Indy Film Fest


This one’s for you, Colorado.

Posted by Lisa Trifone

The 2012 Indy Film Fest is successfully under way, after an Opening Night event that exceeded all of our wildest expectations. I was up until 3am, and I'm pretty sure I was still on cloud nine when I did finally get to bed. We welcomed over 300 people to our screening of the well-received THE ORANGES, followed by a party where the anticipation of the amazing ten days of films, conversations and experiences to come was tangible, indeed.

The wind, however, has been knocked out of me this morning. Waking to the news about the tragedy at the late-night screening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, my heart is heavy. Perhaps it's the timing most of all, but to hear of such a horrific turn of events occur at - of all places - a movie theater leaves me shocked, saddened and, in some strange way, filled with resolve.

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: the Indy Film Fest exists to create a shared experience around film. In an age when we can watch the latest releases in the palm of our hands, sound piped in via earbuds - the most solitary of experiences - the festival exists as an antidote. We ARE community. We ARE a gathering place. Three hundred people collectively laughing at the one-liners, gasping at the third-act reveals, cheering on the underdog - there is a humanity there, something palpable and inescapable, that has kept cinema seats full for decades.

It's why entire weekends full of screenings of TDKR have sold out across the country, why we don't think twice about going to a screening that doesn't even start till 3am. If we were truly OK with consuming these stories on our own terms - from our iPads, on the subway, on our own - movie theaters would've shuttered as a whole decades ago; the movie-going experience would've disappeared all together.

And yet, it persists. It persists because we gravitate towards community, we gravitate towards sharing our lives, our experiences, our opinions and our impressions with each other. What's the first thing you do when the credits start to roll? You ask the person next to you what they thought of the story you both just saw unfold on screen. You relive it, you disect it, you quote it and, if it's a truly special flick, you turn to it again and again down the road.

My heart and my prayers are with everyone who was in that theater this morning; I cannot imagine the fear, confusion, and sadness that unfolded during the tragic turn of events (and will continue to process, I'm sure). The Paris premiere of the film has been canceled out of respect of these events, an appropriately sober response. Here at the Indy Film Fest, we will go on. Not only will we go on, but we begin screenings today with that theater in our hearts. The 2012 Indy Film Fest is now yours, Aurora, CO.

As you come to a film at this year's festival - just one, or several over the next week - I have just one request of you: gather in the spirit of the shared experience through film that no one - no technology, no attacker, no one - can take away from us.


Hugh Laurie :: actor, touring musician

Posted by Lisa Trifone

Did you know that Dr. House is in a band? True story. Actor Hugh Laurie, who stars in THE ORANGES (opening the festival on Thursday night!), is a pretty talented guy. So much so that when he's not acting, he's touring with is band.

Hugh Laurie & The Copper Bottom Band are making their way to Indianapolis on Wednesday August 22, performing at The Palladium. And we've got your hook up. Anyone attending Opening Night is automatically entered to win two tickets to the show! Just be sure you get your raffle ticket before you head into the theater.

Intrigued? Here's more about Laurie as musician:

He may be known for playing the irascibly brilliant Dr. Gregory House on the hit TV show “House,” or the undeniable love interest in the film “Oranges,” Hugh Laurie also has an impressive musical side. On his recent album, “Let Them Talk,” the multi-faceted performer puts his personal stamp on the music of his favorite bluesmen, including Leadbelly, Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson.

You can learn more about the event here. Then get your Opening Night tickets here. And you may just leave with concert tickets!

This great opportunity made possible by our friends at The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.


Love Letters

Posted by Sara McGuyer

We went out on a limb today and asked 20 people to go steady with us. Or with our blog, rather.

See, we want to get the word out about each individual film screening during our annual festival (July 19-29, 2012 at Indianapolis Museum of Art and Earth House this year). During these ten days, we'll share about 100 movies with Indy. Once we've finalized our roster of flicks, we have about one month to promote those 100 films. Our small, scrappy team of bloggers (there'd be two of us) might need a hand.

We asked around for recommendations and put our google juice to the test to find local people saying smart things about cultural events, art, food, music and of course, film. And we sent this small group a love letter from the fest, asking them to watch 5 films and write about each in about a month's time. Cross your fingers for us that they say yes?

We're also certain that there are some amazingly talented writers out there who weren't on our radar. Could it be you? Or someone you know?

