Yep, it is a bit pricey. Bill is actually looking at a different DVD collection that the one that I bought. And it is several hundred dollars. But, I imagine that they produced these in a very limited release. And I imagine that once they sell out it will be a very, very hard set to find.
I suspect that some of this footage may be extra B-Roll that was shot as a part of the movie Gamera vs. Jiger. I know that they shot quite a bit of the Expo site for the film. And the quality of the footage looks far better than I have seen come out of any other Expo film.
I knew that they were trying to pull something together a few years ago to place a bid for the 2015 Expo. It seems that the big sticking point is money. I believe that any nation is going to have to give the BIE some pretty strong assurances that the Expo will happen, even if that means that the national wallet has to be opened up to pay the bill.
It would be great for the Expo to come back to North America. I hope that they can make something happen. The next available Expos open for bid are the small 2022 or 2023 Expo, and the large 2025 Expo.
And I can understand a nation's concern about committing to something that far out. Given the fragile state of the global economy, you are rolling the dice a bit to commit to spending, probably, upwards of 10 billion dollars on a 2025 Expo. But I think that the gamble is worth it!
I think that the United States food based corporations are only going to be interested in they are selling product into the European market. I think that Caterpillar and John Deere might be good possible donors. However, the big question is oversight and design. Who is going to end up shaping the US message if we have a pavilion at Expo 2015?
It's great that you had a chance to stop at the Expo. I was fortunate to have a media pass as I was working on completing a film about Expos that I have been working on for the past few years. This allowed us to skip all of the lines. That always makes you feel a little guilty as you walk past people who have been in line for hours. However, it is a great way to see more of the fair.
I hope the 2015 Expo happens. I think that it probably will. And I don't wan't to get everyone thinking that it will not. However, I have researched Expos a lot in the past few years. And most events have historically had money problems. Both South Korea and China have pretty full pockets. So I think that recent history has been very kind to the Expo. The last big Expo in Europe was Hannover 2000. That was a fiscal disaster. So I just think that it is something worth watching.
I know that last year the BIE warned that their land purchases were behind schedule. And from what I have seen the budget for the Expo, at the time of pitch to the BIE was 4.2 billion Euro. 1.5 billion Euro of that is committed by the Italian government, with 900 million expected to be contributed by the local governments, and 900 million from corporations. The fiscal plan of the Expo also calls for bank financing to cover any gaps. So, I think that a lot depends on what happens to the Euro in the next year or so. If Italian banks have to be bailed out, they are going to be reluctant to loan to an enterprise that is anything but a sure bet. And, if things go south in Italy and the surrounding countries, I think that Expo organizers are going to have to tone down their attendance forecast of 30 million. So, while no one is currently crying out to stop working on the Expo, I fear that it could become a point of political contention. It takes me back to the proposed Expo 96 in Budapest. It started having funding challenges, and then there was a political shift and they axed the Expo as a bold, and very public example, of their seriousness on reigning in costs.
I hope that Expo 2015 happens. I plan to take the family to it. It would be my young son's first Expo. But I won't be surprised if making it happen comes with a funding struggle. And, I won't be surprised if its scale is dialed back a bit to reduce cost.
Another question is United States participation in the Expo if it happens. The political and economic drivers that produced US Pavilions in 2010 and 2012 were, I believe uniquely linked to Asia. My understanding is that the State Department approached US companies and reminded them that Asia represents a huge potential export market for them. China and South Korea are both in the top ten of US trade partners. In recent years the US has exported around 14 to 16 billion dollars worth of goods to Italy. And they usually export around twice that to the US. That keeps Italy out of the top ten trade partners. They may be top 20. However, it is going to be a lot harder to go to a US corporation and say, give us millions of dollars for a USA Pavilion, it's a good investment for your company. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out!
I was watching the Olympics last night and I was surprised to see a commercial with shots from the 1964 New York World's Fair publicity film "To The Fair". The first two shots of the commercial spot are color transfers from the "To The Fair" film. Then you see the interior of a few "national pavilions" recreated for the spot. Also look out for the 64 NYWF logos in red and blue without the Unisphere. Its interesting that Stella Artois threw back to what is becoming a rather obscure cultural reference in the United States. But, very cool.
There is a Castle 16mm color film of Expo 58. I have seen two copies of it. The one that I own suffers from faded color. I sent it out for telecine and restoration. They managed to pull back some of the color. As with many films of the era, the blues seem to disappear, and the reds seems to saturate. However, there may be some out there that have survived in a bit better shape.
I just noticed that yesterday, July 29th, the Yeosu EXPO reported more than 270,000 visitors at the site. I believe that the projected attendance for the event was 8 million. And I know that there had been reports of lower than expected atendance in the past few months. However, as often seems to the case, people are startng to realise that their window of opportunity to see it is quickly slipping away.
I have been reading recently about the BIE's effort in the 1990s to reduce smaller EXPO events. At the time it seems their value was being questioned. It's good to see that EXPO 2012 seems to be headed toward success.
I just wanted to chime in. Anyone interested in EXPO 70 should know that Universal Studios recently released a 5 DVD set of amazing footage of the EXPO. I think that the release was only in Japan. And it can be hard to track down. However, the footage is amazing. It all looks like it was 35mm motion picture film originated footage with awesome color! A fan of EXPO 70 would have a great time watching the 10 hours of video in the set.
That's one of the major problems with US Pavilions. In the past few years I have spent a great deal of time researching this topic. And when you look at it, from 1958 to the fall of the Soviet Union US Pavilions were intended to be weapons of a cultural war wadged by the United States Information Agency. That's not a criticism. It's simply a statement of fact. When the Cold War ended everyone seemed to look around and wonder what to do next. The USIA was folded into the Department of State. And people started to question the need for the culture war weapon if the war had been won.
There is no law that bans the use of public money in the construction of a United States Pavilion. The law says that Congress must allocate money for that purpose. However, as of late, no Congress has. And the use of corporate money is not, in and of itself a bad thing. If you look closely at many of the pavilions you will find subtle references to corporate sponsors. However, a United States Pavilion needs to first and foremost put forth the message of the US, NOT the message of corporations.
I have spent time with Jose Virreal, the Commissioner General of the US Pavilion at EXPO 2010, and with former Department of State employees directly connected to this topic. And, unless things have dramatically changed since 2010 State Department oversight of pavilion design and operation is very minimal. I also spent time in the UK before EXPO 2010, visiting architects who had vied for their pavilion design, and employees of the UK Trade and Investment office. Theirs is a system where healthy competition between architects creates not only a pavilion design, but also a dialogue about how to represent their country. I think that kind of model would be a better approach for the US. Currently the US competiton is based on the ability of a pavilion corporation to raise money, because with no corporate money there is no pavilion.