Science fiction has seen a resurgence of late thanks in large part to Hollywood. Some of the top-grossing movies from the last two years include a story about an astronaut trapped in space and a mind-bending tale about wormholes, not to mention the best Marvel movie in years. And games are making the shift too, with huge, heralded new franchises like Titanfall and Destiny both launching this year. Even the classic Civilization has moved into space. Read more
Only a few short years ago, MaryAnn Anselmo had a promising, successful career under her belt as well as still ahead of her. A headliner at a well known jazz venue in NJ, Anselmo was selling out shows and living her best life. With her loving husband, Joseph, by her side, things were grand. Days later, her son, Dustin, would die unexpectedly. A month later, after being in a major car wreck herself, she would be left with broken bones, no usage of her left vocal chord, and enough strokes that would put her in a coma. MaryAnn’s seemingly perfect life had come to a screeching halt. Determined to sing again, Joe’s support would push her to succeed at rediscovering her dream. Unfortunately, the recent devastating streak in MaryAnn’s life proved far from over, rearing its ugly head again. Only a year later, MaryAnn was diagnosed with a high-grade glioblastoma (AKA a late stage brain tumor). She was given only months to live. However, what should have been a death sentence….wasn’t. Her cancer treatment, through the use of precision medicine (therapy tailored to a patient’s genetic needs), is proving that cancer care is transforming and a death sentence doesn’t have to be the only reality. Though MaryAnn's treatments come with some severe side effects, her cancer is now gone. While it all seems like a storyline out of a fiction novel, her new autobiography "Through Fire and Rain: Surviving the Impossible with Love, Music, and Precision Medicine" is brutally real. And while that story is often painful to read, her and Joe's spirit and optimism make this narrative a thing of beauty and hope. This is a book about both loss and discovery, built on a strong foundation of unconditional love, faith, music, unwavering dedication and medicine. Suddenly, this becomes a story of survival against all odds - a story that you should absolutely get your hands on. Though a first hand account of the bitter battleground cancer creates within a person’s life, the power of MaryAnn and Joe’s perseverance and writing makes this a surprisingly upbeat moral about never giving up in life. It’s no wonder she was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in March 2015. A few years on and with her cancer under control, MaryAnn is a medical outlier and a pillar of strength for herself, her family and all that will come to read her story. 100% of the proceeds from sales of "Through Fire and Rain" go to www.TheBungalow.org. The Bungalow Foundation is a public charity that helps to fund biomedical precision medical initiatives through grants to post-doctoral and research fellows working in medical, research and academic institutions. Targeted treatments saved MaryAnn's life and now that the (hopefully) hardest part of her story wraps up, it’s only fitting the next chapter is one that will continue to help and inspire others. Read more about "Through Fire and Rain" and make sure to get your hands on a copy of the book now!
New Year’s Eve. A time of hope, promises, change and better times. We leave behind the anxieties, vices and troubles of the previous year and welcome the flipping of the calendar with bated breath and the excitement of reinvention. With your resolutions in order, your friends and family by your side and the countdown on, what could possibly go wrong?! Well, in the holiday ensemble comedy “Auld Lang Syne”, we see that the celebration of a New Year with your best pals does not always go according to plan. As the famous Scottish tune/poem of the same title asks us as we surround ourselves with friends both old and new on this promising night: should old acquaintance be forgot? Indie Street might finally have the answer to this age-old question! We are proud to finally announce the November 15th VOD release of Indie Street Film Festival Audience Award Winner “Auld Lang Syne”. Director Johanna McKeon and cast have created a refreshing take on the concept of “New Year, New You”, and with an ensemble featuring all types of artists (including a playwright, actress, musician, theater producer, and photographer), this is an indie film that truly represents what it means to be passionate about your craft, no matter the odds or what others think. A New Year pops up every 12 months. Sometimes friends and lovers come and go from your life. Change is inevitable. But one thing is certain: “Auld Lang Syne” is a heart-warming and hilarious independent creation that is a must-see if you love art, indie film, and the hijinks that only holidays like New Year’s Eve can bring about! So, mark your calendars folks because Indie Street will be the place to be on November 15th! In the meantime, if you’re in the LA area, you can catch the West Coast Premiere of the film next week (head here for ticket info) OR watch the trailer below!! You can now catch the film on Indie Street here!
Last month, we told you about the upcoming release of a curated movie streaming platform brought to you by an exciting new collaboration between Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies. Well, today the FilmStruck platform finally went live, offering eager film lovers the chance to sign up for a 14 day free trial! If you're a fan of indie, classic, foreign, cult, arthouse or rare genre cinema, you don't want to miss this offer! While Indie Street offers some of the best in recent indie releases, FilmStruck is the place to be for all the obscure classic movies you want to revisit or finally get a chance to see. Read more about FilmStruck and get ready to experience the game-changing movie platform by overdosing on all things cinematic!
