the first video
releases in this format. But the format didn't catch on ,and neither did
the term. Over the next 10 years the term, and format, was mostly limited
to laser disc releases. MGM/UA (merged after the Heaven's Gate disaster)
often used the phrase "Deluxe Letterbox" (even when releasing titles like
"Runaway Train," shot 1.33:1). 20th Century Fox prefered saying
"Widescreen." Warner Bros. used neither, usually printing a small print
explanation on the back of the packaging that the film was "matted" (sp).
Eventually the term "letterbox" began to gain favor in the mid-90s, when
more VHS titles were released in this format, but it still varied between
"Widesreen" and "Letterbox" depending on the distributor. I haven't
carefully studied the packaging of DVD releases but I still notice the term
"Widescreen" kicking around. I guess my question is, do certain companies
hold patents on these words, much like their "VistaVision" and
"Cinemascope"?

dw

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Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 07:51:15 +1000
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Ken Mogg <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change [Hitchcock's preferred screen ratio]
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Leo Enticknap wrote:

> It just struck me as a side-issue [...] that Hitchcock never went wider than
> VistaVision.  Having now looked
> this up, it seems that 1:1.66 was his preferred ratio during the latter
> stages of his career (e.g. Psycho, The Birds, Marnie).

Leo, where did you look this up?  My information about Hitchcock's preferred
ratio, as included in the 'Author's Note' of my book (the uncut UK edition
...), is slightly different:

'All of the VistaVision films, from TO CATCH A THIEF to NORTH BY NORTHWEST,
have a recommended aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  PSYCHO's screen shape is
controversial.  Officially, its "theatrical ratio" is 1.85:1, but Gus Van Sant,
for one, remembers the original cans were labelled 1.75:1.  All of Hitchcock's
films after PSYCHO carry an official aspect ratio of 1.85:1.'

- Ken Mogg (author, 'The Alfred Hitchcock Story').
http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~muffin

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 19:04:10 -0700
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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From:         John McMurria <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      cfp: film, tv, & youth culture
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CALL FOR PAPERS: *a reminder that abstracts are due June 1*

"Screen Teens: Film, Television and Youth Culture"

For the screen industries 'teenagers' mean business. They are frequent =
film-goers and brand-impressionable television viewers with pockets full =
of disposable income, and a demographic that has surged in recent years =
as the 'echo' generation enters their teen years. And for young people, =
this means that screen media occupy an ever-larger place in the business =
of their everyday lives. At this moment of resurgence, this collection =
of essays would like to reassess the cultural and historical =
implications of film, television and youth culture from the post-war =
years to the present. This anthology looks at how teens matter to screen =
industries, and how screen texts matter to young people. It focuses on =
how representations of youth have come to pervade the popular media, and =
on the implications of screen media becoming increasingly constitutive =
of youth culture.


This volume combines the disciplinary strengths of screen studies =
(genre, textual, and industry analysis) with critical media and cultural =
studies (political economy, everyday uses, identity politics) to =
interrogate the interfacing of production and consumption contexts, =
texts and their uses, and culture industries and lived publics. Sections =
and topics of consideration include but are not limited to the =
following:

Section I - "Popular Culture and Youth"

Ground clearing essays here consider conceptual questions central to =
youth studies and the popular including youth and consumerism, political =
economy, citizenship, ethnography, cultural policy, interpretation, =
empirical studies, cultural regulation and postmodernism. If youth =
studies have focused on music and subcultures, this section investigates =
methodological options for considering how screen media (re)constitute =
youth cultures, and why teen screen events become sites for channeling =
social and cultural anxieties or ideological contradictions.

Section II - "Genre and Teen Cycles"

Genres are cultural forms born at the intersection of culture industries =
and lived publics. Essays here investigate the generic constitution of =
the 'teenpic', teen television series, or teen subgenera through this =
interplay of industries and publics.

