The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Dear Santa! – My film wish list for Christmas

with 20 comments

Dear Santa!

I’ve been a good film buff this year.

Listen:

  • I’ve watched 53 movies in a theatre already and I’ve paid for most of them, apart from the pre-screenings they offered me for free because I’ve got a gold level card after all my movie watching.
  • I haven’t bought a single box of popcorn. The only popcorn I’ve eaten was the one they handed out for free when the projector was broken and they tried to fix it and kept us waiting. In the end they couldn’t fix it so I finished my popcorn at home. No cinema visitor had to suffer from my munching.
  • I haven’t watched any film that I downloaded illegally because 1) I think people who make movies deserve to get paid for it 2) I don’t know how to do it.
  • I’ve tried to keep a healthy balance in my movie watching, mixing new and old, arthouse and mainstream and movies from different countries.

That’s a lot of good deeds, don’t you think? I think that you can agree on that I’m qualified for making a wish list.

I’m over 40 years old, an age when most people care more about giving Christmas presents than getting them. And I don’t want to exhaust you, so I made my list short. It’s a four point list. That’s pretty reasonable, isn’t it? Let’s have a look at it!

1. A working business model
Please find up something so that great people with a huge imagination can keep making many different sorts of movies and make a living on it. Make it so that the only independent cinema in my city can find a way to survive. Make it so that the top ten movies in the box office are original ideas, not remakes or sequels number 2,3 or 4.

2. More women in the director’s chairs
I’m sick of seeing only seven percent of the Hollywood production being directed by women. There are a few good directors around, but they sure have a hard time to fight their way into to the spotlight and get noticed. When Hollywood Reporter made a roundtable discussion with directors of interest, they didn’t see any reason to include one single female director. Confronted with this they came up with some terrible excuses. Santa – please give the old farts who rule the film industry a well deserved kick in their ass to get them moving.

3. 3D that makes movies better, not worse
Santa – can you explain why we’re supposed to pay more for something that makes the film look worse? They’ve tried to sell us 3D so many times before and frankly I don’t think it has improved a lot, apart from that the plastic glasses are slightly more comfortable and look slightly less ridiculous than the ones in paper we had thirty years ago. But they certainly know how to charge for them!  Mr Scorsese, who is a film maker I respect a lot, seems to have a strong belief in 3D as the future of cinema. We only need to learn to use the technology properly. And perhaps he’s right. But if that’s so, please make them hurry up and get through the child diseases. We’ve had enough of them.

4. Freedom to make film for everyone
The Iranian director Jafar Panahi has been sentenced to six years of prison and 20 years ban to make movies. Defying this sentence, he made the documentary “This is Not a Film”. He and a friend recorded it secretly in his home using a home video camera and a cell phone and had it smuggled out of the country on a flash drive. While it was an awesome and heartbreaking film, which I’ll write more about another day, it is not acceptable that any film maker or any person in the world should have to live under those circumstances. There are more people like Jafar Panahi out there, more people who aren’t allowed to make a film without having it approved on beforehand by the authorities or without risking to get tossed into jail in case you can be suspected to criticize the regime.

Santa! I want you to free Jafar Panahi and let him make the films he wants to make wherever he wants to make them, inside or outside of Iran!  But don’t let it stop with him. Grant the freedom of speech and freedom of film making to everyone!

You can fix it
So, that was my wish list for this year. Did you get it all? Four little things. Should be easy enough to remember, don’t you think?

Did I hear you mutter something about “tricky?”

Well, I admit it’s not the kind of items you’ll pre-order in a web shop, I give you right in that. And they certainly won’t make any pretty packages under the Christmas tree, since they’re a little abstract and hard to wrap properly. But that’s not a big deal for me anyway.

You’re not like ordinary people. You’re Santa. I know you can fix it.

Please?

Best of regards

Jessica

Written by Jessica

December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

20 Responses

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  1. Good call on all of the above… perhaps we could start a petition if Santa refuses to oblige. I would also ask that Hollywood stops the needless remakes of perfectly good foreign films (despite being excited about Dragon Tattoo). It’s utterly offensive, pointless and ridiculous.

