User:Jahsonic/In search of the cinematic Losfeld  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

This article is based on a blog post published in 2007[1].

One aspect of the history of the art of film making remains largely unwritten. The financial aspects of film making, namely the history of producers and distributors of films. Compared to the book industry, the film industry is infinite times more capital intensive. So while it is easy, almost risk-free and relatively cheap to write a novel that satisfies minority tastes, to produce a film that caters to minority audiences requires much more money and is a much riskier undertaking. Tyler Cowen was the first to point this out to me in his book on the economics of culture, In Praise of Commercial Culture.

A film producer's job is analogous to that of a publisher in the book industry: he finances the final product, a cultural artifact. A film distributor is someone who buys the rights to a certain film in order to distribute it in his own country or region. Typically, he will have to market the film, provide subtitles for it and find screening opportunities. The analogy in book publishing is the role of a foreign publishing house that translates a book and distributes/markets it in its own territory.

Both a producer and a distributor try to reconcile the art of commerce and taste. In matters of taste I always embrace the heady nobrow cocktail of high art, eroticism, horror, philosophy, experimentalism, counterculture, subversion and avant-garde. This mix is a minority taste, I am well aware of that but some people have tried to cater to people of my taste. In publishing, this person is best exemplified by French publisher Éric Losfeld.

In search of Losfeld's cinematic alter ego I want to hilight the careers of film producers and/or distributors such as Anatole Dauman in France; Antony Balch in the U. K.; Roger Corman, Ben Barenholtz and Radley Metzger in North America. These entrepreneurs ran businesses that have provided us with films that mix high and low culture or have financed their high art productions with the proceeds of their more commercial and exploitative productions.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jahsonic/In search of the cinematic Losfeld" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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