Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An interview with the curator of the Cli Fi Movie Awards

WEBPOSTED NOVEMBER 15, 2055 QUESTION: The Cli Fi Movie Awards is a great idea, and it seems to be catching on. What's your future plan with this? CURATOR: I hope to see the project grow year by year, and over the space of some 25 years become part of the Hollywood cycle of important awards shows. I'll be dead then but it's been fulfilling to take part in its inception. QUESTION: Okay, you came up with six good cli fi movies this year, well, five and a third, so to speak, with your humorous comments about INTERSTELLAR being just a third of a cli fi movie, so what's your hope for next year? CURATOR: I hope to see at least six more good cli fi movies on the list and maybe ten. The goal of the Cliffies is to inspire more and more cli fi movies from Hollywood and idie directors. But this will take 10 to 25 years. Movies don't get written or greenlighted overnight. So this awards program has a long arc. But for the awards in 2015, I hope we can find ten good cli fi movies. Time will tell. QUESTION: Okay, the normal awards categories were given out, Aronofsky for best director and screenplay (with co-writer Ari Handel) and "Snowpiercer: for best movie and best adapted screenplay, things like that. And recognizing actors like Robert Pattinson and Elle Fanning and Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris, way cool. Nice. But what was the deal with the two below the line catepories for INTO THE STORM with gongs for best PR campaign and movie that best mirrors current climate science and has broad public appeal? CURATOR: Good question! You know, the Cliffies have two purposes: one is to honor and recognize good cli fi movies each year and serve as a kind of incubator for future cli fi movies the fight against climate change we humans are in. So I was keen this year to give out some awards with a social conscience to them, a science feeling, and a PR feeling as well. INTO THE STORM's press material called it a cli fi movie and the critics in several non-English nations picked up on it and called it a cli fi movie in Spanish reviews and in Portuguese in Brazil and in French, mostly thanks to the AFP news servioe which published news stories on INTo THE STORM in those three languages. But not in English. I don't know why AFP did not use the term in their English news stories. C'est la vie, I guess. So yes, it is important to note the three awards for best mirroring of current climate science, and also for best PR campaign for a studio using the cli fi motif in press materials and also for a movie that most impacted the public. So INTO THE STORM did well. QUESTION: What's next? DAN BLOOM: Getting ready for next year now. QUESTION: Has there been any press on this awards launch? DAN BLOOM: Yes, good stories in USA TODAY, THE WRAP in Hollywood, The San Diego Jewish World online newspaper and TELEREAD. IWith more to come. The media interest in the Cliffies will last for the rest of this year and into the first half of next year. And then we will get ready for the next awards event in November 2015. We are all on a roll. A nice quiet roll with not too much fanfare but just enough. I like it this way. We will grow the Cliffies slowly, step by step, year by year. QUESTION: And then? DAN BLOOM: Well, and then I die. I am getting to be an old man now and my days are numbered. I am just glad I lived to see this day. I did what I set out to do. I can retire in peace and contentment. There's a deep meaning to the Cliffies and I hope they make a difference and impact the world somehow. Cinema has power. QUESTION: I noticed that when one of the news stories about the launch of the Cliffies was published on a website in Hollywood, the initial subheadline that was online for about 24 hours before being fix read: "Online climate-based awards also honor Robert Pattinson, Tilda Swinton, Elle Fanning, Ed Harris and Gwyneth Paltrow." But of course the copy editor who wrote that subheadline meant to say JAKE Paltrow, not Gwyneth Paltrow. She is his elder sister. Cute gaffe. Did you see that mistake? DAN BLOOM: Yes! I saw and smiled and then sent an emergency email to the editors of that site asking them to fix it. They did fix in about three minutes after some inter-office emails among editors and sub-editors there. I loved that little mistake. Makes the Cliffies experience all the more human. Gwyneth? Jake? It's all in the family, in the end. But yes, they corrected it now. I am sure nobody saw it but me. I am a retired prooofreader from way back and worked at newspapers in Washington, DC and Alaska and Japan as nightshift proofreader. I wasn't very good at it. But when I read for leisure, for fun, my eyes still catch a few typos here and and I especially love these things called "atomic typos." QUESTION: What's an atomic typo? DAN BLOOM: Great name, right. I will tell you next time we chat, or better yet google it or see the blog site at http://atomictypo.blogspot.com QUESTION: Thanks for your time, Dan. You must be tired after all this work 24/7 on behalf of the Cliffies. DAN BLOOM: Not tired. Energized. Deeply, madly, passionately energized. Doing this was important. It wasn't work. It was an assignment I took on, and also a personal commitment.. QUESTION: One last question, Dan. DAN BLOOM: Shoot. QUESTION: You or one of your colleagues in the cli fi community has nicknamed the Cli Fi Movie Awards as "The Cliffies" -- with a capital T and a capital C for both words. How did you arrive at the nickname of "Cliffies" and did you do it in a semi-humorous way or what? DAN BLOOM: I get that question a lot now. We came up with the Cliffies as a good, easy-to-prononce (and write) nickname for the movie awards program since I wanted something short and memorable and useful for newspaper headlines and such -- and also easy to say, yes. But of course, Cli Fi is pronounced as ''clye fye" or "klye fye" with a long "i" sound and in "eye" or "my" or "sigh." Yet for the nickname of the Cliffies, we use a short "i" sound as in the word "cliff" or "if." So the nickname is a bit different from the formal name of the awards program, but I feel it's a cute nickname and good for PR and headlines and even acceptance speeches for the winners. And yes, it was done in a semi-humorous way, to add just a bit of lightness and levity to these very serious issues of climate change and global warming in the movie world. QUESTION: Have their been any jokes about the nickname? DAN BLOOM: Surprisingly, no one has ever really made a joke about it yet, and you are the first interviewer to even ask about that side of the name. But yes, everyone once in a while, I get a tweet or an email that asks if "The Cliffies" has anything to do with female Radcliffe College graduates at Harvard who are called ''Cliffies'' or if the name has anything do with movie or TV "cliffhangers" or anything like that. One joker asked, I think seriously, if the name had anything to do maybe with humankind at the edge of a cliff in terms of climate issues and if maybe the Cliffies was intended to signify people jumping off a cliff of despair or something. No, no connection with Radcliffe or TV cliffhangers or lemmings at the edge of cliff about the jump down to their eternal demise. No, no, no. Just a nickname taken from the "cli-fi" term, and yes with a dollop of semi-goofy humor, too. QUESTION: Well, good lucky with all this, Dan. DAN BLOOM: Thank you. We are going to need all the lucky we can muster! Global warming is the most dangerous existential threat the human species has ever faced. I hope these movie awards, and the attendant publicity that surrounds them every year, can play a small role in serving as a kind of wake up call on the issues we are facing and will be facing for the next 1000 years, if we get that far. QUESTION: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? DAN BLOOM: I wouldn't be doing this if I was a pessimist! I am a full-speed-ahead pedal-to-the-metal optimist. But yes, I am worried. Concerned. Very concerned.