Friday, December 6, 2013

The Sheer Size of the Audience Doesn't Make Film an Art

Irving Thalberg once predicted, “The movie medium will eventually take its place as art because there is no other medium of interest to so many people.” Although I believe that the movie medium has found its place as art, it is not for the reason that Thalberg used to make his argument. The gross amount of moviegoers has indirectly reduced the world of films into an industry instead that tends to compromise filmmakers’ artistic vision. Art is driven by passion and a strong urgency to share the vision and/or message to audience members, how large or small it may be.

The Definition of Art Demands Its Own Conversation
However, the increasing number of moviegoers, though beneficial in cultivating the film world, has made movies a product, a money making machine that tends to deprive writers, producers, directors, and even actors from their artistic vision and integrity. The number of individuals who take an interest in film is massive in comparison to accepted art forms such as the theatre and paintings, however the growing number of enthusiasts shifted the focus of the film industry from artistic vision to market research. Studios, which often monopolize and dominate the film industry, are well known for treating films as a business endeavor.

Individuals who work on these movies are frequently pushed to follow strict marketing forecasts and business strategies in hopes of making a lucrative, box-office product, instead of making films that they are passionate about. Due to that exact reason, similar films often debut at the same period of time, for instance the 2012 releases of Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman and Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror that were both based on Snow White. The artistic liberty in film was lost due to the ever-growing number of audiences. Nowadays, it is becoming progressively challenging to come across an inspirational film as most are designed to appeal to the masses, and fail to show any artistic passion or urgency.

Only after the emergence of independent films, which regularly struggles financially, did filmmakers have the opportunity to create labors of passion and love, as well as showcase it to the world. With the addition of new funding mediums, such as crowd sourcing, are independent films able to find its footing financially, although recently this particular funding method has been opened up to include studios. Nevertheless, independent films, I believe, are gradually driving film back into the land of art as it allows for artistic liberty in the filmmaking process.

I disagree with Thalberg as he claimed that movies would become an art as it attracts a large audience. Without any constructive changes in how the movie industry is managed and the moviemaking process is run, movies would fail to become art, which is driven by passion and artistic urgency. Fortunately, such change has arrived in the form of independent films. To receive artistic status and maintain that position, the film industry should return to focusing on artistic endeavors of story telling instead of obsessing on profitability of a project. 

*Author owns rights to all photos above

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