Reality film

Reality film or reality movie describes a genre of films that have resulted from reality television, [ [http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=347797 From Cancun to Harvard] , Faryl Ury, The Harvard Crimson, April 25, 2003] such as "The Real Cancun", MTV's film version of "The Real World", which was originally titled "Spring Break: The Reality Movie". [ [http://media.www.pacepress.org/media/storage/paper424/news/2005/09/21/ArtsEntertainment/The-Love.And.Hate.Relationship.With.Relity.Tv-992939.shtml The Love and hate Relationship with Reality TV] , Pace University Press, September 21, 2005.] ["This is the first time anyone has tried to take a reality concept to the theaters," said casting director Damon Furberg . "Think of it as a reality version of a teen movie like American Pie." [http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2003/01/30/News/Mtvs-Film.Hits.Boston-356189.shtml MTV's film hits Boston] , Lindsay Hearne, The Daily Free Press, June 30, 2003, retrieved on August 22, 2007] In an article in "Time Magazine", Joel Stein wrote, "Like reality TV, a reality film is supercheap, and as "Jackass" proved, there's an audience willing to pay $9 for what it gets free on television." [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030428-444971,00.html Cue the Tequila] , Joel Stein, Time Magazine, April 23, 2003.] Typically, a pre-determined situation is staged or created, often with the use of non-professional actors, and then the "reality" of what happens is filmed. In an article on reality movies, "Variety Magazine" pointed out the low budget of reality films in an era of skyrocketing marketing and production costs for traditional films has made them an attractive option for studios, with the selling point being "Tits and ass. Teenage tits and ass, that is." [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117884808.html?categoryid=10&cs=1 Will beach babes be boffo B.O.? Quickie pix hope to reap 'Jackass'-style action] , Gabriel Snyder, Variety Magazine, April 20, 2003.]

History of reality film

"The thinking behind these pics is not new," wrote Gabriel Snyder in "Variety" about the techniques employed by recent reality movies. "In the 1950s, Samuel Arkoff tapped into teen auds with quickies like "Rock All Night" and "Reform School Girl" and beach films such as "Bikini Beach" ("It's where every torso is more so, and bare-as-you-dare is the rule!"). London's "Evening Standard" called Andy Warhol's 1966 film "Chelsea Girls" a reality film and noted that the "Radio Times Guide to Film 2007" stated it was "to blame for reality television." [ [http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/article-23369560-details/Warhol+'reality'+film+named+in+top+100/article.do Warhol 'reality' film named in top 100] , Alexa Baracaia, Evening Standard, October 4, 2006.] [ [http://www.viennale.at/cgi-bin/viennale/archiv/film.pl?id=1797&lang=en Chelsea Girls] , Vienna International Film Festival description ("The film is a fascinating mixture of feature and reality film.")] The film consists of drugged-out conversations between Warhol Superstars Nico, Ondine, Brigid Berlin, Mary Woronov and Gerard Malanga. [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/image/0,,1601953,00.html Snapshot: Chelsea Girls] , Will Hodgkinson, The Guardian] "I was the only one who memorised my lines," said Woronov, "and no one even noticed." In 1970, "Candid Camera" creator Allen Funt made the film "What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?", where he secretly filmed people's reactions to unexpected encounters with nudity in unusual situations. However, it was with the advent of reality television, which presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors, combined with the smash box-office success of "Jackass The Movie" in 2002, that made reality film a genre studios began to consider seriously. "The Real Cancun" billed itself as "the first reality feature film", causing Scott Foundas to remark in his review in "Variety" that such a claim is "apparently ignoring last year's "Jackass The Movie". [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117920552.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0 The Real Cancun] , Scott Foundas, "Variety Magazine", April 20, 2003.] In 2003 Comedy Central aired its feature length reality movie "Windy City Heat", starring Carson Daly and Dane Cook. [ [http://www.comedycentral.com/press/series/windycityheat.jhtml Press Release for Windy City Heat] ] In the movie, friends of Perry Caravello convince him he plays the lead gumshoe of a movie titled "Windy City Heat," directed by Bobcat Goldthwait; everyone is in on the elaborate joke except Caravello. [ [http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117923760.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0 Windy City Heat] review, Robert Koehler, "Variety Magazine", May 5, 2004.]

Reality films as documentaries

Some reality films, such as those based upon the "Jackass" television series, have been called documentaries. [E.g., Matt Prigge, "Repertory", Philadelphia Weekly, 3 January 2007 ("Jackass Number Two" "is, in every definition of the word, a documentary")] [Village Voice, Armond White [http://www.villagevoice.com/home/0301,comments,40958,23.html 1 Jan. 2003] , "Best Documentary: Jackass, far and away. It makes the self-important, pseudo-political quests of this year's trust-fund and grant-hound filmmakers irrelevant. Fuck Bowling for Columbine. Ass Kicked by Girl, Roller Disco Truck, Paper Cuts, and other Jackass routines show what's really going on in the frustrated hearts and minds of America's misdirected white youth."] [Andrew Sullivan's [http://web.archive.org/web/20040726074322/http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2004_06_27_dish_archive.html blog] , 30 June 2004: "F9/11 wasn't the biggest grossing documentary. Jackass was. It was non-fiction, and about as informative as Mr Moore. And a lot more to look at."] Jan Krawitz, director of Stanford University's prestigious master of arts program in documentary film and video, teaches not to make a reality film if you want your documentary to be real. [ [http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2003/julaug/features/docfilm.html Keep It Real; Farm-bred filmmakers redefine documentary, trying to get closer to the truth.] , Joannie Fischer, Stanford Magazine, July/August 2003.] In his article in "Time", Stein raises the point that "If the movie is shot like a documentary, we're willing to pretend it's a documentary no matter how staged it is.... And unlike documentarians, the ["Real Cancun"] producers, who have to work with MTV in their day jobs, felt it prudent to edit out the more controversial scenes, such as the one in which the twins have an angry, cursing fight with rapper Snoop Dogg in his post-concert trailer after, they say, he tried to get amorous with them." Correy Herrick raises a similar point about "Cancun" in "Hybrid Magazine":

