Indy Film Fest


Indy Film Fest 2012: GAYBY

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Rebecca Masbaum Guest post by  Rebecca Masbaum
Bio: Social Media over-sharer, life & style blogger, and a natural red-head. I'm obsessed with my bike, food, and grammatical correctness.

'Gayby' is the story of Matt (Matthew Wilkas), a comic book store owner, agrees to father a baby with his long-time best friend Jenn (Jenn Harris), who unofficially teaches hot yoga, and invented warm-warm yoga. The catch is, Matt’s gay and Jenn’s egg-timer is winding down.

Almost predictable, 'Gayby' jumps into the thick of things, but without completely jamming the plot line down your throat. You get it: a baby is coming – and one of its parents is gay. It’s a gayby!

I wanted to watch this movie over and over. I wish it were on NBC every Monday night as a sitcom, or a reality show. The script is smart and quippy. This could be the next ‘most quotable’ movie, with lines like, “I’m a guy, I can put it in anything,” and “Let’s kill it…” surrounded by beautifully timed and tailored scenes with actors that just get “it”, and each other. The quick wit and unapologetic rawness of the characters draw you into the plot, ¬as unreal as it may seem. But as it develops, you find yourself rooting for Jenn and Matt, and the motley group they have chosen as their family of friends.

Their noble arrangement doesn’t stop them from dating, and falling for, a slew of alluring gents. And sub plots with substantive supporting characters are seamlessly woven in. Jamie (Jack Fervor) is the perfect antithesis to Jenn’s yogi neuroticism and the gay bestie I’ve always wanted (Jack Fervor, call me, maybe?) And Nelson (played by director Jonathan Lisecki) is a keystone of the film, and in the baby-making! Nelson is appealingly Queen and cliché, in a good way, as Matt’s frienemy-turned-friend (ex-boyfriend drama, natch!).

But, don’t write 'Gayby' off as just another GLBT film. The theme of pursuit of happiness is universal. And further, many hetero males will be quite impressed with Jenn’s “moves” about half way through the movie. I mean, I was! I was also impressed and excited to hear Anthony + The Johnsons in the soundtrack. And then was blown away when I realized it was A+TJ covering Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’!

Jonathan Lisecki 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Features

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The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: BROTHERS ON THE LINE

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest Post by Nik Browning
Bio: Began musical blogging under myspace/facebook dev. - movies.

“Brothers one the Line” is a documentary that focuses on the Reuther brothers, early leaders in the American Labor movement from the early 20th century. This is a meat and potatoes film that doesn't waste time retelling the history that we're already familiar with. A Ken Burns exposition on labor would probably begin with primitive man learning to use tools. Family grandson Sasha Reuther dually succeeds in focusing on the deeds and wills of the principles, while still also tying that history to the growth of not only the labor movement; but later to the US Economic boom, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Specifically, while other union leaders primarily served only to the betterment of their constituents, the Reuthers sought a greater vision of US Manufacturing; and broader yet, the nature of business; and even broader still - society.

The film focuses on Walter, in the same way a film about the Kennedy's would focus on Jack. He was the most vocal, most charismatic. The most ambitious. The film starts, as the brothers did, in Detroit. Again, this film assumes that the audience understands the Great Depression and the inhumane working conditions of the time. The focus then, is on the Union's rise to power. The negotiation tactics used, the press that is won. Once footholds are formed and workers become empowered, further change can be made simply by the size of the electorate that has been formed with a close common understanding.

What the film lacks in being able to provide film for, is readily made up with powerful speeches matched with striking historic photographic images. As the film reaches its later years, and you would assume the Labor movement nestles into place of complacence, the film shows us more of Reuther's White House ties, including invaluable phone conversations with LBJ. The inclusion of this film in the Indy Film Fest could not be more timely. While the US is still the world's largest manufacturing economy, its labor representation has fractioned, not so subtly portrayed at Wisconsin's recent recall defeat. This film challenges the audience to see similarities and to learn the lessons of history.

Brothers on the Line
Sasha Reuther 2012
Categories: Matter of Fact Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Opening Night :: THE ORANGES (and a PARTY)

Posted by Lisa Trifone

We are so proud to announce that the 2012 Indy Film Fest opens this year with Julian Farino's THE ORANGES.

Starring Hugh Laurie, Allison Janney, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Alia Shawkat, Leighton Meester and Adam Brody, THE ORANGES tells the tale of two close families – families that become closer than ever, in ways they couldn’t have imagined. The film explores themes of marriage, fidelity, and familial politics in a fresh manner, bringing the film to an unexpected but heartwarming ending. The Oranges is directed by Julian Farino, a veteran director of spot-on, witty comedies including “Big Love,” “Entourage,” “Sex and the City” and “The Office.”

