Indy Film Fest

19Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: GENERAL EDUCATION

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Kate Pell Guest post by  Kate Pell
Bio: Supporter of cool things & cool people. Lover of previews & movie trailers. Communicator at the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Everyone loves a good high school comedy—no, not those movies for high schoolers, with the latest teenage heartthrob; but those movies that showcase the peer, familial and personal struggles that happen around high school age. General Education delivers with a fun, entertaining high school comedy.

The film centers on Levi, the soon-to-be-graduating high school senior. Levi is on the cusp of success; he is days away from graduating high school and one tournament away from a full-ride tennis scholarship.  However, Levi’s ambition—or more like his father’s ambition—to be a star tennis player has caused him to miss one too many classes. In order to graduate he must complete summer school, and it’s not going to be easy.

Over the course of the 90-minute film, we see Levi in moments of brilliance and poor decisions. What keeps Levi’s journey entertaining are the characters. You have the overbearing father living vicariously through his son played by Larry Miller. There’s the overlooked, chardonnay-chugging housewife played by Janeane Garofalo. The strict, but sexy teacher played by Elaine Hendrix (who plays the same type of character in other films).  Levi’s friends and siblings round out the eccentric cast.

There are many stereotypical characters in General Education, and when you put them all in one scene there can be a lot happening. However, each character adds a unique flavor to the overall whole and gives you someone to cheer for.

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General Education

Tom Morris 2011
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!

19Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: TILT

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

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

When I first heard “Tilt” was a Bulgarian movie set in the 1980’s Communist era, I wasn’t exactly optimistic about the film. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“Tilt” opens with a group of guys in their late teens/early twenties doing typical Communist Bulgarian frat boy type things. They watch porn. They play arcade games. They ride skateboards, listen to the Beastie Boys (RIP) and pull pranks on one another. One of these “Jackass” style stunts done by a guy nicknamed Stash has him falling (quite literally) for a stunning and mysterious punk rocker girl.

Sparks fly, and from there it’s just your typical Bulgarian love story – boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy… and the Communist police try to keep them apart. It’s Romeo and Juliet, if Renaissance Italy was 1989 Eastern Europe.

Yes, you’ll have to do some reading (it’s subtitled, so bring your glasses), but this movie is well worth the extra effort. The chemistry between the two star-crossed lovers in intense, and the peek into Communist life (which isn’t as far back as it seems) is quite interesting.

Grab your crush and see this one. While they might roll their eyes when you tell them it’s a retro Bulgarian flick, they’ll come to realize love conquers all – even (perhaps) Communism.

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Tilt
Viktor Chouchkov 2011
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!

18Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: THE WOMAN IN THE SEPTIC TANK

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Ben Traub Guest post by Ben Traub
Bio: visual/audio artist that plays in bands, makes pictures, & loves film. movies are ok too.  appreciates the absurd, enjoys romance, digs stuff.

Hand held video of ultimate squalor. Heartbreaking scenes of day to day poverty. No narration other than simple cinematography and direction. Rough stuff.

A mother bathing her daughter in a courtyard to prepare her for an ultimate sacrifice into a life of … it’s the opening of a movie inside this movie. And the whole time you have to question if you would actually sit and watch it…while watching what it would take to make it.

The film follows the young writer/director Rainier (Kean Cipriano), his producer BingBong (JM de Guzman) and their PA Jocelyn (Cai Cortez) in dreamy tow. They have appointments set, people to see, coffee to drink, iPad chargers to remember for next time. This film is the irony of the “creative process”:  Watching others create while mocking the world of indie cinema (which it totally deserves), keeping its thumb on the absolutely bi-polar world of casting, script revision, location scouting, and ultimately, more manipulation.

Eugene Domingo, playing herself playing herself (trust me) gives an insanely good performance as a super famous actor looking to break the mold a little bit, do something exciting, be in an Indie film, where the real Art is made. She takes the role as the Woman in the Septic Tank, kind of a joke about having to title a film inside this film - also allegory for being so deep in the crap that can be making Art. If by the end of the film you can still remember her touching, torturous acting at the beginning and know that the final shot is exactly where she wants to be, the Woman in the Septic Tank and the filmmakers have done their job.

