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Film Independent Thu 6.6.2024

Don’t-Miss Indies: What to Watch in June

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Jennifer Lopez (a former Film Independent Spirit Award nominee, lest we forget!) will be touring this summer after all. And while that’s certainly a crime against Pride Month if not humanity itself, it at least frees up some extra time–and money–to watch some movies. And while 2024 looks to be a rather tepid year for blockbusters, there are still plenty of Don’t-Miss Indies out there ready to crawl into your eyes and ears.



When You Can Watch: June 7  

Where You Can Watch: Theaters

Director: Emily Atef 

Cast: Marlene Burow, Felix Kramer, Cedric Eich 

Why We’re Excited: After directing multiple episodes of the hit BBC America series Killing Eve, filmmaker Emily Atef returns to the big screen with a May-December romance, set in the muggy summer of 1990 in the East German countryside of Thuringia just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Based on Daniela Krien’s 2011 novel, the German-language film premiered to raves at the 2023 Berlin Film Festival. Due to a disturbing home life, 19-year-old Maria (rising German star Marlene Burow) lives with her boyfriend and aspiring photographer, Johannes (Eich), on his parents’ vegetable farm. When she bumps into the 40-year-old farmer next door, Henner (Kramer), the two begin a combustibleand potentially tragicrelationship, as the world around them transforms in every conceivable manner.





When You Can Watch: June 14 

Where You Can Watch: Theaters (Limited)

Director: Karim Aïnouz 

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Eddie Marsan, Jude Law 

Why We’re Excited: A historical drama centered on the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII, Brazilian director Aïnouz’s (Invisible Life, Futuro Beach) first English-language film is billed as a  “feminist retelling” of the Queen of England, Katherine Parr (played by Vikander, from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Danish Girl). Based on Elizabeth Fremantle’s novel Queen’s Gambit, the lavish royal court intrigue takes place in the waning days of King Henry’s (Law) reign and follows Parr’s perilous attempt to challenge the teachings of the King’s Church of England, in particular by secretly adhering to the beliefs of her childhood friend and Calvinist preacher, Anne Askew.


When You Can Watch:  June 21 

Where You Can Watch: Theaters 

Director: Jeff Nichols  

Cast: Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy 

Why We’re Excited:  A four-time Spirit Award nominee and Robert Altman Award winner for Mud, writer-director Nichols’ latest offering premiered at last year’s Telluride Film Festival amidst dual strikes, resulting in its delayed theatrical release. Set in 1960s Illinois, the period drama follows Kathy (Comer, another Killing Eve alum), who finds herself attracted to the outlaw motorcycle club Vandals’ newest member, Benny (Butler, from Elvis and Masters of the Air). With the rest of the country in counter-cultural tumult, the club soon transforms from an outsiders’ hangout into a dangerous underworld of criminals, driving a perilous wedge between the two lovers. Film Independent DNA on the production includes producer Sarah Green and line producer Sophia Lin, who received the Producers Emerging Artist Award at the 2012 Spirit Awards.





When You Can Watch:  June 21 

Where You Can Watch: Theaters

Director: Ariane Louis-Seize  

Cast: Sara Montpetit, Félix-Antoine Bénard, Steve Laplante 

Why We’re Excited: Co-written by director Louis-Seize with Christine Doyon, this French-language vampire dramedy follows teenage bloodsucker Sasha (Montpetit), who has a huge ethical problem with killing humans for their blood. However, when her parents suddenly cut her off from her blood supply, she has no choice but to find new ways to survive. Enter Paul, a depressed and suicidal (human) boy, who agrees to become her means of sustenancebut only if she spends the night and help him complete everything on his bucket list. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival last year, this Canadian production was shot in Montreal.





When You Can Watch:  June 21

Where You Can Watch: Theaters (New York)

Director: Annie Baker 

Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Zoe Ziegler, Elias Koteas, Sophia Okonedo 

Why We’re Excited:  In her feature film debut, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker heads to early-’90s rural Massachusetts for the setting for her coming-of-age tale. The summer before she begins sixth grade, Lacy (Ziegler) spends the long, muggy days with her single acupuncturist mother, Janet (Nicholson). Just as the young girl begins to explore the world and her own role in it, the incredibly observant Lacy watches as three of her mother’s guestsfriends and lovers alikedrift in and out of their shared lives during the long, bucolic summer months.