Funny, awkward and surprisingly charming, The Oranges was a 2011 Toronto International Film Festival selection and hits theaters nationwide this fall. Indy Film Fest is your first (and only!) chance to see the film in town before it hits theaters. (Who loves ya, Indy?)

Tickets are $15 to this special event presented by Just Pop In!, and include a party at Sun King Brewing immediately following the film, where your ticket gets you a pint on us, access to a swank popcorn bar, and music by DJ Ohbeone. Still hungry? Spicebox Indy will be on hand, and Sun King will be pouring all evening, too (food and drink for purchase, folks!).

The festival's opening night sets the tone for the entire festival, and thanks to an incredible film, a must-attend party, and some fantastic partners making it all possible, we're geared up to kick off one of the best 10-day stretches of film we've ever presented. Won't you join us?


Indy Film Fest 2012: PATANG

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest post by Leslie Bailey
Bio: freelance writer | lifestyle blogger | cultural observer | fancy-pants columnist | martini lover | adventuress living a  semi  charmed life

Some people hold onto their past with a grip so tight, there’s no room for the future. Memories – either happy or painful – and tradition reign over healing and progress. Others move forward so quickly, the past becomes nothing but a blur.

The battle between old and new, past and future, ‘the way things were’ and ‘a better tomorrow’ is a tale that has been told before but never with such a delicate balance of grit and beauty as in Prashant Bhargava’s film, ‘Patang’ (The Kite).

Successful Delhi businessman, Jayesh (Mukkund Shukla), travels with his teenage daughter, Priya (Sugandha Garg), to his childhood home of Ahmedabad for its annual kite festival, hopeful for a trip down memory lane.

While reconnecting with his family, including the wife and son of his now deceased brother, Jayesh is able to relive some of his fondest memories. Unfortunately he is unable to do so without resurrecting some painful ones as well, adding more friction to an already strained relationship with his nephew, Chakku (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who believes that Jayesh is partly to blame for his father’s battle with alcoholism and ultimately his death. Who doesn’t love family gatherings?

Alternatively, Jayesh finds his nephew’s path in life as a part-time singer a shameful waste, partly blaming the family’s decision to continue living in Ahmedabad - a city that in Jayesh’s eyes has fallen behind the times and refuses to accept progress.

If you’ve ever moved from a small town to a big city and then returned, it’s a situation that feels all too familiar. Much of the film follows young and modern Priya’s experience, from seeing the color and the beauty of life in Ahmedabad through the footage she shoots with her video camera, to a few hours spent from out of her father’s watchful eye and smitten with a handsome man named Bobby (Aakash Maheriya).

The traditional family embraces her, despite her modern ways while her modern father enforces tradition with a stern manner.

We see in ‘Patang’ that conflicts and strife exist within every family, no matter where in the world they may be. But it is also this opposition, this dynamic difference in opinions and beliefs that creates perspective in the world. We can arrive at peace with death and see beauty among ruins. We can incorporate the new world into the old. We can connect with rebellious teenagers and we can maintain childlike spirits as adults.

With the right grip, the right balance, and the right speed in life, we can find joy.

Prashant Bhargava 2011
Categories: Featured, World Cinema Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!



Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Melanie Woods Guest post by  Melanie Woods
Bio: Comm/marketing pro. Indy-ophile. Colts junkie. Art addict. Movie collection ranges from Harry Potter to City of God.

"The Show Must Go On"

On June 15, the world watched as Nik Wallenda, a member of the famous Flying Wallenda family, became the first person to walk across the Niagara Falls on a high wire. I didn’t catch it live, but watching the video footage later I kept thinking, “This guy’s insane.” However, after viewing Paula Froehle’s fascinating documentary “The Show Must Go On,” I have a better understanding of what motivates this family to walk the tightrope.

The documentary follows Tino Wallenda and his family as they practice and perform their high wire act across the country. The family’s rich history includes seven generations who have walked the wire. Most notorious was Karl Wallenda, who created awe-inspiring acts involving handstands, bicycles and multi-level pyramids. Karl was famous for performing his daredevil acts without a net. At age 73, he fell to his death while walking across a high wire in Puerto Rico. The footage of his death is included in the documentary and was pretty disturbing to watch.

After seeing Karl’s death and learning about another fall in the 1960s that claimed two lives and left one paralyzed, you have to wonder how they keep doing it. How can this family keep getting back up on the high wire? But it’s all they know and it’s what bonds them. They love performing together and bringing joy to audiences everywhere. As Alida Wallenda Cortes observes, “Life doesn’t end in a tragedy always. You have to rise above and continue on.”

