Indy Film Fest

15Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: SPORTS IN INDIANA

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest post by Nik Browning
Bio: Began musical blogging under myspace/facebook dev. http://redrkr.blogspot.com/  http://redrkr2.blogspot.com/ - movies.

'Black Baseball in Indiana'

In this short, a group of Ball State Students study the Negro baseball league as it took place in Indiana in the 1920s. This film keeps its focus not as much on the politics or the ignorance that makes the league necessary at all. Instead, the focus is mainly to celebrate the history and the players that made it possible. This documentary is rich with photos and films of the time. As we transition from Indianapolis' ABC's to the Clowns, we learn about the teams through historical accounts as well as amusing anecdotes from those still around to tell the tales.

Also remarkable are the local shots taken with today's cameras with a bold richness that still transitions nicely to the well-worn black and white footage. The film stops short after Jackie Robinson breaks the color barrier in the majors. We see how the Negro league worked to keep its audience in spite of the changes that were coming in the national scene. Having said that, little attention is given to Hank Aaron, who entered his minor league career with the Clowns before taking a job in Boston.
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Black Baseball in Indiana
Zachary Perlinski 2011
Categories: Hoosier Lens Shorts

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'Lucky Teter And His Hell Drivers'

A wonderful story of a fellow Hoosier who fell into an accidental career path. After a car wreck nearly killed him, Earl Teter recovered, dubbed himself "Lucky" a decided to entertain people by crashing cars for a living. This being a time before cable TV brought us daily trainwrecks on 127 channels by way of Reality Shows, Lucky traveled state fairs and speedways testing the limits of Detroit's finest.

With great narration by Indy's own Dave Dugan, who could easily take Keith David's place as voice man for hire, this film brings a human element to a performer who was otherwise all explosions and twisted metal. The tragedy that was certain to unfold finalizes the story, but the archived footage will help us to remember the ride of Lucky's life that brought excitement to thousand of national spectators.

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Lucky Teter and His Hell Drivers
Dan T. Hall 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Shorts

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Overall, two very well-made local docs bringing to light underreported aspects of Indiana sportsmen.
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Sports in Indiana
Categories: Shorts Program

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!

12Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: AFICIONADOS

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Rebecca Masbaum Guest post by  Rebecca Masbaum
Bio: Social Media over-sharer, life & style blogger, and a natural red-head. I'm obsessed with my bike, food, and grammatical correctness.

Watching a movie with subtitles can take the challenge of comprehending a movie to a new level. I admit, I am one of those strange people that enjoy watching movies with subtitles. I enjoy the challenge of essentially reading the book while watching the movie. Aficionados was enjoyable for reasons beyond this small challenge.

Aficionados is a small-budget film. It could be argued that it was so low-budget, they could not afford a script. That’s right – the entire dialogue of the film is improvised – ad-libbed, made-up! Piecing together the best parts from what was undoubtedly innumerable takes, director (and star) Arturo Dueñas created one surprisingly good film! 

Individuals from a variety of backgrounds join a group ostensibly to learn to make friends and to gain confidence, but to also face their own self-doubts. These misfits immediately grab your heart and keep your attention throughout the movie, as you’re unable to turn away from each of their awkward anti-socializing quirks. Co-workers become friends; a single mom learns to stand up for herself; a silent man finds his voice. Particularly enjoyable for me was watching Arturo, a librarian and hopeful author, grow through his experiences with the group. He is poignantly sad – with such sad luck – it’s good to see him have some good luck and gusto in the end. In fact, everyone wins in the end. It might be a bit campy, but I was happy with a happy ending.

If you’ve shied away from viewing foreign films before, Aficionados is a good one for you to branch out on. It’s a relatable plot, where the characters learn to write their own stories, and to happen to life instead of letting life happen to them.

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AFICIONADOS
Arturo Dueñas 2010
Categories: World Cinema 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!

10Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: SEE GIRL RUN

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Heike Baird Guest post by Heike Baird
Bio: Heike is a social media specialist for BLASTmedia. She also blogs for Indianapolis Monthly and puts hot  sauce  on everything.

“The second we got together, I instantly stopped caring about what other people thought. Because I had Jason, and he had me.”

Thus opens the heart of Emmie and the flood of her memories that shape See Girl Run. You’ll recognize familiar faces in this film (Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott; William Sadler from, well, everything), and you’ll also recognize the familiar melancholy that plagues us, as adults, when we romanticize the past.

What is it about the past that’s so attractive? To Emmie, a kennel owner in Maine, the attraction lies in her high school boyfriend, Jason. Nowadays, Emmie’s married. She’s not exactly happily married, but she’s not miserable, either. Her marriage to Graham is the relational equivalent of a bowl of cereal: functional and edible, but certainly not a ricotta-chocolate éclair that she’s leaping out of bed to eat.

For Emmie, Jason is the long-lost fling whom she thinks she’ll never really get over. His dorky drawings (always frogs) and romantic sensibilities (always idealist) made him special, and she’s still thinking about him years after they parted ways. See Girl Run follows Emmie as she travels back to her hometown in search of Jason, and whatever it was that made their time together unforgettable.

The characters and their plights read more genuinely than those in most rom-coms. I’d partially attribute that to the supporting characters—specifically, Emmie’s brother Brandon and parents. The lion’s share of romantic comedies focuses exclusively on the hot-bodied protagonists; their families barely factor in to the inevitable marriage (or hook-up). I came to understand Emmie and what made her relationships succeed and fail by spending a fair amount of screen time with her family.

The final impressions you’ll absorb from this film may depend on where you are in your lost-love journey. Do you think it’s too late, or do you love the one you’re with? Have you changed too much for your ex to understand you? (Or maybe you’re just happy. If that’s the case, rejoice in how much you don’t find Emmie relatable at any level.)

See Girl Run is a heartfelt reminder to never give up on love—and to run toward it if you ever do.

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SEE GIRL RUN
Nate Meyer 2012
Categories: American Spectrum Features

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!

10Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: CINEMA SIX

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Guest Post by Nik Browning
Bio: Began musical blogging under myspace/facebook dev. http://redrkr.blogspot.com/  http://redrkr2.blogspot.com/ - movies.

A movie for fans of Kevin Smith!

These filmmakers certainly are. And they do him proud, all things considered. Mason, Gabe and Dennis all work in the local small town movie theater. They are all in a state of suspended adolescence, well past the age that they should be content with that. They wax quixotic about pop culture references. They have a lazy work ethic and they hate the clientele that they cater to. Right now, you're thinking, "Clerks III"....

Which is a fair comparison. Other clichés follow- Mason is having problems because his wife is frustrated with his lack of direction or ambition. Dennis is floored by a recent broken heart. And Gabe is a paranoid, self-loathing nervous wreck who's afraid to take chances on anything- especially the fairer gender.

The good part is that while all of this is overly familiar, it is also instantly relatable. And while friendships are tested and lessons are learned, the main enjoyment of this film is the ride. I didn't get an F-bomb count while watching, but I'm pretty sure that the screenwriters were going for some "Scarface" record. Also, you will leave this movie with 204 new ways to emasculate your male friends in increasingly profane ways.

A great comedy that will bring out the most childish aspects of your personality, but may help you grow up a little too.

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Cinema Six
Cole Selix, Mark Potts 2012
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!

10Jul/121

Indy Film Fest 2012: ECSTASY OF ORDER: THE TETRIS MASTERS

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.

According to The Ecstasy of Order, two out of three Americans have played Tetris, a video game released by Nintendo in the late 80s. And if you are like me, the second you hear that techno-Greek music start to play, your heart rate jumps a few beats, your eyes glance to the top of the television screen, and your right hand starts hunting for the red A and B keys.

