“You ever think about just killing him?” Focus Features has debuted the full-length official trailer for the indie dark comedy thriller Thoroughbreds, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film is one of Anton Yelchin’s other final films, but really stars two young actresses as the leading ladies: Anya Taylor-Joy & Olivia Cooke. These two ladies seem so badass in this. They play two upper-class teen girls in suburban Connecticut who rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. When they get together again, they make plans to take out their stepfather – which they both hate. The full cast includes Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, and Kaili Vernoff. This actually looks like some very dark, devious fun, all about how they try to get rid of their stepfather. Definitely worth a look, have fun here. ›››
“We do this – there is no half way.” Lionsgate has unveiled the first trailer for an indie dark comedy titled Small Town Crime, which played at the SXSW and London Film Festivals. The “small town” crime film stars John Hawkes as an alcoholic ex-cop who finds the body of a young woman and, through an act of self-redemption, becomes hell-bent on finding the killer but unwittingly puts his family in danger and gets caught up with several dark characters along the way. Sounds fun, no? The ensemble cast includes Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson, Robert Forster, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Vartan, James Lafferty, Daniel Sunjata, Caity Lotz, Jeremy Ratchford, Don Harvey, Stefanie Scott, and Dale Dickey. This looks pretty much exactly as it sounds, but at least it’s nice to see Hawkes in another lead role. ›››
Let The Right One In (2008)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Romantic horror The Let the Right One In follows a bullied teenage boy in Stockholm whose new neighbour Eli – a girl around his own age – happens to be a vampire. The film focuses on the relationship between these two main characters, steering clear of traditional horror and vampire narrative codes and conventions. That isn’t to say this film is a simple Boy meets Vampire love story. Director Tomas Alfredson tackles the spate of murders that arise after Eli moves to town with an unflinching camera, so plenty of gore too.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Directed by Eli Craig
This comedy horror film written and directed by Eli Craig will make you cringe in disgust and laugh out loud at the same time. Two well-intentioned hillbillies rescue a young girl and are mistaken for murderers by her confused friends. Hilarity and gore ensure in this unmissable piece on our list.
The Babadook (2014)
Directed by Jennifer Kent
The Babadook marks Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut. It’s a sophisticated and intelligent take on monsters and horror, following a single mother’s descent into madness as she is tormented by the Babadook. It’s as emotional as it is terrifying, watching a woman and her son fight a monster that will never leave them alone.
Directed by Lars von Trier
A husband takes his distraught wife to their house in the woods after the death of their only son in an attempt to help her face her fears. Antichrist is as horrifying as it is beautiful. Everything about the film, from the acting to the atmosphere to the music, is desolate and haunting. It is the first but not the last time that von Trier has worked with Charlotte Gainsbourg, who won the Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress for her performance.
The Witch (2015)
Directed by Robert Eggers
In 17th century New England, a Puritan family is banished from their plantation and forced into exile. Their quiet, isolated life is brought to a halt by the mysterious disappearance of the baby of the family, an event that marks only the beginning of a series of breathtaking twists and turns. The pace is painfully slow, and the horror relies on the suspense in the story rather than on-screen brutality.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Directed by Sam Raimi
The original Evil Dead film that spawned the sequels, the comic books, the video games, and even a television series, is a cult classic. Five university students venture into a cabin in the woods for their spring break, resulting in blood, gore, and demonic possession. It’s a Stephen King favourite.
Directed by John Carpenter
Speaking of cult classics, Michael Myers is an infamous name in horror film history. The masked Myers stabs his way through Haddonfield, Illinois in this 1978 horror classic. Halloween is the first film in the Halloween franchise.
