Jewison protests Oscar DVD ban

Oct. 7, 2003 at 11:57 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Norman Jewison is protesting the Motion Picture Association of America's recent ban on DVD distribution of films to Oscar screeners.

Jewison says the move will limit the exposure of small independent films appearing in fewer theaters than major studio movies.

With the number of films released at the end of the year -- prime Oscar season -- almost tripling over the last decade, academy members and film journalists have found it impossible to see everything. In previous years, studios and firms representing independent films have sent out copies of their films on DVD and video in hopes of maximizing the films' exposure by allowing people to view the movies in their own homes.

The Academy has said it decided to ban this practice because it is trying to prevent poor , unauthorized copies of films from being illegally sold on the street and the Internet.

In a letter to MPAA President and CEO Jack Valenti, Jewison ("Moonstruck," "Agnes of God") writes: "When every Academy member can view all the films in contention, then it's a fair and even playing field. However, when the small independent film, which depends on its artistic appeal rather than wide commercial distribution by an MPAA member -- is now denied access the playing field becomes unfair and uneven. Piracy to a small independent film seeking an audience is simply good word of mouth."

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