Original Run: March 10th, 1997 – April 2nd, 2001
Created by: John Pierson
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Hosted by: John Pierson
Grainy Pictures, IFC, 66 Episodes, 22 Minutes (per episode)
Now that I have the Criterion Channel, thanks to my FilmStruck subscription, I have access to episodes of IFC’s old show Split Screen. I never got to see it when it was current but I remember people talking about it online a lot back in the late 90s.
Split Screen is a mixed bag. I do enjoy it and I find its 4.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb to be a bit strange and kind of harsh. Truthfully, it is not a fantastic show but at its best, it is really fun and informative.
Hosted by John Pierson, a man who helped launch the careers of Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith and Michael Moore, Split Screen is typically a show that interviews independent film directors about their projects, whether current ones or their past work.
The show also veers off into other directions and this is maybe what hurt it in the eyes of the people who rated it so low. Regardless, everything about the show is focused on some aspect of filmmaking.
The episode about the multiple film festivals in Park City, Utah was great and taught me a lot about what the film festival system is like and how the politics of it work.
Another episode I enjoyed was the one where Pierson interviews Kevin Smith in the actual Quick Stop store from his 1994 debut Clerks.
Like I said, Split Screen is a mixed bag but if you are really into independent film, especially from the 90s – where a lot of new filmmakers rose to prominence, then this is a show worth your time.