Woefully under-publicized, the indieWIRE/Emerging Pictures Undiscovered Gems Series begins tonight in New York (and other cities) with screenings of Jen Cohen's "Chain" (with Cohen in attendance in Manhattan). While I feel somewhat responsible for the series, because I helped craft indieWIRE's list of 15 best undistributed films from which the series takes its slate, I have nothing to do with the show -- so I can speak candidly. I feel sorry for the filmmakers, at least at this early stage. I have seen no coverage in the New York press of Chain's showing this week (at 9:30pm tonight and tomorrow night at the Cinema Village.)
I wouldn't have even known of the showing myself had I not received an email directly from the director. Emerging Pictures' web address http://www.emergingpictures.com/undiscovered_gems.htm doesn't even work; indieWIRE has no mention of the showing on its website, and the Sundance Channel, another sponsor, gives it no props. Maybe it's just the crowded New York market. Maybe it's just bad timing: how could indieWIRE's little series go up against the press-devouring monster, Tribeca, which also opens tonight?
Perhaps in other cities these movies will get some traction where they're more of a rarity, but from a New York stand-point, it seems like they don't have a chance. Anyway, since no one I know has a ticket to Tribeca's opener, check out Chain, which London's Daily Telegraph called "vital, boundary-pushing film making… An uncategorisable hybrid of social critique, poetic essay and haunted travelogue."