I confess, I'm addicted to magazines. I can't go near a newsstand or bookstore without coming away with at least one. So seeing a free pile of magazines is practically like hitting the
lottery -- or at least winning on a scratch-off ticket.
I was up in Traverse City, Mich. earlier this month at the Traverse City Film Festival hanging out with my "good friends" Madonna and Michael Moore when I spied a pile of IFQs sitting on a table in one of the theater lobbies. Score!
The cover is intriguing. A black and white photo of a female who looks like a cross between a young Deborah Harry and Nico is set against a pink background. The issue is billed as the "Cannes Special Edition." Even though Danny Glover is the only name I recognized on the cover (I'll admit it, I like movies but I'm no art film aficionado) I figure maybe I'll know who some of the people are after reading about them. And maybe I'd learn something I didn't know from perusing the usual bourgeois entertainment zines.
As it turns out, the cover model is Emmanuelle Seigner, who appeared in "The Diving Bell and The Butterfly," which I have heard of. She's married to legendary director Roman Polanski. Penned by Nicole Holland, the interview is Q&A style and while it's decently written and somewhat interesting, I couldn't help but cringe at some of the "questions." I use quote marks because in several cases they aren't so much questions as statements of fawning adoration. Obviously the interviewee is a big deal in the film industry, but the tone of the article struck me as unprofessional and amateurish. I felt more like I was reading a high school newspaper than an internationally circulated magazine.
If that were the only such article in the 64-page magazine, I could give it a pass. But wait, there's more. We move on to another Q&A piece by Nicole Holland, this time with Asia Argento, whose father, Dario Argento, is a big-deal director in Europe. I've never heard of either of them or their movies, but the four-page piece is much the same as the first piece.
Moving along, there's another three-page Q&A by Nicole Holland, this time with Cecile De France, another actress I've never heard of. She was in a French movie with Gerard Depardieu. Finally, someone I have heard of. I'd been starting to feel seriously un-artsy fartsy.
The magazine describes itself on its Web site as "one of the fastest growing Film/Art & Society magazines featuring exclusive in-depth interviews with celebrated iconic figures in film, music and pop culture. IFQ invites you to experience this avant-garde film and pop culture movement." The advertising statistics sheet states that the target audience includes "producers, actors, directors, musicians, artists, film distributors, record labels, entertainment attorneys, dub houses, film labs, film festival directors, music festival directors, art festival directors, editors and the general public alike." I'm guessing they skew fairly young since the magazine has a profile on MySpace.
IFQ can be found in select Barnes & Nobles, Borders, Books-A-Million, on 3,000 newsstands nationwide and at domestic and international film, music and art festivals and related events. It has controlled circulation mailings that are sent to industry leaders, trade shows, music festivals, art festivals and film festivals, domestic and international.
Every article in the magazine is in Q&A style. While I don't mind that formatting as an occasional alternative to the objective third-person narration, it becomes grating after a while. Unless the person is a really big deal, I don't think it's necessary to preserve every single word they say. Spare the reader the gory details and get to the point. Exercise your competence as a writer and spin a tale that draws me in. Otherwise my take is that the writer is just being lazy or doesn't know how to write an actual story. But maybe to the 20,000 readers of this magazine, all of these interviews ARE with big-deal people. In which case, I guess all I can say is, "Enjoy."
Published by: Disticor (Newsstand Distributor); Publisher and Editor in Chief: Stuart Alson