It Follows (2014)
Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Everyone is familiar with the unnerving feeling of being followed. Mitchell makes great use of this universal fear in It Follows, the story of a girl who is literally followed, slowly and methodically, by a supernatural entity. It, whatever It is, can’t move very fast, which somehow makes it even more terrifying. The film debuted at Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre follows a group of friends who run into a family of cannibals. It was banned outright in several countries upon its release, due to complaints about violence. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best and most influential horror films in movie history, and is credited with originating several key elements in the slasher genre, such as the use of power tools as murder weapons.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez
Last but not least is The Blair Witch Project. Three film students venture into a Maryland forest to make a documentary on the Blair Witch, an urban legend. They disappear, leaving behind only their video and sound equipment. The recovered footage is the entirety of the film. This style of storytelling marked a new approach to filmmaking. The actors are listed as either “missing” or “deceased,” and the film is one of the most successful independent films of all time.
I love stumbling upon quirky indie gems that haven’t been fully discovered yet, but are totally original and skillfully crafted. Everything Beautiful is Far Away is one of these films, which I decided to see on a whim at the American Film Festival, and I’m very glad I took a chance on it. This homemade indie film was filmed entirely at the Algodones Dunes in California, and stars actors Joseph Cross and Julia Garner. While it is technically sci-fi, set in the near future when cities have continued to expand and massive deserts are all that surrounds them, the film’s story is actually more of a metaphor for relationships. It’s very similar thematically to Swiss Army Man, addressing the difficulties of loneliness and of love in our modern world. ›››
In recent years, a unique relationship has developed between the world’s most ancient cultures and the newest forms of storytelling.
Games like Upper One Games‘ Never Alone, for example, popularized the trend by working alongside the native Alaskan Iñupiaq people to preserve and bring global attention to their culture’s stories.
Mulaka, an indie game from Mexico-based studio Lienzo, is the latest to join this digital preservation effort. A 3D action-adventure puzzle game, it centers around the Tarahumara indigenous culture that live alongside them in Chihuahua, Mexico.
“The initial inspiration for the game began from us just learning more about the Tarahumara culture — reading their amazing legends and myths. And we really fell in love with them,” said writer and programmer Guillermo Vizcaíno when we recently met up at PAX West to play a demo of the game at the Indie Megabooth. Read more…
Veteran film producer Cassian Elwes of ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and ‘Mudbound’ dropped some knowledge at TIFF 2017.
Cassian Elwes is no stranger to the indie film business. In addition to producing over 50 films, he also spent fifteen years as head of William Morris Independent putting together financing deals for independent films. When Elwes began his producing career in 1983 with his first film, Oxford Blues, the theatrical box office was very much alive and well (and for more than just blockbusters).
But it’s 2017, and today, making films is very different than it was 34 years ago (for one thing, film itself is becoming an increasingly rare feature of filmmaking). Still, Elwes is confident in the future of film, and especially indie film, while acknowledging that these movies will take different routes to the audience than they did before. Here are some of Elwes’ most interesting thoughts on the independent film industry and his predictions for its future from his recent presentation at TIFF 2017.
“I ain’t sure what they want, but they ain’t nice.” IFC Midnight has unveiled an official trailer for a sci-fi horror film titled Welcome to Willits, which played at various genre film festivals all last year. Set in the woods of Northern California in an off-the-grid town called Willits, a “haven for marijuana growers, meth addicts, and conspiracy theorists”, the story is about a group of teens who get mixed up with a local pot farmer. And then the aliens show up and all hell breaks loose. This is described as a “no-holds-barred pileup of carnage, twisted comedy, and pure crazy.” Let’s hope all of that is true. Starring Bill Sage, Rory Culkin, Anastasia Baranova, Garrett Clayton, and surprisingly enough, Dolph Lundgren. I don’t think I’ve seen a film that mixes drugs and aliens in this way, can’t say it’s going to be a good combination. Watch out. ›››
“This is our place – right here, right now.” Gravitas Ventures has revealed an official trailer for the indie drama titled Abundant Acreage Available, which won the Best Screenplay award at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. The film stars Amy Ryan and Terry Kinney as middle-aged brother and sister, who have just finished burying their father in a field on the fifty acre tobacco farm in North Carolina that their family owns. Trouble brews when three brothers, whose family farmed the land for generations, return after 50 years. The cast includes Max Gail, Steve Coulter, and Francis Guinan. I have been a big fan of Amy Ryan ever since Gone Baby Gone, so I’m always interested to watch anything she’s in, especially if she has a lead role. This looks damn good, and it’s easy to see the tough choices the script attempts to address. ›››
The summer rains here in London won’t inspire you to dance – unless of course, you’re working like mad on the launch of the 25th Raindance Film Festival! With the silly season half gone, it’s time to reflect on the autumn film festival season and why it matters to independent filmmakers.
