Portal:Film

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The Film Portal

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Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. Films are produced by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or special effects.

Film is an important art form; films entertain, educate, enlighten, and inspire audiences. The visual elements of cinema need no translation, giving the motion picture a universal power of communication. Films are also artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and in turn, affect them.

Traditional films are made up of a series of individual images called frames. When these images are shown rapidly in succession, a viewer has the illusion that motion is occurring. The viewer cannot see the flickering between frames due to a combination of physiological and psychological effects. One is known as persistence of vision—whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Viewers also perceive motion due to psychological effects called beta movement and the phi phenomenon.

The origin of the name "film" comes from the fact that photographic film (also called film stock) has historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion picture, including picture, picture show, photo-play, flick, and most commonly, movie. Additional terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the cinema, and the movies.

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Harlem, New York City
Coonskin is a 1975 film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, about an African American rabbit, fox, and bear who rise to the top of the organized crime racket in Harlem, encountering corrupt law enforcement, con artists and the Mafia. The film, which combines live-action with animation, stars Philip Michael Thomas, Charles Gordone, Barry White and Scatman Crothers, all of whom appear in both live-action and animated sequences. Coonskin utilizes a number of references to various elements from African American culture, ranging from African folk tales to the work of cartoonist George Herriman, and satirizes racist and other stereotypes, as well as the blaxploitation genre, Song of the South, and The Godfather. Originally produced under the titles Harlem Nights and Coonskin No More..., and later re-released under the titles Bustin' Out and Street Fight, Coonskin encountered extreme controversy before its original theatrical release when the Congress of Racial Equality strongly criticized the content as being racist, although none of the group's members had seen the film. When the film was finally released, it was given limited distribution and initially received negative reviews. The film has since been reappraised, with many considering it to be one of Bakshi's finest works.

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Cinematographer Billy Bitzer with movie projector
Credit: Edward Lynch

A movie projector is an opto-mechanical device for displaying moving pictures by projecting them on a projection screen. Most of the optical and mechanical elements, except for the illumination and sound devices, are present in movie cameras.

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Abbas Kiarostami (Persian: عباس کیارستمی ‎ `Abbās Kiyārostamī; born 22 June 1940) is an internationally acclaimed Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film producer. An active filmmaker since 1970, Kiarostami has been involved in over forty films, including shorts and documentaries. Kiarostami attained critical acclaim for directing the Koker trilogy, A Taste of Cherry, and The Wind Will Carry Us. Kiarostami is part of a generation of filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave, a Persian cinema movement that started in the late 1960s and includes pioneering directors Forough Farrokhzad, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi. The filmmakers share many common techniques including the use of poetic dialog and allegorical storytelling dealing with political and philosophical issues. Kiarostami has a reputation for using child protagonists, for documentary style narrative films, for stories that take place in rural villages, and for conversations that unfold inside cars, using stationary mounted cameras. He is also known for his use of contemporary Iranian poetry in the dialog, titles, and themes of his films.

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The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008. The 1996 law also created the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation which, although affiliated with the National Film Preservation Board, raises money from the private sector. The National Film Registry names to its list up to 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films" each year, showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. However, inclusion on the list is not a guarantee of actual preservation. To be eligible for inclusion, a film must be at least ten years old. For the first selection in 1989, the public nominated almost 1,000 films for consideration. Members of the National Film Preservation Board then developed individual ballots of possible films for inclusion. The ballots were tabulated into a list of 25 films which was then modified by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and his staff at the Library for the final selection. Beginning in 1997, members of the public were able to nominate up to 50 films a year for the Board and Librarian to consider. The Registry includes films ranging from Hollywood classics to orphan films. A film is not required to be feature-length, nor is it required to have been theatrically released. The Registry contains newsreels, silent films, experimental films, short subjects, films out of copyright protection, film serials, home movies, documentaries, independent films, television movies, and music videos. As of the 2009 listing, there are 525 films preserved in the Registry. The earliest listed film is Blacksmith Scene (1893), and the most recent is Fargo (1996). The year with the most films selected is 1939, as 17 films were chosen for preservation. The time between a film's debut and its selection varies greatly. The longest span is 109 years, when the 1894 Dickson Experimental Sound Film was selected in 2003. The shortest range is the minimum 10 years; this span is shared by Do the Right Thing, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Toy Story, and Fargo.

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Robert Redford
Whereas money is a means to an end for a filmmaker, to the corporate mind money is the start. Right now, I think independent film is very confused, because there's excess pressure in the marketplace for entertainment to pay off. Entertainment has pervaded every system of information in our culture, and along with it comes the promise of money. So it's hard for artists not to keep half an eye on what works commercially as they go about realizing their visions. As a young filmmaker, you've got to deliver, and you've got to deliver fast these days; that wasn't the case twenty years ago.
Robert Redford, 1997

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Film

Terms - Animation • Beta movement • Camera • Cult film • Digital cinema • Documentary film • Dubbing • Experimental film • Fan film • Film crew • Film criticism • Film festival • Film frame • Film genre • Film journals and magazines • Film industry • Film manifesto • Film stock • Film theory • Filmmaking • History of film • Independent film • Lost film • Movie star • Narrative film • Open content film • Persistence of vision • Photographic film • Propaganda • Recording medium • Special effect • Subtitles • Sound stage • Web film • World cinema

Lists - List of basic film topics • List of film topics • List of films • List of film festivals • List of film formats • List of film series • List of film techniques • List of highest-grossing films • List of longest films by running time • List of songs based on a film or book • Lists of film source material • List of open content films

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