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The Political Economy of Local Cinema

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Nguyễn Gia Hào

Academic year: 2023

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Daniel Lindblom is a research assistant in the Media and Education in the Digital Age – MEDA research program at Arcada University of Applied Sciences. He is the initiator and main coordinator of the program Media and Education in the Digital Age - MEDA.

An Introduction

In the same perspective, the political economy of cinema is a contest for control over the organization of resources and functions necessary for the production, distribution and consumption of cinematic texts. If the notion of 'global cinema' is used to denote a competition rather than one of the sides in that competition, we miss the ideological aspects of globalization and the ideological aspects of the functions of constructing cinematic reality.

CineCiutat as a standpoint of resistance

Their concern is to adapt the cinema to the preferences of the community and consolidate their participatory model. His story shows how he constitutes a site of resistance to the dominant logic of the film industry.

Lo-bal process and double aesthetic of cinema in French film exhibitors

At the end of this chapter, I will reinterpret the crises (plural) of film exhibition in order to argue for the importance of “aesthetics of reception” in the critical political economy of local cinema. In other words, there is a micro-institutional effect in the valuation of film and experience, especially for art cinemas. The personification of the film exhibit creates trust because it makes the broker and his (or her) logic obvious.

One of the main contributions of Stanley Cavell's The World Viewed consists precisely in showing the importance of discussion in the overall experience we have of a film. In other words, in addition to the aesthetics of moving pictures there is also the aesthetics of performance. In other words, watching a film and experiencing its spectacularity was more significant than the actual story of the film.

The Multiplex appears as a first step in recognizing the importance of the aesthetics of reception. In this context, the specificity of local cinemas (and their contributions within the public space) consists in emphasizing the collective character of the cinema experience. But there are also specific rites and offerings that sometimes exceed the simple framework of film, and pay attention to the (concrete and symbolic) inscription of the film experience in public space.

Gatekeepers of local cinema

The question of how extensive the role of the distributor is usually depends on at what point in the film production the distribution agreement is agreed (Crisp 2015, p. 17). This chapter will approach the topic of film distribution through the theoretical framework of critical political economy of the media (Hardy, 2014). This means that the attention of the analysis is placed on the unequal distribution of power.

In Finland, there are currently 24 distribution companies listed on the Finnish Film Foundation's website (The Finland Film Foundation 2018). The distribution practices of the major Hollywood companies form the basis for the major film distribution companies in Finland. Tracing the ownership of the four main distribution companies in Finland quickly leads to the international parent companies.

As explained by Wasko (2003, p. 61), "one of the most important arrangements in the life of a movie is its distribution agreement or agreement". These opinions reflect what emerges from the interviews collected by Virtanen (ibid.), that in order to make a distribution agreement, there must be a mutual understanding between the producer and the distributor regarding the film's potential target audience. However, it is estimated that the exhibitors keep about half of the box office revenue, leaving the other half to be divided between the distributor and the producer based on the shares agreed in the distribution agreement.

Fig. 1:  Market share of cinema admissions from all films in Finland 2013–2014. SF  Studios Oy was known as SF Film until 2015
Fig. 1: Market share of cinema admissions from all films in Finland 2013–2014. SF Studios Oy was known as SF Film until 2015

Lessons on diversity from Norway

The remainder of the chapter is organized as follows: In the next section, we review the literature on digitization effects, before describing the process of digitizing Norwegian local cinemas. Digital technology has thus enabled local cinemas to better utilize their physical infrastructure, allowing local customers to get more screenings within the confines of the existing buildings. As can be expected with the combination of more frequent screenings and more relevant titles, the number of visitors to the local cinemas also increased due to digitalisation.

The number of titles, or unique films, released in local cinemas also increased significantly due to the digitization of cinemas. Since the increase in the number of titles is almost identical to the increase in the number of screenings, the average number of impressions each film is shown in local cinemas will remain the same as before after the digitization of the cinemas. The skewness of screening allocation between films has increased with the digitization of local cinemas.

The skew in visitor numbers between films is stronger than for screenings, but has not increased with the digitization of local cinemas. In 2008, before local cinemas were digitized, self-distributed films accounted for less than ten percent of titles distributed, and more than three out of four of these films were Norwegian. Local movie theaters no longer have to wait for available copies of the films they want to show, and the number of unique films shown has increased in line with the number of screenings.

Fig. 1:  Distribution of screenings among all films released in local cinemas each year.
Fig. 1: Distribution of screenings among all films released in local cinemas each year.