Section III - "Youth Matters"

From music, fashion and sex to identity, freedom and alienation this =
section considers the things of significance, pleasure and struggle for =
young people as they interface with the media. They are also of concern =
to institutions, governments, censors, parents, juries and associations. =
Essays here follow a topics/themes/issues approach that elaborate youth =
matters and media such as violence, race, sex, censorship, grrl culture, =
stars, audiences and fandom.

Section IV - "Consuming Teens"

This section considers how the culture industries approach youth as =
market, audience, and consumer including: media synergies and =
conglomeration; advertising, marketing, market research, branding and =
scheduling; the music industries and film and television; delivery =
technologies and youth culture (the internet, cable and satellite).

Section V - "Screen Teens and Global Youth Culture"

Cultural production is increasingly global in circulation and design, =
and youth culture has often been a driving force in this globalization =
of popular media. This section seeks papers that consider diverse local, =
national, regional, and international screen industries and contexts:

Please e-mail 500 word abstracts and a short bio (or any inquiries) by 1 =
June 2000 to John McMurria, [log in to unmask] Completed papers for =
accepted abstracts will be due by 1 March 2001.

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 19:37:11 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         [log in to unmask]
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
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> Far from assuming that, I get the impression that most prominent
> film-makers with this period ranged from experimenting with widescreen
> (even if, like Fritz Lang, they found it a negative experience) to
> positively embracing it.  It just struck me as a side-issue, reading your
> post, that Hitchcock never went wider than VistaVision.  Having now looked
> this up, it seems that 1:1.66 was his preferred ratio during the latter
> stages of his career (e.g. Psycho, The Birds, Marnie).

I take it the letterboxed tape of Psycho (which I've never seen) is either
cropped to make it 1.85, or the package is mislabeled.  Does anyone have
any details on this?

Scott

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 19:12:57 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         [log in to unmask]
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
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See p. 58 of the current issue of Video Watchdog, for an excellent example
of the importance of letterboxing, with _Fright Night_.

I loathe pan and scan.  I'll watch non-anamorphic films in pan and scan,
but not anamorphic ones, unless they have not been released any other way
(and I'm still holding out on films like _Nashville_ and _GATTACA_, which
I understand are destroyed by pan and scan.

BTW, _The Searchers_ looks incredibly distorted in pan and scan.

Scott

 ===============================================================================
Scott Andrew Hutchins
http://php.iupui.edu/~sahutchi
Cracks in the Fourth Wall Filmworks/Oz, Monsters, Kamillions, and More!
(with special musical guest Leila Josefowicz)

"Who's John Adams?"  --Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., at Monticello,
after failing to recognize busts of other founding fathers.



On Wed, 10 May 2000, Leo Enticknap wrote:

> Mike Frank asks what the 'standard anti-letterboxing argument' would be.
> As I understand it, it holds that if a film is photographed in order to be
> shown in a certain ratio, thern showing it in any other ratio (i.e.
> carrying out the technical change necessary to achieve this) fundamentally
> changes the visual qualities of the image from those which were intended by
> the film-maker, and thus is not advisable.  To this, however, I would add
> these caveats:
>
> 1.  Hollywood now generally adopts a 'shoot-and-protect' policy for films
> in spherical ratios.  Basically, the US, the UK, certain parts of Western
> Europe and Japan uses 1:1.85 as the industry standard spherical ratio, and
> therefore most Hollywood productions which are not in 'scope are designed
> to look their best in 1:1.85.  However, France, India, Australia and most
> of South America use 1:1.66 as their standard, whilst Russia and China
> still have 1:1.33 as their primary film format.  Added to this, films are
> increasingly having to be compatible with the widescreen TV standard of
> 16:9, which translates roughly as 1:1.76.  Therefore, Hollywood films still
> have to be showable in these systems, which is why the prints do not
> generally have hard mattes.  You could, if you wished, show MANIAC COP 4 in
> the Academy ratio - but a large swathe of the frame would contain no
> action.  Ironically, this is exactly the opposite of letterboxing, i.e.
> showing more of the original frame and magnifying it less.
>
> 2.  Like subtitling, the quality of panning and scanning varies widely.  If
> the printer is constantly scanning an Academy-sized box in the middle of a
> 'scope frame, the result is guaranteed to look abysmal; but if it tracks
> the essential action without moving too suddenly or often, then the film
> can look surprisingly acceptable.  Added to which, a television is not the
> same as a cinema screen and therefore it could be argued that letterboxing
> is essential in order to give a production an equal chance when transposed
> to a different medium.  It's not an argument I would personally accept, but
> it's the only one I can think of in favour of letterboxing.  After all, do
> people regularly complain that films were originally released with
> multi-channel soundtracks are regularly broadcast (or sold on retail video)
> with mono sound?
>
> L
> ------------------------------------
> Leo Enticknap
> Technical Manager
> City Screen Cinemas (York) Ltd..
> Coney St., York YO1 9QL.
> United Kingdom
> Telephone: 01904 612940 (work); 01904 673207 (home); 0410 417383 (mobile)
> e-mail: [log in to unmask]
>
> ----
> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
> University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu
>

