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MPAA: Indies Be Damned

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Despite the outcry from the independent film community, the MPAA refuses to relent on the “screener” ban:

    A spokesman for MPAA President Jack Valenti issued a terse statement Thursday in response to a Wednesday morning conference call between Valenti and representatives of three studio subsidiaries in which they discussed possible alternatives to the ban.

    “Jack Valenti has had conversations with individuals and several groups on the subject of the new screener policy,” read the statement. “He welcomes the exchange of thoughts and ideas on the critical issue of combating piracy. That said, the screener policy remains as it was originally announced.”

    The creative community’s backlash against the MPAA’s edict continued, however.

    More than 140 directors signed an open letter to Valenti, to appear as an ad in today’s Variety. The letter, which includes high-profile industry names such as Jonathan Demme, Nora Ephron, Jodie Foster and Martin Scorsese, argues that the “MPAA decision to ban screeners irreparably damages the chances” of smaller, creative risk-taking films.

    “It has been said that we in the film industry are honor-bound to go along with this ban,” the letter reads. “We believe that as filmmakers, we are honor-bound to oppose it. We ask that the MPAA repeal its decision immediately.” [LA Times]

Well, those “smaller, creative risk-taking films” were getting too uppity anyway – they needed to be slapped down. Right Jack?

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.well.com/~srhodes Steve Rhodes

    This is a profoundly stupid policy.

    Smaller films will have a harder time being seen by Academy voters, and pirates will still copy films.

  • http://www.well.com/~srhodes Steve Rhodes

    World News Now on ABC is doing a segment on the screener controversy with Leah Rosen of People magazine.

    First, Oscar rules are these are movie only DVDs.

    Second, periodically burned into the bottom is text saying it is an academy screener to be used for awards consideration. They actually showed an example.

    And she mentioned numerous films that might not have been nominated or won without screeners including Monster’s Ball, The Pianist, Frida, and Far From Heaven.