For those who might not have had the luxury of growing up in the 1980s to early-’90s, Tetris is a game of strategy and split-second decisions. It plays to one’s innate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In 30 levels—the final level is one of myth and lore—players must arrange seven different blocks that fall from the top of the screen to build solid rows. The speed with which the blocks fall increases with each level. When a row is complete it is eliminated from the screen and pieces move down. Points are given for speed and the number of rows deleted.

The Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters is a documentary of one man’s quest to find the ultimate Tetris player. The movie follows a handful of men and women fighting for one of eight spots in the playoffs. Profiles are done split screen with the interviewee typically in front of the TV, controller in hand. The other half of the screen shows the game that he or she is playing. The split screen is a perfect device for this film; watching the change in concentration and anxiety as players move up in levels is made better by seeing the game in action.

What I love about documentaries like The Ecstasy of Order is that they make something commonplace interesting. This film lifts the veil—or opens the basement door—on a subculture typically overlooked and misunderstood. It shows the true artistry and brainpower of gaming.

Over the course of the 90-minute film, we learn the tips and tricks of the trade, and how seemingly impossible moves are now possible. We learn that a plastic controller can turn “mushy.” We learn that Tetris is a game so complex and varied that even MIT couldn’t build a computer to beat it. We learn that winning is not about looking only at your current situation, but anticipating the next three, four, five moves.

And, gamers or not, we can all stand to learn that lesson.

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ECSTASY OF ORDER: THE TETRIS MASTERS
Adam Cornelius 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact 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!

10Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: MADONNA’S PIG

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Inline image 1 Guest post from Adrienne Bailey.
Bio: PR @ Young & Laramore. Music enthusiast w/ the travel bug. I love the outdoors, bike rides, food, art, beer/wine, movies and sports.

What do Madonna and a robotic pig named Porky possibly have in common? I should also mention that Porky has the ability to greatly aid in the reproduction of other pigs.

I would hope nothing immediately comes to mind. Because if so, I'd have to wonder…

Set in Northern Belgium, this film takes an odd approach at comedy while introducing a rather tame cast of characters brought together by unforeseen circumstances. Despite its comedic approach, the script and acting fall slightly short of what “laugh out loud moments” we might expect in an American film. But that’s okay- because it’s not an American film. It moves slower, but hang in there!

Traveling salesman Tony Roozen and his newest gadget, Porky, an integral part of a company competition, end up stranded in a ditch after a car accident. Desperate to make it back to civilization and meet his girlfriend for a family vacation with her parents, Tony stumbles across the small village of Madonna, land-marked with a central roundabout encompassing her statue, doubling up as a mailbox slot. Confused and perplexed by his surroundings, Tony finally crosses paths with village teacher, Maria Glorie and her great-grandmother, Gusta, who provide him with accommodations.

Aside from the two women, no one in the town is remotely interested in lending a hand. It could be due to the current state of conflict over the removal of the Madonna statue and roundabout, or the fact that Tony drags a robotic pig on leash around the village. Regardless, his stay in the classic, anything but modern Hamlet, is longer than expected. The plot’s twist and roles of the characters only become evident near the end of the film.

There are many more details to the story, so be sure and catch “Madonna’s Pig” at the Indy Film Fest.

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Madonna's Pig
Frank Van Passel 2012
Categories: World Cinema 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!

6Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: BILLI & THEODORE

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Melanie Woods Guest post by Melanie Woods
Bio: Comm/marketing pro. Indy-ophile. Colts junkie. Art addict. Movie collection ranges from Harry Potter to  City  of God.

It takes all of five minutes of knowing me to figure out that I love Indianapolis. By extension, I love Indiana, though not all aspects of it admittedly. So I am naturally inclined to love any film that is made by a Hoosier, stars Hoosiers and features Hoosier staples such as the Dunes, Monument Circle and Hot Box Pizza’s “boner-inducing” breadsticks and cheese.

