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Underground Film Sites: Who’s In The Loop?

Recently, I posted up my theory about “film loops”, but I’m not sure if that’s the best term to use anymore. To review: A film loop is a collection of film websites — or other media outlets — generally grouped together by genre or theme that all refer to the same types of films and, similarly, refer to each other on news and analysis.

A more accurate term could be “film blogging loops,” but, then again, not all websites that write about film are blogs. Whatever the term should or could be, I was and continue to be stressed about the lack of an underground film “loop.” Mainstream films, indie films, horror films, et. al., all have their collection of media outlets, but underground films have painfully few outlets writing about them. Not none, thankfully, but few.

As I also recently declared, I want to make 2010 — and maybe beyond — a year to make a push to get more people writing about underground film. I don’t need to encourage filmmakers to make underground films because there are already so many tremendous filmmakers already out there making them. But they need a more vocal audience. And it’s my theory that not more people write about underground films because there isn’t a well defined media outlet loop the way other film genres have.

I don’t want to say there’s an underground film blogging loop that the Underground Film Journal belongs to because we don’t refer to each other too much. However, there are other websites out there covering the underground world, usually sporadically, but they’re there. Maybe you’ve seen them, maybe you read them regularly. But, for those who read┬áthe Underground Film Journal and have never seen these sites before, this list is for you, which is not in any particular order. Bookmark them! Subscribe to them!

  1. Experimental Cinema, run by Marcos Ortega. If you want to know, literally, what’s going on in the world of underground film, Marcos runs a staggeringly inclusive list of events, DVD releases, festivals, publications, etc.
  2. Invisible Cinema, run by Jennifer MacMillan. Jennifer is a filmmaker, curator and writer with the soul of a poet. She doesn’t write as much as she used to, but when she does, you’re glad she did.
  3. INCITE!, run by Brett Kashmere. INCITE! is both a website and a print journal featuring the best insight (get it?) and analysis into modern experimental media.
  4. Cinemad, run by Mike Plante. Cinemad started as a print zine in the ’90s and featured the most engaging interviews with a wide variety of underground filmmakers. Now the project is online and doing the exact same thing.
  5. Cineflyer, run by Clint Enns and others. This can be described as a blog about what’s going on in underground film in Winnipeg, but it also features general film analysis, tips for filmmakers, screening reviews and more.
  6. Flicker, run by Scott Stark. Featuring an exhaustive catalog of filmmakers, listings of weekly underground screenings, links to new videos: This site has a ton of great info.
  7. Snuff Box Films, run by Rupert Owen. Rupert runs lots of great info for filmmakers, such as calls for entry and other notes; plus special screening info, quick notes on underground films and more.
  8. Rhizome is both a non-profit organization and a website devoted to promoting the best in digital art. Their blog has at least one super awesome video to watch a day.
  9. Landscape Suicide, run by Matthew Flanagan. This is a different type of underground film blog. Instead of writing, it features curated images from films old and new based on different themes. Beautiful to look at.
  10. Gentle Ride Van, run by Andrea Grover. Andrea is the co-founder of Houston’s Aurora Picture Show microcinema and film library. Her personal blog covers all sorts of topics, including what’s going on in the avant-garde film and video world.

Now, I didn’t compile this list before I started this post, so it turns out I’m a bit surprised at how many sites I was able to include. Plus, there were a few more I thought of including, but they haven’t posted anything in months, so I’m going to consider them defunct.

However, if you, yes you reading this, know of any other underground film-ish websites you think should be on the list, please leave their links in the comments section below. I’m not trying to define what is and what isn’t an underground film website, these are just the sites that occur to me that are. I’m always willing to read new sites. Heck, that’s the whole point of me doing this.

Lastly, there are lots of other places to read about underground film that’s mixed in with a more general kind of content. I follow a ton of film websites, by fans, filmmakers, organizations and more. So, you can also read my list of shared items I find via my Google RSS Reader.


