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Cinema41: One Year Old and Still Indie as Indie Can Be

Cinema 41 celebrates their one-year anniversary

By Marc Savlov, 1:17PM, Thu. Apr. 5, 2012

Cinema41: One Year Old and Still Indie as Indie Can Be

It was, at the start, a tough sell. Austin is overrun with film fests, micro-fests, one-off cinematic art/performance projects, and Godard knows what else. Looking back, the odds on Cinema41 surviving a full year were…dodgy. But we're delighted to say that they're celebrating their joyeux anniversaire this evening. You really ought to go.

If you're unfamiliar with the C41 crew, they're an all-volunteer outfit headed by Executive Director and Head Programmer Ryan Darbonne, who, alongside Booker, Press, and Marketing guru Heather Cain and a handful of other indispensables, has managed to carve out a genuine niche in the River City's otherwise jam-packed film scene.

Tonight's screening, Tom DiCillo's 1993 film Living in Oblivion, nicely dovetails with both Cinema41's indie backbone while recalling a moment in time when independent filmmakers appeared to have both the odds on their side and the nano-budget/zero distribution that would later make for myths and legends.

Want to be an indie filmmaker? DiCillo, Jarmusch, Soderbergh and others paved the way, rocky though it was, and rocky it remains. The DV revolution and new distro platforms have helped to level (kinda, sorta) the filmic playing field, sure, but even the smoothest indie film shoot is a cavalcade of tragicomic chaos when compared to the corporate, Studio lockstep currentl holding sway over Tinseltown. Filmmaking and all that it entails is going through a state of almost unimaginable flux right now. The future, for now, is unwritten. It's up to groups like Cinema41 to remind us of what was, indie film-wise, and what can yet be. We suppose anything is possible if Whit Stillman has a new comedy out. All bets are clearly off as of now.

Tonight's DiCillo screening will be followed by by a panel discussing the highs and lows of independent filmmaking, with Bob Ray, Karen Skloss, and John Bryant on-board to talk about indie filmmaking tales of terror and how newcomers can avoid the myriad pitfalls so accurately depicted in DiCillo's film.

Living in Oblivion screens tonight at the Austin Film Society Screening Room, 7:30pm. Complete information on both tonight's fete and Cinema41 can be found here.

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