shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


the land of film screeners

Jacob Sager Weinstein has a lengthy post worth checking out on the latest and decidedly un-greatest ways that studios are trying to prevent piracy of DVD screeners (complete with still photos from his screener of The Life Aquatic). He starts out by agreeing that piracy is bad and talking about the importance of having screeners to begin with:

Still, awards show campaigns can involve printing up thousands of DVD copies of a film that's still in the theaters, and then mailing them out to complete strangers. I can't blame the studios for taking a few reasonable precautions. But when those precautions begin to make it hard for an awards show voter to view and appreciate the film--which is, after all, the point of sending out those DVDs in the first place--I begin to doubt the intelligence of the people choosing those precautions. And because those people are charged with preserving my livelihood against pirates, doubting their intelligence makes me very, very nervous.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before I do anything else, I need to underline just how vital these DVD mailing campaigns are to studios who hope to snag award nominations. As I mentioned in a previous post, the studios host free screenings through London, but here are some 4000 voting BAFTA members, and your average London screening room holds maybe 100 people, tops. Add to that the fact that any screening invariably conflicts with several other screenings, and it becomes clear that letting a voter watch a film at home, on his own time, is vital to getting your film widely seen.

Then he goes on to talk about how this has all gone way too far to be sensible and is actually hurting some films' chances of being up for awards. Now, awards are just awards and no one is dying here, but it's nice when worthy sorts get recognized for their work and when overlooked movies get some extra attention.

All I'm saying is, the only bootlegs I've ever bought (in a Mexican flea market) were just a travesty of bad quality (although there's something to be said about the kitsch factor for the back of the theater Spanish dub of Return of the King) and half of them were Oscar screeners. Oh well. The really sad thing was that we eventually had to throw them away, rather than sticking them into packages to friends and such because I was afraid the FBI would come get us should they ever touch postage.


  • At 1:48 PM , Blogger Robin said...

    No doubt this is the techie in me coming out, but I don't think there is any way that studios are going to prevent piracy, so long as movies don't require going to a theater to see them. As long as something is easily transferable, the pirates will find a way to pirate. This fight reminds me of the ongoing one-upmanship of radar detector manufacturers and radar gun manufacturers.

    What I find interesting is that this shouldn't be a new issue for the movie industry--people have been copying VHS tapes for 20 years. There was never such a huge uproar over that. And most of the times, the dubs were nearly as good as the originals--and certainly viewable many, many, many times.

    I could rant about this for quite a while...but I won't :)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home