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 23:24:49 EDT
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Subject:      Pontecorvo books in Italian
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Dear friends,

I'm searching for two books published on Gillo Pontecorvo published in Italy.
They are:

Irene Bignardi's "Memorie estorte a uno smemorato: Vita di Gillo Pontecorvo"
(Milan: Feltrinelli, 1999)

"primo piano sull'autore: Gillo Pontecorvo: La dittatura della verita"
published by the XVII Rassegna del Cinema Italiano in 1998 for a Pontecorvo
retrospective.

Does anybody out there have a good source to buy books from Italy? Thanks!

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
[log in to unmask]

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 12:37:02 -0400
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         wanda bershen <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Please Post
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Dear Moderator:

I have sent this to a number of organizations like MLA, OAH,etc. for email
posting. Would be a great help to announce also on Screen-L.  Please let me
know if that is OK -- and if it needs editing for you.

Many thanks

Wanda Bershen


May 2000
EXPANDED FUNDRAISING/GRANTWRITING SERVICES
        FOR FILM & VIDEO PROJECTS LAUNCHED BY
 RED DIAPER PRODUCTIONS & THOMAS & ASSOCIAT"ES, INC.

Film, video & Web based media are increasingly programmed and produced not
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Staffing, Consulting and Training Programs for Museums and Art Businesses
Nationwide we can offer access to a large pool of highly talented
development professionals eager to apply their skills to media-related
fundraising and able to work at reasonable rates.
Services include:
 Grantwriting
 Researching funding sources
 Consulting  on strategy for production, distribution, exhibition
 Consulting on educational uses of media.

        Geri Thomas, Thomas & Associates, Inc. and Wanda Bershen, Red Diaper
Productions jointly have over 20 years of fundraising, museum exhibition,
curatorial, public programming & media curating experience.  RED DIAPER
PRODUCTIONS is a specialized distribution & programming company dedicated
to increasing the audience for innovative domestic & international films.
Services include programming, exhibition, distribution and fundraising for
selected projects.

Successful media proposals have included those to: New York State Arts
Council, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the
Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding,Lila
Acheson Wallace Foundation,Soros Foundation and the Independent Television
Service.

Museum & Art clients have included: Baltimore Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt
National Design Museum, The Jewish Museum, Christie's, New York University,
American Craft Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn Academy of the
Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Contact us at:
Red Diaper Productions                  Thomas & Associates, Inc.
Tel/fax: 212-598-022                    Phone: 212.625.2011
Email: [log in to unmask] Fax: 212.625.2514
WEB: www.reddiaper.com          Email: [log in to unmask]
                                        WEB:www.artstaffing.com

Wanda Bershen
RED DIAPER PRODUCTIONS
451 East 14 Street 8F
NYC, N.Y. 10009
tel/fax: 212-598-0224
email: [log in to unmask]
www.reddiaper.com

