Friday, June 23, 2006

New gig: programming Indie Film Nights at Sangha in Takoma Park, MD

Although the 1960's/French New Wave era filmmakers are very important, I find it slightly disappointing that there seems to be a seemingly/comparatively never ending amount of their films being shown at art/indie houses and not enough of films by art/indie filmmakers from subsequent generations (and let's just say it, specially my own) not being shown at these venues. The work of the 60's indie filmmakers I guess have become one of the the essential bodies of work of the art/indie "genre" for the moment and there is a relatively small but built in audience for those flicks so programmers keep programming them. And not to mention the fact that cats like Cassavetes & Godard does need to be celebrated year after year because they did do some groundbreaking stuff. But, what if rock clubs stopped at the Elvis generation of musicians & did not make room for the subsequent generations? Well, our selection of music will be far less & it would be less relevant. So I think it is important for art/indie venue programmers to seek out new artists from the current generation & give them a chance at discovering an audience (instead of waiting for Hollywood & Indiewood to do all the heavy lifting & then cashing in on the pre-existing fame - here I am thinking of AFI Silver's recent celebration of the careers of one my favorite filmmakers: Jim Jarmusch, & also Kevin Smith, & I do like the AFI Silver - very fine local venue). There are art/indie venues that engage in this pioneering activity - such as the appropriately named Pioneer theater in NYC, but I think more venues around the country should do more for new art/indie filmmakers from the current & immediately previous generations. I will keep this preference of mine in mind when I program the Indie Film Nights at Sangha, a fair-trade store & performance space in Takoma Park, MD.

The details are still being worked out. I will be showing indie films at least once a month starting in July at Sangha. A screening of Date Number One was already scheduled for July 13, so I will consider that the start of the screening program. Plus I will continue to show indie films at Kensington Row Bookshop in Kensington - the program currently known as Capital City Microcinema. Aside from filmmaking & distribution, I want to put more work into film exhibition. And of course the blogging work will continue at the current, decently productive, rate.

I'll post a CALL FOR ENTRIES soon for the Sangha Indie Film Nights. I am pretty sure I can set up the events so that all of the three relevant parties - the venue, the filmmakers, & myself - stand a chance of making some money from the screenings & or getting something positive out of them. And of course hopefully the most important party in the overall equation - the audience - will get to check out some excellent indie films that they may not get to see anywhere else in the DC area.

Programming/producing indie screenings @ Sangha & @ Kensington Row Bookshop = very exciting stuff. Small scale, but forward movement nevertheless.

- Sujewa

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