48TH THESSALONIKI FILM FESTIVAL
November 16-25 2007
ROUND TABLE “FILM CRITIQUE ON THE INTERNET: BLOGS”
The Round Table Discussion entitled “Film critique on the Internet: Blogs” took place on Friday, November 23rd at the Pavlos Zannas theatre.
The President of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Georges Corraface, attended the discussion. The panel, which was coordinated by Variety film critic Lisa Nesselson, consisted of film critics and bloggers Ilias Fragoulis and Iosif Proimakis, Athinorama film critic Christos Mitsis, director and film critic Ray Pride and The Guardian film critic, Ronald Bergan.
Mr. Corraface thanked the participants of the panel and launched the discussion by describing the topic as extremely interesting and timely: “Critique and blogging meet in a period when everything is changing, even the way that films are selected, and this has created some creative confusion”.
The discussion mainly revolved around the pressure that film critics are experiencing –originating from the publications that they work for- in order to change or censor their articles. The panelists also mentioned the large number of productions and the global domination of American productions as well as the role of film critics and the “self-emerging” critics, those that present their opinions on blogs.
Lisa Nesselson has been a film critic for 25 years. She revealed that she initially decided to become a film critic so that she could watch films for free in press screenings. After 25 years in the business, her opinion on film critique can be summarized as follows: “If someone wants to know a critic’s real opinion about a film, they should visit his or her blog”. However, according to Nesselson, the difference between professional film critics and those who only maintain a blog, is that the professionals are specialists in their field and have the qualifications to publish a critique, regardless of interests that may lay behind them.
“I was very thrilled when multiplex theatres were introduced, because some of those theatres could screen lesser-known films to the audience... unfortunately I was wrong”, said Ronald Bergan and added: “Nowadays, the audience does not pick their films. It’s the films that pick their audience”.
Regarding new technologies and the possibilities that they offer to film critics, Ray Pride claimed that blogs have a directness that is fascinating. “Somebody can exit a theatre, write a review on his or her laptop, publish it on their blog and people around the world can read it instantly. That’s the freedom that blogs offer”, he said characteristically.
Christos Mitsis agreed with his colleague and added: “The audience needs to have a discussion about the film and that’s the critic’s job. On the internet, this dialogue can be honest and direct, since the relationship between the critic who has a blog and the audience that visits it is interactive”.
Ilias Fragoulis was a bit stricter regarding the trend of “anyone starting a site on the Internet and criticizing people”, which started form the States as he said. Fragoulis has his own blog because he likes to write and enjoys the freedom it gives him. Regarding the censorship that critics are faced with, Fragoulis was harsh, saying that in many situations “critics are forced to abide by the language and beliefs of the publication that they work for, many times altering their articles in order to avoid censorship”.
The directness of the Internet and the ease with which anyone can freely express their style, are what lead Iosif Proimakis to blogging. Proimakis believes that the audience is able to judge and select what they want to read, and therefore he doesn’t worry about the quality of the thousands of blogs that exist on the internet.