The American Film Institute Desk Reference: The Complete Guide to Everything You Need to Know about the Movies

 
9780789489340: The American Film Institute Desk Reference: The Complete Guide to Everything You Need to Know about the Movies

The only source of movie history any fan will want to read. Presented by the American Film Institute, the nation's preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of the moving image, the American Film Institute Desk Reference is the most comprehensive reference book on filmmaking ever published. Providing detailed information on the world of film, its history and its personalities, this single volume is loaded with enough facts and trivia to satisfy any movie buff. Highlighting filmmakers and costume designers, financiers and actors, this complete guide is packed with more than 500 photographs and illustrations, a year by year chronology of film, and many special annotated lists, including the AFI's celebrated list of the 100 Best Films of the Past 100 Years.

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About the Author:

The American Film Institute is a non-profit organization committed to advancing, preserving and redefining the art of the moving image. The only national arts organization devoted to film, television and video, AFI serves as a point of national focus to those concerned with film as art. George Ochoa and Melinda Corey have written more than 30 books on film and other subjects, including The Dictionary of Film Quotations, The New York Public Library Book of Answers, Facts About the 20th Century, and The Wilson Chronology of the Arts.

From Booklist:

The American Film Institute (AFI) has created a unique reference source that captures the magic and excitement of the movies. Containing a wide range of information about cinema and the film industry, this volume is a feast for the eyes. Its striking and colorful page layouts feature more than 500 photographs and other illustrations and creatively integrate narrative text with sidebars and boxes highlighting miscellaneous facts, quotes, and trivia.

Relying on a small team of contributors (among them several Hollywood celebrities), the editors have produced a six-part compendium beginning with "Movie History," a chronology of motion pictures from 1830 through mid-2002. "Movie Basics" covers the fundamental components of the film industry, while "Movie Crafts" focuses on the skills and terminology involved in moviemaking, ranging from writing and directing to designing costumes and editing. Featuring brief biographies of principal figures, "People in Film" is subdivided by professions, such as actors, directors, and special-effects artists. "Films" includes lists of winners of major film awards, annotated versions of several of the AFI's lists of best movies, movie quotations, and brief overviews of cinema in other countries. The final section, "Sources," provides directories of studios, organizations, film schools, and other institutions associated with the film industry as well as lists of recommended publications and online resources.

Although the index is useful, it is not comprehensive, failing, for example, to provide access to such features as a sidebar about DivX and tips for finding an agent. In addition, because the numerous glossaries of film terms are not indexed, finding a specific term can be frustrating. More troubling is the apparent lack of rigorous fact checking. The biography of composer John Williams indicates that he is still conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a position he hasn't held since 1993, and the membership of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is given as 39,000 although ASCAP's Web site indicates it currently has more than 140,000 members.

In spite of these problems, this attractive and fact-filled compilation is a bargain. Particularly suited for home libraries, it will also be a useful addition to high-school, public, and academic libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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