by Maud Kersnowski
The latest edition in a new trend for film goers has opened its doors for
business. The Celluloid Social Club, a non-theater gathering place where
films are shown, opened this month in Vancouver. Once a month, an evening
of underground shorts can be viewed for $5. This month’s offerings included
co-host Ken Hegan’s "William Shatner Lent Me His Hairpiece (An Untrue Story)"
and "The Operation" shot in infrared by Jacob Pander and Marne Lucas.
Over the last year, a significant number of new venues for screenings of
unsigned, independent films have cropped up across the U.S. and Canada,
attracting not only filmmakers, but general audiences as well. Unlike the
usual one-shot, invitation-only event, films are now shown as part of
regularly scheduled entertainment held at least monthly and offered to
customers. From Portland to Baltimore, in lofts, micro-brewery pubs, and
Internet cafes, audiences are viewing everything from animation-comedy to
experimental-erotica. These new age movie houses range in style, from
screening rooms in coffee houses to parties with movies playing in the
middle of the crowd.
Owners and managers of these establishments actively look for new reels to
show. But since most establishments are barely breaking even, they cannot,
as yet, pay for films. What these screenings can offer filmmakers is
exposure to an audience outside of the film world “We see more of John Q
public than of filmmakers,” said Joel Bachar, director Seattle’s two year
old screening series, Independent Exposure.
Bachar views himself as a curator/ exhibitor/ promoter/ distributor/ artist
representative. Soliciting films over the Internet, he quickly developed an
extensive collection of underground films from around the world. As a
result, he has become an informal clearinghouse for screening groups. With
artists’ permission, he forwards individual films and entire programs to
other screening places across the country. Some films have been screened in
a dozen different cities. Both the Art Institute of Chicago and the
Knitting Factory in New York have presented screenings Bachar originally
programmed for Independent Exposure. He recently received a grant from the
King County Arts Commission and has announced he will pay a small
honorarium for films in the future.
Both The Celluloid Social Club and Independent Exposure welcome submissions.
[Independent Exposure takes place the last Thursday of every month at 2304
Second Ave. in Belltown, Washington; 206.977.8281;
www.LIGHTLINK.com/offline/SIFVC.html or e-mail inquiries to
The Celluloid Social Club takes place the second Thursday of the month at
The Empire, 1237 Richards Street in Vancouver; e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.]