When You Can Watch: June 18

Where You Can Watch: Film Independent Presents

Director: Christy Hall 

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sean Penn 

Why We’re Excited: Partly shot on an LED volume soundstage (for the interior cab scenes), filmmaker Christy Hall’s feature debut was originally conceived as a stage play. The two-hander was shot in New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey in just over 16 days. After arriving at JFK Airport, Girlie (Johnson, a Spirit Award Robert Altman Award winner for Suspiria) strikes up a casual conversation with world-weary cabbie, Clark (Penn, a two-time Spirit Award winner for Dead Man Walking and 21 Grams). The chat soon turns intimate and glaringly honest, as Clark offers his worldview on a wide range of issues, from relationships between men and women to how the city’s social and geographic landscape has altered over the decades. Most importantly, their unexpected connection helps each one attain a deeper insight into themselves. Film Independent Members are invited to a theatrical screening followed by a discussion with Hall, Johnson, and Penn on June 18.





When You Can Watch:  June 28 

Where You Can Watch:  Theaters 

Director: Kevin Costner 

Cast: Kevin Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Giovanni Ribisi, Jena Malone 

Why We’re Excited: Fresh off a seven-minute standing ovation at its world premiere on La Croisette two weeks ago, this four-part Western epic is co-written (with Jon Baird) and directed by Spirit Award alum Costner (Dances with Wolves). Released in two chapters over two months this summer (Part Deux is due out August 16), the sprawling tale of manifest destiny and its fallout has been heralded for its grand cinematic spectacle which captures the allure of the Old West. Covering multiple storylines spanning the 15-year period before and after the Civil War expansion and settlement of the American West, it was filmed in southern Utah. Fans of this installment will be happy to know that Chapter Three has already begun filming on location.  





When You Can Watch: June 28 

Where You Can Watch: Theaters (Limited)  

Director: Catherine Breillat 

Cast: Léa Drucker, Samuel Kircher, Olivier Rabourdin 

Why We’re Excited: Receiving four nominations at the César Awards last year, writer-director Breillat’s erotic drama is a remake of the 2019 Danish film Queen of Hearts. In yet another June title exploring the murky notion of sexual consent, the French-language remake follows lawyer Anne (Drucker), who is married to businessman Pierre (Rabourdin). She eventually begins an affair with her stepsonPierre’s estranged 17-year-old son Théo (Kircher), from a previous marriage. Not surprisingly, the relationship soon turns destructive, risking not only Anne’s career, but her family as well.



When You Can Watch:  June 13

Where You Can Watch: Theaters 

Director: Ally Pankiw

Cast: Rachel Sennott, Caleb Hearon, Olga Petsa, Jason Jones

Why We’re Excited: From Jenn Wilson, Film Independent Senior Programmer: “When aspiring comedian Sam (Rachel Sennott) finds out that Brooke (Olga Petsa), a teenage girl she used to nanny for, is missing, she’s strangely hesitant to help out. But why? Through some extremely deft flashback storytelling, we learn that Sam has PTSD from an incident that happened while she was taking care of Brooke. Mostly known for her comedic gifts, Rachel Sennott shows off some serious dramatic acting chops in the role of Sam–a part that requires some comical highs and depressing lows—both of which she handles with skill, making her one of film and TV’s most watchable actors. Newcomer Olga Petsa also holds her own in this film written and directed by TV writer/director Ally Pankiw in her first venture into feature filmmaking. Pankiw’s storytelling in this film is incredibly strong and compelling for a first feature, which should put her on everyone’s radar and looking forward to her second feature.” The film will screen at Film Independent June 13 with a Q&A by Ally Pankiw, a 2018 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellow.






Film Independent Fellow or Member

Film Independent Presents Screening, Q&A




Filmmaker or Lead Characters of Color


Film Independent Spirit Award Winner or Nominee


Female Filmmaker


LGBT Filmmaker or Lead LGBT Characters


First-time Filmmaker

(Header: I Used to Be Funny)

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