Indy Film Fest



Posted by Kate Pell

1:00 p.m. Best of Matter of Fact  | The Toby
SLOMO; Joshua Izenberg, director
MEDORA; Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, director

1:30 p.m. Best of World Cinema | The DeBoest
MORE THAN TWO HOURS; Ali Asgari, director
DREAM TEAM 1935; Aigars Grauba, director

3:30 p.m. Best of American Spectrum | The Toby
MR. BELLPOND; A. Todd Smith, director
DETROIT UNLEADED; Rola Nashef, director

4:00 p.m. Audience Choice | The DeBoest
SLOMO; Joshua Izenberg, director
OUT OF PRINT; Vivienne Roumani, director


2013 Indy Film Fest winners announced

Posted by Kate Pell

The tenth annual Indy Film Fest wraps up today after ten days of screening nearly 100 films to thousands of film fans at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) and beyond. Throughout the festival, the Indy Film Fest played host to several Midwestern premieres, unique workshops and panel discussions with filmmakers from coast to coast, fulfilling the festival’s mission to create a shared experience around film. At the Closing Party at the IMA earlier this evening, the Indy Film Fest announced its 10 winning films, selected by a panel of film professionals.

The Grand Jury Award, with a cash prize of $1,000, went to Medora, a tale of the down-but-not-out Medora Indiana Hornets varsity basketball team. The team’s epic losing streak mirrors the town’s fight for survival. Medora is an in-depth, deeply personal look at small-town life, a thrilling, underdog basketball story and an inspiring tale of a community refusing to give up hope despite the brutal odds stacked against them.

Grand Jury – Feature
Medora; Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, director

Best American Spectrum¬ – Feature
Detroit Unleaded; Rola Nashef, director

Best American Spectrum – Short Film
Mr. Bellpond; A. Todd Smith, director

Best Matter of Fact – Feature Film
Medora; Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, director

Best Matter of Fact – Short Film
Slomo; Joshua Izenberg, director

Best World Cinema – Feature Film
Dream Team 1935; Aigars Grauba, director

Best World Cinema – Short Film
More Than Two Hours; Ali Asgari, director

Audience Award – Feature Film
Medora; Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, director

Audience Award –Short Film
Slomo; Joshua Izenberg, director


IIFF 2013 :: DON JON

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Luke Sanders
Luke Sanders is on the board of the Indy Film Fest, and likes coffee, travel, startups, running, microbrews, biking, farm-to-table restaurants, and all those other things you're supposed to like if you're in your twenties and live in a city.

My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls.

Through this monologue we are introduced to the titular Don Jon, our main character played and written by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his directorial debut.

DON JON's exterior is all muscle car, hair gel, and bench-press. It looks like an ode to Jersey Shore nightclubs. Beneath the gleam is a complex movie about the way men and women misunderstand each other. A note of caution to Gordon-Levitt fans, this film is not 500 Days of Summer--this is a film that intends (and often succeeds) in making its audience uncomfortable.

This is due to the last one of Jon's obsessions: porn. In fact the framing of the film makes more sense under its original working title, DON JON'S ADDICTION. The nickname "Don" is given to our protagonist by his ability to pick up girls--but to Jon, no "real girl" compares to the girls waiting for him under the lid of his laptop.

If our hero--even acted with the full bore of Mr. Gordon-Levitt's charisma--doesn't seem very sympathetic that's because he isn't. He exemplifies all that's wrong with the male objectification of the female.

The first part of the film is spent exposing the way men objectify women, but the second half speaks to the way that perhaps women aren't innocent of unreasonable expectations either. Scarlett Johansson seems an obvious choice for the love interest, as she effortlessly embodies the I'm-out-of-your-league female. The interplay between Gordon-Levitt and Johansson--expressed through chewing gum and nasal Jersey accents--exposes the ways we all bring our own baggage and bias into relationships.

But it is not all porn and AXE body spray, there is some redemption for Jon; redemption that elevates DON JON from a character study on addiction to an oddly sweet ode to romance.

Join us on Saturday, July 27 for this Closing Night screening and after party at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Purchase your tickets here.


