Independent Exposure
Thurs Oct 25, Vital 5 Productions, 254-0475.

For the last five years, Joel Bachar has been running Independent Exposure, a (mostly) monthly screening series for underground, experimental short films from around the world. Once housed in the now-defunct Speakeasy, IE has been the screening site of over 700 shorts produced by filmmakers from 25 countries.

The programming typically follows a theme, and this month's installment, "Halloweird," is no exception, offering up subjects that treat the scary and odd. What is exceptional about this October 25 edition is that it will be not only the last IE of the season, but the last one ever, at least in Seattle. Bachar is pulling up stakes and moving to San Francisco.

In an e-mail exchange, Bachar explained some of his reasons for calling it a day. "Basically," he wrote, "I just feel like I have hit a professional ceiling in Seattle. There is no work in indie film here, and I have really exhausted myself by constantly producing and promoting events here in town. Granted, these events are enjoyed by a lot of really enthusiastic and supportive people, but there isn't always the financial return, and it takes a lot of my time and energy. So, now it's time for me to get back to more creative endeavors. I started IE so I could show my own films--and in five years I haven't shot a single frame of film!"

I've seen a lot of IE episodes over the years (mainly on tape, I confess), and the genuinely excellent films have been drastically outnumbered by the boring, inscrutable, or just plain bad ones. Still, Independent Exposure was a noble idea, I reckon, if only for the chance it offered of discovering that one little gem every month. In closing, I asked Bachar what his standard for film selection was.

"I picked films that I thought would be challenging to an audience," he replied. "Generally, I felt like you never knew what you were going to get at an IE show. I also used to say, 'If you liked everything, I've done something wrong.'"

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