Mindflix Helps You Navigate Netflix With Your Brain

Over here at Indie Street, we practice a very indie audience-minded form of curation to make sure you don’t have to shift through a bunch of noise in order to get to the quality stuff. However, giants like Netflix, which offer thousands of genres and films - both good and….questionable - can’t be as geared towards a specific type of viewer. You can spend a lot of time rifling through titles when you could have been using that time to actually watch something instead. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a way to skip the scrolling and synopsis reading and just get to the watching action? Well, engineers over at Netflix might have found a solution in Mindflix, a sensor headband which reads your brainwaves. When wearing the prototype headband, Netflix users can browse the application without a remote control or anything! All you need is a (working) brain. With that, you can select a movie or TV show just by thinking. Mindflix works by detecting activity in your frontal lobe. The headband was successful at the company’s annual Hack Day but there’s no word yet on market release. Here’s to the future and perhaps Indie Street mind-reading headgear one day?! Until then, learn more about Mindflix by watching the video below! 

Google's 'Quick, Draw!' A.I. Guessing Game

Google has just released their own series of A.I. Experiments that are fun, smart little time killers. One of them, called 'Quick, Draw!', utilizes machine learning and a neural network to become a sort of Pictionary-on-the-go game. How does it work? The user draws a little doodle and the program guesses what they’re drawing while they’re drawing it. The more drawings it sees and guesses at, the smarter it gets. Sound a bit spooky? Yea, it’s as fascinating as it is terrifying to witness when it guesses correctly! But hey, this is the future - why not have a wee doodle on the way there?! Read more on BOOOOOOOM about how the Google app works and watch the video below to see it in action! Get drawing!

Featured Animated Short: Minha Kim's SEA CHILD

To put it simply, filmmaker Minha Kim’s “Sea Child” plays out like a visually stunning, animated fever dream. Produced over a span of 9-months while Minha was studying at the National Film and Television School, the short was created by painting 9,000+ images onto 1x1m boards and then adding color by painting directly on glass and using an overhead projector to reflect those colors onto the boards. A bizarre yet crafty, somewhat antiquated approach to animation, this (as she called it herself) “analogue” direction helped to create the chaotically beautiful and unsettling emotions all present within this film. And on what narrative stage are these very real, very raw emotions set upon? Well, on the verge of becoming a woman, our watercolored protagonist Sora wakes up from a nightmare and subsequently follows a group of men into the city in hopes of finding her mother. At only a little over 7 minutes long, the lush, evolving ’colorscape’ carries a surprisingly dark and defining journey into womanhood. The style and colors of the film almost transform themselves into characters, both creating and following Sora as she goes. As beautiful as it is overwhelming, this rendition of the age old story of growing up is refreshingly affecting. Try leaving this film without reflecting upon the imagery and journey you’ve seen - I dare you. A festival favorite this past year, it’s no wonder "Sea Child" traveled so well on the international circuit. It takes a narrative that’s sometimes difficult to tell and makes it, at its basic core, a must-see coming of age story that translates across almost all borders and languages. By inserting Sora into a seedy, dark yet vibrant, vivid world of paintstrokes and texture, the plot and visuals find a way to explode into an unforgettable, arresting experience for the viewer. It bleeds watercolors into your memories, leaving an impression far beyond the final frame.  

  Watch Mihna Kim's "Sea Child" now on Vimeo! And while you're at it, watch more of the best (and free!) short films online now on Indie Street

Video Essay: "Lessons for the No-Budget Feature"

You wouldn't expect some of the top filmmakers in Hollywood to have the most practical advice to offer up to emerging independent filmmakers making low budget films. However, one of the most important things to remember is that these big names all started their careers the same way: with shoestring budgets and abundant levels of creativity. Check out "Lessons for the No-Budget Feature" video essay from The Royal Ocean Film Society (created by Andrew Saladino) and discover some insightful tips and tricks from filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, Richard Linklater and more!

