Independent and Foreign Films were always a love of mine, particularly in college, during which I worked as a projectionist in an Art House theatre. When I officially launched this website in 2003, my plan was to feature a number of those reviews, along with the more standard fare.
It was Tuesday May 11, 2004 that filmmaker JA Steel contacted me with a witty request to review her film The Third Society. I was pretty surprised, not because I had yet to catch up with The First Society and The Second Society (I'm kiddin', I'm kiddin') but because I hardly expected a filmmaker to actually request that I review her wares. I considered making sure she was aware that the "World's Greatest Critic" title wasn't awarded to me after some cosmic contest but was a title intended to be both ironic and humorous. After my faux-professional response I realized it wasn't a mistake.
Okay, so it wasn't the best movie (Steel didn't claim it to be either) but it was an honor nonetheless (thanks, Ms. Steele) And probably a fluke. I was reminded of the Pizza Hut commercial in which a guy is extolling the virtues of the Hut's latest super offer. When the camera cuts to the one he's talking to, it's a canine who says "What're you telling me for? I'm a Dog!" His smiling response: "I'm telling everyone!"
"JA, why send me your DVD? I'm a Dog!"
"I'm sending it to everyone!"
And that was that. Less than a year later another filmmaker, James Ricardo contacted me to discuss, what else, one of the Video Nasties. He too offered to send me his film (then called "Sunnyvale"). Wow, Lightning Strikes Twice, huh?
After Sunnyvale (now entitled "Opie Gets Laid") the review requests started coming in more frequently. Some of these were from established (or semi-established) artists, others were from ambitious newcomers who were eager to try their hands at the craft. Sometimes the films would come in a flood, sometimes I'd actually get a break. It wasn't too terribly long before they started to stack up, either a lot or a little.
As I began to feature "Seasons" of Reviews the "Ultra Indies" as I called them, often were set aside in favor of the theme of the season. Some fit, some didn't. Some Indie Filmmakers would ask me where there review was, others would give up, still others would seek out Roger Ebert at a Festival somewhere and start quoting him instead (not that I could blame them).
After Seven Seasons, covering Horror, Science Fiction, Comedy, Action, Bad Movies, Video Nasties and Weird Movies, I figured it was time for a Season devoted to nothing but the Ultra Indies. So is born Indie and Spring 2008. Now maybe I can get my name taken off a few hit lists... or... maybe this will get my name put ON a few more.
-J.C. Mašek III (April 07, 2008)