Tue 9.30.2014

Don’t-Miss Indies—What To Watch in October


Giuseppe Makes a Movie
When: October 17
Where: theaters
Director: Adam Rifkin
Why We’re Excited: In Ventura, CA, gonzo auteur Giuseppe Andrews makes movies in the trailer park community where he lives, using an ensemble of neighbors and homeless pals as his actors. Anyone inspired by the spirit of John Waters and Harmony Korine is sure to find a hero in Giuseppe, whose drive to make movies is fueled purely by passion. (When he finishes a film, he promptly delivers it to his shelf. If he’s unsatisfied, he’s likely to trash it.) It’s a must-see doc for low-budget filmmakers; Giuseppe has successfully made 30 no-budget films.



The Overnighters
When: October 10
Where: theaters
Director: Jesse Moss
Why We’re Excited: In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, where there is an overflow of migrants and not enough jobs to employ them, a local pastor starts a controversial program that allows these individuals to sleep at the church. This powerful doc, shining light on broken American dreams, screened at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival and was edited by Film Independent Fellow Jeff Seymann Gilbert. Now it’s getting Oscar buzz.

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When: October 10
Where: theaters
Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: J.K. Simmons, Miles Teller
Why We’re Excited:  Damien Chazelle’s drama focuses on a young drummer’s relationship with his iron-fisted mentor when he enrolls in a cutthroat music conservatory. Produced by Film Independent Member Michel Litvak, this intense film about chasing your dreams and realizing your greatest potential at all costs is garnering great praise, especially for the leading male performances.



Dear White People
When: October 17
Where: theaters
Director: Justin Simien
Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson
Why We’re Excited:  Writer/director (and Project Involve Fellow) Justin Simien’s debut feature, a comedic portrait of four black students at an Ivy League college, raises social awareness and tackles controversial subject matter with a sense of humor and undeniable wit. It grabbed several awards on the festival circuit, including the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance. But the main reason we’re celebrating DWP’s  theatrical release is that it’s a nice testament to the power of our artist development program Project Involve. Fellows Mel Jones (associate producer), Effie Brown and Ann Le (co-producers) all played critical roles getting the project off the ground, and Los Angeles Film Festival Director Stephanie Allain was the film’s executive producer.

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When: October 17
Where: theaters
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Edward Norton
Why We’re Excited: Since his debut feature Amores Perros, Film Independent Spirit Award Winner Alejandro González Iñárritu has been captivating audiences with his powerful methods of storytelling and ability to introduce his audiences to complex, beautifully drawn characters. His latest project is sure to have his signature stamp, yet broadens his aesthetic and boasts his biggest all-star cast to date. At the head of that cast is Michael Keaton, in an Oscar-buzzy role, playing an actor famed for portraying an iconic superhero who must battle his ego and avert family drama in order to revive his career.



Listen Up Philip
When: October 17
Where: theaters
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Starring:  Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss
Why We’re Excited: A successful author struggles with the complexities of his personal relationships along with his own inner struggles in this idiosyncratic dramedy with a lead role that is quintessential Schwartzman. This is just the type of character we like to see one of our favorite indie stars portray and is sure to be a breakthrough feature for Perry, who premiered the film at Sundance.

Force Majeure
When: October 24
Where: theaters
Director: Ruben Ostlund
Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli
Why We’re Excited: The U.S. finally gets a chance to experience the film that took this year’s Cannes Film Festival by (snow) storm. In this powerful drama, a Swedish family goes on holiday to the French Alps, only to have their relaxation tragically disrupted by a deadly avalanche. The family will face their greatest challenges during the aftermath, especially Tomas, the father, whose emotional journey is a natural disaster in itself.

When: October 24
Where: theaters
Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell
Why We’re Excited: Two-time Film Independent Spirit Award Winner and Fellow Lynn Shelton’s latest feature is a romantic comedy that features Keira Knightley as a woman trapped in permanent adolescence, who lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat in order to spend more time with her friends. Featuring strong comedic performances from its leading ladies Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz, it’s not your stereotypical rom-com.

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White Bird in a Blizzard
When: October 24
Where: DVD/VOD
Director: Gregg Araki
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni
Why We’re Excited: You never quite know what daring and audacious independent filmmaker Gregg Araki will do next. The latest from Araki—who’s been called a leading figure of the New Queer Cinema movement—is an adaption of the novel by Laura Kasischke. The film (co-produced by Film Independent Fellow Pavlina Hatoupis) features a very mature performance from Shailene Woodley, who portrays a young girl whose sexuality and thirst for adventure skyrockets after the disappearance of her mother.

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When: October 31
Where: theaters
Director: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton, Rene Russo
Why We’re Excited: It’s always fun to see Jake Gyllenhaal go to the dark side (like in his breakthrough role Donnie Darko) and his latest role features him as a man desperate for work, who gets caught up in the world of crime journalism in the underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. The film was also produced by Film Independent Member Michel Litvak. (Those attending the upcoming Film Independent Forum will be among the first to see Dan Gilroy’s debut feature, which is the opening night film.)

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Chris Lombardi / Film Independent Blogger

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