Guest post by Heike Baird
Heike Baird is a writer and film fan who resides in downtown Indianapolis. Heike's fixation on good films began with a childhood obsession with Mary Poppins. Her favorite movie ever is Waiting for Guffman. Oh—and her first name rhymes with Micah.
Would you give one of your kidneys to a stranger?
Would you give one of your kidneys to a stranger for $20,000?
In the David Cronenberg-narrated documentary TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE, the international black market exchange of human organs is exposed with grisly detail and gritty existential inquiry. The documentary follows several people involved in the trade as either a “criminal” surgeon, a desperate-for-cash donor, or a desperate-for-life patient.
You can dive into the ethical questions for yourself when the film screens, but let’s start with the facts: In the world today, human organs are scarce, and poor people are not. Given the opportunity, many of these poor people would welcome the chance to donate a non-requisite body part (like a kidney) in exchange for an incentive. A kidney donation has the potential to save two lives equally, providing a large, blessed sum of money to someone in dire need (one of the film’s donors, for example, lives in a crawlspace under someone else’s house) and providing a vital organ to save the life of someone who is suffering and is willing to pay for it.
The TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE filmmakers are granted unprecedented access to several key players in the underground organ trade world, including “Doctor Vulture” himself—the highly qualified doctor wielding the clinically sanitized (but ethically unsanitary) surgical tools that have sliced open thousands of eager abdomens. We, as viewers, are taken through the streets of Moldova, the Philippines, Canada, Kosovo, and beyond to see the real faces behind these very visceral, and very real, organ “donations” (or are they transactions?).
During my 70-ish minutes with the film, a few questions that began to materialize in my mind included:
- What is exploitation?
- Can you be exploited if you know all of the facts?
- Should the government be able to regulate the voluntary donation of a person’s own organs?
- Is it wrong to accept money for an altruistic act?
I appreciated the way that the film featured so many viewpoints instead of making the unpleasant mistake of sidling up to only one perspective. This movie is a real conversation starter for anyone who enjoys discussing morality, ethics, the state of healthcare, and the problem of poverty. Hearing about an illegal trade of organs is one thing; seeing the names and faces associated with the trade is quite another, and the faces of the people who talked about their experiences in this film continued to stay with me long after the last shots of shuttered kidney-transplant clinics in Kosovo had faded.
Note: If you’re not fond of video footage that includes surgery and blood, please don’t try to stomach this movie about surgery and blood.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for TALES FROM THE ORGAN TRADE.
Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.
We meet Lisa Jones. We meet Jack Jones. And then we meet Garret Jones. They are grown adopted siblings with an overbearing mother. The setting is LA with a back drop of studio lots and stages, press events, and photo ops. Agents and PR reps surround the Jones siblings and their mother who are no strangers to fame. Their lives seemingly should be charmed, but they aren’t. Everybody is fighting with something in THE LONGER DAY OF HAPPINESS.
What compelled me to watch these characters' stories unfold was simply curiosity. What was driving each character into the downward spiral we find each in as the film opens? We get only a glimpse of one day in the life of these characters and so I never found those character motives or answers I was seeking, but I realize that’s kind of how life works.
Life isn’t neat. There aren’t always reasons for why we end up unhappy or make bad decisions. In life, people don’t always make sense. People aren’t always interesting or even likeable. And so, in this respect, director Shane Stevens pulls together a film about life that may be more realistic than it is enjoyable.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THE LONGER DAY OF HAPPINESS.
Guest post by Kelly Millspaugh
Addicted to coffee and discovering new music. I prefer cold weather and speak sarcasm fluently.
COLDWATER opens with a young man named Brad being forcibly removed from his home in the middle of the night and taken to a juvenile rehabilitation center called Coldwater. Brad was a bad kid. He sold drugs and had a bit of a temper when it came to his mother and her new boyfriend. He continued to disobey and his mother felt being taken to Coldwater was the only way he would avoid jail time and have a chance to be reformed. Coldwater is run by ex-military and not bound by any criminal justice system laws or standards. These young men may be bad seeds but they are treated like animals and put through the wringer in hopes of coming out as soft spoken gentlemen who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Brad initially rebels but learns that playing along is the only way he may be able to expose the truth about Coldwater and stop the inhumane treatment from continuing.
The film is shot well and the cast is very strong. PJ Boudousqué is excellent in his role as Brad. He had the ability to appear disengaged and emotionless when it was necessary but a subtle change in facial expression or sideways glance reminded you that this was a troubled guy who was just trying to survive. He does resemble Ryan Gosling physically but seems to also have Gosling's impressive range. I think we will see a lot more of him in the future. At times the violence and torture endured by the inmates is cringe-worthy but I think it’s necessary to really understand why these facilities are doing more harm than good. I have only really hinted at the storyline of the film because I do not want to reveal too much.
