Dagan Cohen and Upload Cinema. Taking YouTube to the Big Screen

On: March 11, 2011
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About Nicola Bozzi
I was born in Catanzaro, Italy but I was raised in Milan. I studied Arts and Multimedia at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, where I achieved a BA and then an MA in Cinema and Video. I have collaborated with magazines like Zero (www.zero.eu) and Exhibart (www.exhibart.com), writing art and cinema reviews. I was part of the Check-in Architecture editorial staff (checkinarchitecture.blogspot.com , youtube.com/user/checkinarchitecture) and I now work for yskira.com, an online architecture magazine.

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by Nicola Bozzi [cross-posted on the Video Vortex website]

Upload Cinema is a monthly video spree that quite literally takes the most valuable YouTube gems to the big screen. That is, the not-so-big one of the Uitkijk, the smallest and coziest movie theater in Amsterdam.
Dutch creative director Dagan Cohen and cinema programmer Barbara de Wijn started the initiative because they thought (the best) YouTube videos deserved a bigger screen. So, to make sure they selected only the most compelling, they made the format of their cinematic get-together strictly editorial and topical, with a monthly theme explored with the help of experts and, of course, crowd-sourced suggestions from the users of their website.

Previous editions of Upload Cinema have included “The Perfect Speech” (just before the American elections), “Video Gastronomy” (pretty self-explanatory), and of course “Pussy Galore” (which, for the dirty-minded out there, is the mandatory focus on YouTube feline celebrities).
Just like the videos it screens, Upload Cinema has gone viral and the brand has been exported to 15 Dutch towns, but also beyond national borders (e.g. Barcelona and Madrid). Cohen said they’re not going Pecha Kucha-style yet (by which I mean franchising their format) in order to preserve the quality of the selection, but they have been having collaborations and special events apart from the usual monthly meeting.
The most successful of this latter type, titled quite grandiously “The Canon of YouTube” (which gives you an idea of how serious they are about selecting the highest-quality stuff), culminated in a live dancing performance involving the audience and the ever-green YouTube hit “the Numa Numa song”.
As Cohen said, sometimes viral is something very physical.

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