AFI looks at future of film and TV

The list of Top 10 movie lists just got longer. The American Film Institute announced this week a new annual program that will present the 10 AFI Movies of the Year and Five AFI Moments of Significance. Thousands of suggestions were submitted to AFI by e-mail and then were judged by a jury of experts - critics, AFI trustees, academics, and filmmakers.

AFI's top 10 movie selections for 2000 (listed in alphabetical order): "Almost Famous," "Before Night Falls," "Best in Show," "Erin Brockovich," "Gladiator," "High Fidelity," "Requiem for a Dream," "Traffic," "Wonder Boys," and "You Can Count on Me." Some of AFI's "significant moments" included the AOL-Time Warner merger and the digital revolution.

AFI has produced three documentaries about the history of film in the 20th century. A fourth will air this June. Out of these efforts came the idea for documenting the next 100 years of films, says Jean Firstenberg, AFI's director and CEO.

" 'AFI 2000' was a direct outgrowth of having looked back over the first century of film and documenting it," Ms. Firstenberg says. The question was "How can we do this in a more specific way for the 21st [century]? How can we advance the art of the moving image?"

AFI has decided to produce a booklet each year, expecting it to evolve into a book, which will document the best or most significant work in or affecting American film and television each year. It will cover new technologies, trends, education efforts, preservation, and government involvement in the industry.

The industry is seeing rapid change. Nearly any child today can make his or her own movies with a video camera and a computer, Firstenberg notes. Other changes will be even more dramatic in the coming years: Most theatrical releases end up on TV, which is evolving its technology constantly, and more stars and directors are flocking to the small screen to make lower-budget projects. Laws are changing. Mergers are being made. Documenting these transformations is important to understanding an art form that affects billions of people.

For the rationales behind the selections and for a complete list of the significant moments, log on to afionline.org.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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