Making Movies Matter | Jon Eig

August 26, 2014 9:01 PM

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Each Spring, I am invited to help judge a media festival held at one of my alma maters. It is great fun. Lots of coffee and lots of pizza and lots of long and short movies made by aspiring graduates and undergraduates, many of whom are doing remarkable work. But one thing usually gnaws away at me. My former school emphasizes responsible media, and so in addition to judging the entries on technical competence and creative originality, we are asked to judge them on the loosely defined standard of "making media matter." The problem is that with the exception of the occasional documentary and overt public service announcements, I have never judged a movie that I thought met the "making media matter" criterion. The fiction films have at times been outstanding. But did they matter?

This cuts to the heart of a dirty little secret that lives in the souls of many artists, with film artists standing at the head of the line. How much do frames of light projected on a screen with corresponding sound really matter in our world? Have those of us who have devoted our lives to film mere...

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