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Date:         Thu, 11 May 2000 13:50:37 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Dan Streible <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Job announcement
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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLUMBIA FILM SOCIETY

The Columbia Film Society (CFS) seeks Executive Director with experience
and proven potential as a manager, communicator, fund-raiser, leader, and
team player.  Extraordinary opportunity to have an impact on the community
arts scene.  Responsibilities include: working with the Board and other
staff to establish goals and plans for new and existing programs, leading
and motivating staff and volunteers to achieve these plans, raising and
managing an annual budget of $180,000, and overseeing community outreach
and volunteer development.

The ideal candidate will have:  excellent organizational and management
skills; experience in grant-writing, fund-raising, and administration for
non-profit arts organizations; an ability to recruit and motivate
volunteers; strong writing and communication skills; and experience in
media arts.

The CFS is an exciting, well-supported grassroots organization that seeks
to provide films and videos in a context stimulates community debate and
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(www.nickelodeon.org) and sponsors a variety of education programs,
including visiting media artists, community forums about social issues
raised by films and videos, and courses in media production.  Staff
includes Education Director, Theater Manager, and four part-time employees.

The excellence of our culturally-diverse programming has been
well-recognized in the region, and our recent emphasis has been on becoming
a recognized community center for media literacy and  media arts education.
The metropolitan area has a population of 500,000 and includes the
University of South Carolina (25,000 students) and the state government.

Immediate opening.  Salary starts at $22,000-25,000 (depending on
experience) for a full-time position, plus health insurance and annual
leave.  The CFS is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer.
Send a resume and three references to David Whiteman, President, via fax
(803-254-0299) or e-mail ([log in to unmask]).  Review of applications will
continue until the position is filled.

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 09:06:14 -0500
Reply-To:     [log in to unmask]
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change [Hitchcock's preferred screen ratio]
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII

Ken Mogg quotes:


> 'All of the VistaVision films, from TO CATCH A THIEF to NORTH BY NORTHWEST,
> have a recommended aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  PSYCHO's screen shape is
> controversial.  Officially, its "theatrical ratio" is 1.85:1, but Gus Van Sant,
> for one, remembers the original cans were labelled 1.75:1.  All of Hitchcock's
> films after PSYCHO carry an official aspect ratio of 1.85:1.'

For what it's worth, PSYCHO is the one film of the "major phase" of
Hitchcock's American films in the 1950s-early 1960s that was not
photographed by Robert Burks.

I've noted before that the VistaVision process can yield interesting
results when you are screening in different media.  The videotape
version (and 16 mm. version) I've shown are in full-screen format and
allow you to see the tops of the cylcoramas and studio lights in some
of the outdoor scenes, especially those near Mt. Rushmore, as well as
the cutaway tops of the taxicabs and cars in NY.

Don Larsson

----------------------
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
[log in to unmask]

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 06:56:12 -0700
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         David Ezell <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

Perhaps the most painful of all the musical moments is
the Act One finale from THE KING AND I (where the gag
is that Anna cannot have her head higher than the
King).   The video camera pans to Anna, cuts to the
King, back and forth.  Poor home viewers never get to
see the visual joke as Yul Brenner slides slowly into
a full split, and Anna struggles to keep up with him.

