Tuesday, 21 June 2011

‘Telling it like it is’: author operations in the ‘expanded texts’ of contemporary film

Kim Walden will be contributing to a panel concerned with 'Authorship and Auteurism' at the Midwest Popular Culture Association / Midwest American Culture Association conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA 14-16 October 2011

‘Telling it like it is’: author operations in the ‘expanded texts’ of contemporary film
The 18th Century epistolary mode has often been regarded as a forerunner to the novel. However whilst this fictional style form waned in popularity, it did not disappear and has since found expression in the contemporary fiction of such notable authors as Doris Lessing and Vladimir Nabokov. By the 1980s when Margaret Atwood published A Handmaiden’s Tale, the epistolary form had undergone some modernisation. Letter writing had been superseded by media technologies and the heroine of this novel records her memories on audio tape
This paper will assert that epistolarity has manifested itself once again in cinema’s recent transmedia productions on the web. Described as ‘narrative extensions’ of cinema today, the web sites which accompany films provide audiences with narrative forms which extend the stories of their filmic counterparts through the ‘digital vernacular’ of videos diaries and vlogs as well as, social networking and fake web sites. Drawing on the work of new media theorists including Manowich, Bolter and Grusin, this paper will investigate this form of storytelling in web sites for films like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009) and Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield ( 2008)

Authorship has often been a question for consideration in Film Studies. The aim of this paper will be to examine the operations of authorship in the ‘expanded texts’ of contemporary film web sites in the light of the epistolary tradition and reflect on what this tells us about how the concept of ‘authorship’ is being reconfigured in a digital cinema culture.

For further details about the conference, please visit: http://www.mpcaaca.org/conference/

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