List includes writers strike, iPhone

The American Film Institute picked its seven moments of significance in film and TV for 2007, citing a range of events, from the iPhone’s release to the writers strike, as having the most cultural impact this year.

Topping the list was the strike, now in its eighth week. AFI said the “traumatic” Writers Guild of America work stoppage was emblematic of the “ongoing digital revolution” and that it was part of an industry paradigm shift.

This revolution apparently advanced in less turbulent ways, too. Other high-tech moments that were spotlighted include the HD quality of Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth” and the iPhone.

With “Earth,” AFI said the 11-part nature series “illuminated the power of television as a unifying force in our global community” and touted its use of digital technology. Excitement for the iPhone, on the other hand, was a “symbol of a public that demands its content where they want it and when they want it.”

The list also called attention to a notable trend in filmmaking brought on by the war on terror. The response to ongoing wars in the Middle East, in movies such as “In the Valley of Elah,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Grace Is Gone” and “A Mighty Heart,” was described as the most immediate cultural response to war in American history and a stark contrast to the pro-war pics that unspooled during World War II.

Two TV evolutions also made the cut. AFI recognized what it calls the “hyper-tabloidization” of TV news, reflecting on 2007’s unending coverage of Lindsay Lohan-Paris Hilton-Britney Spears, et al., often in lieu of more traditional news. Also on the list is a potential redefinition of the TV “season,” thanks to the rise of summer hits such as “Damages” and “High School Musical 2″ on cable.

Finally, AFI paid tribute to veteran directors Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, whose deaths this year marked “the end of an era.”

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