David Ezell
NYC

--- Ed Owens <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Let me add a vast assortment of musicals (Gigi, My
> Fair Lady, Hello Dolly,
> and The Music Man, just to name a few) where dance
> numbers are abysmally
> cropped and parts of songs are often sung by
> offscreen voices (voices that
> become embodied in the letterboxed versions).
>
> Ed
>
> In a message dated 5/10/00 9:47:48 AM,
> [log in to unmask] writes:
>
> >In _Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home_, Spock, Kirk,
> and Taylor cannot be
> >shown in the same shot in the front of the truck in
> pan and scan.  In
> >_Dark City_, The table cannot be seen extending in
> pan and scan.  In
> >_Heart and Souls_ the four spirits cannot be seen
> in the same shot near
> >the beginning, flying toward Thomas.  In _Star
> Trek: The Motion Picture_,
> >Wise's immensity compositions are destroyed because
> there is not a human
> >in every shot, as in the widescreen version.  These
> arer examples I can
> >think of odd the top of my head.  I know a number
> of scenes in _Dune_
> >don't make any sense in pan and scan, and there is
> a scene in Jun Fukuda's
> >_The War in Space_ (1977), that has a conversation
> shot from under a glass
> >table.  In pan and scan (the only way it is
> available in the U.S., where
> >it was released directly to television), all we can
> see are the noses of
> >Ryo Ikebe and Kensaky Morita, as they have their
> conversation.  I once
> >gave a speech on letterboxing and used this shot as
> an example of just
> >how
> >damaging pan and scan can be.
>
> ----
> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication &
> Film Dept., the
> University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu


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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 09:08:10 -0500
Reply-To:     [log in to unmask]
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <l03020900b540708d4918@[216.249.3.51]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII

Darryl Wiggers replies:


> Eventually the term "letterbox" began to gain favor in the mid-90s, when
> more VHS titles were released in this format, but it still varied between
> "Widesreen" and "Letterbox" depending on the distributor. I haven't
> carefully studied the packaging of DVD releases but I still notice the term
> "Widescreen" kicking around. I guess my question is, do certain companies
> hold patents on these words, much like their "VistaVision" and
> "Cinemascope"?

I don't know about the last question (though I tend to doubt it), but
"widescreen" seems to be gaining favor again.  I notice that our local
Suncoast video outlet and some of the rental outlets use "widescreen"
as the preferred term.

Don Larsson

----------------------
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
[log in to unmask]

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 07:03:11 -0700
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         David Ezell <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      letterboxing and films at home
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

I have come to agree with Roger Ebert when he wrote
that seeing films on video is a completely different
experience than in the theater.

Although I like to see most films in the letterbox
format, sometimes, because of the issues discussed
here, it makes the experience uncomfortable, or even
laughable.  If one sees a film at home, certain
adjustments, or sacrafices, unfortunately must be
made.

David Ezell
NYC

--- Mark Wolf <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In this debate about letterboxing, little has been
> said about the issue of
> resolution; while video is of course much resolution
> whether letterboxed or
> not, letterboxing (and I usually prefer it) can be
> quite a bit lower
> resolution than pan-n-scan.  So it becomes a
> trade-off between composition
> versus resolution; do you want your lost detail to
> be removed from the ends
> of image, or uniformly from the entire image?  And
> then there's the issue of
> color resolution; the delicate cinematography in
> Tarkovsky's films, for
> example, become rather murky on video.  And there's
> plenty of other examples
> in which resolution makes a big difference.
>
> MJPW
>
> ----
> Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication &
> Film Dept., the
> University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu


=====
David Ezell
Director of Research
Site59.com
New York, NY

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 07:05:35 -0700
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         David Ezell <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Where letterboxing comes from
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii

My understanding is that it is inspired by British
mail boxes, called letterboxes.  The screen is the
shape of these boxes.

David Ezell
NYC

--- Robert Hunt <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> In the midst of this excellent discussion (many
> thanks for the fina
> examples), I've got a question: Does anyone know the
> actual origin of the
> term 'letterboxing"? How long has it been in use?
>
> rh
>
> ----
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at
> ScreenSite
> http://www.tcf.ua.edu/ScreenSite


=====
David Ezell
Director of Research
Site59.com
New York, NY

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 10:24:33 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         [log in to unmask]
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Darryl,

Great history -- thanks! From our perspective, a company that uses both terms
at whim, we basically choose what sounds best. There is still a lot of
negative commercial feedback to "letterboxed" videos (especially to the term)
so we like to use "Collector's Edition: Widescreen Version" on the front and
use the term letterboxed or give the proper screen ratio on the back. This
way, the public -- hopefully -- will have no surprises. (Also, we suspect we
sell more copies this way, but I'll never know since we don't release pan and
scan videos.)

