By Doug Cummings

For those who grow weary of watching the same movies over and over again in the cyclic continuum of cable television, there is hope.

Starting Sept. 1, the cultural network Bravo will sponsor a new 24-hour, non-interrupted cable channel called the Independent Film Channel to be offered through the local cable company. The Independent Film Channel (IFC) will be dedicated to showing independent films produced over a wide gamut of filmmakers and intended venues.

The IFC has attracted a lot of attention not only because of its programming, but also because of the individuals affiliated with its creation. Director Robert Altman, whose films include Nashville, The Player and Short Cuts leads an advisory board comprised of fellow directors, such as Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull), Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing), Joel and Ethan Coen (Barton Fink), Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise), and Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape).

An independent production is a film that is produced separately from the massive commercial products of the Hollywood studios. Many independent films are restricted in their public access due to their lower budgets and unusual themes that don't fit comfortably within standard market niches.

One of the reasons for the IFC's formation is the recent popularity of several independent features that have garnered substantial public interest. Recent box office successes like The Player, The Crying Game, Much Ado About Nothing, The Piano, and Four Weddings and a Funeral have shown that independent features can earn large profits as well. Kathleen Dore, the general manager of Bravo and the IFC, cites a 61.6 percent increase in the box office intake for independent features from 1991 to 1993.

The films shown on IFC will be organized into categories and presented as ongoing series. Some of the categories include "Short Cuts," a series devoted to short films (thirty to sixty minutes in length), "Director's Choice," a selection of personal favorites among established directors, "Reel Perspectives," a compilation of outstanding documentaries, and "New Voices," a series devoted exclusively to student films.

In addition to providing audiences opportunities to view films that, at best, receive limited releases at art houses, the Independent Film Channel will also provide filmmakers the opportunity to exhibit their films. The creation of this easily accessible venue will hopefully encourage a greater interest in independent films and diversified cinema.

For more information on The Independent Film Channel, contact Tucson Cable Vision (884-0133) or a local cable company. Read Next Article