>A fight to the finish

>The fifteenth and final New York Underground Film Festival kicked off last night and continues through April 8th at Anthology Film Archives.

In a comprehensive profile on indieWire about the changing landscape of underground festivals in the US, organizers point to new distribution technologies that make many of the works they showcase more readily accessible – a consideration also looming for kinky film festivals, no doubt. But they also question the nebulous definition of the genre itself:

“What is ‘underground’ film anyway?” wondered Ed Halter, the former director of NYUFF and one of this year’s special curators. “The term ‘underground’ is problematic because most people are under the misconception that ‘underground, is synonymous with ‘shock’ cinema.”

In the comments to the article, filmmaker Ralph Ackerman puts the query in to some historical perspective:

I started making experimental films in 1963 and at that time we called it underground cinema because if we showed our films in the public we were always arrested for being obscene etc… Things are so mild now. Kenneth Anger with his trangressive films faced the coops (sic) often.”

With that, our best wishes to NYUFF organizers in their new venture, Migrating Forms – and just one of the NYUFF ’08 trailers, a retro-flavored, hair-pulling rendition commissioned from Peggy Ahwesh.


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