Ever feel like everyday is the same? We all sit down, plug in and press play. Phones, computers, TVs, tablets. You name it, someone's connected to one. It's a routine we've come to adapt our lives to - day in and day out. A picture here...a video there...a FB post here...a tweet about something inane there. We've become a society so obsessed with documenting our lives within past and present moments that it actually makes the future seem like some intangible concept that never comes into fruition. Every second lived becomes the past at some point. We want to share and we want to document so we can go back and relive. Memories are best preserved and accessed in a physical or digital form, no?  Well, what would happen if we totally escaped from the consequences of both our current and future obligations by having the ability to literally crawl back into the best instances of our memories? All of those moments we documented, in a cache or library of some kind, literally available and at the ready to welcome us back with open arms?  Filmmaker James Siewert's animated short "The Past Inside the Present" brings us into an existence where all of this (and more!) is possible. His painstakingly handcrafted world shows us what could come from constantly being plugged in, portraying the soulless black and white by-product of shunning the idea of free, undocumented living. This insanely animated, slightly cyberpunk wonder is what Siewert calls an allegorical tale, displaying the actions of a couple trying to save their dying relationship by renewing it. And how so? By literally connecting themselves into a recorded moment from their time together. Yes, in this world, analog media literally works as a trippy, fucked up time traveling device. Like robots, they wire themselves in and for just a little while, disappear into the abyss. True renewal. While the act of unfulfilled but comfortably repetitive living seems like it would be a safe zone, that feeling is tangled here in an intricate jumble of insanity, madness and eventual emptiness. Past meets present meets future in one overlapping instance that seems to explode into infinity until it's all over and numb reality sets back in. It's dark, it's twisted and it's all very fascinating to disappear into for the 13-min journey. Ask yourself, is this the future world we really want to live in? In order to answer that, experiencing this film and its underlying lesson is a must. In the end, maybe...just maybe...we might realize we don't want this life outside of the confines of the film. The irony? We have to plug-in to watch and learn this fact. That's life in all its past, present and future glory. But oh, what a beautifully hand drawn payoff!  Siewert must be one of the most diligent and innovative up-and-coming animator/directors out there and is definitely one to watch out for in the near future. From animations to music videos, he's got his talented rotoscoping, cinematic hands in a little bit of everything - a true connoisseur of independent creation. "The Past Inside the Present" was a project years in the making, meticulously filmed and drawn frame by frame by a small group. Each individual drawing combines with the others in order to create a dark treat that you should definitely feast your eyes upon and consume.  The great news is that Indie Street gets to help release this must-see, mind-blowing film out into the wild, where it belongs, to claim its plugged-in victims. Watching this short and taking in its extras all feels like an adventure - one into the mind of a talented filmmaker that truly seems to understand the way humans are connecting and disconnecting with each other as well as where we came from and where we are now. Truly a case of the past inside the present.  Check out the trailer below and then head on over to BitTorrent Now to download and watch the full film! While you're there, check out Indie Street's exclusive behind the scenes bundle, including the trailer, a 70 page handcrafted book chronicling the film's conception and production, animated GIFs and stills from the film, 2 time-lapse progress videos and finally, an epic music video honoring the completion of the film (as creative as the final product itself). All it takes is an email to get the full "The Past Inside the Present" experience! Don't miss out on this beautifully dark and prophetic opportunity. Just remember to disconnect, go out and live your life afterwards! WATCH THE FULL FILM FOR FREE NOW ON VIMEO!!!   


Featured Short: Face Your Fears in Stop-Motion CANIS

In case you live under a rock, Halloween is fast approaching. Don't have any costumed adventures planned? Well, what better way to celebrate than by curling up in the dark and watching one hell of a scary film? Surprise, getting into the Halloween spirit doesn't always have to involve the same overly produced horror films, gory 80s cult classics, or regurgitated Hocus Pocus nonsense we've all come to know, love and overdose on. Leave the overdosing to sugar consumption and try something new this season in the form of the dark and twisted stop motion short, "Canis". Be prepared: once you watch this short, its images will stay with you long after viewing. An award-winning animated film by duo Marc Riba & Anna Solanas, "Canis" is a puppet-based stop motion about Teo, a boy who tries to survive while isolated in a house constantly under attack by a pack of unrelenting stray dogs. Though there's plenty of understated gore and violence embedded within this wild dog tale that is sure to whet your appetite for nightmares this Halloween, this is also a smart story that goes way deeper than shallow, pointless bloodshed. "Canis" takes you on a dark journey into a world you don't wanna be in but can't look away from, forcing you and the character to face fear head-on. The degree of animated talent on display behind this nightmarish world of brutality, animal abuse, death and isolation makes sure its a lesson you won't soon forget. Riba & Solanas took 15 months to complete the intricately produced film and were inspired by the stray dogs that roam European streets. This isn't surprising as the bleak nuances and subtle storytelling devices that bleed through the narrative foundation recall grim centuries-old European tales. Remember that next time you're taking a stroll and see some furry friends. Yes, dear reader, I dare you to watch this film and not feel some surprising mix of discomfort and awe. Let it play out like a grainy fairy tale that shouldn't exist and yet does. But remember, watching comes at a cost - a brutally emotional and visual one. If our protagonist is able to face his fears within this grim, post-apocalystic world out to get him, will you be able to face yours? Welcome to the beautifully twisted black and white world of "Canis". Don't forget your nailbat on the way in - things are gonna get a bit hairy...with a bite. Watch the must-see short film now! Like what you see? Check out more of the best short films available now on Indie Street! 