This is by no means a documentary. Everything that happens is real, but you are only seeing what the producers want you to see, in the order they want you to see it, with the music they want you to hear. And they go even further here by splicing in non-reality cuts from time to time to accentuate the plot a little further. They need to turn these normal people into characters in order to achieve an entertaining experience and they are very crafty in the ways they do this. [ [http://www.hybridmagazine.com/films/0403/real-cancun.shtml The Real Cancun review] , Corey Herrick, Hybrid Magazine.]
James Ronald Whitney, whose films have won multiple "Best Documentary" awards [http://www.jamesronaldwhitney.com/filmography.html James Ronald Whitney Filmography] ] , distinguishes between documentary and reality film. In an interview about his reality film "", he said the difference was filming a staged scenario versus filming actual events that would have happened regardless of the camera's presence:
"A documentary is reality, but is its own animal. It's when you go back in time and you do a film about an election, an Olympics, a war, or something in the future that would organically happen anyway. Even "Real Cancun", spring break was going to happen. "Spellbound's" spelling bee was still going to happen. Those are not events that were created by a writer who then decided, "I'm going to make a movie about this event that I have created." That's how this is different to me than a documentary. [http://www.themoviechicks.com/mid2004/mctgamespeopleplay.html Interview with James Ronald Whitney ] on TheMovieChicks.com, May 13, 2004.]

Issues facing reality film

The viability of reality films has been called into question. "The Real Cancun" was considered a flop at the box office, taking in $5,345,083 worldwide on a budget of $7.5 million. [ [http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=realcancun.htm Box Office Mojo's numbers on The Real Cancun] ] A reality movie based upon the "Girls Gone Wild" video series that MGM bought the rights to was never put into production and the Universal Pictures effort "" was delayed after the flop of "Cancun" and went straight to video. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/fashion/04WILD.html?ei=5007&en=cdf42db840ca69e2&ex=1396414800&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=print&position= The Very Long Legs of 'Girls Gone Wild'] , MIREYA NAVARRO, The New York Times, April 4, 2004.] [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2003-04-27-box-office-usat_x.htm Moviegoers resoundingly reject reality of 'Cancun'] , Scott Bowles, "USA TODAY", 4/28/2003.] In an interview with the "Christian Science Monitor", Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, acknowledged the potential for "for an entirely new form of filmmaking." [http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0425/p03s01-ussc.html Reality Reality TV's big-screen test] , Amanda Paulson, "The Christian Science Monitor", April 25, 2003.] However, noted Thompson, "people aren't watching "Survivor" just to see people in bikinis," and added that standard reality television techniques such as serialized suspense, "voting off" segments, and general goofiness should not be included in the films. One of the criticisms was that reality television allows viewers to get to know new people over time. With a reality film such as "Cancun", "They transposed the format from television but none of the original characters," writes Sean Macauly in "The Times". [http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article870050.ece Why reality TV won't bite at the box office; LA Movie: Hollywood is finding it tough turning reality television into feature films] , Sean Macauly, "The Times" of London, April 28, 2003.] "With a film, viewers have 90 minutes to get up to speed with a cast of 16 partygoers. Rather than structuring their exploits like a soap opera and following them for a summer, "The Real Cancun" follows them for eight days." Paramount Pictures President Gail Berman stated that "Jackass" is "a great centerpiece for reality going to film" when asked about reality movies, but stated the question going forward is, "How do you get the exhibition experience of a movie to feel immediate and interactive with the audience?" [ [http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/16/8388650/index.htm The women of Viacom] , Patricia Seller, CNN.com/Fortune, October 11 2006.]

Other uses of the phrase 'reality film'

The phrase "reality film" has been used in the titles of articles that discuss the popularity of documentaries after the advent of "reality TV."cite web|url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/Film/Reality-film/2004/12/17/1102787257543.html |title=Reality film |accessdate=2007-08-22 |author=Tom Ryan |date=2004-12-18 |publisher="The Age"] [cite web|url=http://www.crucibleofwar.com/burlingtonfreepress.htm |title=Reality Films Rule |accessdate=2007-08-23 |author=Brent Hallenbeck |date=2004-10-10 |publisher="Burlington Free Press", mirrored at crucibleofwar.com] It is often used as a phrase to describe traditional documentaries.

ee also

*Actuality film
*""
*Documentary film
*Realism (arts)

Notes


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