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How Vine Is Impacting the Indie Film World (and Beyond)

By Jon Fougner | Indiewire April 11, 2013 at 12:26PM

Indiewire spoke with film distributors, editors and curators about their innovative uses of the app in its infancy.
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"Olympus Has Fallen."
"Olympus Has Fallen."
Making Social Media Social

But just using Vine as a one-way medium would be missing the point of social media. FilmDistrict invited audience members from pre-opening screenings of "Olympus Has Fallen" to create six-second Vine reviews with hastag #OlympusReviews. On March 15, the distributer promised to aggregate the reviews at Olympus6SecReviews.com, but that site is no longer accessible. Some of the fan reviews submitted with the hashtag #OlympusHasFallen are available here.

"Finally, an action movie that doesn't hold back. Killer from beginning to end!" raves one. "What a ride!" sums another, with a couple seconds to spare to laugh at himself. In contrast, the film has a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating and 7.2/10 average score on IMDb. Tweets about the film offered mixed reviews, and some accused it of an anti-Asian bias. (The story contains an attack on the White House by North Korean terrorists.) According to The Atlantic, in an apparent social media snafu, the film's official Twitter account liked this tweet: "Just watched a free screening of Olympus has fallen...Don’t want to say anything other than it was great and I trust no Asians now!" FilmDistrict was not available for comment.

Adoption by Curators

Using Vine to distribute, promote or review long-form content is typical of early adoption of new technologies by incumbents: squeezing the old message into the new medium. A more native use of the product is self-contained six-second works. So while the SXSW Film pre-roll pooh-poohed Vining during screenings, the Tribeca Film Festival is including Vines in the screenings themselves. On March 20, Tribeca posted a call for its newest competition category. Post Vines with the hashtag #6SECFILMS and an optional category hashtag, such as #GENRE for comedy or horror. Use hashtag #SERIES to cheat the system and submit a trilogy -- but Tribeca stresses that each Vine within the trilogy must have a beginning, middle and end. Here's a submission from the  #ANIMATE category of a hand that draws a hand that closes a book. The festival is accepting Vines through April 7.

Genna Terranova, Director of Programming at Tribeca, framed the Vine contest as a way to spark the careers of potential filmmakers. "You’re seeing them trying to navigate the technology, and for some of them, there's an adjustment period," she said. She appreciates the positive feedback creators receive on Vine. "Most of it is entertaining and most of it is really upbeat," she said of the work submitted for the contest. Terranova is excited about the potential of Vine to inspire new storytellers. "There's a lot of young people doing it and they're very good." Animators and comedians -- whether professional or amateur -- have also jumped in quickly.

As for that sticky question of pro vs. amateur, Indiewire asked Terranova about the absence of the word "filmmaker" from Tribeca's announcement of the Vine category. "Anyone can submit a Vine," she said. "Call them what you may after you start following them." And some Viners have indeed started building followings. Adam Goldberg ("Saving Private Ryan," HBO's "Entourage") has emerged as an early auteur of the medium, so Tribeca tapped him for the Vine. Explained Terranova, "Adam Goldberg has figured out a way to create more complex stories with more definition, more surprise" than the average Vine.

Creating Vines with high production quality is "a lot like people with DSLRs [digital single-lens reflex cameras] using Instagram," said Joseph Beyer, Direct of Digital Initiatives at the Sundance Institute. The Tribeca contest "reminded me of when mobile video came about: there was a ton of instant pressure to create a sub-category about it," Beyer added. He recalled when the introduction of Flip Video cameras prompted a conversation at Sundance about whether they deserved their own category. Sundance decided that story is paramount, and that it did not want to risk distracting from that message by singling out a particular medium. Nevertheless, the Institute did commission its alums to produce five made-for-mobile shorts in conjunction with the 2007 GSM World Congress in Barcelona.


This article is related to: Vine, Oscilloscope Laboratories, It's a Disaster, The Wolverine, Olympus Has Fallen, Film District, Sundance Institute , Tribeca Film Festival







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