How we got here: Matt Johnson on BlackBerry | Interviews

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How we got here: Matt Johnson on BlackBerry | Interviews

You are absolutely right. But you know, the rise of Letterboxd shows us that there’s a growing cinephile audience that’s getting younger and younger. I think audiences always find ways to stand out, to have a niche taste. While the Internet flattens everything, it also creates niche groups. Creates clubs. Discord, Tumblr, even Reddit more broadly, show us that people are looking to find very specific, very exclusive cliques. I think the cinema benefits from this. Now there are people who say “I love Rohmer and this is my little Rohmer Club.” It’s cool to like them with those people and you can help create an identity. If you grew up in the 1980s and watched movies exclusively in theaters or on television, audiences didn’t respond and seek out those movies the same way they do now. They become more active. It has become part of people’s personal brand. People’s Letterboxd build an identity for themselves using their cinematic tastes. And that’s new.

It is, but how do we convince the people who put up the money to make the films that this is a valuable audience?

yes Again people should vote with their feet. Spending money on festivals like this and going to see movies in theaters like this helps. We also deal with the fact that this next generation is almost agoraphobic, keeping away from public spaces in a way. Just going to the theater is becoming more and more difficult. But, again, I think the secret is just to create cultural hotspots – places where you can go to meet people where something is happening.

At SXSW, there was this, “Tetris”, “Air” – what’s in the atmosphere right now?

It’s so interesting. There was also that pinball movie. You look at television and in the last two years you’ve had Uber, Theranos, WeWork. It seems that all of a sudden it’s like we’re experiencing the new dot com. Remember in 1999? Big influence on “BlackBerry.” We stole a lot of things from him. At the time around the dot com crash, filmmakers were rushing to reflect it in a similar rise and fall fashion. But it was based on the catastrophe of what happened.

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