COLDWATER is mostly a drama but the third act is really more of a thriller. Ultimately, COLDWATER is a story that reveals that “good” guys and “bad” guys in life are not always easy to label.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for COLDWATER.
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.
THE BOUNCEBACK is one of those classic tales of unrequited love – if the unrequited loves simultaneously self-pleasured themselves on opposite coasts (dammed that empty Kleenex box), participated in Air Sex competitions (yes, it’s real – and really graphic) and slept their way around Austin, Texas (one of the better tourist activities. Er, or so I’ve heard).
The film opens with scenes familiar to pretty much every twenty or thirty something -- two Austinites are on a first date anyone would envy. There’s witty banter, liquid courage, and drunken kissing. Through a hipster-ish photomontage, we learn that Kathy and Stan (a delicious piece of Midwestern man candy played by Michael Stahl-David) have moved from fabulous first date to full-on relationship – until she moves to New York for medical school and he moves to L.A. to deliver pizza.
Stan is wallowing in his misery when he learns via Facebook that his beloved ex will be returning to Austin to visit her best friend (the trashy Kara). With hope in his heart and a tent in his pants, he books a ticket that direction – under the guise of visiting his best friend Jeff – who just so happens to be Kara’s ex, and equally trash-tastic.
To recap, two sets of exes are gathering in Austin, where the weather is sultry, the beer is cheap, and the Air Sex Olympics are happening. It’s an R rated trifecta. The four friends are left to decide if they want to revisit their past relationships or give in to the temptation of a rebound fling. It’s the old heart versus groin dilemma, and the audience is left wondering which head will win out until the very last seconds of the movie. Predictable, it is not.
Yes, the film is crass. Don’t take children, your mother, or a first date -- or do, depending on how you’d like the night to end. But if you look beyond the simulated sodomy, dick pics and vagina jokes, you’ll find a “half creepy, half romantic” (as one character put it) tale as old as time. With relatable dialogue, slick editing choices and a recognizable peek into Austin’s bar scene (Death Metal Pizza, anyone?), THE BOUNCEBACK is a dirty romp in the sack with some tender post-coital cuddling. Just how we like it.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THE BOUNCEBACK.
Guest post by Dan Dark
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.
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” - Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN
“The things you own, end up owning you.” - Tyler Durden, FIGHT CLUB
What is your home? Is it a place to store your stuff, a place to offer security, an investment? According to Christopher Smith, the director and star of the documentary TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL, your home is a reflection of what we value in our lives and how we want to live. Your home is your self portrait.
So when Smith, who says he lived in 20 different houses growing up, is approaching his 30th birthday and finds himself grappling with the need to settle down and buy a home, he struggles with what kind of life he wants to live and builds his home to suit that. He wants to build a tiny home with the help of his girlfriend and pull it out to a 5-acre plot he purchased in the mountains of Colorado.
Tiny homes are just what they sound like: homes that are 84 square feet, 110 square feet, 130 square feet -- there is no definitive size (though one common thread is that many of these homes are built on wheeled trailers as a loophole to minimum square-footage building laws). Their owners -- some single, some couples, some with cats -- build tiny houses for a variety of reasons. I broke them down accordingly:
- The Tyler Durden: Rejection of the system.
- The Hendy David Thoreau: Finding meaning in a simpler life, closer to nature.
- The Al Gore: Environmentally friendly.
- The Dave Ramsey: Live within your means.
All of these are, in their own way, about freedom. Freedom from the expectations of the American Dream that just doesn’t apply to everyone. Freedom in living how you want to live.
And yet, as unsurprising as it seems, the value of TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL as a documentary is that it is well-constructed, without fluff and efficiently told. The film’s tight 66 minutes keeps focused on Smith’s construction of his own tiny home, while interviewing a dozen or so other micro-home dwellers.
When I heard Smith narrating in the first person, I prepared myself for the worst, as I have encountered too many documentaries where the director and subject can’t seem to edit themselves out. This is what ultimately doomed documentaries like “Sharkwater” for me. TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL and Smith never fall into this trap. At points where Smith could focus on his personal struggles with his job or girlfriend, securing the funds to build, or long diatribes about how McMansions are evil or how the banking industry is unscrupulous, the film remains focused on the question of the home and what it means to have a tiny house.
