This week, Anne Thompson wrote that the latest edition of the Los Angeles Film Festival had “taken a dramatic turn.” In short, LAFF has programmed more movies aimed at “a younger, multi-cultural audience.” While that goal is admirable, it raises an interesting question about the purpose of festivals as a whole. When a built-in, older arthouse audience is already ready to see certain movies in a festival environment, is it worth it to alienate them in the hopes of luring an elusive demographic?
After all, there’s plenty of competition for younger viewers among current theatrical releases. Just this weekend, “Jurassic World” is dominating the box office while Fox Searchlight attempts to find some space for its Sundance-winning “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” While these titles vie for attention, there’s an even greater challenge facing more ambitious specialty releases, such as next week’s sign language drama “The Tribe.” In a few months, with Oscar season revving its engines, the competition for attention among new releases is going to get even harder.
In this week’s episode of Screen Talk, deputy editor and chief film critic Eric Kohn joins Thompson to discuss all of these topics while celebrating their 50th episode. One year ago, Kohn and Thompson spawned the idea for Screen Talk and survived an entire awards season cycle. With another one right around the corner, this year’s story of the movies is just getting started. Listen to the full episode above.
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