A brief history of the film festival circuit
Raindance frequently gets asked by filmmakers when’s the best time to launch a film. The answer is obvious: When is your film finished.
There are two main cycles of film festivals: Winter and Autumn.
The winter season kicks off with Sundance and Rotterdam Film Festival in mid-January, which overlaps with the Berlinale in Berlin. I always attend and think of Berlinale over Valentines Day. Then the season winds up in spectacular fashion with Cannes Film Festival in May. These are really important film festivals and are used to launch films both small and large. Berlin and Cannes also host major film markets, the European Film Market and the Marche du Film, respectively.
Autumn starts with Venice, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, and ends with the Toronto International Film Festival and then Raindance at the beginning and end of September. London Film Festival tails along after Raindance in October.
The Autumn has three film and media markets as well: MIPTV in late September, the Pusan Asian Film Market in October and the American Film Market in Los Angeles in mid-November.
Why is the Autumn film festival season so important?
1. It’s the start of the awards season
First and foremost, the Autumn festival circuit is the precursor to the Awards season culminating with the BAFTA and Academy Awards in Februar and March. Films who do well at the Autumn festival seem to have a much better chance of being noticed by selectors and jury members of the different award-giving organisations.
Hype starts with festivals and awards are very hyped
2. It’s a great time to get people out to the cinema
With the follies of the summer, everyone is back to work and school. And speaking of school, students are a major target demographic for new releases. It’s the second largest demographic of moviegoers. The largest age demographic of moviegoers is 25-39 – the very people who have had summer holidays and are now back at work.
3. Distributors are looking for content
One of the main reasons filmmakers attend film festivals is to sell their film. Distribution companies hire specialist scouts or acquisition executives to view and acquire new films. These acquisition executives and film buyers scour film festivals on the hunt for new talent and new films. They flock to the major film festivals, both the winter season and the autumn season, where new films get their world premieres.
4. The weather
Ah. The weather. North America is not yet wintry. The UK’s rainy weather has usually passed. Autumn is ideal weather for attending festival screenings without the threat of getting frozen or soaked. And if it is raining, what better way to escape the weather than in a cinema.
5. Ah! Raindance
The autumn film festival season wouldn’t be complete without Raindance. The largest (and longest running) independent film festival in the UK starts on 20 September 2017. Raindance brings arguably the very best on independent film: Shorts, documentaries, features, music videos, web series pilots and Virtual reality experiences to a discerning audience.
The post Why The Autumn Film Festival Season Is Important For Indie Filmmakers appeared first on Raindance.
“The machine is incredible!” “Pure, unfiltered truth.” Ready to remember all of your memories? Lionsgate has debuted the official trailer for an indie sci-fi film titled Rememory, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. This is one of a few subtle indie sci-fi films that played at the festival, along with Marjorie Prime and The Discovery. The gimmick in this is a device that can extract, record and play a person’s memories. The inventor is found dead, and his wife retreats into her home until a mysterious man shows up and begins investigating what exactly happened. Peter Dinklage stars, with Julia Ormond, Martin Donovan, Evelyne Brochu, Henry Ian Cusick, and the late Anton Yelchin. The film received pretty bad reviews out of Sundance, and while I am somewhat intrigued, this trailer doesn’t really grab me. ›››