Film making involves lots of numbers and that’s why, says researcher Nick Redfern understanding films requires statistical literacy. Film data isn’t just box office, production costs and Hollywood quantities, but subtle measures, such as shot length — there’s a great debate about the construction of the Marx Brothers’ classic A Night at the Opera.
Redfern notes that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – at least when it is not distracted by the Olympics or Leveson – wants policy making to be more ‘evidence based’. That, he argues, calls for a greater ability to deal with the numbers in culture. He looks to the British Film Institute. ’The BFI has to take a lead in promoting statistical literacy in order to render consultation processes meaningful, and other film and education bodies have to follow.’