You, the film viewer, are always being manipulated into the seeing only the vision of the filmmaker. THE WOMAN IN THE SEPTIC TANK takes this manipulation, runs away with, then runs right back and shoves it in your face while laughing. Oh, this movie isn’t laughing at you. Not unless you’re guilty of buying into the idea that film is a true representation of reality. It’s not. A movie is a movie. Film may capture something real, something scary and sad or funny and amazing, but you only see what the creators have allowed you to see, what’s in the frame, not what gets edited out. Not like life.

The comedy is pretty dark and the dialogue fast, spoken in Filipino and English so keep your eyes and ears open. The rhythm of the film takes some getting used to as what are some sneaky comedy bits can quickly dissolve into a musical daydream, a melodramatic soap opera, or just the rapid fire destruction of an Artist’s story. Manipulation.

I can imagine Hollywood films about poverty being fleshed out over $10 cups of what passes as coffee these days. How? Because anyone that means business drinks coffee with extra caramel drizzle through a straw like a child. I’ve seen it in a movie. It must be real.

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The Woman in the Septic Tank
Marlon Rivera 2011
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!

18Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: FATHER FIGURE SHORTS PROGRAM

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.

Father Figure, a series of seven films for the American Spectrum Shorts program, examines the traits of the fatherly role. Themes of discipline, redemption, selfishness, regret, pride, embarrassment, ambition, determination and reconciliation are woven both throughout the individual films and the program as a whole. Through the 103 minutes that the program lasts, viewers are taken into a multitude of situations that touch upon these themes and the outcomes of the choices made by father figures, either as the lead or supporting role.

‘HELLION’, the shortest film at 7 minutes, presents Petey, the youngest of three siblings, being picked on by his older brothers. When Dad comes home to discover Petey’s plight, his punishment is severe for the older boys, while he attempts to provide Petey with a life lesson.
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HELLION

Kat Candler 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Shorts
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After making a name for himself as the “Wrigleyville Burglar” and making off with approximately $4 million in stolen property, James Gardner lost decades of his life and precious time with his family to serving jail time. Ultimately, it took a father figure within the prison system to provide him with career assistance and essential tools to help him right his wrongs. ‘Love, Dad’ follows James as he begins to mend ties with the broken family he left behind while incarcerated. ‘Love, Dad’ examines opportunities for redemption after years of selfishness.
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Love, Dad

Ronnie Reese, Kristofor Husted 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts
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‘Spark’ focuses on new opportunities for a son as a result of the father figure choosing selfish actions. A son waits for his father’s romantic encounter to end so the two can experience lighting fireworks together. The boy’s plan is interrupted when the daughter of the father’s lover steals his hopes for a meaningful father-son moment. However, this film beautifully captures the crossover moment in adolescence when boys stop thinking about time spent with their fathers and want to be around those they are attracted to. ‘Spark’, clocking in at only 9 minutes, was a highlight of the program.
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Spark

Annie Silverstein 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Shorts
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Other highlights include ‘Atonal’ and ‘Fatakra’, both of which examine strained relationships between fathers and sons when one does not live up to the expectations of the other. ‘Atonal’ deals with a son finding his forgotten father decades after a disappointing moment in which the boy did not live up to his father’s dream. ‘Fatakra’ showcases a father reuniting with the family he left back in India to pursue new opportunities for them in America. Drawing parallels to an epic Hindu story featured in the film, the father goes to great lengths to prove himself to a son who feels abandoned. Though told through different perspectives and narratives, the two films echo each other during sweet father-son moments.
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Atonal

Derrick Hausen 2011
Categories: American Spectrum Shorts

FATAKRA
Soham Mehta 2011
Categories: American Spectrum Shorts
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It’s difficult to summarize all of the films featured in the program into a nice concise overview. What isn’t difficult is to acknowledge the influence, whether positive or negative, the fathers have on the lives of those in the films. Father’s Day may have occurred weeks ago, but this film series provides an excellent opportunity to take your dad to the Indy Film Fest and enjoy the unique perspective fathers play in film.
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Check out all the films included in this Shorts Program:

Father Figure

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!