Maria's Pick: "Gonna Stop Killing"

Today is the ultimate triple threat. First of all, it’s still October! It’s also Friday! And surprise – it’s another monthly installment of Maria’s Pick! Maria DicieanuSubmarine Channel author & former editor, has brought to Indie Street a wealth of knowledge in regards to the music video industry, introducing us to some of the coolest, eye-catching videos out there. If you’ve missed out, you can start catching up by checking out last month’s hypnotizing pick, “Great Headless Blank”, created by artist Carine Khalife. This month we have something totally different but just as top notch. It’s all about the narrative cinematic experience this time with Carla Bozulich’s video for “Gonna Stop Killing”, directed by Martijn Rijnberg. Haunting music and a video that plays out like a well-written, well-directed short film?! Count that right up our alley. Here, we journey into the mind and life of a man on the verge of ultimate change. Rijnberg gives the viewer a chance to escape into a different world through the beautifully balanced synthesis of music and story. Maria further describes her pick below (with bonus behind the scenes insight from the director himself): A darling of international film festivals (including the ones from Miami, Cork, Portobello and even Indie Fest USA), this music video for Carla Bozulich significantly blurs the borders between promos and cinema. The protagonists inspires a remarkable “man next door” feeling giving viewers the sensation he could be like any one of us. Except that he is not. He is a hitman on the verge of retiring and we're invited to witness this shifting moment in his existence. The change has nothing of the spectacular we have learned to expect in these circumstance (and we might need to thank Hollywood for these unrealistic false expectations)! No gun chase, no apparent love interest. It all feels, however, extremely organic. Like somebody deciding to suddenly stop smoking or grow a beard. And it's all beautifully cinematic. We contacted director Martijn Rijnberg from Zero Landscape and he was kind enough to share some thoughts on the filmmaking process:  “My initial idea was to film the actor, Steven Lucke, in his daily routine at home. To almost hide myself in his house with my camera, record  as much natural footage as possible and to thus get a feeling of rawness. After doing some initial tests at his place and also some in the subway, I quickly felt a more cinematic and stylistic approach might work better for the imagery and could give a more dramatic and natural flow combined with Carla’s music. In the end, I am happy to have gone in that direction. Shooting the music video took almost half a year because of other ongoing projects, and also due to the intense workflow by using RAW files out of a Canon 5D Mark III (beautiful files thanks to Magic Lantern). This gave us the possibility to shoot a lot of different settings and think through the concept of the song quite thoroughly: a hitman retiring from his profession and getting ready to embrace a new life. The parakeet was an idea that came during the project, a bit like the plant in the film "Léon". And the use of votive candles was something of an idea that we thought of more towards the end of the project. I am a big fan of Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” and wanted to get this feeling in the imagery: escaping reality, integrating in the nature and finding some peace in the context of featuring the destructed buildings. I tried to link Steven's home routine with these harsh elements of escapism, letting him almost merge with the sun at the end of his journey.” Check out October’s must-see music video, "Gonna Stop Killing", and stay tuned for next month’s installment! Enjoy! 

 About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the project"   

Featured Short: "Tapes From The Revolutionary"

What happens when a documentary turns the camera back on itself? Or when its subject tries to hijack the film? In the rather unconventional Scottish short doc "Tapes From The Revolutionary", we see one such result of these unexpected escapades. The man behind the camera? Edinburgh-based filmmaker Scott Willis. The man that’s supposed to be front of the camera? Self-proclaimed communist revolutionary and camcorder aficionado, Andy. The result of the two artists’ clashing visions? Total understated genius. Quite the character, Andy was filming with a Hi-8 camcorder when Willis found him. Intrigued by the footage on Andy's tapes, Willis decided this exploration into why and what we film would be a good subject for a documentary. Well, it seems Willis may have underestimated the supposedly simple man with an old camera. What he discovers is that Andy is someone constantly fighting for that seat in the saddle behind the camera, hands on reins and riding off into a cinematic sunset of his own choosing. Willis is a trained filmmaker and Andy? Well, he fancies himself quite the documentarian. In the end, this 16-min short is bizarrely humorous, surprisingly poignant, and all a touch philosophical. Filling in the cracks are musings about the filmmaking process that keep revealing themselves in the most enjoyable, offbeat ways. A film that seemed to have somewhat of a defined purpose at the beginning suddenly goes off the rails, becoming increasingly experimental and all the more memorable in its quirks. With glimpses of Andy as well as the Willis of today and flashbacks of a young Willis from the past, what we get here is a self-awareness to film as a medium. By studying the subject of the film, the filmmaker starts to study himself and why he chose to even make films in the first place. Analog and digital cameras both reveal an underlying message on the evolution of the role of the lens. The storytelling choices Willis then puts into play create a sort of playground to show and be shown. Guards are down, the fourth wall is broken and a 360 degree film is born. If you appreciate experimental docs, film reflexivity, and the role of storytelling in general, this absurd yet lovable little short is a total must watch. Its extensive run on the international festival circuit should be enough to prove that Willis is certainly a talent to keep on your radar! In the end, two "directors" with two very different visions weave quite the tale, leaving the audience wondering, why do we choose to document our lives? What should we show? Who is our audience? What is it like seeing the world through someone else’s eyes? Find out by watching "Tapes From The Revolutionary” via Indie Street now!  

