When is a movie not a movie?

Steven Spielberg has called for a tightening of Academy rules, to prevent films like Roma, a Netflix production, being eligible Academy Awards in the future.

Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar. I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theaters for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination.

To answer the question “when is a movie not a move?” I’d say “when it’s doesn’t get made”.

The low or no budget films that would’ve once been picked up and distributed theatrically by a studio, through their one of their subsidiaries just aren’t anymore.

The risk averse studios are obsessed with the franchise model. Who can blame them? The franchises has a better chance of returning a massive profit, much more than some unknown independent film that needs to build an audience.

I think this is where Netflix has thrived. It’s given a home to independent cinema forgotten by the studios. What we need to realise is the platform doesn’t define the scope or vision of the films it shows, it’s just how people get to see them.

Netflix is not the villain in this scenario, it’s giving the Spielberg’s of the future a chance to make their Duel. It gives people a chance to see something outside of the very narrow trajectory offered by films that maker it to the cinema.

Whatever Spielberg thinks of Roma’s distribution, it was as cinematic an experience as anything I saw in a theatre last year. I think Spielberg needs to realise the filmic experience might not be exclusively theatrical, especially if the theatres are full of films that are nothing more than a roll-a-coaster ride.


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