To Smith, the world gets so much bigger when you’re living small. Your home is your self portrait. How you live is a reflection of what you value. In TINY: A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL, Smith says, “We all know what [home] is, even if we can’t describe it.” So sometimes you have to build it yourself.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for TINY, A STORY ABOUT LIVING SMALL.
Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.
In the way of stories, what THE CLEANER offers isn’t new. Eusebio Vela is a forensic cleaner during an epidemic sweeping Lima, Peru. He is lonely. Joaquin, an orphan, enters his life. Eusebio is changed. We all know that story and have seen a life transformed on screen again and again.
But the thing is the control first time director Adrian Saba brings to the film makes the story its own. Saba builds a world void of distractions and lets you linger in Eusebio’s life and his revelations. Dialogue is sparse, the soundtrack used sparingly and the takes are long and static. It’s beautiful to let the story unfold before you quietly and at its own pace, never compromising the story by telling too much. Really though, my screener paused mid-film and I didn’t notice anything was awry for a few seconds.
THE CLEANER is a Spanish language film, but highlighting it as such hardly seems relevant. Dialogue doesn’t dominate the story; you’ll take in the characters’ experiences and emotions through Eusebio’s low hung head and Joaquin’s furrowed eyebrows. A rarely employed soundtrack accompanies only a few scenes drawing focus instead to the sounds of the Eusebio’s broom on the pavement as he alone washes away death in the wake of the epidemic, the swishing of his suit as he moves from job to job or the sound of his breath as he sits alone in his apartment. And by stripping everything away, this film captures the magnitude of Eusebio’s metamorphosis.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THE CLEANER.
Guest Post by Nik Browning
Began musical blogging under myspace/facebook dev. http://redrkr.blogspot.com/ http://redrkr2.blogspot.com/ - movies.
Miles is alone, listless. He runs at night because he has trouble sleeping. We learn at his therapist's office that he’s suffering from dumper’s remorse. A break-up which he initiated because he felt trapped, but now misses his ex. He realizes his selfishness of contacting her- as he simply wants some comfort without considering a future. But the ex soon forces his hand and provides an ultimatum. Full relationship or nothing. And Miles is cornered, needing to face his fears and make a decision. Embrace the love that presents itself? Or sabotage what he sees as the inevitable?
A supporting cast are quick to enter and leave the proceedings. They seem to normalize Miles and his girlfriend, Julia. As sexually selfish as Miles is, his best friend is worse. As depressed as he can feel, his sister is worse. They all bring along a little color commentary without bringing enough baggage to weigh down the story or direct it away from the main couple. As the girlfriend, Jen McPherson plays the role as straight and sweetly as one could hope. She goes from hurt to forgiving to hopeful quite logically without being jerked around to seem unstable, like a male director is sometimes want to do.
The first thing that will come to mind when describing a film that is written by, directed by and stars the same guy… Which is about a writer with romantic commitment issues… is of course, Woody Allen. And Quincy Rose is careful not to steal that voice, but it is a clear inspiration. The dinner party scene strays from mortality discussions based on Nietzsche writings and gears more toward the philosophy of anal sex while reciting gangsta rap lyrics. This film has been likened to a long “Girls” episode as well, which is fair. But it’s crude sexuality serves the purpose of the greater story, investigating if lasting relationships can be maintained in an age where social media leaves alternative interaction with each mouse click and strip mall massage parlors are a block away.
The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for MILES TO GO.
We just released some details about our programming for the upcoming year, and all I can say is, watch out 2013. Here's a sample of what's in the works.
• Feb 24th – Movie’s Biggest Night @ 45 Degrees
• May 10th - The Bigger Picture Show @ Big Car Service Center
• June 13th – Indy Film Fest Preview Party
• July 18th – 28th – Indy Film Fest - Multiple Locations
Roving Cinema sponsored by Butler Scion - Tickets on sale now! Get 'em while you can!
We bring movies to you, in places you love to hang! We're so pleased to welcome Butler Scion as the 2013 sponsor for Roving Cinema.
• Jan 24th - THIS IS SPINAL TAP @ Do317 Lounge
• Feb 28th - THE NEVERENDING STORY @ Indy Reads Books
• May 16th - FIGHT CLUB @ Indianapolis City Market Catacombs
• June 5th - MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL @ Sun King Brewery
• Aug 29th - WAITING FOR GUFFMAN @ IRT Upper Stage
• Dec 11th - SANTA’S BATTLE ROYALE (Audience Selection) @ Sun King Brewery (Tickets available after movie vote in Oct/Nov)
Ooh, fancy! We're trying something new for us. Film and food pairings are TBA, but we're so excited to partner with Indy Fringe to bring you dinner and a movie! (Corporate sponsorships available. Email for details!