During each performance of the amazing seven-person pyramid, I found myself tightening my body as if trying to help them stay balanced. I held my breath until they made it safely across the wire. This same pressure is felt by Tino, who talks at length about the risks involved and the potential loss of life. The youngest generations of Wallendas say they will keep performing as long as they can, but you have to wonder at what cost.

The Show Must Go On
Paula Froehle 2012
Categories: Matter of Fact Features

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"The Greatest Return"

Froehle’s work is paired with a second documentary, “The Greatest Return,” by Matt Mays. In his film, Mays profiles five legendary conservationists:

-  Dr. Carl Safina, explorer of the ever-changing ocean and its effect on wildlife and people.
-  Dr. Laurie Marker, affectionately known by farmers in Namibia as “The Cheetah Lady.”
-  Dr. Gerado Ceballos, a champion of Mexico’s first protected species act.
-  Dr. Rodney Jackson, the first to capture images of snow leopards in their natural environment.
-  Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants in Africa.

The documentary spends time with each conservationist as they discuss their respective works of research. It’s clear they are all very passionate and dedicated to preserving natural life, with a few even getting emotional as they discuss why they do what they do. The common theme weaving throughout their stories: conservationism is all about learning to be a good neighbor and maintaining a sustainable, functioning ecosystem.

The profiles are bookended with highlights from the 2010 Indianapolis Prize Gala, where all five were honored as finalists. The Indianapolis Prize is given every two years to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to conservation efforts.

Admittedly, conservation can be a controversial topic, so this documentary may not be for everyone. Regardless of where you fall on the issue, you can’t deny that the energy and enthusiasm each conservationist has for their respective causes is inspiring. And as an added bonus, the documentary is full of beautiful, vibrant scenery from around the world.

The Greatest Return

Matt Mays 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: CRAZY EYES

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Elizabeth FriedlandElizabeth Friedland
Bio: Senior PR Manager living the ad agency life. Voracious consumer (and sometimes publisher) of the written word, culture, politics and music

Fair warning: Don’t watch this movie while recovering from a hangover. The film, a story of love, lust and loneliness, is a boozy one – if you made a drinking game out of the character’s drinking games, well, you’d be dead.

The movie follows the life of Zach (Lukas Haas), an uber wealthy twenty-something divorced father whose days are spent booty calling women, downing shot after shot and then inexplicably waking up the next morning for hilly runs in the California heat with his bartender best friend (Jake Busey). (I’ll admit I spent most of the movie verbally expressing jealousy of his indestructible liver.)

One of the girls in his rotation, Rebecca (aka “Crazy Eyes,” played by Madeline Zima – what a fitting last name), presents a challenge for him. She’s the clichéd L.A. hipster. Her eye makeup is perpetually smeared. (Can someone get the girl a Q-tip?) She wears holy tights and garter belts in public. She looks sort of feral. Sure, she’s also an alcoholic that’s down to booze in hot tubs, pill it up until dawn and sleep past dinner, but she refuses to put out. It’s not for Zach’s lack of trying – in fact, some scenes get a little uncomfortable and border on rape-ish territory – but Rebecca, the consummate tease, won’t give in. (“Even Jesus drank wine and spent time with a hooker he didn't have sex with,” explains Zach of his inability to close the deal.)

It’s this lack of sex that ends up making their relationship perhaps the most functional aspects of either one of their lives – which doesn’t say much. While they don’t seem to particularly like each other – perhaps because they’re mirror reflections of their worst qualities – they hazily stagger through life as partners-in-crime, always trying to do something productive (like get to that art exhibit they keep meaning to go to) but never failing to wind up hammered at a bar.

As Zach’s life continues to spiral out of control (his ex wife is demanding more child support, his young son is starved for his father’s attention, Zach’s own dad becomes sick), his relationship with Rebecca becomes more and more complicated. What are they? Where do they fit in one another’s lives?

“Crazy Eyes,” dark and gritty, plays out like a Brett Easton Ellis novel, or a bawdier (and not nearly as pastel-filled) Sophia Coppola’s “Somewhere.” The drunken blur of “Crazy Eyes” is definitely one worth catching – just make sure to bring some Tylenol for the end.

Crazy Eyes
Adam Sherman 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: THE KINGS OF YORKTOWN

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Dan Dark Guest post by Dan Dark
Bio: Dan is a screener for the IIFF (Docs) and loves seeing movies in empty theaters. During the day he is Director of Content at Raidious.