Casting aside my bias, “Billi & Theodore” is really good. I was hooked from the opening scene, which may involve sock puppets and sex. It’s about as weird as it sounds. Billi is an aspiring puppeteer who dreams of being the next Jim Henson. She’s also gay, which is a nonissue until later in the film when it becomes an issue at a small town bar. Theodore just left his abusive girlfriend and drove straight to Billi’s, despite the fact that they haven’t spoken in three years.

The pair used to be best friends but life drove them apart, as it sometimes does. The opening scenes of the film are very true to reality. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to watch them figure out how to be around each other again. As with most true friendships, however, it doesn’t take them long to get over it and soon Billi is agreeing to drive up to Michigan City with Theodore to get his stuff out of his ex-girlfriend’s house.

For the remainder of the film, we follow Billi and Theodore on a road trip that should have taken hours but ends up taking days. Along the way, they encounter a carjacker, homophobes, random hookups, lot lizards, pizza grams, shrooms, pentagrams and a Wiccan, among other things. And of course as they take a literal trip north through the state, they also undergo a metaphorical journey of rediscovering their friendship and figuring out what’s next in their lives.

What I loved most about this film is how real and natural the friendship felt. A movie based on this scenario has to have strong, believable leads and Jordan McRae (Billi) and Travis Emery (Theodore) do not disappoint. Backed by a solid script with dialog that doesn’t feel forced, this film simply takes you along for the ride. You peek in on these moments of their lives and become more at home with the characters with each passing minute of the movie.

On top of all that, “Billi & Theodore” has a great soundtrack. I particularly enjoyed “We Let Our Grades Slip” by Yearbook Committee. And I definitely recommend sticking around during the credits for a bonus musical performance featuring Jordan McRae.

You won’t want to miss “Billi & Theodore” so be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, July 21, and Thursday, July 26, when the film screens during the festival.

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Billi & Theodore
Ronald Short 2011
Categories: Featured, Hoosier Lens 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!

6Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: TRESPASSERS

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Heike Baird Guest post by Heike Baird
Bio: Heike is a social media specialist for BLASTmedia. She also blogs for Indianapolis Monthly and puts hot  sauce  on everything.

When I imagine the Christmas movie genre, I think of chestnut-roasted classics that conclude with a loving family gathered around a dinner table, each person gazing fondly upon his or her treasured relatives, eyeballs glistening and hearts brimming with season’s greetings.

What I don’t usually imagine is a film where a family questions its togetherness and throws knives at each other after a random act of burglary on Christmas Eve. (Note: I also don’t usually imagine watching Christmas movies at all on humid nights in July, but I made an exception for this film.)

Bisperas (Trespassers) is a Filipino drama that puts a Catholic family under the magnifying glass as they endure an emotional night of betrayal and doubt within their brood—all thanks to a burglar who chose Christmas Eve to ransack their home. The film is a family drama, but the heavy religious themes weigh on you like a 500-pound Christmas tree.

Because in this Filipino town, everyone’s Catholic. No one misses Mass, and no one would be caught dead on Christmas Eve without candles and a hymnbook. This overt religiosity is what provokes the stark contrasts of the film—and these contrasts were what I found most compelling. For example, the contrast between the lifestyle of the central family members and their live-in maid. The contrast between the reverent Mary and Joseph actors in the Christmas processional and the nearby food vendors stuffing sausages to sell. And the contrast between the grandmother’s pious behavior in Mass and the way she snubs begging children on the street.

The character studies are stirring, and the director’s sparse, minimalist approach to cinematography gets the camera out of the way and lets the characters speak for themselves. At times, you might think you’re watching a documentary because the style is so understated and the acting so natural.

In fact, the acting is so raw that the film can feel a little like eating dinner at a friend’s house, when suddenly her parents get into a nasty fight, and you’re still picking at your plate feeling horribly awkward and self-conscious. This is no reason to skip the film. Rather, I found the actors to be just as simultaneously charming, funny, and sometimes unlikeable as real people, and that’s a considerable thespian feat.

