Saturday, December 13, 2008

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Despite the labor unrest this year between content creators and content owners, the fact is barriers to entry for flimmaking have never been lower. Cheap digital video, editing software for your home computer, and online distribution with sites like YouTube mean you can shoot it and people can see it. Now, and without having to go through the studio gates to do it.

One of the precursors to this was the DVD. Sure, ubiquitous now but until the high-capacity discs were introduced, film criticism and commentary was not generally accessible to the average viewer. But with commentary tracks from directors and screenwriters and other production bonus materials, it became possible to understand how shots were constructed or why story choices were made. And the top of the line for DVDs has long been The Criterion Collection. Criterion licenses notable films ranging from the obscure to mainstream, foreign to domestic, independent to studio and throws in the kitchen sink with all manner of content.

Now, the company is leveraging its brand online with the launch of a website for film lovers: Part social-networking, part content delivery, it's in beta and anyone looking to broaden their film horizons should check it out. The discussion forums slant a a little toward the film snob side but the library contains free, streamable films that you can't catch on hulu or the like. If you need a break from the typical Hollywood fare, learn more about film, or even just hang out with other cinephiles, sign up and start auteuring.


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