We Didn’t Pay Him, We Swear

Posted by Sara McGuyer

One thing I love about this film festival is that every year I meet new people who catch the festival bug. Last night at our screening at Libertine, I met Chris Overpeck, who has made it to films each day since we kicked off, and who also writes for local blog Punchnels.

We swear we didn't pay him to say this:

I remember feeling giddy about this film festival last year and I raved about how outstanding it was, and it really was great. But it’s better this year. So far, it simply has not missed. The films have been great, the people have been great, but there’s something more. It’s hard to describe, but after a few days, the festival really starts to feel like summer camp. Night after night, you’re walking the same route, seeing some of the same faces and just feeling amazing. If you only catch one or two films, that’s great (and you just must), but the best way to experience this festival is to see as much as you possibly can. The films are great, but I’ve had this rare feeling that I’m making memories that I’ll carry with me forever. Sounds hyperbolic and silly, I know, but I bet I’m not alone. Make it a priority to see some films this week. You will not regret it.

Wow. You can read his full post here.

It might seem a little self-indulgent to post his praise, but I'm going out a limb anyway because this is why we do this. It's that feeling (the one he mentions is so hard to describe) of belonging to this film community, of being able to just show up and know you'll see friends who will talk movies with you.

The first step to tapping into that feeling - just come and watch a few movies and take a chance on us. Don't have a partner in crime? No worries. Just come alone. I discovered the joy of going to a movie theater alone later in life than I'd like. I'd be really surprised if you were the only one watching solo at any screening we host for the rest of the fest.

There are six days left to experience the festival! Have a look at the full program here, and tell us, what are you going to come and see?




Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Erin O'Rourke
You might have guessed by her name that Erin is Irish. She bleeds Irish green, Butler blue and Cardinals red. A Downtown resident and arts supporter Erin is always out and about exploring the Circle City.

It’s such a cliché to want to call LAD: A YORKSHIRE STORY a coming of age tale, but that’s honestly what it is. Tom is a young man growing up in Yorkshire Dales, North England, and loses his father to a heart attack. Life changes dramatically for him, his mom and brother. You can see the family struggle- how can they get past this? Tom’s acting out leads to his subsequent community service time done with Al, the National Park Ranger who helps him overcome his feelings of sadness and anger.

The movie is technically about how the relationship between Al and Tom helps Tom grow up, but my favorite interactions were between Tom and his mom. His mom is a wonderful character, standing up for her family, and figuring out how to support them without his dad. The scenes with the two of them in it seem to come from such a place of love that you can’t help but enjoy when they were onscreen together.

The countryside scenes are breathtaking, and the mini love story that develops between Tom and Al’s granddaughter was amusing. The film's relationships felt real, and that made me want these characters to succeed as they strive to overcome these hurdles, and figure out how to move forward.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for LAD.

Friday, July 19 @ 4:15 in the Toby
Friday, July 26 @ 2:15 in the Toby



Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Kelly Millspaugh
Addicted to coffee and discovering new music. I prefer cold weather and speak sarcasm fluently.

Summer movie season is notoriously filled with action movies, superheroes, and buddy comedies. Lost for Words is a refreshing break from seeing everything go boom. This is a love story between Michael, an ex-Marine, and Anna, a ballerina. Michael and Anna are both new to Hong Kong and both still getting over their past relationships. Michael is an American and Anna is Chinese and their cultural differences make the relationship a little more complicated than your average boy meets girl story. They both have thrown themselves into their work and leave little time for anything else.

The audience is treated to beautiful shots of Hong Kong as Michael and Anna fall for each other and explore the city over the course of the film. You get the sense that these are two people who are at times skeptical of love and commitment, but aren’t we all? Love and relationships are always a risk. It may seem easier to hide from it, or to choose to leave, but in the end you will be left wondering what may have been and that is more haunting than the chance of a temporary heartbreak after giving love a chance. This film comes down to the ultimate question: Does love conquer all? Can love endure cultural differences, language barriers, and most importantly uncertainty? Michael and Anna face many challenges and whether or not to give love a chance is completely based on the choices they make. Love is more than something you feel, it is something you do…or don’t do.

I would recommend Lost for Words to anyone who wants to see a film without fast cars and where no cities are destroyed by aliens. I would also recommend it to anyone who has the capacity to love. I think that pretty much covers all of you so take a chance on a little love story this summer.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for LOST FOR WORDS.