• March 13th - Spring Series – Dinner & Movie @ Indy Fringe Theatre
• March 27th - Spring Series – Dinner & Movie @ Indy Fringe Theatre
• April 10th - Spring Series – Dinner & Movie @ Indy Fringe Theatre
• April 24th - Spring Series – Dinner & Movie @ Indy Fringe Theatre
Fall Film Series sponsored by SmallBox
We're bringing music-themed films back this fall, and we're super pleased that SmallBox is sponsoring this for the second year in a row! Films and location TBA, dates are tentative.
• Sept 26th – Fall Series
• Oct 10th – Fall Series
• Oct 24th – Fall Series
• Nov 7th - Fall Series
We live for this stuff. More to come.
p.s. If you like what you see and want to support this programming, you can make a donation to our Grand Holiday!
This time around, the five films in the series all have one awesome thing in common - they'll rock your socks off. With a musical theme behind them, you're going to love what you see - and hear.
Here's the breakdown - click on any title to get your tickets!
SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS - September 20
In April 2011, LCD Soundsystem called it quits at the height of their fame. This concert doc not only logs the final performance of their greatest hits, but chronicles headliner James Murphy and how he came to the decision to move on. Watch the trailer.
JUST LIKE BEING THERE - October 25
Concerts make for a great night out, but the concert poster is what lingers long after the band's packed up. A movement for decades, this intriguing documentary covers the origins of one-off gig posters and the designers making them more and more unique with each tour. Watch the trailer.
MOULIN ROUGE! - November 1
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor star as star-crossed lovers in Baz Luhrmann's imaginative and over-the-top musical about the famous can-can club in 19th century Paris. Watch the trailer.
CALIFORNIA SOLO - November 15
A hit at Sundance Film Festival in January, California Solo follows a former Britpop rocker who now works on a farm who gets caught driving drunk and faces deportation after living in Los Angeles for many years. His efforts to stay in the U.S. force him to confront the past and current demons in his life. Watch the trailer.
Each film is at 7p at the IMAX at the State Museum, which is now serving beer and wine alongside movie popcorn and candy! With the support of SmallBox, we're excited to present a great slate of independent films and classic favorites throughout the fall.
See you at the movies!
Guest post by Aimée MacArthur
Bio: Aimée writes the blog, Indianapolis Amy, where she takes photos and shares her recommendations on food, movies, pop culture, and
“She would be interested in the community of women. Certainly not against men, but for the community of women.” Lynda Carter on her role as Wonder Woman
The documentary, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, really took me back to my childhood in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. I remember for a time, Wonder Woman was the only superheroine girls had to look up to. I’m not gonna lie, as I kid I remember spinning around like Wonder Woman and wearing bracelets on each wrist. To me and my friends, Wonder Woman was a true badass who could do anything. She was the original trailblazer for many superheroines to come later. Wonder Woman was a feminist and showed (along with a lot of other real life female trailblazers) many young girls that women and men should be equals.
While I loved male super heros growing up (Batman & Robin, Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker, Superman) as well, seeing a female being a superheroine, changed it for me. It also helped me that I had strong female role models like my mother and my aunts around me.
The film explains the beginnings of the Wonder Woman comic book and later the TV show with Lynda Carter. In addition, there are interviews with various authors and others who explain how inspiring Wonder Woman was to a generation of women who needed a superheroine. The film highlights other superheroines in TV, such as "The Bionic Woman" (Lindsay Wagner), "Charlie’s Angels" and in films, like Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the Alien films and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her killer biceps in Terminator 2.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines features interviews with Gloria Steinem (who featured an image of Wonder Woman on the first issue of Ms. Magazine), Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, Kathleen Hanna of the band, Bikini Kill and many more. I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the changes of Wonder Woman through the years (she wasn’t always so powerful). In many ways, Wonder Woman's journey parallels the feminist movement. Young girls and women today still need Wonder Woman and other superheroines in their lives. I enjoyed this no nonsense documentary by Kristi Guevara-Flanagan which masterfully intertwines clips and interviews with celebrities (and real people) to show what an impact Wonder Woman (and other superheroines) has had on popular culture. Don’t miss this documentary. It’s got it all- an interesting subject, humor, history and plenty of insights on society and women’s equality.
A current fact I didn’t know: “Three percent of the decision making positions in media are held by women.”
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan 2012
Categories: Featured, 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!