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The Evolution of the Underground Film Festival

Here is a story that appeared on IndieWire today by Benjamin Crossley-Marra on the state of Underground Film Festivals.

The Evolution of the Underground Film Festival

by Benjamin Crossley-Marra (April 1, 2008)

“Fixtures on the fest circuit for many years, underground film festivals are facing major changes. Some events are closing down, while others are moving. In Illinois, IFP/Chicago will engage in a strategic partnership to head the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF). Although the fest will primarily remain the same, it will move later into the fall to run in conjunction with IFP’s annual filmmaker summit. But this isn’t the only rift within underground festivals. The New York Underground Film Festival (NYUFF) is ending as it celebrates the launch of its 15th fest on Wednesday. And, across the river, the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival (BUFF) ended last year.

“NYUFF is ending in 2008 because we want to see it go out with a bang-we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t fade, or disappear during an offseason,” said NYUFF programmer Kevin McGarry of the closing New York Underground Film Festival, which will open on Wednesday with Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi’s “Heavy Metal Baghdad” and continue through April 8th.

2007 saw the closing of Brooklyn’s underground fest and Cinematexas, both prominent venues in the underground scene. But the organizers of these festivals claim that this in no way marks the death of anti-institutional filmmaking or distribution, but is actually part of an evolution in the cinematic landscape. They point out that new media technologies have afforded filmmakers countless opportunities in unregulated self-distribution and larger festivals have sprung up in recent years like SXSW, Slamdance and Tribeca, which programming more and more experimental works.”

Read the rest at the IndieWire website here.