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Producer Don Hahn Grateful For DVD ‘Dialogue' With Fans

15 Jun, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

DVD expands the way filmmakers can communicate with audiences, completing a social transaction that was one-sided until the format created a forum for bonus materials, producer Don Hahn said.

“Consumers are our audience, and that is a very trusted relationship,” Hahn told a keynote audience at the Third Annual Home Entertainment Summit: DVD Lucky 7 in West Hollywood, Calif., last week.

“Technology has revolutionized my business, animation. The paradox is that transformation needs to be completely transparent to the audience,” said the producer of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. “Thank you for what you all do, because you make that journey from filmmaker to audience transparent.”

Hahn described the filmmaker's relationship with the audience as a “sacred” one, the success of which is measured in the audience's ability to suspend its disbelief and enjoy the story.

“That trust is what audiences feel when it works, and it's what disappoints when it doesn't work,” he said.

Laserdisc opened the “dialogue” between filmmakers and audiences, and DVD delivers on that promise, Hahn said, citing the documentation of making Who Framed Roger Rabbit that was available because of Steven Spielberg's penchant for rolling 16 mm film behind the scenes while making movies.

That insight helps audiences understand without intruding on the storytelling, so the story exists suspended in a fantasy world that bonus materials bring into the real world.

“At Pixar, they've made the technology disappear. The best filmmakers are working that way now because the audience is fatigued” with action and high-concept movies, Hahn said. “They want a good story.”

The promise of the next 10 years is to help filmmakers extend the dialogue, he told the group.

“You are in a unique position to develop a language for all of us to communicate with our audiences,” he said.

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