You would be surprised at how many people really hate letterboxing and will
not buy the video if they see the term. They feel that instead of getting
more visual information, that they are getting less due to the black bands.
There was even a letter complaining about this to the Bergen Record in New
Jersey this past month. When we get phone calls like this, we explain
letterboxing to them and sometimes it works but many times they are extremely
unhappy.

Neither term is copyrighted.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640-0128
Phone: (201) 767-3117 or (800) 603-1104
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: [log in to unmask]
Website: <A HREF="http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/arch.html">http://www.milestonefil
ms.com</A>

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 10:39:36 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Ed Owens <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

In a message dated 5/12/00 9:41:09 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

>(and I'm still holding out on films like _Nashville_ and _GATTACA_, which
>I understand are destroyed by pan and scan

Good news.  Nashville is finally coming to DVD this summer, available for the
first time in its original framing.  Altman fans rejoice!!!!

Ed

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 10:40:55 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Ed Owens <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

In a message dated 5/12/00 9:40:46 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

>I take it the letterboxed tape of Psycho (which I've never seen) is either
>cropped to make it 1.85, or the package is mislabeled.  Does anyone have
>any details on this?
>
>Scott

Comparison yields that the non-letterbox version is opened up at the top and
bottom.

Ed

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 07:51:52 -0700
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Noah Lopez <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

> You would be surprised at how many people really hate letterboxing and will
> not buy the video if they see the term. They feel that instead of getting
> more visual information, that they are getting less due to the black bands.
> There was even a letter complaining about this to the Bergen Record in New
> Jersey this past month. When we get phone calls like this, we explain
> letterboxing to them and sometimes it works but many times they are extremely
> unhappy.

This past winter, my parents bought a DVD player, and asked me to hook it
up to their entertainment system for them. When everything was set up, we
put in some of the discs that they had purchased and they were absolutely
irate to find that these particular DVDs didn't have a "standard" option,
just the "widescreen" film. "We bought a DVD player specifically so that we
could see films without the black bars!" they exclaimed, oblivious to the
fact that 99.5% of all VHS cassettes are without the black bars.

Noah

>
> Neither term is copyrighted.
>
> Dennis Doros
> Milestone Film & Video
> PO Box 128
> Harrington Park, NJ 07640-0128
> Phone: (201) 767-3117 or (800) 603-1104
> Fax: (201) 767-3035
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> Website: <A HREF="http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/arch.html">http://www.milestonefil
> ms.com</A>
>
> ----
> For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives:
> http://bama.ua.edu/archives/screen-l.html
>

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 10:16:40 -0500
Reply-To:     [log in to unmask]
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: films with ratio change
In-Reply-To:  <[log in to unmask]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII

David Ezell notes:


> Perhaps the most painful of all the musical moments is
> the Act One finale from THE KING AND I (where the gag
> is that Anna cannot have her head higher than the
> King).   The video camera pans to Anna, cuts to the
> King, back and forth.  Poor home viewers never get to
> see the visual joke as Yul Brenner slides slowly into
> a full split, and Anna struggles to keep up with him.

Another example of pan-and-scan loss is REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE.  See,
for example, the opening scene in the police station.  Ray uses both
wide-screen and depth of staging to link Dean, Wood, and Mineo before
any of them has spoken a word to the other.  The impact is totally lost
in the pan-and-scan version.  In a different way, the impact of the
spatial isolation and loneliness in 2001 is diluted considerably in
non-wide-screen editions.

