This story started floating around last week, but now it's official, that the various movie studios, at the urging of Jack Valenti, have agreed not to send out "screeners" to voters for the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. These are tapes or DVDs of the movies up for the awards, so that the voters can watch them at home. Evidently, Valenti and his pals believe in what they read in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago: the real cause of movies getting online are insiders, and they seem to have the incredibly misguided notion that by annoying the voters, somehow the movies won't still end up online. Of course, we all know that the movies will still end up online, and yet (amazingly) people will still go see the movies as well. Valenti says that this is part of "a determined commitment to combat digital piracy and to save movie jobs in the future." Except that it won't save any movie jobs at all. It's actually making life tougher on smaller, independent filmmakers who are pissed off that they won't get equal footing with the major studios in Oscar voting - since their releases get much smaller distribution, it may be more difficult for screeners to see them. What confuses me, though, is why the independents need to go along with this backwards MPAA edict? Why not keep sending their screeners, knowing that it makes it even more likely voters will watch their flicks (and, also realizing that if their films do get online and do get good reviews, they're even more likely to make extra money at the box office)?
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