Tweet us @IndyFilmFest or send an email with a link to your blog if you're interested! We'll open up at least 5 more spots to round out the group and announce the full team by March 1.


Festival Films – see ‘em again!

Posted by Lisa Trifone

There's maybe no worse feeling during a festival than realizing you missed your last chance to see that doc you'd been eying, or the great indie you'd been hearing so much about.

Fear not, movie fans! Several 2011 Indy Film Fest selections are making their way to other nearby festivals where you can see them again!

47th Chicago International Film Festival

This stalwart of the midwest film festival scene is featuring a couple great festival selections, both features and shorts. Catch racy short film Ex-Sex on Friday, 10/14 - how exactly do you break up with someone you're still sleeping with? For film lovers looking to get the scoop on international film industries, Cinema Komunisto is a great peak into the Yugoslavian film industry of the last century. And definitely worth driving up I-65 for if you missed it in Indy is Natural Selection - snagging both Best American Spectrum Feature Film and the 2011 Grand Jury Award, this one's still wowing audiences. It screens 10/15 and 10/16 - weekend trip to the Windy City, anyone?

See the entire @ChiFilmFest line-up here; the whole thing is housed at the AMC River East in the heart of downtown and runs through October 20.

Heartland Film Festival

Though it's the city's better-known festival, we're excited to say that we brought a couple of their selections to Indianapolis earlier this summer. Really, it works out great for you - maybe you were on summer vacation or otherwise enjoying the warm weather back in July. Grab your sweater this month and catch both Boys of Bonneville, about the land-speed record-setting feats of some very daring men, and our Closing Night selection These Amazing Shadows, which chronicles the creation and significance of the National Film Registry, at Indy's fall film festival. You can see the whole schedule here; Heartland runs October 13 - 22 at the AMC Castleton 14.

One of the greatest things - no, THE greatest thing about film festivals is experiencing those films you wouldn't otherwise have a chance to check out - they might not make it to the multiplex or won't land in your Netflix queue. It's always exciting to see some great titles within reach again, so make some time this month to see these Indy Film Fest selections again while you can!


How Netflix Got it Wrong…

Posted by Lisa Trifone

When I was a new grad, waiting tables to pay bills and wondering if I'd ever find a job, I cut back on every single expense out there. I got haircuts at the salon training school; I ate a LOT of Spaghetti Os; I dreamt of watching cable one day when I'd "made it."

But as hard as my mother tried to convince me to, I would not, under any circumstances, compromise on my 3-disc at a time Netflix habit. It was years before streaming existed, and those three discs - in heavy rotation - were all that kept me entertained on nights I was sure I'd be eating ramen forever.

Today, I'm down to one disc at a time and stream the service on my computer, my TV (via Wii) and my phone (it came in mighty handy one cold winter evening I was stranded on the interstate because of an accident ahead of me).

Some of my DVDs

When it was announced weeks ago that they'd be separating out discs and streaming plans, I griped. How could you charge the same for a streaming library no where near as big (or at least vastly different) from the cavernous reach of the DVD library? But I figured I'd pay the extra (maybe finally cancel the cable I'd since been able to afford) and nothing much would change for me.

Then the bottom dropped out. Shares dropped 8%. One million subscribers dropped the service all together. Reed Hastings sends a "humble" email acknowledging the mistake.

Except that's not at all what the email does. Instead, it's one big "eff you" to customers, saying in no uncertain terms where exactly we stand in the company's priorities: the bottom.

Read on for my take on all that's wrong with this latest "solution"...and once I calm down a bit, we'll see about Netflix alternatives


Dare We Say It?

Posted by Sara McGuyer

Is it just me, or does it feel like the Indy film scene is heating up? Dare we even label it a "film scene?" As a volunteer entrenched and smitten with this festival, I thought maybe it was just me being hyper-aware of movie happenings.

But lately it seems there's more and more to choose from - different venues, new themes. One minute I'm in awe of something the IMA is putting on, the next I'm intrigued by IMOCA's new series.

It isn't just me, apparently. The Indy Star had a great article summing up all of this magic, plus a handy list to keep at the ready.

What do you think? Are you happy with the local film offerings? Is there anything you'd want to see more of?

Image credit: Carbon Arc via Flickr


Oscar Night is this Week!

