Film Independent Thu 8.28.2014

Don’t-Miss Indies—What to Watch for in September

When: Now Playing
Where: Netflix
Director: Jillian Schlesinger
Starring: Laura Dekker
Why We’re Excited: This fascinating and adventurous documentary introduces audiences to the determination of Laura Dekker, a 14-year girl who ventured out to sea on a two-year journey in hopes of becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the world… alone! Film Independent Fellows Jillian Schlesinger (who makes her directorial debut) and producer Emily McAlister deliver an eye-opening, inspirational film about chasing your dreams, no matter how massive they appear to be.
firsttime  female  findmember

May in the Summer
When: Now Playing
Where: Theaters
Director: Cherien Dabis
Starring: Cherien Dabis, Bill Pullman, Alia Shawkat
Why We’re Excited: A woman with a seemingly perfect life begins to evaluate major decisions and the direction in which she is heading as her wedding day approaches in this dramedy from Film Independent Fellow Cherien Dabis. If you enjoyed Dabis’ debut feature Amreeka, you’ll certainly want to check out the triple threat’s latest, as she writes, directs and stars as May.
findmember  female

Kelly & Cal
When: September 5
Where: Theaters
Director: Jen McGowan
Starring: Juliette Lewis, Cybill Shepherd, Jonny Weston
Why We’re Excited: In Film Independent Member Jen McGowan’s feature debut, the always enigmatic Juliette Lewis gets to channel her real-life rock star persona as Kelly, an ex-riot grrrl who’s coping with her newfound domesticated lifestyle. An unlikely friendship forms between Kelly and her wheelchair-bound teenage neighbor, played by newcomer Jonny Weston. The film premiered at last year’s SXSW Festival where McGowan was nominated for a Gamechanger Award. Fans of Lewis’s music will appreciate her contribution to the film, as she performs two new songs that she wrote.
firsttime  female  findmember

Levitated Mass
When: September 5
Where: Theaters
Director: Doug Pray
Why We’re Excited: Prominently displayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), land artist Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012. It is one of the only pieces of art in recent history to inspire such a reaction in pop culture and the film masterfully interweaves this artist’s biography, the dreams of a major museum and the uniting of a city. A bittersweet, symbolic celebration of the collaboration that exists between LACMA, Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival, where the documentary premiered in 2013.

Dead Within
When: September 9
Where: DVD/VOD
Director: Ben Wagner
Starring: Matthew Bradford, Dean Chekvala
Why We’re Excited: After a deadly outbreak ends the human race, two survivors remain alive by isolating themselves inside of a cabin. It’s only a matter of time before their resources are depleted and the true horror of their battle to live begins. Fans of after-dark cinema, zombie flicks, or who appreciate a good scare should check out the latest film from Film Independent Fellow Ben Wagner.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
When: September 12
Where: Theaters
Director: Ned Benson
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Viola Davis
Why We’re Excited: Ned Benson’s feature film debut (which is co-produced by Film Independent Member Emanuel Michael) is the dramatic portrait of a couple on an emotional roller coaster as they attempt to keep their relationship alive. After a world premiere at Cannes, Benson sets the bar pretty high for young filmmakers, releasing the film in three different versions: Her, Him and Them. The theatrical release will showcase Them, and then DVD/VOD will give audiences a chance to experience the film from the individual perspectives of the couple.
firsttime findmember

When: September 17
Where: Theaters
Director: Matthew Warchus
Starring: Bill Nighy, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton
Why We’re Excited: In the Summer of 1984, UK gay and lesbian activists worked to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers. While the subject matter seems a bit heavy, the film takes a lighter, heartwarming approach and has that “stand up and cheer” feel. It was the winner of the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and is based on an inspirational true story.

The Rover
When: September 23
Where: DVD/VOD
Director: David Michod
Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson
Why We’re Excited: Australian filmmaker David Michod rose to fame with his acclaimed debut feature Animal Kingdom (a 2010 LA Film Fest selection). Tackling the same genre, his latest gripping thriller focuses on the aftereffects of a global economic crisis. If you missed this one in theaters, now’s your chance to see Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson go head to head! Also, Film Independent Member David Linde serves as one of the film’s producers.

The Two Faces of January
When: September 26
Where: VOD/Theaters
Director: Hossein Amini
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac
Why We’re Excited: Based upon the suspenseful novel by Patricia Highsmith, (The Talented Mr. Ripley) with the feel of a classic noir, Hossein Amini’s first feature is a tale of a glamorous American couple who become entangled in a web of seduction and murder in Athens. Those who saw the film at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival would surely agree that it keeps you on the edge of your seat with unexpected twists and turns.
firsttime  LAFF

Jimi: All Is by My Side
When: September 26
Where: Theaters
Director: John Ridley
Starring: Andre Benjamin, Imogen Poots
Why We’re Excited: This biographical drama about legendary musician Jimi Hendrix explores the earlier, pre-fame years of the iconic artist. The film screened at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival and is directed by John Ridley, last year’s winner of the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay (12 Years a Slave).
spiritaward  filmmakerofcolor  LAFF

Chris Lombardi / Film Independent Blogger 

Symbol Key
Film Independent Fellow or Member: findmember
Los Angeles Film Festival Alum: LAFF
Spirit Award Winner: spiritaward
First-time Filmmaker: firsttime
Microbudget: microbudget
Female Filmmaker: female
Filmmaker of Color: filmmakerofcolor
LGBT Content: LGBT