Get ready for quite the adventure as Werner Herzog takes us on an unforgettable trip into the world’s most active and red-hot lava filled volcanoes. You can watch the trailer for his acclaimed new documentary “Into the Inferno” now! Like what you see? “Into the Inferno” releases on Netflix later this month on October 28th.  


Indie Street Presents AULD LANG SYNE NYC Premiere!

Originally a poem written by well-known Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns in the late 18th century, “Auld Lang Syne” - in its song version - has become a recognized tradition throughout many countries as a way to bid farewell to the passing year on Hogmanay/New Year’s Eve. The song asks us: should old acquaintance be forgot? Well, sure, that’s a loaded question. But Indie Street may have the answer! On October 17th, Indie Street is proud to present the NYC premiere of Indie Street Film Festival audience favorite “Auld Lang Syne”! If you’re in the New York area, fancy yourself an artist, love indie film and theatre or simply just appreciate a great film made with love by even greater people, then you should not miss this exclusive event. Cast and crew, including director Johanna Mckeon, will be in attendance for a Q&A! For ticket info, head on over to the event page for more details. So, should old acquaintance be forgot and never thought upon? How about watch the newly released trailer for “Auld Lang Syne” to find out and join us on October 17th!  


Embrace Your Inner Grump with "Curmudgeons"

Curmudgeon. Yes, let’s start with the word. Funny little piece of vocabulary there, right? So, what exactly is a curmudgeon? My pal Merriam-Webster tells me that it’s “a person (especially an old man) who is easily annoyed or angered and who often complains.” In that case, it’s a word that looks/sounds exactly like what it means. It’s ridiculous, a bit angry looking and doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well. However, there is no better word for Danny DeVito’s recent Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere, “Curmudgeons”, because...well, it’s the title of the film, sure…but it comes to mean so much more by the end. DeVito’s short (written by the brilliant Joshua Conkel) takes place at an assisted living facility, showcasing the shocking yet endearing relationship between two foul-mouthed aging senior citizens. By their sides are their respective (and equally crude) children. Production of this film was quite the family affair as well, with Danny DeVito's kids, Jake and Lucy, onboard. At is plays out, “Curmudgeons” becomes both vulgar and beautiful - often within the same breath. In an instant, a single line of dialogue can go from filthy slur to totally lovable phrase. By the end, the off the wall surprise in the story comes so naturally that you can’t help but smile getting to know these grumpy old men, their families and the strange manner in which they all show they care. Because of the sometimes foul language swordplay, the whole film is like a storybook romance you hide from your kids but secretly enjoy in private. One of the highlights of this short is character actor David Margulies, remembered in quite the role. Though he passed away earlier this year, Margulies was thankfully able to see a cut of the film. Hopefully, he would have been a bit of a grump (to stay in character) but beyond proud of the final product. His talent is honored in a bittersweet way, giving this short an extra layer of magic. The way his character bounces off of the others is sheer acting beauty. With DeVito’s delicate yet exact directing and Conkel’s narrative foundation, the whole package is enhanced to a different dimension. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and winner of the Indie Street Film Festival’s New Jersey Short Audience Award, NJ-native DeVito attracted the crowds, the love and the adoration he deserves from all audiences. He's a legend. So, when a legend makes a thing you better believe that thing is gonna be A+. “Curmudgeons” was the perfect kick off for Vimeo’s new Staff Pick Premieres. It’s like a song, but instead of notes, it uses humor and potty mouth humanity, written in a way that humans really didn’t know they needed until they found this film. Yea, you read that right. You need this film. A legend begets a legendary little short. So, come on, dummy, time to see the damn thing! If “Curmudgeons” doesn’t make you wanna embrace your inner curmudgeon, then I don’t know what will. After watching, you may just realise that there is an advantage to embracing vulgarity and being a lovable little pain in the butt yourself! Take a few minutes out of your day and watch Devito's grumpy, lovable film, now playing on Vimeo