Posted by Lisa Trifone

The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is) has spoken. The nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards are now known to all and the ceremony is almost here.

Which, if you're anything like me, means I've got some movies to see (and just a week left to do it in)! Overall, I'm content with how this year's nominees played out. It's an improvement over last year, at least - there's no black sheep that's got us holding our breath, praying the Academy won't be silly enough to actually give a film like that an Oscar.

Yes, I'm talking about last year's love-fest with Avatar. But I digress...

I was surprised to hear that the film leading this year's nominees is The King's Speech (it racked up 12 nods!). Not surprised because it doesn't merit every one of them, but surprised because - for me at least - it's a solid 3rd best film of the year. But it's traditionalism may've served it well with the Academy, as it helped garner it nominations across a broad range of categories, something neither Social Network or Black Swan really did (each of those just got one acting nod, to TKS's three).

Also pleasantly welcome are the nominations for The Kids Are All Right and Winter's Bone, two smaller films that resonated with audiences at the beginning of the year and throughout the festival circuit. That both managed to snag acting nods and Best Picture slots is wonderful to see, though it's fairly common knowledge that neither would've gotten a spot in the latter were the Academy still only selecting five films for the category instead of 10.

There was some outcry from the interwebs after the announcement when it became known that Christopher Nolan had snagged a nomination for writing Inception but not for directing it - despite that film's inclusion in the 10 Best Picture titles as well. While it would've been easy to place Nolan in the Best Directing group, the fact is that this is just another way the 10 best picture nominees impacts the other categories. Only 5 of the directors who get a Best Picture nod can also get a Best Director one . I might point out that Lisa Cholodenko and Debra Granik were both left off the list of best helmers as well, meaning we'll see no repeat of Kathryn Bigelow's triumphant win for female directors from last year, a much more telling oversight than Nolan's absense.

Finally, I'm always amused by those films that make it into the heralded "Oscar nominated" realm via the likes of categories like Visual Effects, Costume Design or Original Song. Now Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland and Country Strong can all tout themselves as nominees (in those categories, respectively), though I'm sure no one would immediately associate the two.

But then, I suppose it could've been worse - the Academy could've nominated Burlesque.

Join the Indy Film Fest as we watch all the Oscars get handed out on Sunday, February 27.


How We Build It (aka The Screening Process)

Posted by Lisa Trifone

One of the most frequently requested volunteer positions is the chance to serve on our film submissions screening committee. The thinking goes something like this:

You mean I can do volunteer work that is nothing but watching movies?! Sign me up!

Which, at first glance, makes sense. Yes, being on the screening committee means you're going to see A LOT of movies in a very short time. But this is no popcorn-and-soda way to pass the time. We ask much more of our screeners, and it isn't all so glamorous!

Every film submitted to the festival (hundreds every season!) gets watched by at least two screening committee members. This is to ensure that if one viewer gives it a low rating, a second person - with their own perspectives and tastes - can also see it. Just because it didn't appeal to one person doesn't mean it won't appeal to others.

Each screening committee member is asked to rate the films they watch on a number of criteria. A film may have great acting, but the story just isn't up to par - we consider all angles when we think about what the festival audience will enjoy.

When all is said and done, we consider all the notes the screening committee has taken of the course of the process and sit down to determine which films have made the cut. This is both an invigorating and agonizing process, but always results in festival film selections that we're proud to feature.

Sure, watching movies for a few hours a week seems like a no-brainer. But as any of our screening committee members could tell you, there's a lot riding on their input - not the least of which is Joe MovieLover's festival experience. If we can find at least one film in our line-up of over a hundred that he's glad he got the chance to see, we've done our job!

image credit: Nataraj Metz via Flickr


#lessambitiousmovies Meme

Posted by Sara McGuyer

If you're a twitter type (and if you are, you should be following @IndyFilmFest, right?) then you may have noticed a movie-related meme take over your feed last night.

In twitter, you can add a phrase with a # mark in front and no spaces, like #indyfilmfest for example. Twitter turns it into a link connecting all other tweets using that same hashtag.

Last night someone started #lessambitiousmovies, a meme where people craft variations on movies titles to make them, well, less ambitious. For example:


Fun, right? We just like that it gets people talking about our favorite subject. So, go ahead. Add your #lessambitiousmovies in the comments here, or join in the fun on twitter.