18Jul/120

Scheduling Update

Posted by Lisa Trifone

We're sorry to say that due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be screening the documentary BACK TO THE SQUARE at this year's festival. These screenings have been canceled. Thank you for your understanding.

See what else is screening in the full Festival lineup.

17Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: RUBBERNECK

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Daniel Fahrner Guest post by Daniel Fahrner
Bio: Marketing Man @SmallBox by day, underground strategy board game enthusiast and music business professional by night. Proud  papa
to be.

Psycho-sexual-obsession panic attacks. I’ve had it up to here with them! Actually.. I wanted to start this blog post off on a light hearted note because this film is truly the opposite of light hearted and recounting the intensity and anxiety within such a film isn’t always the most positive way to start a fella’s day.

Rubberneck digs deep. Equal parts psychological, evocative, passionate and anxiety inducing, this film pushes characters further down the emotional spectrum in a fantastically slow burn of a pace than it could possibly hint towards when we first meet Paul. Paul (Alex Karpovsky) is your classic purpose and passion-less protagonist who seems to have hit an unpleasant plateau. His career has stagnated and abandonment issues stemming from childhood have left him without many deep relationships. When a passionate office party fling presents hope, he clings to it like a desperate child dangling from the monkey bars.

Paul’s optimism dissolves quickly back into the minutiae of his everyday existence when the subject of his fling, pretty coworker Danielle, puts the kibosh on the potential for a relationship. Paul doesn’t seem to get the hint, though, or really accept the fate of their relationship and broods silently over the course of 8 months.

That’s when $h*t gets real. Danielle tempts a new coworker into an affair, jealousy sets in and Paul begins a series of desperate attempts to destroy their romance. As Paul confronts his desolation, we begin to understand the underlying cause of his confusion: abandonment.

The most impressive aspect of this film is Karpovsky’s ability to realize the vision of his character’s emotional extremity. This builds from becoming a mere subject of pity in his purpose-less work environment to pain and confusion bred by lust and rejection all the way to intense panic attacks.

Yes, it gets intense, but the emotional build is well constructed, brick by brick. Just like real life. Although, let’s just pretend that psycho-sexual-obsession panic attacks don’t actually happen in real life.

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Rubberneck
Alex Karpovsky 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Features, Featured

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!

17Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: MATTER OF FACT SHORTS PROGRAM

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Kate Franzman Guest post by Kate Franzman
Bio: Copywriter at Pivot Marketing in Fountain Square. I love very old things and very new things.  Francophile. Roller girl. Cat lady.

When your time’s up, it’s up, right? When the Grim Reaper (preferably played by Brad Pitt) himself shows up at your door, in his flowy black cloak, there’s no escaping it. You’re outta this world.

Depressing? Maybe. But perhaps there's a way we could cheat Death, or at least slow him down a little. We could freeze time with a film; preserve it with a photograph, or even just a keen memory, vividly etched in our minds.

The shorts in this series explore the ways we come to terms with death, our own mortality, and the legacy we leave behind.

'IT AIN'T OVER'

An inspiring story on its own, the direction, cinematography, and pacing of this doc make it incredibly powerful. A man dying of (actually, living with) Lou Gehrig's disease comes to grips with his failing body, while examining what hope looks like in places where it shouldn’t exist.

IT AIN'T OVER
Caleb Slain 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

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'memorial film'

Morbid as it maybe, we’ve all thought about it. What would it be like to attend your own funeral? Kanaskevich comes close to finding out, weirding out his close friends and family on camera by asking them to speak as if he’s already dead.

memorial film
Yonatan Kanaskevich 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

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'We Win or We Die'

Can one person win the war? Mehdii Zew, by all accounts, was just an ordinary man. But in one heroic sacrificial act, he breached the walls of the Katiba, Moammar Gaddafi’s looming, 2-mile fortress, liberating an entire city. Now he's a hero.