Historical developments of Arab Gulf film industries

The history of local cinema in the Gulf region is essential to our understanding of the development of contemporary film industries in the Gulf States. A few expatriate individuals and merchant families started investing in the business of screening films in the major cities of the Gulf region. One of the first film regulatory measures in the Gulf region was promulgated just before the independence of the rest of the Gulf states.

In the UAE, the development of the market was led by a few individuals, most of whom were expatriates. This period ends in the late 1990s with the increasing development of the deeper globalization processes in which the Gulf States were able to "screen[ed]. A large number of short and feature films in the Gulf countries were produced based on these initiatives.

The introduction of the GCC customs union and common market rules has affected the business of film distribution and exhibition in the Gulf region. This chapter examines the three stages of development and political-economic relations of the cinema business of the Gulf countries. In The Emergence of the Gulf States: Studies in Modern History, edited by John E. Cinema “Of” Yemen and Saudi Arabia: Narrative Strategies, Cultural Challenges, Contemporary Features.”.

Tab. 2:  Number of pan-Gulf film initiatives in the Gulf region between 2006 and 2017
Tab. 2: Number of pan-Gulf film initiatives in the Gulf region between 2006 and 2017

A deconstruction of Wolf Warrior 2

Reform of the film industry in China occurred almost simultaneously with the state's selective opening to Hollywood films. The main melody film is no exception in relation to the marketing process of the film industry and has experienced a major transition from state dominance to market dominance. Financing the Chinese Hollywood-style mega-production The financing of Wolf Warrior 2 is highly market-driven.

The e-commerce giant Alibaba is also behind the production and distribution of the film. In other words, it often guarantees to cover the film's production costs (Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism 2016). The film's financialization process also greatly affected Wolf Warrior 2's production levels.

Domestic Film Protection Month reveals the still-powerful role of the state in post-socialist China. Financialization and the “media crisis”: The rise and fall of (some) media conglomerates in Canada”. Cohesion of Values ​​in Wolf Warrior 2 and Acting in The Establishment of the Army], Jiefang Ribao [Liberation Daily], August 3, 2017.

Tab. 1: (continued)
Tab. 1: (continued)

A look into the political economy of local cinema in Finland

Now, a Finnish-Swedish story is a local story, in the sense that it is a story told by or about a minority. If Finnish cinema has only a few ways to be financed, Finnish-Swedish cinema and TV have even more problems. In the last twenty years, only a few Finnish Swedish films and TV series have been made.

The film is based on Kjell Westö's 1996 bestseller of the same name, which is now a modern Finnish-Swedish (and Finnish) classic. The TV series is also based on the bestseller by Finnish-Swedish Monika Fagerholm. But Svenska YLE gave just enough support to make the TV series possible.

According to Lundström, the production of Finnish-Swedish TV drama and film is very thin, not many TV series and films are made. And still, a Finnish-Swedish film or TV series is expected to come out every now and then, and when that one does, it should be good. So, if there's a problem with Finnish-Swedish TV drama for adults, it's the scripts.

The struggles, survival and success of New Zealand local cinema

The distribution terms and conditions of Sione's Wedding differed from the following two case studies in that, firstly, the feature film was produced by one of the largest and most successful production companies in New Zealand. Boy's total budget was NZ$5.6 million, a reasonable amount for a lower-tier New Zealand feature film. However, Boy easily exceeded all expectations and became the highest grossing New Zealand feature at the domestic box office.11.

Two main problems for New Zealand feature films can be identified in light of Boy's reception in the US. With a total budget of NZ$2.5 million, the film was produced by two New Zealand companies, Blueskin Films Ltd and O Le Tulafale Ltd, in association with the NZFC. Additionally, and despite the Samoan location of the story and filming, the majority of production costs would take place in New Zealand (ibid.).

The NZFC's financial support has proved crucial in supporting the concept, development, production and even distribution of New Zealand's lowest tier feature films. Sione's Wedding, on the other hand, was produced by one of New Zealand's most successful and recognized television and film production companies, able to develop its own projects in-house before applying to the NZFC for production funding. Important to the overall inquiry is the purpose underlying the exercise of the NZFC's highest influence over New Zealand's lowest tier films.

Fig. 1:  Economic Dependency on NZFC Funding. Source: The author.
Fig. 1: Economic Dependency on NZFC Funding. Source: The author.

Hình ảnh

Fig. 1:  Market share of cinema admissions from all films in Finland 2013–2014. SF  Studios Oy was known as SF Film until 2015
Fig. 2:  Hollywood studios and which distribution companies in Finland distribute their  films
Fig. 4:  Distribution as a horizontal structure.
Fig. 1:  Distribution of screenings among all films released in local cinemas each year.
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