Underground Film Journal: Underground Film Resources
Focusing on underground films with the Underground Film Journal roughly three years ago, my main goal was to bring attention to films that weren’t getting much coverage elsewhere. That’s still my main goal here and it’s what I keep pounding away at day after day.
As a result, I’ve ended up chatting frequently with filmmakers who talk — or write if it’s over email — about the struggle of getting their films in front of audiences. Granted, the notion of an “underground” film seems to indicate that these are films that should be a little bit hard to find or only appeal to obscure cult audiences. However, today with the free-flow of information over the internet and with so many electronic forms of distribution, it seems like it should be easier for an “underground” film to land on people’s screens. Yet, that isn’t happening too much unfortunately.
So, I’ve decided to devote a certain amount of space on the Underground Film Journal to building resources to connect films with audiences beyond the types of news announcements and movie reviews I’ve been focused on. Partly, I’m not exactly sure how to go about doing this. The first step I feel, though, is to just gather raw data and output it without commentary because the basic first question is: What’s out there and where can it be seen?
A few months ago I did create an Underground Film Festivals List that’s become one of my more consistently viewed pages. On the page, I just list all the festivals I cover on the Underground Film Journal, along with the dates they run and the deadlines for film submissions. Honestly, I only originally created the page as a reminder form for myself of when to go look for lineups to post, but I think it’s a good reference source for filmmakers and I can see why it’s become so popular.
Based on that “success,” though, I’ve decided to go ahead and create other related list pages. So far, I’ve come up with two. One is what I call the Theater List although it includes arthouse theaters, microcinemas and screening series that either regularly show or at least seem open to showing underground films. Right now, it’s not such a big list, but it’s at least started enough to begin promoting. And if you look at it now, you’ll see I’ve only included theaters in North America, but once I run that gamut, I do plan on adding international theaters. I think this page will be a good resource for filmmakers who want to go the self-distribution route and would like a “one-stop shopping” location to find amenable theaters. If you’re reading this and think of a good place to add to this list, please contact me about it.
The other list I’ve created is the Film List, which is just a one-page list of all the underground films I’ve reviewed on the Underground Film Journal. But, what I’ve included is links to where one can buy and/or rent these films or find more information about them. I feel with the reviews I’ve done that once they’re posted, they tend to fall into the black hole of history. What I want to do is to shove these films into the faces of people in as many different ways as I can think. Again, I hope this will be a “one-stop shopping” location for people looking for something different to watch, especially since many times when I do a review a film it’s just on the festival circuit. Now, when it gets some kind of release, audiences can know where to find it. Again, this page is incomplete and I have a lot more films to add, but it’s a start at least.
Time permitting, I’m hoping to also add more helpful lists in the future and create a sort of “Resources” center on the site that will help both filmmakers and audiences. I also want to create resources that go beyond my own personal biases and cover and help as many underground films and filmmakers as possible. So, if you any ideas of what you may find helpful or useful, please either leave a comment below or feel free to contact me personally.
UPDATE: I’ve gone ahead and have created a third list. This is a Distributor List of companies that have put out underground films on DVD. Not that these companies only put out undergrounds, but have been receptive to accepting them.