Re: query; distribution for Man Ray films

Milos Stehlik (
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 06:14:19 -0600

With all due respect, Kristine, ALL of the video reference sources are riddled
with errors.
The reason lies with both the video producer and the cataloguer (Bowker/Gale
Research). On the cataloguing side, it is structured too much like data collection
in, garbage out), with virtually NO fact checking. As a result, both guides are
full of
inaccuracies (titles long out of print, distributors changed, let alone wrong
pricing information). The second aspect is, of course, the insanely volatile
nature of video
distribution in which manufacturers distribute each other's labels, titles go out
of print
because of lapsed rights with no notice or are pulled back for that mysterious
state of
mind called a "moratorium" with no notice when, if ever, they will be resurrected.
there is often a less-than-brilliant marketing scheme in back of it - a stupid
example of
this happened just yesterday when we were told that ALL of the James Bond films
will go on "moratorium" (a long vacation?) once again, because MGM wants to wait
until the NEXT James Bond film sometime in 1999 to re-release them. (Does anyone
BESIDES some marketing guru at MGM care about this?)

More seriously, I think the issue of distibuting experimental film on video
very special challenges, and while you might jump at buying Man Ray or the
Patrick Bokanowski whose feature :L'Ange remains one of the most interesting and
key films of the last 20 years, it is NOT an easy sell and non-narrative cinema
continues to be marginalized by the marketplace and by the buying public (we want
that good story for our money, darn it!) . And while lots of efforts have been
made to
bring social issue documentaries into public libraries, for instance, we have yet
to see
someone subsidize (and consider vital, as I do) or teach librarians to collect
cinema and
video as art - with all of its difficulties, frustrations and beauties.


Milos Stehlik
Facets Video

Kristine R. Brancolini wrote:

> It doesn't matter to me who distributes a film. I just need to find out
> *who* distributes it, their address, and *what* it costs. This means
> listing the title in standard reference tools like _Video Source Book_ or
> _Bowker's Complete Video Guide_. These are like "videos-in-print" and if
> more distributors listed their titles there, librarians wouldn't spend so
> much time on listservs like this one asking: " Does anyone know where I
> can buy such-and-such a video? I've checked all the standard resources,
> but it's not listed there."
> And post your information to Videonews once you have a distributor...I'll
> probably buy all of them.
> Kristine Brancolini
> Indiana University Libraries
> On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, PipNY wrote:
> > The Pompidou Center in Paris is about to release a videotape of Man Ray's
> > films. I am working closely with them to find the best distribution plan in
> > the US. I will also be offering the avant-garde films in my series, such as
> > Stan Brakhage, Oskar Fischinger, Bokanowski, Maurice Lemaitre, Isidore Isou,
> > etc. I have a tentative plan to work with Arthouse. But I wanted to ask you
> > all for input. If you were to look for a Man Ray tape, where would you look
> > first? Any ideas would be appreciated.
> > Pip Chodorov
> > Light Cone Video, Paris
> >