Don Larsson

----------------------
Donald Larsson
Minnesota State U, Mankato
[log in to unmask]

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 11:49:17 -0400
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Michael Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Call for Papers
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

Previously On: Approaches to the Contemporary
Television Serial


 The increasing popularity and prevalence within television
schedules of serials such as "ER", "Ally McBeal", "Cold Feet", "Buffy
the Vampire Slayer" and "The Sopranos" poses a number of
fascinating questions.  To what extent do these serials constitute
a definable television genre? When and why did they emerge?
What is their place within an increasingly complex television
landscape? What can they tell us about relations between Britain
and the United States and constructions of 'transnational'
television? Many of these serials achieve both popular success
and critical praise. Clearly they can tell us much about
contemporary modes of reception and articulations of 'quality'
television.


This book will set out to find answers to these questions and
others via analysis of a number of these serials. We invite
contributions on recent drama serials screened on British
terrestrial television and we encourage diversity both in terms of
texts studied and methodology. As such the book will give a
very timely account of these highly prominent programmes and
their position within a changing television industry while
simultaneously providing examples of the various approaches
and methodologies of an increasingly hybrid television studies
discipline.

In the first instance please send proposals of 300-500 words by September
30 2000 to:


Dr. Lucy Mazdon
School of Modern Languages
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
S017 1BJ

00 44 023 80 595435
[log in to unmask]

Michael Hammond
Department of English
University of Southampton
Highfield Southampton
SO17 1BJ

00 44 023 80 596708
[log in to unmask]

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 14:50:18 -0500
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Darryl Wiggers <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing

>You would be surprised at how many people really hate letterboxing and will
>not buy the video if they see the term. They feel that instead of getting
>more visual information, that they are getting less due to the black bands.
>There was even a letter complaining about this to the Bergen Record in New
>Jersey this past month. When we get phone calls like this, we explain
>letterboxing to them and sometimes it works but many times they are
extremely
>unhappy.

I know your pain. I have often tried to carefully explain the letter-
box/widescreen system to people -- and usually to those who are patient and
anxious to understand (i.e. viewer relations people who are fielding
complaints) -- yet, all-too-often, the look on their faces tell the whole
story: They just don't "get it." And what further complicates the issue are
the contemporary films (majority of Hollywood and others in North America)
that often rely on the 1.85.1 soft-matte process and mostly create
the "illusion" of widescreen -- they do, in fact, show you less (a little
width is added but nowhere near as much anamorphic 2.35:1). That's what's
so odd about the MoviePix promo that's currently running on this pay-tv
service in Canada. It starts by doing a good job of showing the benefits of
this format by comparing pan-and-scan clips of Lawrence of Arabia with
exact same shots in "letter-box" but then shows some contemporary examples
that reveal virtually no change -- except for those damn black bars people
complain about. Plus, they program the "letterbox" of Beetlejuice (soft-
matted at 1.85:1 but also compatible for 1.33:1 TV projection) alongside
the pan-and-scan of South Pacific (intended for projection in a 2.35:1
ratio only)

This mess has also confused supposedly hard-core film enthusiasts who kick
up dust over titles that were made for TV, and never intended
for "widescreen" presentation, even at 1.66:1 (i.e my earlier Eyes Wide
Shut example, which was intended for a 1.37:1 ratio, much like our 1.33:1
TVs). Try explaining soft-matting to film purists who insist that ALL
directors (especially a "genius" like Kubrick) always have a "vision" --
and it's always in widescreen.

And is it true that the future standard for digital TV is going to be
1.78:1 widescreen (assuming most of us can afford it)? Good grief, this IS
going to be a mess.

