CFP: [Film] "Future of Cinema" (Movement e-journal, 9/22/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Landon Palmer
contact email: 

What the "future of cinema" will entail has been an issue hotly debated by filmmakers, critics and
scholars alike throughout (and within the various inceptions of) film history. The Soviet montage
theorists bemoaned the death of cinema as a visual medium when sound threatened to change it
irrevocably; and twenty-five years later, movie producers saw the popularization of television as
an equal if not greater threat. Likewise, filmmakers, critics, and scholars today (both
optimistically and pessimistically) see new media outlets and technologies like Internet
distribution and digital media as the last great wave that will finally obliterate the classical
theatrical cinematic experience as we know it. Conversely, film theorist/historians like Thomas
Elsasser argue that to call upon a "death of cinema" mistakenly presupposes cinema as a static,
pure, and unchanging concept, when history shows that it has been anything but. As cinema has
undergone continuous changes in technology as well as adaptations to modern spectatorial
practices and new forms of visual media, it has never ceased to modify itself accordingly.

As a journal dedicated towards preparing tomorrow's media scholars for the future of cinema
studies, Movement decries blind speculation regarding the future trajectory of cinema as
experience, technology, or object of study (i.e., we are not here to dogmatically debate cinema's
death or rebirth). Instead, the premiere issue of this journal seeks papers that aim to interrogate
cinema as a concept with respect to changes and advancements in visual media technology and
consumption. In tandem, Movement asks what the role of cinema studies is and should be with
respect to such new technologies and alternative spectatorial outlets.

Papers may address any of the following questions:

What makes other visual media (digital video, Internet/home exhibition, computer-based art,
image and text-based websites) "cinematic," and how far, if at all, do theories and formal
approaches to cinema apply to these other forms of visual media?

What have been the changing definitions of cinema in film history/film studies history, and how
does this context inform any advanced, contemporary definitions of cinema?

Is the theatrical film experience necessary to experience "cinema"?

How do DVD special features, distribution of deleted material, "directors' cuts," or the more
recent "democratic" utility of reedited "mash-up" film clips on YouTube (and other sites)
challenge the idea of the theatrical film as an authoritative homogenous text? Are these practices
in any way revolutionary, or do they have historic predecessors and/or equivalents?

Experiencing various types of visual media simultaneously through multiple screens, frames, or
windows all within the computer screen can be argued as a unique type of viewing practice
different than viewing via home video or the attention-enveloping movie screen. Does the
concept of multiple, simultaneous screens challenge traditional ideas of receiving visual
information, and what implications does this have regarding advancements in media literacy?

What are the implications of the transition from analog to digital?

These questions can be treated as mere starting points. Submitted papers need not solely be
limited to addressing these specific questionsâ€"any proposals related to the subject at large on
topics not specifically addressed here are encouraged as well.

Please send 300-400 word abstracts addressed to Landon Palmer at by September 22. You will be contacted by September 27 as to
whether or not your paper has been chosen for publication.

Movement also welcomes abstracts submitted on any topic that that the writer may feel is
compatible with the focus of the journal, as it may inspire the subject of an upcoming issue.

Landon Palmer
Managing Editor

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Received on Wed Sep 10 2008 - 18:34:02 EDT