Independent

Culture Warrior

It’s nothing new to say that the term “independent filmmaking” has come to no longer reference the actual practice of making films outside the studio system, and alerts more directly to an aesthetic of hipness. That the cute-and-quirky consecutive multi-Oscar nominees Little Miss Sunshine and Juno were similarly marketed by Fox Searchlight as “independent films” despite the fact that the former was actually produced independently and the latter was funded by studio dollars, effectively put the nail in the coffin for actual independent filmmaking to have any meaningful visibility. Meanwhile, first-time directors who make their name at Sundance like Marc Webb, Doug Liman, and Seth Gordon quickly reveal themselves to be aspiring directors-for-hire rather than anti-Hollywood renegades. Tom DiCillo, Hal Hartley, and Jim Jarmusch seem ever more like naïve, idealist relics each passing year. It’s clear what the blurring of the lines between independence and studio filmmaking has meant for the mainstream: as my friend and colleague Josh Coonrod pointed out last week, it renders “platform release” synonymous with “independent,” it means that movies featuring Bradley Cooper and Bruce Willis are the top competitors at the “Independent” Spirit Awards (see the John Cassavetes Award for actual independents), and it means that Quentin Tarantino is, for some reason, still considered an independent filmmaker. American independent filmmaking has lost its ideological reason for being. But when it comes to films that are actually independently financed – films for whom the moniker is less an appeal toward cultural capital and more an accurate […]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Powerpoint is undoubtedly a bizarre thing to become obsessed with, but this new short from Keller Davis shows poignantly how it can destroy a man and his ability to communicate. Quiet, reflective, and glossy on top of an absurd base, there’s humor here amongst the long faces. Plus, his main character gets to physically do to an Apple product what many, many people fantasize about doing. Enjoy it vicariously. What will it cost? Only 7 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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It was the banner that no one understood at Comic Con 2010. Amidst the massive advertisements for Scott Pilgrim and RED was a building-sized image for Skyline – a movie that no one had ever heard of before. The reason for that lack of knowledge was simple. The film was an independent feature built under the radar and far under the normal budget of a film of its kind. Now with Universal distributing it, the press was on to make Skyline a household name. Greg and Colin Strause have directed an indie that doesn’t see a lot of people talking to each other about life and love in the middle class or how difficult it is to be a 20-something. They’ve made an alien invasion movie with over 1,000 effects shots, and they’ve done it without the help (or hindrance) of a studio. The Brothers Strause were gracious enough to speak with me about this new world of independent filmmaking, the problems with the studio system, and the need to shake things up.

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The Coroner

Sometimes when you roll the independent movie dice you get a winner, other times you get Invasion: The Infection Begins.

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A Girl Cut in Two Poster

What happens when a sweet, seemingly innocent French TV weather girl gets caught in a love triangle with two very different, yet equally dangerous men? She gets cut in two, that’s what.

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Strictly Background Movie Poster

Directed by newcomer Jason Connell, Strictly Background tells the story of the little people in Hollywood, the men and women who are the faces that we see, but the names we never hear.

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Concept Art from The Home

A friend to the movie geek community and a member of said community are making a movie. And they are bringing Peter Jackson’s WETA team along for effects.

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Red Princess Blues

Red Princess Blues is a revenge film featuring an orphaned child who grows up with the goal of destroying the people who ruined her life. Ferrari has already captured the attention of Paula Garces, whom most will recognize as Officer Tina Hanlon in “The Shield” and the lovely Maria in the Harold and Kumar films.

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Films that center around pregnant women, in this case a teenage girl, are nothing new, especially this year. Then how is it in 2007 the concept produces winner after winner? Damn good writing.

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Enough with the superserious abortion movies, right?

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It seems to be, at least to me, that Director Jason Reitman has found a very distinct formula for successfully entertaining us with sharp-witted, off-the-cuff comedies.

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