There are two types of criminals in the world. There are blood-thirsty degenerates who seem to only desire to inflict as much pain and destruction on people until they are caught or killed. A fringe of society that has no care for laws and decency, and possesses no moral order.

The other kind, and the breed portrayed in Darren Marshall’s 'The Kings of Yorktown,' are more con-men, scammers and thieves who don’t want to destroy the world, but rather just get by the best, and probably only, way they know how. Grinding their way through life one job at a time, by nickel-and-diming neighborhood kids out of their money with magic tricks and a swindling a few hundred dollars from a bartender whenever they can.

That’s where we meet our crew: two brothers, the ringleader Ed and the facile Richard, along with their friend Henry. Their petty crimes won’t get them out of scraping a living in their small burg of Yorktown, so the brothers go looking for their big payday by going to work inside a bank where Henry is already employed as security guard.

But in order to get access to the vault they must first gain the trust of their new coworkers, Elizabeth and Annette, and as their lives intertwine, bonds are made and promises are broken.

These three thieves are no Danny Ocean, though they may think they are, though what they lack in tailored tuxedos they make up for in heart. Our trio is hapless, but not hopeless, and as the story unfolds we learn a lot about our friendly neighborhood bank robbers and enjoy their hijinks along the way.

'The Kings of Yorktown' is a genre-blending film that weaves together romance, comedy, drama all around a good old fashioned heist movie.

The Kings of Yorktown
Darren Marshall 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: BACK TO THE SQUARE

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest post by Joe Ball
Bio: Proud Hoosier. Consumer of movies, music, smart jokes, tacos & bourbon. Attempting to grow up without selling out.

As a news media consumer and former History teacher, I take pride in remaining informed as to what’s occurring outside the safe confines of Indianapolis. I recall watching Richard Engel of NBC reporting from dozens of locations during the winter of 2010-11 as citizens of Tunisia, and then Egypt and then other Middle East countries began the civil uprising known as the Arab Spring. However, I assume that I am like many whose focus shifted to other stories once cameras and correspondents left the places of protest. Sure, we might recall the story of CBS News reporter Lara Logan being brutally assaulted by a mob in Cairo following the resignation of Hosni Mubarak. But how aware are we of the widespread corruption among Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces? Or the unlawful detention of thousands of citizens for actions we Americans hold sacred? As much as I like to remain informed, I admit that I am guilty of only occasionally seeking out news on the revolution since early 2011.

Media focus shifted back to Egypt in late May 2012 for their democratic elections and even more recently following the health crisis of the former president Mubarak. But what might we learn from those still struggling to find peace and prosperity in the post-revolution chaos? 'Back to the Square,' the fourth documentary by filmmaker Petr Lom, features five stories of Egyptians battling corruption and injustice in the wake of the toppled regime. Filmed in the months following Mubarak’s political departure, Lom profiles the struggles of everyday citizens who believed the “Facebook Revolution” would lead to political freedom and democracy. Unfortunately for many, change has come slowly as they live in a heightened state of fear, while society attempts to rebuild and police play without rules.

Whether by chance or choice, several of those profiled in the film are young citizens of Egypt. Their stories also happen to be the most powerful. The first is Wally Ragab, a teenage boy living in the shadows of the Great Pyramids. Journeying away from his job of selling souvenirs to tourists visiting the ancient wonder, Wally travels by horse to Tahrir Square to witness the revolution firsthand and ask those in power to reopen the Pyramids, so that he might once again earn money. Upon his arrival, he is beaten by pro-Mubarak supporters. Following his recovery, Wally sings along with the words of a revolution song on the radio, hoping the scar on his face soon fades away.

Salwa El-Hossini did not plan on falling in love when she left her village to protest in Tahrir Square. After meeting a boy and sharing conversation at a café, Salwa is arrested and forcibly given a virginity test, a common practice for female protestors. Accused by her village of being a prostitute for rebelling against the regime, Salwa refuses to be silenced, not even older men who could easily turn her over to police. Through adversity, her passion remains a symbol of what is needed if the revolution hopes to be successful. Her story alone is reason enough to see this film.

The end is not yet written for Wally, Salwa or the others in 'Back to the Square.'  Their struggle, like the seemingly stagnant rebuilding of Egypt, continues. As noted political thinker and writer Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.” Until this generation determines an appropriate end to the revolution, they will continue to protest in the square. But thanks to their stories, I remain informed and vow to follow along with their fight.

Back to the Square

Petr Lom 2012
Categories: Matter of Fact Features

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The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: TEDDY BEAR

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Claire BrosmanGuest post by Claire Brosman
Bio: Exploring how to build my life with my hands -- from my clothing to my soap and everything in between (while remaining socially acceptable).