If you take a seat at this Christmas table, be prepared for a unique take on what it means to be authentically spiritual and devoted to your family. Bisperas might be the most angst-filled Christmas movie you’ll see this year, but the thoughts you’ll leave with will be far meatier than the peanut-brittle-grade fare at the Cineplex.

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Trespassers
Jeffrey Jeturian 2011
Categories: World Cinema 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!

5Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Kelly Millspaugh Guest post by Kelly Millspaugh
Bio: Office Manager at Formstack. Addicted to coffee and discovering new music. I prefer cold weather and speak sarcasm fluently.

Feelings are complicated, hard to understand, and at times completely out of our control. The feelings of those around you are always out of your control. If you agree with either of these statements you will relate to this Terence Nance film.

"An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" begins by giving the viewer a short synopsis of a young man's evening via narration: Imagine you arrive at home excited because an individual with whom you currently have more than friendly feelings for is coming over. Then they call and say they are not coming. The narrator and Nance ask the question: "How would you feel?" The film continues and gives more and more details and context to the evening in question.

Watching this film was a little like listening to a close friend describe in detail an interaction she or he had with a boy or girl. What they were wearing, how close they stood, when he smiled, when he seemed indifferent, what she said when they left, what he didn't say, what she wishes she had said…etc., etc. I have often been asked the "How would you feel?" or "What would you have done?" question. It is easy to put yourself in Nance's shoes. The details and context given make you feel like you are there and I found myself wishing I could talk to them and help them figure out what was going on between them. The film is unique because you also get reactions and commentary from Namik, the other side of this "will they, won't they" couple.

Nance does more than just give you details of his current relationship. He also examines relationships from the past. These segments were often animated and did an outstanding job of illustrating what happens when you give your heart to someone. The animation also illustrates the profound differences between fantasy and reality, between what we hope for and what really exists. Spending all evening imagining what could or should have happened isn't exactly productive, or healthy, but a lot of us have been there. If only they would have shown up, given me a chance, or just listened to me then we would be together and it would perfect.

This film is an over-analyzers dream. The romantics will watch it and feel an immense kinship to Terence as he tries to deconstruct years of experiences and interactions and come up with a good reason why things haven't progressed. Nance should be praised for being so transparent and opening his thoughts to the world and to Namik. If you liked "(500) Days of Summer" then you don't want to miss "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty".

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An Oversimplification of Her Beauty
Terence Nance 2012
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!

5Jul/120

Indy Film Fest 2012: 311: IN THE MOMENT

Posted by Amanda Harbeck

Claire Brosman Guest post by  Claire Brosman
Bio: Exploring how to build my life with my hands -- from my clothing to my soap and everything in between (while remaining socially
acceptable).

You’ve seen the news footage and probably listened to the stories of some of the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami survivors, but when did your news feed stop? While other world events have happened, drawing many people’s attention elsewhere, the people of Japan are facing every day what it will take to go on with life. "311: In the Moment" is a documentary that explores what a handful of Japanese women are doing to rebuild and move forward.

This film, released only a year after the Tsunami devastated Japan, is full of broken landscapes and harsh realities. This very real look at post-Tsunami Japan doesn’t take liberties to manipulate the viewer’s feelings, whether through stylized cinematography or inclusion of emotional interviews. A film exploring a natural disaster of such magnitude needs nothing more than people’s personal stories to pummel my emotions.

There’s so much good happening in Japan right now in the midst of destruction. The sheer fact that people are moving on from such a catastrophic disaster and rebuilding communities is amazing. More than that, the fact that this film focuses on the strength of women leading parts of this rebuilding process is important, and for that reason I appreciate the story that "311: In the Moment" is telling.

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311:In the moment
Kyoko Gasha 2011
Categories: Matter of Fact Features

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!