If programming the festival is the most fun part of my job leading up to the event, the most fun following each year's festival is Awards season, when nominations and accolades are pouring out of the industry and, every once in a while, a few of our feted films receive a little love.
This year is no exception - to date, four different films have garnered the attention of the Awards Gods, and we couldn't be more proud. I don't have kids, but I bet this is what it feels like when they get on the honor role.
So far, a few great documentaries have been shortlisted for Academy Awards (the first step to a nomination). In February, we featured an exclusive Indianapolis screening of Disturbing the Universe: The William Kunstler Story; it's now shortlisted for a Best Doc Oscar, in the ranks with the likes of Waiting for Superman and The Tillman Story.
Also on a shortlist - a shortlist for short films - are two 2010 Festival award winners. Winner of the Social Justice Award, Born Sweet was listed in the Best Short Doc category, while Best American Spectrum Short Film God of Love nabbed a spot among the ten short films up for nominations in the Best Live Action Short Film category. Congrats to filmmakers Cynthia and Luke!
And lastly, the festival proudly presents a screening of SXSW Grand Jury prize winner Marwencol on December 9 - it's now the recipient of a nomination for Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards, presented on Oscars-eve, February 26.
Congratulations to all these incredible films and their filmmakers! And remember - when you're looking for striking, award-winning independent film in Indianapolis, look no further than the Indy Film Fest.
Have you been as distracted as I am lately? I swear, I can't get through writing an entire email reply without clicking away to see what latest trailer just got tweeted about. Maybe I need to turn off those Tweetdeck alerts...
Or maybe not, because I really, really like what I'm seeing. Let's run these down (just click on the title to watch the trailer):
Getting the most...interesting...film out of the gate first, it's ENTER THE VOID, a film that got selected for several festivals this year and is definitely not your average multiplex fare.
Johnny Depp's...life partner? wife? baby mama?...Vanessa Paradis stars in HEARTBREAKER, the story of a cad who's job it is to distract unsuspecting young women from their bad relationships by getting them to fall in love with him. They had me at the Dirty Dancing reference...
Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper go creepy in CASE 39, about a young girl who lands in social worker Zellweger's care only to wreak havoc in some pretty gross ways. Fair warning, this trailer is designed to give you the heebie-jeebies.
Watch Joaquin Phoenix spiral into oblivion (or pull a fast one over on all of us) in the trailer to the Casey Affleck-directed I'M STILL HERE.
Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal team up as one very attractive couple in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, which sadly appears to be entirely encapsulated in the trailer. Hate when that happens, but will I still pay $10 to look at Jakey-poo for 2 hours straight? Sure will.
The rom-coms keep coming with Reese Witherspoon's latest, HOW DO YOU KNOW, which pits a feckless Owen Wilson against the charming Paul Rudd. Gee, wonder how this one ends...
Darren Aronofsky holds true to form with the seemingly-normal-till-you-get-a-minute-into-it BLACK SWAN, in which it appears Natalie Portman starts to grow...wings? Are those wings??
Helen Mirren goes dark in THE DEBT, about three WWII-era spies who reconnect years later over a secret that, apparently, isn't so secret after all.
Naomi Watts and Sean Penn give a true story the Hollywood treatment in FAIR GAME, a film version of the Valerie Plame story - the CIA agent who was outed by Cheney in a shady string of events.
This last trailer isn't new, but it's a fall release that basically everyone is anticipating - it's the first installment of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. And I'll admit - as a Potter-ite myself - it kinda gave me chills.
That's by no means all the films coming out in the next few months, but it's definitely a nice cross section. Every year around this time I worry we're in for a disappointing fall movie season, and every time when these trailers start popping up, I'm pleasantly surprised.
Two years ago, Danny Boyle closed the BFI London Film Festival with a little movie you may've heard of - Slumdog Millionaire. Ring any bells?
The Playlist has the news that Boyle will be back in the wrap-up spot, this time with the James Franco vehicle 127 HOURS, the story of climber Aron Ralston who get stuck under a boulder and is forced into extreme measures to survive. Don't remember this story? Brush up on Ralston here (or avoid the spoilers...whatever).
The film hits US theaters November 5, but will land for its world premiere at TIFF; BFI London - with Boyle and Franco in attendance - will be its European preem.
Emails like this from filmmakers.
