When you go the movie theatre, how much time do you spend looking at the movie posters that adorn the walls just outside the cinema your film is playing in? According to Kevin Burke’s documentary 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters, nowadays, we barely spend time looking at them at all. Considering that media consumption now moves at a blink and you’ll miss it pace, and the small glow of a cell phone is where most people get their movie marketing from, these posters have become more about selling star recognition than an innovated way to promote a film.
It was not always this way though. In fact, there was a time when movie posters were not just marketing tools, but actual works of art. Burke’s film charts the inception of movie posters and shows how they, and the audiences they attract, have changed over the years. 24X36 does a good job of documenting the progression from the 1950s where beautifully rendered works actually provided insight into a movie’s plot to the uneventful headshot driven works of today. Speaking with the likes of Joe Dante, Rob Jones, Akiko Stehrenberger, Andrea Alvin, Tal Zimerman, and Dave Alexander to name a few, the film effectively provides a nostalgic look at the past while questioning the future of the movie poster.
One intriguing component the film touches on is the growing niche that is the poster collecting community. As commerce is killing the creative side of movie posters from a studio perspective, illustrated posters have found a resurgence in popularity by those who consider themselves hardcore collectors. While Burke shows the positive side of this, specifically the rise of companies like Mondo and Skuzzles, he also raises some thought-provoking questions about the union between artists and corporations. Some artist simply create their film posters without authorization, while others work in partnership with major film studios, but often need to acquire corporate permission, which sometimes includes focus groups, before their creative vision can be realized.
24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters may not deviate away from the structure of other genre heavy documentaries, however, there is plenty of interesting nuggets for those who have an interest in art and film. Entertaining and informative, the film will have you looking at every movie poster you come across far more closely.
Friday, November 25, 7:00 PM, Cineplex Cinemas (Yonge and Dundas)
Tickets can be purchased at The Blood in the Snow website.