Dennis is a teddy bear. A hulking, tattooed, body builder of a teddy bear. He kowtows to his diminutive mother; he’s a 38-year-old who lives at home and a man who has long been too timid to find love. But this Danish film, written and directed by Mads Matthiesen and winner of the 2012 Sundance World Cinema Directing award, is not soft like Dennis. It is a film of juxtapositions highlighting how perverted and sad the world can be, particularly as seen through the eyes of a tender-hearted man.

I’m a perpetual supporter of the underdog. I wish love for those who don’t have it, strength for those too weak to raise their voice and boldness for those whose only answers lie in a life-changing adventure. But when Dennis’ search for a companion takes the film to the sex tourist culture of Thailand, the sex trade is seen for what it is and I shifted uneasily in my seat. Suddenly it felt like our hulking hero might embrace the seedier side of the world and with each choice he made, I questioned and waited. The movie has a story to tell, but it’s in no hurry to be told.

Although the pace of this film is slow and steady, it creates the stressful intensity of a different type of film. My heart usually races with deadly weapons or racing cars, but it turns out that this time it only took a gentle man exposed to some realities in the world.

The film unravels scene by scene, often showing more than telling. Teddy Bear is shot in a way that magnifies Dennis’ struggles. You feel the weight of his insecurity in camera shots where his size is in sharp contrast with those around him. Tiny women, tiny men -they all look weak in comparison, but nearly always seem to control him.

But ultimately the world isn’t all bad. It never is. In the same way this film makes you experience Dennis’ insecurities, you also experience his comforts.  I’m the first to admit I get squeamish in the magazine aisle upon looking at the covers of bodybuilding magazines featuring greased up, veiny men with contorted bodies, but somehow all I found was peace when Dennis was at the gym, lifting weights, flexing muscles, rehearsing poses and always smiling back at the tattooed teddy bear in the mirror.

Mads Matthiesen 2012
Categories: World Cinema Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


Indy Film Fest 2012: SEARCHING FOR SONNY

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest post by Heath BenfieldHeath Benfield
Bio: Indy-based film fanatic ready to remake Hollywood in the Midwest. Instructor of Media Arts and Animation at Ai Indy

‘Sonny’ Is More Than Funny

Where do you think you will be in ten years? If you’re an 18 year-old just graduating high school, the answer is probably as mysterious as the plot of a Raymond Chandler potboiler. At that age, ten years feels like a lifetime, and consideration of encroaching thirty is virtually unfathomable. So with the world seemingly at our fingertips, most of us assume that we will have accomplished the majority of our life goals in time to boast about it at our class reunions. For instance, I was convinced I would be sipping champagne at after parties in the Hollywood Hills, dating models, and being generally famous. Okay, so maybe some of us were even a little delusional at eighteen. Hey, we have a lot to learn. So when I had the pleasure of screening ‘Searching For Sonny’, I found myself relating to protagonist Elliot Knight more than I would have if I were ten years younger.

Elliot is our everyman who expected better of his 28 year-old self. Daunted, he returns home for his ten-year class reunion in hopes of righting wrongs and rebooting his luck back to neutral. Ah, best laid plans. As you might guess, nothing goes according to plan and hilarity ensues. However, the silver lining is that Elliot isn’t the only Saint Corbinian High graduate with an axe to grind. Everybody has something to prove, and no amount of sex, danger, or even death will get in the way of these characters’ quests for self-validation.

The movie is teeming with nervous energy. It’s wacky, irreverent, and truly fun. Spiritualizing the classic noir mysteries of Chandler and Dashielle Hammett, it’s mostly akin to the Coen Brothers classic ‘The Big Lebowski’, except on Jagerbombs instead of joints. Like ‘Lebowski’ you’re never quite sure what’s around the next corner, which makes for the most entertaining kind of comedy.

Writer-director Andrew Disney delivers an impressive debut with ‘Sonny’. A quick Google search to his website reveals that he was twenty-six when he began filming. I doubt he is partying in the Hills and dating models quite yet, but I’m sure he will be hitting his own high school reunion soon with his head held high. He has done something most of us only vaguely assume before we set forth into the world – tackle his dreams. Bastard.

Don’t miss ‘Searching For Sonny’ screening at The Toby Theater at 7:30pm on Thursday, July 26th, and at Noon on Saturday, July 28th.

Searching for Sonny
Andrew Disney 2011
Categories: American Spectrum Features

View the trailer:

The 9th annual Indianapolis International Film Festival features more than 100 films in 10 days. July 19-29 at IMA and Earth House. See the entire 2012 line up!


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