Offscreen is on your screens

Welcome to Offscreen

by Donato Totaro Volume 1, Issue 1 / July 1997 2 minutes (462 words)

In a John Ford film, death is inevitably followed by birth in order to propel the reaffirming, regenerating life-cycle; likewise, the same week that saw the death of two cinema icons, Jimmy Stewart and Robert Mitchum, sees the flagship issue of Offscreen, a magazine devoted to cinema and cinephilia (no Susan Sontag, cinephilia is not dead). Offscreen is the sister magazine to the francophone Hors champ, which has been in electronic circulation for nearly a year and has accumulated prizes, accolades and dedicated readership. The germ of Offscreen began a few weeks back with Hors champ’s bilingual (linked but unofficial) web-site for the International Festival of Cinema and New Media (which can still be accessed through ). The helmsperson may be a little older (a little wiser?!), but Offscreen’s open mandate will strive for the same passion, dedication, and irreverence as Horschamp; different language, perhaps a different voice, similar spirit.

When first asked to be the editor for “Offscreen” I immediately decided to devote the first issue to the memory of film historian/teacher/collector/writer W.K. Everson, who passed away April 14, 1996. The reason was simple. Everson, whose passion, kindness, generosity and intelligence touched the international film community, had an exemplary all-encompassing love (not to mention knowledge) for cinema. American B-movies, film noir, Scandinavian cinema, silent comedy, pre-code gems, westerns, horror…you name it and Everson collected it. If you were looking for that rare Lon Chaney or Val Lewton film, chances are Everson owned a copy. And there was an even better chance that if you asked, he would screen it for you or loan it to you. My tastes and preferences run a similar gamut, with a decided preference for the esoteric, the weird, the foreign, and the underappreciated (some people still can not reconcile my love for horror cinema with Andrei Tarkovsky!). I hope to instill Offscreen with a similar openness and mix of academic seriousness and cinephilic passion (And rule number #!: any big-budget Hollywood mega-film will have to earn its way into Offscreen…no freeloaders!).

As it turned out, delays have led to a fortuitous (but slightly planned) simultaneity: Offscreen’s first issue and the opening of Fant-Asia. Since I’ve been whetting my lips over this festival for a long time, I ‘ve decided to delay my Everson tribute until the end of Fant-Asia. The Everson tribute, which warrants a full issue, will immediately follow the festival coverage. Everson would surely approve. The long term plan is for Offscreen to be published every two weeks. However, during Fant-Asia assorted material (reviews, commentary, news, interviews) will be inputted as they are written in order to provide something close to a quotidian coverage feel. So keep bookmarked and welcome to Offscreen!

Offscreen is on your screens

Donato Totaro has been the editor of the online film journal Offscreen since its inception in 1997. Totaro received his PhD in Film & Television from the University of Warwick (UK), is a part-time professor in Film Studies at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and a longstanding member of AQCC (Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma).

Volume 1, Issue 1 / July 1997 Film Reviews   festival of new cinema   william k everson