What is "Alternative Cinema"?
Definitions and distinctions.

"...the so-called mundane, which people use as a word of contempt when they really mean 'earth.' What they don't see is the potential for glory, for envisionment that's inherent in even doing the dishes, in the soap suds... All they have to do is close their eyes and look." -- Stan Brakhage, Sight and Sound (1993)

What is "alternative," "avant garde," or "experimental" film and video? Good question; it's one makers and audiences have been groping with for years. No one definition seems to please everybody.

There are, however, some common characteristics. The works are often short, non-narrative and structurally idiosyncratic, though the makers often use narrative elements and conventional structures in unconventional ways.

The media described in the Flicker pages has a variety of names: experimental, fine art, avant garde, personal, independent, and others. Though each term is inadequate to define any one particular film, video or maker, and the definitions often overlap, it is useful to discuss and distinguish their meanings. You will find some attempts to define these terms below.

The films and videos listed here are not, however, short subjects intended to accompany a feature film; nor do the makers consider them "stepping stones" on a career track to Hollywood feature production. They are complete works of art in and of themselves.

You may also come across some of these terms:

"I think the avant-garde is 'alive' as long as it looks beyond itself (its history, what it has become) for inspiration. There
are as many directions as there are people willing to look. It's a praxis of leaving oneself open to outside influences (other techniques, other cinemas, other arts and media, other cultures) rather than one that stands on principles, insists on oppositions or follows fashion (movements)."
-- Konrad Steiner (2001)