We Win or We Die
Matthew Millan 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

View the trailer:

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'Sheryl's Keyosk'

Meet Sheryl, the key lady. She’s been making keys in her tiny little key shop for more than 20 years. The cutesy, quirky, upbeat tone of this short might distract you from questioning whether Sheryl's key obsession is actually just an attempt to connect to her deceased, locksmith father.

Sheryl's Keyosk
Jeffrey Palmer 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

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'The Joseph Szabo Project'

A love letter to high school and the 1970s, this time capsule-like short is sure to make you feel like you're right back in homeroom. The Project is drawn from thousands of never-before-seen images from photographer and former Long Island high school teacher, Joseph Szabo.

The Joseph Szabo Project
David Khachatorian, George P. Pozderec 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

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Matter of Fact Shorts
Categories: Shorts Program

View the 2012 Clip Reel:

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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16Jul/121

Indy Film Fest 2012: DETROPIA

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Evan Strange Guest post by: Evan Strange
Bio: I'm an Indianapolitan working in tourism who loves tasty food, live music and just about every type of film.

Show me a good documentary, and I’ll show you a happy, happy filmgoer.

I love them, and as a matter of fact, docs are one of my favorite aspects of the Indy Film Fest. Last year’s Better This World – a documentary about domestic terrorism- was one of my favorite films of the entire year.

With a great love for this type of film, I was excited to find out that I was getting the opportunity to screen the Detroit-in-decline story Detropia before it opened at the film fest.

And before I continue, let me say that I’m lucky to have seen this great piece.

By now, we all know what’s going on in Detroit.

With what we have all seen and heard in the automotive industry, the Super Bowl halftime commercials and the cool photo galleries of crumbling buildings we like to stumble upon online, we can build an idea in our heads of what we think is happening up in Michigan.

But as much as we think we know, we can’t possibly understand what it’s like to go through such a drastic boom and decline as a city unless we live there.

Or, unless you see the film Detropia.

Through the eyes of an automotive union president, a local bar owner and a young blogger who chose to stay instead of abandoning one of the fastest shrinking cities in the country, we get a true picture of how Detroit came to power and then quickly lost it.

While this isn’t a feel-good movie, there is a sense of hope that runs through the entire film.

You can see it in the eyes of the locals as they talk about their city and their stubborn refusal to join the masses and condemn it. Instead, they’re staying in the city that made them and hope to be the people that spawn its renaissance.

When you’re making that list of films you have to see at this year’s film fest, make sure this documentary is on your list. And hopefully, you’ll drive to the theater in your Chevy Volt to see it.
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DETROPIA
Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady 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!

15Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: LATE SUMMER & ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Aimée MacArthur 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 travel.

Late Summer

Some of my favorite films are character-driven films like Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise or Tom McCarthy’s The Station Agent, with quiet, but strong lead characters.  We see the characters in their everyday life, whether it’s at work, walking along a street or at home making dinner.  You learn a lot by watching someone else’s routine.  And, pay close attention to what they say.

In Late Summer, the film’s lead character, Nadia (Michelle Lynn Hardin) confesses to a friend, “You know what I hate?  When people say ‘I can’t figure you out.’ Like it’s a bad thing, like you’re some kind of math problem.  I don’t ever want to be figured out.”  Nadia may be young, probably nineteen or so, but she’s complex and you can tell she’s got a lot on her mind.

Nadia is a devoted daughter, but also smart and full of spunk.  Nadia and her mother, Sonya (Tomiko Robinson) share a tight mother/daughter bond.  They spend their free time together and genuinely love each other.  Nadia delayed college for a year in order to stay home and take care of her ill mother.  Sonya’s character is a strong African-American mother who’s an excellent role model and wants the best for her daughter.

