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Year Of The Underground Film Loop: So, How’d That Go?

Collage of movie blog logos

Back in January, I declared 2010 to be the Year of the Underground Film Loop, my attempt to bring some solidarity and attention to the underground film scene that had been lurking around the fringes of the Internet. So, how’d it go? Any solidarity? More attention?

The feelings about the year-long project are, as they say, mixed. Mostly mixed towards the positive. First of all, though it’s probably clear to anybody who was paying attention that the project ran out of steam about halfway through the year.

Things started off strong with the making of a collaborative list of all the underground film blogs that existed at the time, which I eventually moved to its own links page. Plus, my initial Loop post got some good comments and attention as did my “What’s an Underground Film, Anyway?” post. However, it was a series of diminishing returns the more I posted up tips and resources for underground film bloggers. So, those kind of petered out.

Plus, in January, I had big hopes of using social networking more throughout the year to sound a steady drumbeat of everything that was going on in the underground film world, past and present. But, when I came up with that plan, I wasn’t working. Then, I started a fairly intense research job at the American Film Institute that unfortunately cut down on my social networking initiatives.

So, those are the negatives: The entire project dying. Not doing nearly as much as I wanted to do. Pretty negative stuff.

Yet, at the same time, just by talking about all this openly and publicly, it really brought me into closer contact with those running underground film websites. Now, my main goal, was to get these other websites to talk about each other more publicly and not just coming to me. That didn’t happen. But, I have to say, I do feel a sea tide changing. Not a big one and it’s not something I can even quantify, but I feel like a bigger involvement is brewing out there.

Another measurably positive thing that happened was that, keeping the Loop in mind, I started posting my Weekly Film Links, a collection of links to posts on underground film blogs, news items about underground films on mainstream websites and classic articles buried deep on the Internet about underground film.

Personally, these links posts have been good for┬áthe Underground Film Journal because they’re pretty much the most viewed articles on the site every week. Granted, I still get generally low traffic overall, but I’m glad to see they’re getting hit so much because they’re pretty fun to get together.

But, the thing that was really nice was hearing from several people I linked to write and see they saw definite spikes in traffic thanks to those posts. I’m sure these aren’t huge spikes. Still, it’s been nice to hear that people are actually clicking through to these sites I’ve been linking to because that’s been the whole point of the Underground Film Loop in the first place — to create a general awareness of what’s going on in our little world.

Still, it would be nice if I felt those links I put up spread out more into the world rather than just┬áthe Underground Film Journal feeling like a centralized hub. (One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately — and something I don’t have any control over — is the relentless Facebook status updates I see out of people that would serve the world much better if they were committed on public blogs instead of being confined for a privileged few.)

So, now what? What’s 2011 going to hold? I’m refraining from making a similar “Year of…” declaration for the coming year — for now. But, I’m not giving up on the idea of better solidifying an Underground Film Loop. The links posts will continue, of course, and I actually have a few ideas for some new tips and resources articles. If they don’t cause much of a stir in the underground film blog world, then so be it. Gotta keep pushing.


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