Venezuela: BlogaCine Attracts Fellow Film Fans

BlogaCine [es] is exactly what its name says: a blog devoted to cinema. Since its beginnings in 2004, its author, Venezuelan Carlos Caridad-Montero discovered a cyber-space in which he could write about movies in general, and Venezuelan films in particular. Thus, Blogacine is the diary of both a movie expert observing experts, and an audience taking part in the critique. Readers have been participating very actively in this blog; and more interestingly, there is a renewed interest for national films, as seen in the comments, which is something that has been acknowledged more than once by the Venezuelan press [es].

The writings have generated a lot of discussion by readers who have high expectations about the quality of films in Venezuela. For example, one topic that continues to attract a lot of attention involves the themes of many Venezuelan traditional films, which, according to some readers, have focused too much on urban violence [es]. Instead, the bloggers and commenters contend that there are many other simple, yet stunning stories that have yet to be told onscreen.

Screenshot of BlogaCine

Screenshot of BlogaCine

In his post on the 5 years of the blog Caridad-Montero writes about how he started with this project:

Todo comenzó a gestarse a mediados de 2004, cuando tropecé en Internet con las palabras “escándalo sexual” y “weblog” en una misma frase. En mayo de ese año, se supo que una pasante llamada Jessica Cutler, empleada en la oficina de un senador estadounidense, había estado publicando el diario de sus correrías sexuales en Capitol Hill, en algo llamado weblog. Al buscar el significado de la enigmática palabra, fui a parar a Blogger, un servicio que permitía la publicación online de una página web cuyos artículos podían ser organizados cronológicamente. Sí, a la manera de diario o bitácora.

En un principio monté una bitácora personal llamada Cuaderno de Notas (de un cineasta latinoamericano). Pero enseguida me di cuenta de que aquella era la oportunidad de hacer algo que siempre quise y nunca pude por escasos conocimientos técnicos: montar un site dedicado al cine y a los temas cinematográficos que a mí me atraían. Al mismo tiempo, una página que sirviera para hacer circular la información en el, entonces claustrofóbico, mundo cinematográfico venezolano.

It all started in mid-2004, when I ran into a phrase online containing the words “sexual scandal” and “weblog” together in the same phrase. In May that year, it was discovered that an intern named Jessica Cutler, who was working in a Senator’s office was writing about her sexual adventures inside Capitol Hill in something called a “weblog”. When I looked for the word, I ended up on the site Blogger, a service that allowed online publishing of a series of articles that could be organized chronologically. The same way we do it in a diary.

I began with a blog called “Note Pad (of a Latin-American moviemaker).” However, I found out that I had the opportunity to create something I always wanted to do, and never could because of my lack of technical knowledge. I wanted to make a site devoted to cinema and explore this theme through the elements that interested me the most. At the same time, I wanted to make a page that could spread information about the Venezuelan movie world, which at that time, was claustrophobic.

Blogacine uses social media on its site, such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, among others, which makes the movement of information fast and accessible. Readers note that the blog is written with great care and passion about the subject matter, which only motivates the public to join the discussion. To illustrate this, Caridad-Montero comments:

He publicado alrededor de 2 mil artículos y he tratado en todo momento de mantener la idea inicial. BlogaCine no es una revista, sino un blog y, como tal, tiene un acento en lo personal. No sólo en la persona de su autor, sino en la de los cineastas y aficionados al cine que la visitan.

Me da la impresión de que la fórmula ha dado resultado. Las visitas a la página no han dejado de crecer y los usuarios tampoco.

I have published around 2000 articles and I have tried, at all times, to keep the idea I had at the beginning. BlogaCine is not a magazine, rather, it is a blog, and as such it underlines the personal element; not only of the author, but also of the moviemakers, and the fans that visit the page.

I have the impression that the formula has had results. The visits keep growing, so are the users.

And the results, according to Caridad-Montero:

Con el advenimiento del fenómenos de las redes sociales y los usuarios activos (Facebook, Twitter y YouTube), la información ya no puede ser contenida o censurada. (…) Las redes han borrado la línea divisoria entre emisores y receptores, (…) entre lo personal y lo objetivo. Para cualquier blog, el nuevo panorama presenta retos insospechados.

(En cuanto a la dinámica de BlogaCine): No sólo se ha elevado el nivel de nuestras discusiones, sin que vaya en detrimento de la pasión. Está visto que para discutir, no hace falta andar en plan troglodita, insultándonos los unos a los otros con los epítetos usuales: ¡escuálido! ¡Chavista! ¡Oligarca! ¡Comunista! ¡Etc.!

Tal parece que alcanzamos un punto en el que BlogaCine podrá ser el fruto no sólo del trabajo de su autor, sino también del de sus comentaristas.

With the advent of the phenomena of social networks and active users (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), information can no longer be contained or censored (…) These networks have erased the line dividing transmitters and users (…) what is objective and what is personal. For any blog, this new panaroma presents unsuspected challenges.

(Regarding the dynamics of BlogaCine): Not only have we elevated the level of our discussions without putting aside the passion. We see here that, to discuss, it is unnecessary to have a loud attitude or insult each other with the usual epithets: “Escuálido!” (Commonly used for anti-Chavez people), “Chavist!” “Bourgeois!” “Communist!” etc…

It seems that we have reached a point in which BlogaCine could be the result not only of its author’s work, but also that of the people who comment.

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