Sunday, July 21 @ 2:00 in the Toby (with special Q&A following the screening)
Tuesday, July 23 @ 9:30 SPECIAL SCREENING at Tibbs Drive-In



Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Neil Wichlinski

THE K. EFFECT. STALIN’S EDITOR is a unique historical fiction focused on life in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world from the 1920’s through the mid-20th century. It’s a film with a format similar to Forrest Gump without the humor and innocence. Instead it follows the life of Maxime Stransky, a young filmer/actor who is sent on assignments from Joseph Stalin, playing a pivotal role in world events such as the 1929 stock market crash and Spanish Civil War.

The composition of this film is very unique, which is made up of clips from “home movies” collected by Stransky throughout his life combined with actual clips from historical events and images of the time period. This was my favorite component of the film. It was fascinating to see these old clips and get a feel for how things appeared during this era.

These clips combine with Stransky’s narrative to provide an experience of the culture and lifestyle of people living in Eastern Europe during this era. The fear, frustration, and hopeless resistance are transcended through this film as Stransky attempts to balance his family as well as the personal demands of a ruthless dictator. I think we often find ourselves wondering how people could go along with the plans of a leader such as Stalin or Hitler, and this story really puts you in the shoes of a man at their mercy with no other options or way out.

As a history buff, I adored this film. Although it wasn’t historically accurate, it provided a great amount social and cultural history which I don’t think could be captured if the people and events were true. So if you’re also a history buff, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

I would also consider THE K. EFFECT a film buff’s film. As I previously mentioned, the film’s composition is very unique and is something that must be seen to understand. Because the film is made up of thousands of short clips, you can’t help but appreciate the time taken putting them all together. Also, because the main character is a filmmaker, there is much discussion between Maxime and his friend Sergei about the purpose of film. To capture reality, or create it. As you watch THE K EFFECT you come to realize that the film itself does exactly this. It captures the reality of things as they happened in this era, but creates reality to portray a fantastic historical fiction that is a must see at this year’s festival.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for K. EFFECT. 

Friday, July 19 @ 11:oo in the DeBoest
Monday, July 22 @ 1:00 in the Toby


IIFF 2013 :: MR. ANGEL

Posted by Kate Pell

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

What does it mean to be a man or a woman? How do you define being gay or straight? These seemingly logical and straightforward questions are turned on their heads in MR. ANGEL, a documentary on the life of pornstar Buck Angel.

Buck Angel looks a little like Mr. Clean. He’s bald and beefy, has a demanding presence, a girlfriend that likes to wear provocative outfits, and is just about as quintessentially manly as you can get. Except for his vagina.

The documentary explores gender identity in the context of Buck’s personal story and his struggle to define himself, struggle with his demons, and find acceptance amongst friends, family and the porn industry.  Though born a woman (a gorgeous woman with a successful modeling career in the early 90s), Buck felt he was a man trapped in the wrong body all along. While he underwent hormone therapy to make him appear more like a man (a deepened voice, body hair, and the ability to build muscle mass)  and “top” surgery (the removal of his breasts), he stopped short of a full transformation. Citing the risks and complications of “bottom” surgery, Buck happily stuck with his lady parts.

This kind of story is increasingly common in today’s society, which is becoming far more understanding of gender identity tissues. But Buck’s tale pushes the boundaries of our understanding. With his pants on – even shirtless – he looks like the manliest dude ever; he’s a man. But when the pants come off (and fair warning, you see it for yourself in this film), he’s all woman. One hundred percent, biological, vagina having woman. But Buck has sex with men – so does that make him and his male partners straight? Or since he presents as man, are he and his partners actually gay? And what about his girlfriend, who is a biological and presenting woman? Is she a lesbian? Heterosexual? Something in-between? When it comes to defining sexuality and gender, what matters more – how you feel, how you look, or what you biology says you are? Perhaps more importantly, does it really matter?

Buck Angel, the film and the man, is guaranteed to be like nothing you’ve ever seen. While Buck’s anatomy will certainly shock viewers, the filmmakers don’t treat him like a freak show. The documentary respectfully dives into Buck’s story, handling the subject matter with courtesy, consideration, and genuine intent. This truly fascinating film will have you thinking about society’s labels long after the credits have rolled.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for MR. ANGEL. 

