Split Screen: Reanimated

John Pierson's Split Screen begins streaming on FilmStruck

Split Screen, John Pierson’s 1997-2001 TV show about the indie film world makes its streaming premiere today on FilmStruck, the new subscription on-demand service from The Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies.

John Pierson and Spike Lee

In all, 60 episodes of Split Screen aired on the Independent Film Channel during its initial run, and beginning Saturday, December 10, FilmStruck will release six episodes of the show every six weeks. Whether you've seen it all before or you're a newcomer to the series, Split Screen remains relevant and entertaining 15 years after it went off the air.

Pierson, the author of Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of American Independent Cinema and a former faculty member of the UT Dept. of Radio-Television-Film, maintains a legendary status within the independent film world. According to his bio, Pierson has represented an all-star lineup of more than 20 first-time feature filmmakers, including Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Richard Linklater, and Kevin Smith.

In an Austin Chronicle interview with Pierson about the show in 1997, I wrote, ”While spotlighting the work of both known and unknown filmmakers, the program is also marked by its playful irreverence and Pierson's widely recognized talent for debunking myths and half-truths.” Pierson added that the show was not “just about the indie film world. It's also meant to suggest what's entertaining about that world." Below is a program guide to the episodes premiering today on FilmStruck.

1) Spike Lee, the Real Fargo, Waters Shocks

Spike Lee's first decade; John Pierson and Bob the Mailman; Hang Your Dog in the Wind (the movie about making movies); the real Fargo, Brainerd, Minn.; and the Gruesome Twosome: an encounter with John Waters and Herschell Gordon Lewis. (Original air date 03/10/1997)

2) Linklater & Bogosian in NYC, Duct Town
Richard Linklater and Eric Bogosian at the New York Film Festival with their film SubUrbia; Linklater's first film It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books; and a trip to North Reading, Mass. – Duct Town. (Original air date: 03/10/1997)

3) Kevin and Crumb at the Quickstop

Kevin Smith and John Pierson co-host from New Jersey; a visit with Crumbdirector Terry Zwigoff at home; found video “Direction Man”; director Chris Smith and Making Northwestern, with Mark Borchardt. (Original air date: 3/17/1997)

4) Sundance on the Hudson

Bob the Mailman in L.A.; insights from filmmakers at the Cold Spring, N.Y., Film Workshop; Marina Zenovich explores the January film alternatives in Park City, Utah, the home of the Sun, Slam and Slum Dance Festivals. (Original air date: 3/24/1997)

5) Breakthrough Screenwriting

Brian Flemming and Keythe Farley take a weekend "blockbuster" screenwriting course and make a film; directors Mary Harron and Katherine Dieckmann, both nine months pregnant, discuss their altered state with Guinevere Turner. (Original air date: 06/02/1997)

6) PROJECTIONS: Harmony Korine

In this installment of Projections, a series of interviews about filmmaking in New York, John Pierson speaks one-on-one with filmmaker Harmony Korine. (Original air date: 10/23/2000)

The Criterion Channel on FilmStruck: SPLIT SCREEN from Criterion Collection on Vimeo.

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Split Screen, John Pierson, FilmStruck

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