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=========================================================================
Date:         Fri, 12 May 2000 16:56:53 EDT
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         [log in to unmask]
Subject:      Re: Letterboxing
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

In a message dated 5/12/00 3:41:53 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< And is it true that the future standard for digital TV is going to be
1.78:1 widescreen (assuming most of us can afford it)? Good grief, this IS
going to be a mess. >>

That is the format they've been using for high-definition digital television,
but when or if we and the other companies start doing this, I'm sure it'll
still be letterboxed to the proper ratio.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640-0128
Phone: (201) 767-3117 or (800) 603-1104
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: [log in to unmask]
Website: <A HREF="http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/arch.html">http://www.milestonefil
ms.com</A>

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=========================================================================
Date:         Sat, 13 May 2000 15:25:21 +0100
Reply-To:     Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sender:       Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
From:         Mark Jancovich <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      Cult Movies Conference
Mime-version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding:  quoted-printable

Institute of Film Studies
University of Nottingham
In Collaboration with the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

Defining Cult Movies:
the cultural politics of oppositional taste

An International Conference to be Held
Friday 17 November - Sunday 19 November 2000

Contributors will include: Matt Becker (University of Minnesota) Mark Betz
(University of Alberta) Harry M. Benshoff (University of North Texas) Mark
Bould (Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College) Mikita Brottman
(Indiana University) Andrew Caine (Cardiff University) Brigid Cherry
(University of Stirling) Stephen Chibnall (DeMontfort University) Frank
Donohoe (Southampton Institute) Shmuel Duvderani (Tel Aviv University)
Rebecca Feasey (University of Nottingham) Elena Gorfinkel (New York
University) Janet Harbord (Middlesex University) Joan Hawkins (Indiana
University) Joanne Hollows (Nottingham Trent University) Leon Hunt (Brunel
University) Nathan Hunt (University of Nottingham) Ian Hunter (DeMontfort)
Peter Hutchings (University of Northumbria at Newcastle) Mark Jancovich
(University of Nottingham) Sara Gwenllian-Jones (Cardiff University) Peter
Kr=E4mer (University of East Anglia) Antonio Lazaro (University of Nottingham=
)
James Lyons (University of Nottingham) Moya Luckett (University of
Pittsburgh) Ernest Mathijs (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Andy Medhurst
(University of Sussex) Xavier Mendik (University College Northampton) Jason
Middleton (Duke University) Lothar Mikos (AV-Medienwissenschast) Bill
Osgerby (University of South London) Roberta Pearson (Cardiff University)
Anna Powell (Manchester Metropolitan University) Eithne Quinn (University o=
f
Central Lancaster) Jacinda Read (DeMontfort University) Tico Romao
(University of East Anglia) Ethan de Saife (University of Wisconsin-Madison=
)
Steven Schneider (Harvard University) Jeff Sconce(University of Southern
California) Mark Sheil (Univesity College Dublin) Julian Stringer
(University of Nottingham) Andrew Syder (University of Southern California)
Andrew Willis (University of Salford) Harmony Wu (University of Southern
California).

---Please complete the form below:

Name and Address

Telephone, fax and email

Special needs, please specify _________________________________

I would like to book _ number of places for (tick one of the following
boxes):
Conference (including full three days and tickets for all 6 films =A3100
Consessionary Rate* =A360
Day Rate Friday =A330   Consessionary Rate* =A320   Saturday =A350   Consessionar=
y
Rate* =A330   Sunday =A350   Consessionary Rate* =A330

Film Ticket for all 6 films =A321.00   Consessionary Rate* =A314.40

Accommodation: A list of local hotels with a range of prices will be
available but we can also book you a room at a local hotel for =A335 a night.
The deadline for these bookings is October 16th, but you are advised to boo=
k
early to be sure of a room. If you desire the latter option, please specify
the nights that you require: Thursday   Friday   Saturday   Sunday

Total amount: ______________

Please send a cheque or money order in pounds sterling made payable to The
University of Nottingham, and address it to: Defining Cult Movies
Conference, Institute of Film Studies, School of American and Canadian
Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom. Tel=
:
44 (0) 115 951 4250. Fax: 44 (0) 115 951 4250. For more information contact
Antonio Lazaro: [log in to unmask] or visit the Institute=B9s
website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/film
* Concessions are available to full-time students, state pensioners,
registered disabled, unemployed and children under 16 years. Please bring
proof of consessionary status when registering at the conference.

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