    Pete

    December 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    • I’d sign on that one too Pete. I even thought about bringing it up in this post but then I thought again: there’s always exceptions and I didn’t want to get a lot of crap for it so I decided against it. But I know what you mean. Learn to read! How hard can it be to follow subtitles? We do it all the time.

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:16 am

  2. Yes, please! I want all those things, too. Fantastic list.

    • If we send the same list the two of us he might give it priority?

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:18 am

  3. #1 is definitely something I really want, though mine would involve online paid streaming options more fully. And include short films. #2 is great too and obviously 4. For 3D I’d rather it just not exist.

    What do I have to add to the wish list. Well, I had my column on authenticity in American films, so I suppose that.

    Bondo

    December 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

    • No existing 3Ds? Well after hearing an interview with Scorsese I’m a little less harsh on them. Maybe there’s some point in their existence, just that I haven’t spotted it yet?

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:21 am

  4. All these things are so true. Santa better get his ass in gear and get moving. These demands sound perfectly reasonable. Would you like your freedom-to-make-a-film gift wrapped?

    Tyler

    December 10, 2011 at 12:46 am

    • No wraps are needed. Just watching his next movie made in freedom would make me very happy.

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:22 am

  5. Very excellent list. I have a couple wishes myself. That someone like Malick could make as much money as Cameron. Just once. And that a producer of a remake would stop and think, “Huh, I wonder if this film really needs to be made? You know, I’m not really improving the original film at all.” And then would take the money they would have made the film with and give it to a non profit organization that helps immunize all the non immunized children in the world. Yeah, that’s what I’d like.

    stevekimes

    December 10, 2011 at 1:08 am

    • That’s a good wish. It’s related to number one I suppose, finding a business model that works. I’d like that model to make people like Malick and other quality film makers make more money.

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:23 am

  6. Sequels… it’s what people want. And to be honest, I did enjoy the new X-Men movie and in previous years we’ve even seen some classics like Batman – The Dark Knight. Of course I prefer to see new ideas, I really liked Drive I saw yesterday and my favorite movie of the year, Black Swan was original and did well.

    In the end, it comes down to marketing. It’s easier to sell a sequel to a known brand, you just know that people will watch it, even if it is crap (Paranormal Activity x). While going with an original idea is a risk.

    The only solution is to just watch more original movies… but then you see that the new Transformers movie makes a billion dollars. They just create what people want to see.

    Carra

    December 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    • There are so many incentives for them to make sequels I’m afraid. And so few to take the risk of running with new original ideas. I guess the thing you need to do is to find better ways to distribute movies. Because movies CAN be made with very small budgets. But you need to find a way to get them out for film lovers to find.

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:26 am

      • That’s one advantage of the digital revolution. It’s just so much cheaper and easier to distribute a movie, you just need a digital projector and internet.

        Carra

        December 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm

  7. Fantastic piece Jessica. I agree with every sentiment made. Although, and I am going to get flamed for saying this, I am actually coming around to 3D, especially in the Home Entertainment environment.

    I really enjoyed the read.

    Thanks

    Scott Lawlor

    December 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

    • Thank you Scott! It’s interesting to hear that you find 3D enjoyable when you watched it at home. Your gear must definitely be something quite different to my very ordinary TV…

      Maybe 3D will come around eventually. Recently I eaven heard Kermode being fairly open to it in Hugo. (But how couldn’t he, I guess. If you’re interviewing Scorcese you might not want to bitch too much…)

      Jessica

      December 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      • I heard that interview between Kermode and Scorcese. There was definitely some hero worship going on there.

        stevekimes

        December 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  8. BTW, happy birthday, Jessica!

    stevekimes

    December 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm

  9. […] as Pete from I Love That Film wrote in a comment on my wish list for Christmas: “I would also ask thatHollywoodstops the needless remakes of perfectly good foreign films […]

  10. […] Jessica writing again. Do you remember me? I wrote to you about this time last year, sending you my film wish list for […]


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