ScreenAnarchy Film Celebrates 10 Years

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
TwitchDashboard.jpgA decade is an absolute eternity online, a marker that I certainly never thought I'd reach when registering the first domain for ScreenAnarchy ten years ago now, and yet here we are. Honestly, I never thought much of anything about what ScreenAnarchy might become when it first started up. Nothing at all. Ask me what the name means. Nothing. Nothing at all. There's no story behind it, no particular reason for it other than that I thought it felt sort of right. Honestly, ScreenAnarchy mostly exists purely because I'm of a vintage and out of a subculture where after over a decade of writing about independent music for (mostly) self published 'zines before moving online when the internet was in its infancy before moving on to film and by the time I opted to do my own thing writing about stuff was just something I did. It was a reflex, almost.

So, here we are ten years later and what's happened? We'll never be the biggest site going - our focus on the niche and unusual guarantees that - but we've got a thriving community of readers. I still see names popping up in the comments thread that I saw in that first year, and I'm proud of that. A healthy number of commenters from the early days have become hugely valued writers and editors on the site themselves, and I'm proud of that, too. We've helped to launch a decent number of films and filmmakers, becoming a bellwether for future trends and emerging talents.

On a personal level, ScreenAnarchy has absolutely changed my life. It opened up the doors to the festival world, a world that I've absolutely loved being a part of as a programmer, which in turn ended up teaching the ins and outs of how this whole independent film world actually works while putting me in contact with the guys who are now my business partners at XYZ Films and international talents like Gareth Evans, the end result being my involvement with movies like The Raid.

Ten years ago when ScreenAnarchy started I was just freshly into my thirties, a newly single father to a young son, a former chemistry student with a religious studies degree and most of another in philosophy, living with friends from college and just sort of banging away about things that I found interesting with no grand designs whatsoever. Now it has come to more or less define my professional life while also building a rich community of collaborators and putting me in touch with a great many people who I now consider my closest friends. I am immensely thankful to all of those who have contributed to the site in any way through the years - whether writer, reader, commenter or cranky guy who sends hate mail from time to time - and can't imagine doing anything else because this is still simply far too much fun. Thank you all for joining me on the ride thus far. Life has changed a ton since we started, as has the business of making and sharing movies. I have no idea what life will look like ten years from now but I intend to still be here in some shape and I hope you are, too.

Andrew Mack, Kurt Halfyard, Jim Tudor, Ard Vijn, Kwenton Bellette, Peter Martin, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Benjamin Umstead, J Hurtado, James Marsh, Dustin Chang, Christopher O'Keeffe, Swarez, Eric Ortiz Garcia, Ernesto Zelaya Miñano, Stuart Muller, Pierce Conran, Christopher Bourne and contributed to this story.

Andrew Mack

How do you begin to summarize writing for ScreenAnarchy for ten years? How do you encapsulate it in three hundred words or less? Well, you stop asking questions, using up your word count, and get down to writing some answers. Dink.

After college, Todd and I would spend evenings watching Lee, Chan and Li punch people in the face. I’d like to think that part of the foundation for what ScreenAnarchy is started back on those evenings. When Todd asked me, “Do you want to cover TIFF for this site I’m starting up?”, I sat there and calmly answered, “Yes” while doing the Happy Dance inside.

Thanks to my time with ScreenAnarchy I have dabbled in podcasting. I’m programming the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival these past three years. I had a nerdgasm on the bridge of the Galactica (sadly, the only good picture of me from that trip is from SG Atlantis). I interviewed, for an extra ten minutes, martial arts icon Master Yuen Woo-ping. I talked with Miike Takashi over Skype. I have yet to meet any childhood heroes (ie. Spielberg) but if I did I’d probably break out in tears.

These days I am looking at someone’s screenplay with the intended purpose of filling a sketchbook with conceptual drawings. I have my own ideas for screenplays (who doesn’t?) so maybe one day something will come of them. And Ard is still jealous of a picture of me with Iguchi/Nishimura regular Cay Izumi from five years ago. He hasn’t expressed any dismay about this year’s picture with Gun Woman’s Asami yet. Give him time.

Do you know what really counts in the end? It’s how happy (most) filmmakers, producers, industry insiders, are to meet you when you mention you write for ScreenAnarchy. I hazard a guess as to what the name ScreenAnarchy is synonymous with. Integrity? Passion? Honesty? We’re doing something right because people can be so grateful that we have talked about them and shared their films from the little corners to the rest of the World. I am surprised we’re still paying for our beers though (nudge nudge wink wink).

So I’ve been riding that wave of credibility and somehow still managed to not screw it up for anyone else these past ten years. That’s got to count for something, right? At least allowing me to exceed the word count?

Seniority, bitches.

Read more articles by Andrew Mack.

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