Forget Cannes

More than a hundred years after the Lumi?re brothers projected
the first film on the basement wall of a Paris caf?, underground
film is experiencing a revival in the form of
microcinema?alternative screening spaces like bars, coffeehouses,
and community centers that exhibit a variety of experimental works
by independent filmmakers.

The term ?microcinema? was coined in 1991 by two San
Francisco?based experimental film buffs, David Sherman and Rebecca
Barten, who started showing movies out of their mobile home. Since
then, local microcinema scenes and Web sites that stream films (see
below) have cropped up across the United States, Canada, and
Europe, providing a haven for filmmakers seeking exhibition
opportunities and for film buffs who?d like to get to know each
other.

?Microcinemas,? writes Angela Alston in The Independent Film
& Video Monthly
(Sept. 2002), ?are not a place to sink
into the dark and disconnect all neural activity.? Indeed, the
casual, salonlike atmosphere of microcinemas (both beer and
conversation usually flow freely) creates a sense of community that
more than makes up for the lack of stadium seating and Dolby sound.
To locate the microcinema salon nearest you, log onto
www.microcinema.com or check out these Web sites, which serve up a
variety of shorts and features:

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