Late Summer may seem slow a bit slow at first, but stick with it, it’s a touching coming of age film with a healthy mother/daughter relationship.  And, healthy relationships can be complicated and filled with tough decisions. Change is hard.  There are plenty of movies out there that show strained, dysfunctional and highly unhealthy mother/daughter relationships (yep, I’m referring to Terms of Endearment).  Late Summer shakes things up a bit and shows a mother/daughter relationship that has mutual love and respect.

Late Summer is a beautiful film by writer/director Ernie Parks, with a breakout performance by Michelle Lynn Hardin (Nadia).  Other highlights:  contemporary score that drew me in and simple, yet gorgeous cinematography.

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Late Summer
Ernie Park 2012
Categories: Hoosier Lens Features

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Rolling On The Floor Laughlng

In the contemporary drama short, Rolling On The Floor Laughing, adult sons, Chris and Stephen, come home to celebrate their mother Caroline’s birthday.  Caroline is a widow and is in a new relationship with Jack.  There are complications when Jack arrives and joins the festivities.

Although there are some laughs in this film, the title is more sarcastic and definitely not to be taken literally.

This short film is a contemporary drama about what happens to the family dynamic when a widowed parent moves on with a new relationship.  The celebration starts out joyous, yet is later filled with tension and awkward moments.  Add a few bottles of wine and angry sons who are jealous and feel threatened and you’ve got a helluva evening.  As the evening progresses, the sons make more and more rude and crass comments to their mother and to her new boyfriend.

Introducing your sons to a new boyfriend at a family party?  Talk about setting yourself up for a mess of an evening and an awful birthday.

I won’t lie to you. I squirmed in my seat a few times while I was watching this film.  The family relationships in Rolling On The Floor Laughing seem very real and there is palpable drama.  I’ve been to a few awkward dinner parties and  I’m always the first to try and be the peacemaker during angry and embarrassing conversations.  If that doesn’t work, I usually leave as quickly as I can.  So I’ll admit it was hard to watch family members say things to each other that they may not be able to repair later.

A cocktail of booze and seething anger isn‘t good in real life, but it makes for an entertaining film.  Rolling On The Floor Laughing provides a good mix of family drama, suspenseful moments and sharp acting by the ensemble cast.  I enjoyed this clever script by writer/director and Indiana native, Russell Harbaugh.  See this film with your favorite family member.  You’ll definitely have lots to talk about.

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ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING
Russell Harbaugh 2011
Categories: Hoosier Lens 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!

15Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: GIRL MODEL

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

Ah, to be 13 again. The glowing cheeks, the sparkling, wondering eyes and the virgin hair that has yet to see a bad dye job. It’s this very look that has created an obsession with youth within the Japanese modeling market – but that’s not where this story begins.

The documentary Girl Model introduces 13 year-old Russian girl, Nadya Vall at a modeling cattle call where innocent and often very young girls parade around in string bikinis, hoping to scrape up enough English to tell the critical scouts their name and age – which is usually falsified anyway, for legality purposes.

The film follows Vall on her journey from her stark home in Siberia to the bright lights of Tokyo to pursue a modeling career.   While most hopeful models seek fame and fortune - a thought that certainly spreads a smile across Nadya’s face – the willowy, blonde Nadya only hopes to find a better life and perhaps support her financially-struggling family.

The loosely constructed, low-budget film also follows the eccentric (she keeps naked toy baby dolls behind her couch in her bare, museum-esque Connecticut home) and emotionally flat (why is she so numb) model scout, Ashley Arbaugh, a former model.

Film-makers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin attempt to parallel Arbaugh and Vall,  using Arbaugh’s own video clips from her time spent modeling in Japan in the 1990s. If her present condition is any indication of what’s to come for young Nadya, one hopes she winds up taking another path – preferably one not connected with human trafficking, eating disorders, drugs, and prostitution – subjects which the film dances around but never addresses directly with hard-facts.

While there’s little subject matter in Girl Model that one would find shocking (except for a disturbing foray into Arbaugh’s personal health issues) it’s still a disturbing yet universally important reminder that in the world of girl models, some can only hope to make it past 13.

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GIRL MODEL
David Redmon, Ashley Sabin 2011
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!