This one's from Nick Igea, who made ENCUENTRO, our 2010 Best World Cinema Short Film. It's even more awesome given his choppy English. Read on:
Just to let you know: A DVD will be edited in Spain with the 10 best Spanish short films of the year, and our short film will be included. The people in charge of it told me that the award wined in your festival was definitive for that. I thought you would like to know it
Thanks you very much for everything. I am very happy about that. It's the most important award I've ever wined
My best wishes,
My pleasure, Nick. My pleasure.
One of the best parts of programming a festival is the crack research you get to do on movies your average Joe audience member haven't heard a peep about yet. There's something fun about being ahead of the curve like that.
Which was the case back in February when I discovered that Galt Niederhoffer had adapted her own novel, THE ROMANTICS, into a crisp, windy independent film starring Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Candice Bergen, Elijah Wood...the list goes on.
Back then, I'd just finished the book, about a group of college friends who reunite on the occasion of two of them getting married. Set at a seaside estate (and all the posh that implies), the single night these friends spend together before the wedding drums up all kinds of complicated history - the stuff that makes us human and our relationships interesting.
The book's also got one of the best last scenes I've read in recent memory, so when I discovered the movie'd been made, I knew immediately it was one I would've welcomed to the festival had they been interested in screening with us.
Alas, that part of the plan didn't work out. (But I think we managed to have a pretty stellar festival regardless.)
But now, an official movie site has been launched, and Apple's got the trailer up and running. The film's looking at a September 10 limited release, and after checking out the trailer (I had some initial doubts about the casting, I'll admit), the next month can't go buy quickly enough.
An email from the BFI London Film Festival landed in my inbox last night - they've announced that NEVER LET ME GO will open their annual festivities on October 13. The European premiere of the film, it stars fresh face Carey Mulligan alongside Keira Knightley - you might also recognize Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins in the trailer, which you can watch here.
Based on the trailer, the film looks to have a dash of sci-fi wrapped up in some pretty complicated relationships - it was adapted from the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. Amazon lists it under Psychological Thrillers, so...take that as you will. Right now, it's slated for a September 15 release date here in the states. It'll likely land in a few other festivals before then, and maybe make it's appearance in Indianapolis by October (if we're lucky).
Also in the news, Toronto's been touting their upcoming slate, with gala screenings including an opening with SCORE: A HOCKEY MUSICAL (full disclosure - in typing that, I initially wrote "hokey." Which seems oddly appropriate); Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina; CASINO JACK, about schemer Jack Abramoff; and Ben Affleck's THE TOWN, his latest Boston-themed caper starring the under-utilized Rebecca Hall. IndieWire's got a great article with all the film's TIFF's announced to date. TIFF runs September 9 - 19.
Venice and New York have also announced some key slots in their line-ups, too. Julie Taymor re-imagined Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST, casting Helen Mirren in the lead (which, in the play is Prospero, a Duke...Mirren is Prospera. She what they did there?), and snagged a centerpiece spot at the New York Film Festival (IndieWire article). Look for that screening in early October, following an opening night of David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Meanwhile, Venice has placed Sofia Coppola's latest, SOMEWHERE, in competition - they've also got Black Swan, as well as Vincent Gallo's PROMISES WRITTEN IN WATER. The Italian festival runs September 1 - 11 - check out the whole line-up here.
It's an exciting time in the festival cycle, the fall - sure, January's got Sundance, but as the industry gears up for Academy voting and awards season at the box office, festivals certainly reap the benefits.
Then you've found the place. Here is a list of unbiased, 3rd party reviews of many of the films at this year's festival. So don't just take our word about the wonderful movies we have this year. Read all the glowing reviews at the following sites.The Film Yap Indianapolis Business Journal Nuvo
Want to know all bout the Film Festival but find reading to be boring and tedious?
Well then, watch this clip where our own Executive Director Kelli Mirgeaux chats about the festival with the fine folks at Indy Style TV.
We're looking for a few good men (and women!) who fancy themselves shutterbugs. Are you looking to build your portfolio and check out the hottest film festival in the Midwest?
We'd love to give you the chance to hone your skills and help us capture the 2010 Indy Film Fest for posterity - from Opening Night to our day of Best Of screenings on July 25, we want the whole thing documented. And we need your help to do it.
If you're interested in being a volunteer photographer with the Indy Film Fest, fill out our Media Form (put Photographer in the "media outlet" field) and we'll be in touch. You bring the camera and the eye for framing a shot and we'll provide the all-access pass you need to get the best angles possible.
Any questions? Drop a note to info AT indyfilmfest DOT org
And we'll see you on the other side of the lens.