Underground Film Feedback (11 comments)

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  • Wow, thanks for the reference! An first in the list! This is a fantastic idea. You know, if I had compiled this list, you’d be my first reference. I’ll add some links later…

  • jmac says:

    Hey Mike,

    So essential! Don’t hate the media, become the media! What a great idea to compile all of the cinema blogs, devoted to the underground and experimental film! I have cross-reference this post on my blog, and here are a few blogs I’ve added to the list:

    La Region Central http://laregioncentral.blogspot.com/

    Visionary Film
    http://visionary-film.blogspot.com/

    Making Light of It
    http://making-light-of-it.blogspot.com/

    Visiones Metaforicas
    http://laregioncentral.blogspot.com/

    The Academic Hack
    http://www.academichack.net/

    Expanded Cinema
    http://expandedcinema.blogspot.com/index.html

    Recycled Images
    http://recycledimages.blogspot.com/

    Not Dead Yet (I love 16mm)
    http://16mmlover.blogspot.com/

    Abecedarium:NYC
    http://blog.abecedariumnyc.com/

  • Marcos: You’re welcome and thank you. You do have an awesome site and I wanted to let people know I read it even though I don’t cross-link that much. You do great work.

  • Jen: Thanks for the fantastic site suggestions. I’m not familiar with most of them, so I’ll check them out right now.

  • Jacob W. says:

    Jennifer was very nice to include my site, but the correct link is:

    http://making-light-of-it.blogspot.com/

    I think at least part of the problem is a lack of accessibility (which I suppose shouldn’t be all that credible of an excuse, I am currently in a barren wasteland as far as screening opportunities are concerned), and the difficulty inherent in writing critically about experimental film, but I think some of us are trying.

    What is great about Marcos’ site is that anyone can contribute information to the site, so it consistently has the potential to be even more inclusive than it already is, and he does an incredible job with it to begin with…

    • Hi Jacob, thanks for leaving a comment and correcting the link. I fixed Jennifer’s comment with it, as well.

      I don’t think I’ve seen your site before, but I enjoyed looking it over just now. I also subscribed to your feed, so I’ll be reading from now on.

      I also think the whole issue is a collusion of problems. Underground film, by nature really, is going to be less accessible — in the literal sense and the way it is appreciated by audiences. But with the Internet we have an unprecedented access to a larger audience, so it’s good to promote as much as possible writers such as yourself who are trying to spread the word, so there are more opportunities for audiences to find and understand what the underground is all about.

  • Nice job! I haven’t heard of many of these and look forward to infecting them with my horrible media germs.

  • jmac says:

    Mike & Marcos have created the new, reincarnated MOVIE JOURNAL!!! :)

    I see the omission of experimental/underground cinema from most American media sources, as a form of repression by omission! Our underground, invisible world of cinema questions just about everything, including Hollywood and pop culture and of course, $$$. Commercial cinema squashes any true subversion of its business model. Think about what is truly subversive in our world today . . . maybe the super radical, omniscient, astounding epiphanies of the poets?

    What we never see in American commercial film is a JLG inspired deconstruction of cinema, we never see the artists truly question or attack the conventions of the commercial world of cinema . . . cinema on cinema! It is not coincidental that art of this nature is underground . . .

    It’s totally political! :)

  • Sorry for the very late response… I think you’ve already covered most of them, but here are a few more I find interesting:

    – MORE MILK YVETTE: A JOURNAL OF THE BROKEN SCREEN began in February 2008 as a journal of artists’ and experimental film and video, based in London, written and edited by me, David Berridge. Film and video remains a core focus, but since then the blog has also expanded its interests, with writing on a range of art and a particular interest in connections of art and language as well as in new and exploratory forms of art writing and criticism.

    http://moremilkyvette.blogspot.com/

    – Experimental conversations, an online magazine edited by irish filmmaker Max Le Cain

    http://www.experimentalconversations.com/

    – Jennifer mentions ‘Visiones Metaf├│ricas’by Pierre Emile Vandoorne, but the link is wrong. It’s this one:

    http://www.visionesmetaforicas.blogspot.com/

    – Mubarak Ali’s Supposed Aura is a fantastic blog about cinema (not necessarily underground)

    http://supposedaura.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks for the additions, Marcos.

      I almost added More Milk Yvette, but I left it off because it hasn’t been updated in almost a year. I hope it comes back. Experimental Conversations is a great site I should have included, but forgot. (oops…) I’ll check the other ones out if you recommend them.

  • I would also add to the list Pablo Useros’ Workroom films:
    http://workroomfilms.blogspot.com/