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Looking into the future of film exhibition

"Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now." Mattie Stepanek

Mattie Stepney died at the age of thirteen,but in his very short life, he managed to publish poetry, and complete a volume of essays on peace. He also suffered from a rare disorder, dysautonomic mitochondrial myopathy.  Despite his age, he was a visionary and a philosopher.  To me, the quote that revolves around the future starting right now is very poignant, especially in the shift that is evidently occurring in the exhibition of film.  If we are stop and look into the future of what exhibition would look like for film, it is best to look at what is actually happening right now.

No other time in history has the ability to exhibit and view film been so easy.  Gone are the days where the only time you could view films was with a collective audience in a public space or cinema.  Nowadays, films can be viewed online, in galleries, in outdoor public spaces with pop up projectors, in airplanes, trains, automobiles, anywhere where humans can and will linger for a while, there is sure to be a screen and a film or short narrative.  Advertisers have been the first to catch on to this wave of multiple public screens for audiences, pouring their goods for the public to contemplate, but film can transpire into this space as well.  It is flexible enough to do so, and it is doing it.

This certainly poses many questions on the distributor as to how the business will run with the exhibitor, realising of course that the exhibitor, will no longer, just be the cinema.  It is an interesting world right now, particularly as to how technology is changing the way audiences view film.  Stories are still being told, and this has not changed, but more and more people have the ability to show their work without relying on the exhibitor to coordinate programming in cinemas, or the broadcaster to agree to shows, or the festivals to officially select films.  Right now is probably the best time to be a storyteller, knowing that you can reach one of the widest audiences ever.

So, perhaps the future of exhibition looks something like what it does today, but with more spaces and places to view film, coupled with a confidence that once a film is made it will be enjoyed by audiences worldwide in some capacity at least.

Traditional exhibitors of film in many ways need to look at their business models if they are to survive well into the future, and find a creative way to  maintain their audiences' interest in the films that they are showing. As for me, I'm very excited that even  though that future may seem far away, it is actually happening right now. I'm just trying to workout which platform is best for which project, there are so many of them.

Stella Dimadis


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