“Cinema is dead,” director Quentin Tarantino declared at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino went on to express a general sense of hopelessness for future generations. Tarantino’s focus was digital projection and DCPs as the root cause for cinema’s demise. Tarantino is not the first filmmaker to make this claim.
Cinema is more than 120 years old and has been declared dead numerous times throughout its lifetime. The common thread throughout all of these declarations: the film industry was in a state of change, and the established filmmakers and critics seemed jaded or perhaps jealous of the new innovations that were changing their beloved cinema.
Entertainment as a whole is in a state of change. No one is sure where it is headed, but the experts agree that traditional models are no longer going to be the standard. Websites like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix are changing how audiences watch films and even to some extent why they watch.
A group of kids in Challis, Idaho, can become internationally successful because of a video they uploaded to YouTube. Almost everyone has a phone capable of shooting video and then uploading the video to the Internet.
Perhaps directors like Tarantino, who struggled to become successful and have refined their craft over the last several decades, are stunned by how easy the process has become. The challenges that filmmakers faced 20 years ago no longer exist, and the only real challenge is creating something that rises above the noise of all the other junk on the Internet.
We live in a time where anything is truly possible, thanks to crowd-funding websites like indiegogo.com and kickstarter.com. If you want to start a business where you make hats for cats, you can get funding. More specifically to filmmaking, a lot of indie directors are going to crowd-fund to get the money they need to make their films.
The entertainment is shifting into a new and uncertain future. I can understand why this scares the establishment, but I am excited to see what is around the corner.
Perhaps traditional cinema is dead, and while it’s sad, the new form of cinema might just be as artful and profound as its predecessor.