The “Independent” Film Channel

The main reason it took me so long to actually populate our blog with words is because I like to complain,  a lot, and who wants to listen to that?   Thus, when I finally started writing I did so only wanting to share my thoughts if they were constructive and well thought out.   Unfortunately, I won’t be doing that today.

There’s something that has really been bothering me lately and since I am about to go on holiday for a few weeks and am pressed for time I figured this might be an opportunity to get it off my chest.   So here you go:

I hate the “Independent” Film Channel.  The hate may be irrational, but it is justifiable.  I used to love IFC.  It was my favorite channel until it turned into the AMC of independent film channels – as in, your name no longer reflects your programming.  (On a side note – AMC also used to be one of my favorite channels before it became whatever the hell it is today.)

Lately, whenever I scan through the listings of IFC I am stunned by the almost complete lack of fresh independent programming.  Okay, IFC is free to program whatever they want.  They never made a promise to only show independent film and the definition of independent film is so broad anyway.   Seriously though, look at some of the programming IFC has on in the next week:

Not Really-That-Independent Films & Really Old Established Independent Films: In the next few days films like “I Heart Huckabees,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Lords of Dogtown,” “Slingblade,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “American Splendor,” “Thank You for Smoking,” “Layer Cake,” “The Quiet American,” and “Shadow of a Vampire” will all air on IFC.  Some great films in here, but these are not exactly the best examples of what is currently happening in independent film.   Not by a long shot.   These might be nice to mix in with really independent films, but unfortunately that is not the case.

Horror Films: IFC programs a lot of horror films.  Usually some sort of “campy” 80s or 70s film and ironically many of them probably are independent in the truest sense, but are there no new quality indie horror films being made these days?  Some choices: “Darkness” a drab looking 2002 Anna Paquin film, “Eaten Alive” Tobe Hoopers second feature, “The Prophecy”, a movie I thought was lame in high school, “Ginger Snaps” an indie horror film that was the rage 10 years ago and “Kingdom of Spiders” (Holy shit, I loved that movie, must set DVR!) Most of these are midnight movies, but really, can’t IFC tap into some new and fresh independent horror films?

Not at all independent films: Why is IFC spending money to air films like “Platoon”, “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Benny and June,” “Near Dark,” “Mad Max” and for the love of god “Get Shorty.”  Really?  Did IFC actually become AMC?  Are they the same channel? Is there no other outlet on TV to see these hidden gems of the film world?  Come on.

Whatever Series the Have On: If I want to watch sketch comedy or music shows I will watch channels dedicated to that.  For instance, I am more than happy to watch Monty Python on BBC America or Arrested Development on HDNet (If they still air it – too lazy to check).  Thanks for nothing. You are all over the place IFC.  And most of the original shows suck.  Henry Rollins show was cool, but I haven’t seen a new one in years.

I guess where this is coming from is that there are so many great independent films out there it would be nice if there actually was a channel dedicated to them all?  I would let IFC show our movie, “The Waterhole” for free!  Why not?  They have viewers and I assume and those viewers more than likely tuned in to see good independent film.  Or maybe they don’t and that’s why IFC programs the way they do.  In fact, IFC channel doesn’t seem to even be interested in showing IFC films!  They have acquired a few good movies lately that have not really been given theatrical releases, and after VOD and DVD they disappear.  Why wouldn’t the IFC channel program them?

It feels good to get that off my chest.  I will still on occasion check the guide to see if IFC has something on that I can’t easily watch somewhere else, and if they don’t, I will thank the movie Gods for Netflix streaming.

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2 Comments

Filed under Filmmaking, Independent Film, Television

2 responses to “The “Independent” Film Channel

  1. frank J Dziedziak

    My big gripe about IFC is that it now has COMMERCIALS !!! I have deleted IFC from my favorites list and now refuse to watch one second of their now inferior programming.. The whole concept is just a lame lie..There’s not a thing ‘indie’ about at all… PS.. all my friends have dumped IFC also ….

  2. We have sent the following email to IFC:

    Gentlepersons:

    We have found the newly instituted advertisements placed during IFC films to be intolerable. Not only do we no longer watch IFC, but your decision to indiscriminately bombard your film viewers with irksome and prolonged advertisements during a film presentation has further caused us to discontinue our Time Warner Cable service altogether because our once favorite channel (IFC) has for all purposes ceased to exist. We have long been considering dropping TW Cable, but IFC made our decision a no brainer. We prefer independent challenging films that are “outside the box”, and only the Sundance Channel still remains. Good though it is, it is not worth our monthly cable charges.

    In quest of a profit boost. you have not only abused your viewers but also have destroyed a great cable resource for fine and alternative films. IFC film offerings are not worth watching now. They are literally chopped to pieces with numerous prolonged advertising segments. We do not fail to apprehend that the audio level is appreciably increased for these ads, and that they increase and intensify at the most important moments of the film. We further believe that by reason of their length (sometimes five minute segments), that the films are being cut to make time for the ads.

    My wife and I were willing to accept some short and sensibly produced advertisements like those that you previously placed before and after your films, but you have now gone far beyond this line and viewing has become unpleasant if not impossible. The ultimate long range effect of your action will not be the higher profits that you anticipate, but rather just the opposite. The negative consequences of your action will take time to set in before viewers decide to switch to premium channels, Sundance or Netflix, but you will surely see it come to pass. No reasonable and discerning film lover can endure these hacked up films for long. You have sold out your station to the lowest common denominator in the pursuit of the fast and easy dollar. If your viewers were downscale, unsophisticated or dull, it might work. Unfortunately for you, they are not. You have, for the short term income boost, made an important and notable contribution to the ultimate demise of the IFC Film Channel.

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