He insists, however, that his office takes customer requests very seriously.

"We get a lot of calls. But those that actually take the time to write in, those are the ones that really count," he says.

Operators at Cox and TCI say they do track customer channel requests, and characterized the interest in the Independent Film Channel as lukewarm at best.

Fans of alternative cinema can do something about that by calling the operators at Cox (277-1000) and TCI (948-8488).

Or they can do nothing, and before they know it, the last slots on the cable spectrum will be occupied by ESPN3, ESPN4 and the Shoe Network.

What You're Missing

Here is a sampling of films aired by the Independent Film Channel in the past two months:

John Cassavetes' Faces (1968)
Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960)
Alan Rudolph's Remember My Name (1978)
Federico Fellini's La Strada (1954)
Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Mai Zetterling's Scrubbers (1982)
James Ivory and Ismail Merchant's Maurice (1987)
Vicente Aranda's Lovers (1992)
Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1991)
Jiri Menzel's Closely Watched Trains (1966)
Marisa Silver's Old Enough (1984)
Jonathan Wacks' Powwow Highway (1989)
Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai (1954)
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique (1955)

(Freelance writer Tony Ortega lives in Tempe, where he doesn't get

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