As Indies Explode, an Appeal for Sanity has been torn apart by critics all over the place lately) nostalgically looks back on seeing films -actual films filmed on film- in theaters and seems very dismissive of online platforms (note: she is writing IN PRINT! gasp!) But the theater experience is not what it used to be for the younger generation of audiences & critics. Most young people's early film going experiences are so augmented now (3D, wall shaking bass, more computers than actors etc.) that even the young girl who might eventually wander into the indie realm does not look at film watching as a strictly theater-going experience, quite the opposite. The new generation of
Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, anyone?), and my move to New York where I dedicated my paycheck to hours of cold, dark rooms with whirring film reels out of necessity: I sought out the films that you couldn't see anywhere else. The film loving teenager I am currently mentoring for her senior project doesn't rely on the videostore for discovering offbeat or non-Hollywood releases, she relies online, a fact that means she can discover nearly any movie, at anytime, regardless of whether she lives in a metropolitan area or not. Like the formative independent days of VHS tape trading (yeah, I have the Japanese released Eraserhead on VHS, complete with photocopied cover!!!), the internet is the new place to discover the undiscovered and pave the way for a new definition of independent cinema. Dargis feel like there is a glut of bottom shelf indie movies out there (and as someone who is on two indie film fest screening committees: SHE HAS NO IDEA HOW BAD IT COULD BE/WHAT WE ARE SHIELDING HER FROM!) but what she doesn't recognize is that even if these movies seem like a waste of her time, quickly shifting from bigscreen to small, the small is where the young generation of audiences can see things that normally went unseen. VOD is the new VHS and this fact is building new viewership, strong online critical voices, and a wholly new independent film landscape.
No Budge). Online critics can be the new film programmers of new, accessible viewing platforms. Even the NYTimes dabbled in this realm with those short-shorts they produced last year? Commissioned by the media outlet, available exclusively online, paid subscription necessary? And truly new voices in indie cinema also see the benefit in this model, the starkly personal underground title I Hate Myself :) was screened by the filmmaker online mainly because she knew the intimacy of her film would be best experienced there, and that the freedom of expression allowed wouldn't become an MPAA issue. VOD isn't the ghetto or graveyard Dargis sees it as, it is the new-indie (Nu Indie? Indie Nouveau? DigitalIndie? New Digital? Eh...) platform for a new-indie wave and, as exemplified in the first indie wave, subculture so often becomes pop-culture.