I'd like to introduce a new Cinematical column, IndieSeen, which will focus weekly on various aspects of independent filmmaking, distribution, and exhibition. Maybe I'll interview a woman who shot a feature in her basement for under $200, maybe I'll ruminate on well-known actors who built careers on non-studio films, or maybe I'll look at the latest alternate method of film distribution. But for my first column, I'm going to talk about a studio-produced film ... one that received a theatrical release that most indie filmmakers wouldn't envy. Perhaps it's a lesson about the virtues of making a film independently.

The Mike Judge film Idiocracy has had one of the weirdest theatrical releases ever. Twentieth Century Fox considered postponing the release indefinitely, then decided at the last minute to give the film an extremely limited run in only six U.S. cities, which did not include New York. The studio did not publicize the movie one bit: no trailers, no ads, and only two stills from 2004 that everyone on the internet used in their online reviews. Overall, the film did only moderate business after its Sept. 1 release, and quickly faded from the public eye.

However, Idiocracy is still playing in two theaters, at least for the next week: Regency Academy 6 in Pasadena, CA, and Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar in Austin, TX. My husband and I decided to see the movie again last Sunday night, figuring it might be our last chance, and assuming we'd be two of maybe a half-dozen people in the theater. We were amazed to have to stand in line to get in, and we estimated 50 people in the audience, which is a good count for any theater on a Sunday night at 9:45 pm. I noticed that a number of other people had seen the film before, because they were anticipating the gags -- is Idiocracy attracting a small cult of fans?