Your guide to cinema & film

What is film?

Since moving pictures were first put together from a series of still photographs to settle a bet – whether a horse raised all its hooves off the ground, or not, when running – people have been fascinated by the illusion cinematography. Motion pictures, or films, have developed from early studies into movements to a distinct art form in its own right. Today, the main formats for films are digital although some film-makers still like to use the old analogue cameras that so many brilliant and pioneering films were made on. They can touch us, entertain us, educate us and provide great shared moments as well as intimate ones. Like other story-telling art forms, such as literature, films are likely to be around so long as people have things to say about the human condition.

 Are films just entertainment?

 To many people, downloading a film to watch at home at the end of the day or heading to their local cinema is purely for entertainment. However, films can be so much more than the sort of tales that tend to be the mainstay of Hollywood. In recent decades, more and more fine artists use film and video techniques for their installations. Documentary film-making is widely regarded as something of an art form in its own right with many important issues reaching a wider audience because of the dedication of people who make them. Sure, films need to be entertaining to an extent to capture our attention, but that does not mean they cannot be deep and thought-provoking in the process.

What are the best films ever?

Deciding what the best films ever made are is a matter of personal choice. In the early days of cinema, Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein in Soviet Russia is widely regarded as a masterpiece. Many people consider Citizen Kane, made by Orson Welles, to be the best Hollywood movie ever although The Godfather, adapted from a novel in 1972, is another favourite. According to Time Out magazine, Sholay, directed by Ramesh Sippy, is the best Bollywood film to have ever been produced.

How does film production work?

Film production varies as much as the films themselves. In the big-budget movie world, a writer usually needs to find a producer who will take their project on. This means seeking funding from a production company, or studio, in many cases. That said, some extremely low-budget films have been made by individuals who have gone on to win critical acclaim and make plenty of returns at the box office. Once a budget has been set, a director is usually hired, and the cast is put together before a crew is assembled and shooting can start.

Are film festivals still relevant?

Film festivals still have the ability to generate public interest, so they are still relevant. However, film festivals tend to be more and more specialist in their nature, catering for certain genres and niches. It is a good way for new film-makers to find an audience they might otherwise miss out on.

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