We live in the digital era, where there are terrabytes or even yottabytes of information in every step, but how are we supposed to filter that information? In the interview below you can discover how to produce qualitative content, create small communities of like-minded people and much more.
Author, film director, and academic Michael Önder tells us about content production and filmmaking in the era of New Media, responsibilities of filmmakers towards culture, importance of social media in the film process and more during his open lecture to Bahçeşehir University students.
He started working when films were about to fade out, so he has seen the change of films becoming digital. The old version (physical, photograph film) was very expensive and selective especially in England.
Of course you can shoot your film on an iPhone like the “Tangerine”(the film was shot with three 5S iPhones Smartphones) film for instance, but what also has changed is that now you have a platform like YouTube. In theory it makes everything easier without any constraint so you can show it straight to the audience. So what is the problem? The problem is that now there are so many videos on YouTube (people upload 100 hours of video every minute), so you get lost while surfing through them, we have almost the same problem with internet.
People thought that the Internet would make news much more accurate and truthful, where as now, it is the opposite. The content that survives nowadays through this chaos tends to be entertaining, short and surprising.
Mr.Önder states that what is better now than in the past is the possibility of creating small communities. For instance, having small group of friends so you can reach that group of people with the content you make. Small communities have their own way of telling stories, have their own quotes, language and each language requires its own form of story telling.
When you are trying to do something small and personal to a subculture, people understand that there is something unique and authentic to that environment as you rather try to make something big and reach a wider audience.
In “ The International Tokyo Film Festival” where the world premiere of “Taksim Hold’em” took place, Michael Önder’s full-length film was highly graded by a wide audience from all around the world.
Every country found something close to their culture; Mr.Önder stated that this was not something intentional; they were not targeting international viewers.
Upon my question “Do filmmakers have responsibility towards culture?” Mr.Önder stated that everyone has responsibility in terms of culture, but that he would never accuse another filmmaker because that restricts the freedom.
For example if a country is going through a particular term and no one is doing anything about it, no one is telling the story about it, then that is a problem.
That creates the same problem with the representation, when there is not enough representation, and that story isn’t told, you suddenly feel like you can’t breathe and you need the expression of that particular problem.
I am a big believer in the importance of social media in many aspects of the film process. So it raised my interest by asking Mr.Önder if he uses social media and does it help the promotional point of view.
He stated that he was always trying to avoid particular mediums for instance Instagram, but for the film he created he set up an account. Human beings have potential to be vained superficially, it is about our survival.
But suddenly it becomes a search for approval, which you get in a way that is not useful in life, and it creates an addiction. It is a very delicate thing, because you are judging someone’s existence. There are benefits for the film, because it wouldn’t be possible to achieve that level of popularity for instance in Japan they are without that kind of medium.
The whole story doesn’t matter, who is the one telling it?
Narrative ( narratif, -ive, from late Latin narrativus ‘telling a story’), is a more useful concept in terms of medium analyzing, storyteller. Who is creating the narrative? Who is leading the narrative? Mr. Michael gives us an example of “Dogme95” period in Denmark. He was inspired in his teenage years by works of this group, the team that broke all the rules and started filming something very unique and authentic with absolutely no budget, but after the rising popularity they suddenly lost this uniqueness and had the rules.
Danish film director Lars Von Trier comes to the conclusion that technique and stylistics are less important and interesting to viewers than the story and characters. He shot mostly with a hand-held camera, ignoring the traditional rules of lighting and editing, resulting in a blurred color and graininess of the frame.
Found intuitively, this style was put in the basis of the ideas of the conceptual manifesto and the 10 rules of the group “Dogme 95”, created in 1995.
In an information society period new media gave a lot of opportunities for those whose voices could not be heard before, plus the materials got cheaper. We can say that the democratization process has started, but unfortunately this could only work for the lucky ones, there are still a lot of people whose voices are lost in the crowd. Companies behind these massive media outlets, that allowed all these voices to appear, are in control and have no ethical responsibility even though they claim they do.
The more you are fueled into your narrative, the less you are open to the world.