Tuesday, July 23 @ 4:45 in the DeBoest
Thursday, July 25 @ 9:00 in the Toby



Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Chad Dickerson

How much should we share with a romantic encounter we’ve just met? Should we “omit the truth” for a few weeks?  Should we abandon mystery and share everything about ourselves right away?  What if you’re a guy with a penchant for antique dishes (aptly called a “disher”) or you’re a young woman living on the street making due robbing people with your gun-toting thug of a brother and his friend?

IN RETURN is a love story about Thompson, a love-sick guy who works the return desk at a women’s boutique, and Lola, a pretty and sensitive girl who likes to keep talk about herself to a minimum.  Unknowing to Thompson, Lola spares him a mugging by her brother and his friend late at night while Thompson makes personal confessions about his love life to Toronto’s CN Tower.  The next day, after speaking to his older female co-worker who acts as his psychologist, Thompson sets out to find Lola again and spark a romance.  As the story moves along, Thompson must deal with his lavender-wearing dopey boss and womanizing flat mate who makes half-attempts to convince him to keep emotions at bay.

The City of Toronto also joins in the supporting cast, which is a nice change from the typical “every city” that is usually portrayed in movies filmed in Canadian towns, as if the filmmaker is trying to get the audience to forget he or she doesn’t have the budget for New York. The city’s notable CT Tower plays an important role as Lola helps Thompson conquer his fear of heights and discard the need for adult diapers.  And while they don’t fall from the tower they do fall for each other, but once all mystery is gone they must decide if they truly want to accept and love each other.

This film reminds us that all of us have been returned by someone.  We all have our unique “imperfections” that some will find simply unique, perhaps like those jeans that fit so well on some but simply should not be worn by others.  We, like those jeans, are always “in return” until someone decides to forget the return policy and love us for all that we are.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for IN RETURN.

Saturday, July 20 @ 1:00 in the Toby
Wednesday, July 24 @ 9:00 in the Toby



Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Joe Ball
Proud Hoosier. Consumer of movies, music, art, smart jokes, tacos & bourbon.


Ping. Beep. Squawk. Clap. Hum.

Think of all of the noises and sounds we encounter every day. Which of those do we choose to focus on and which are just distractions? Which prevent you from being present in the moment? We are surrounded by sound. As I watched this film on my computer, I could hear the clang of dinner being prepared, the swash of the washing machine, and the hum of the dryer in the adjacent rooms. Even now as I write this blog, I can hear my Spotify playlist, the office’s A/C unit, someone’s radio, and two separate conversations in the hallway. Hold on, my phone just buzzed to alert me of a text…Ok, where were we? Oh right; is all of this noise necessary?

Ding. Honk. Bark. Knock. Swish.

EUPHONIA (2012 – ornana films) can be classified as an experimental film; one that dials up the sound mix of everything seen on the screen. The film follows a boy as he documents his suburban high school life and all of its marvelous sounds through a portable sound recorder. Living through this new tool, the landscape opens and he feels more in tune within his surroundings. Every sound is lush and hypnotic. Everyone has a story to tell. Random pieces of junk can be turned into a drum set. Tires squeak. Birds chirp. Girls giggle.

However, as he navigates through his daily routine, the recording of life’s sounds becomes an obsession. The tool used as an aide is now becoming a hindrance, and he can’t tune the noise out. His focus is distorted and he can no longer engage with those around him. What is he missing by hearing but not listening? What was the pretty girl in English class saying as she recited Shakespeare?

Crunch. Tap. Boom. Ting. Click. Snap.

I admit, each year during the middle part of the Oscars, I tend to ignore the technical awards given to sound effects and editing. However, EUPHONIA does a fantastic job of making you pay attention to those aspects of the film. If you’re a movie buff who geeks out on production and sound editing, an audiophile, or just a card-carrying member of the Michael Winslow Fan Club, you will no doubt love EUPHONIA. If you’re attending the Indy Film Fest and looking for something different, consider viewing and listening to this film. Leave your distractions at the door, and you’ll be rewarded.

The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for EUPHONIA. 

Friday, July 19 @ 7:00 in the Toby
Monday, July 22 @ 4:00 in the Toby