Happy Halloween! While the ghouls, ghosts and goblins come out to play, we're over here hiding away with good beer and even better films. Wanna escape the horrors and monsters that roam the night and join us? Well, we've got you covered with the third installment of our new craft beer and indie film pairings. Our collaboration with fellow beer/film lover Jayme G., a Warehouse Supervisor at Southeastern-based distributor Advintage, has introduced us to some of the best in craft beers and VOD films out there. Trick or treat, indeed! The theme this month? Halloween, of course. Costumes, pumpkins and all! Film: Bec de Lièvre (Hare Lip) As an underrated short film hiding out on VOD, this emotionally quirky story easily became one of the most memorable films I have seen in a rather long time. This film is the perfect example of short form content doing something far more powerful with a particular idea than a feature could. It's (semi) short and (bitter)sweet - the perfect yet unexpected companion when guzzling down at least one treat (AKA beer) this Halloween. The story actually starts on Halloween night when Alice and Philip, members of two different costumed celebrations at two different apartments, meet on the building's shared porch. One is dressed as a hare and the other as a rabbit. Most will think they see where this little film about two hip and "misunderstood" outsiders is going from the get-go. As expected, an immediate love story blossoms between the two oddballs. They don't fit in at their own parties but somehow this porch becomes their own - a world they secretly build and share together. However, the plot you expected quickly proves anything but normal. Secrets are revealed between the two that immediately change the end goal of this film. Award-winning Canadian director Louis Bélanger has created an emotionally affecting tale with "Hare Lip" - and he ends it with the most appropriate kind of cliff hanger. The twist is so understated, so unexpected and yet so softly and sweetly dealt with, making this an absolute must-see foreign film if you're looking for an international taste of something different this Halloween season. I highly recommend taking 23 minutes of your Halloween to watch this film. The wee rental fee is a small price to pay for getting to experience such a raw, bittersweet portrait of a different kind of love story - giving us a much different POV regarding the horrors of Halloween. Sometimes fear has nothing to do with gore, guts, violence, murder (and clowns, eek). Oftentimes, fear comes in the form of something far more human. So, sit back with this film and make sure to have handful of sugary sweets and a bottle of our featured beer in hand! Beer: Birds Fly South Sour Pumpkin Ale Halloween and pumpkins go together like...well, Christmas and Christmas trees...Valentine's Day and hearts...St. Patrick's Day and luck...You get the picture. When the pumpkin beers started hitting the shelves this year, it was a sign that the seasons were changing and Halloween was right around the corner. So, as it's finally Halloween Day, and pumpkin beer season will soon be over, what better type to feature? Birds Fly South Ale Project is a new Greenville-based wild ale craft brewery, employing open fermentation and progressively old school urban farmhouse techniques. Their Sour Pumpkin Ale is a delicious edition to their new and blossoming lineup. Jayme says of his pick, "Lambics are actually one of my favorite types of beers and I think the sour profile of the Sour Pumpkin Ale happens to blend very well with the toasty pumpkin goodness. The spices used are just right, not too overwhelming like some pumpkin beers come and the alcohol content is just right to get you in the mood for All Hallows Eve and beyond!" With the sour edge of the beer and the bittersweet Halloween angle of "Hare Lip", the two make a combination that is totally unexpected yet ripe for a different kind of strange and spooky experience. Honorable mention: Wayerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin AleYes, as you can tell, we are all about the pumpkins over at Indie Street. We couldn't let Jayme's favorite seasonal beer escape the list. "Imperial pumpkin Ale by Wayerbacher, is rather over the top. High alcohol and strong taste make it a great and appropriate choice for Halloween festivities!" Can't argue with that logic! Trick or treat (or indie film and beer)! Remember, it's never too late to start supporting your local breweries as well as some amazing (feature length AND short) indie films on VOD! Happy Halloween and everything in between! Cheers!
This week, Indie Street was proud to kick off the release of James Siewert's mind-blowing rotoscoped masterpiece "The Past Inside the Present". A 13-min ride into an insane, cyberpunk world where people can literally connect themselves into their memories and disconnect themselves from reality, you've got to see this film to believe it! The amount of work that James and his small team put into it is a true sign that independent film craftsmanship is still alive in the industry. Trust us, this is a must-see animation well worth your time. The full film plus a plethora of behind the scenes bonuses and goodies are available to download over on BitTorrent Now. All you need is an email address in order to get the full "The Past Inside the Present" experience and to stay up to date on the filmmaker's upcoming projects! Before you head over, sneak a peak at some of the bonus images you get with the download, including stills from the film and exclusives from a 70 page hand crafted book on the conception and production of the film! Check them out!
In the lead-up to Indie Street’s exclusive release of James Siewert’s animated short “The Past Inside the Present” this Thursday, October 27th, via BitTorrent Now, we thought we would feature all things animated this week! Animation does have a strange place in film history, existing in a sort of limbo between consisting of some of the highest grossing films this year and still being largely thought of as only for children. Maureen Furniss, Program Director of Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts, is trying to remedy any confusion regarding animation with her book A New History of Animation. The book is a survey of animation, from the early era of magic lanterns to the present day. As interest in animation continues to grow, Furniss’ book comes at the perfect time. If you’re interested in an amazing reference that’s also fun to browse for new animated leads and ideas, you can read more about about the book over on Pop Matters. And mark your calendars for the exclusive release of one of the craziest, most innovative new animated shorts out there, “The Past Inside the Present”. Watch the trailer now!
The 54th New York Film Festival hit the ground running last week, and it doesn’t look like it's making plans to slow down anytime soon. This year’s festival runs from September 30th - October 16th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. If you plan on being in town over the next week, you should definitely check out the program and hit up some of the amazing films, interactive programs, events, parties, and more that they have planned! In the meantime, take a look back at what appears to have been a pretty successful and exciting opening weekend by checking out NYFF’s roundup video!
“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives . . . Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” – Luis Buñuel If ever there were words to live by, they might be Buñuel's warning of a life without a past. So, why am I starting a review on a modern day science fiction film with this quote - one from a well-known surrealist Spanish filmmaker?! Consider what Buñuel's 1929 non-narrative experimental short "Un Chien Andalou" did for cinema studies. It used film as a playground for illogical dream-text, playing with memory, fantasy, and everything in-between. Though totally different material, “Sankofa” also has a sense of self-awareness to film as a medium and what it means to human memory. A low budget film with a high budget look and concept, Berlin-based filmmaker Kaleb Wentzel-Fisher’s feature spins us a geniusly crafted narrative on what happens to the recorded history of humanity after the end of the world. It's a film that displays both the importance of documentation to connectedness as well as the danger it poses to simple human relationships. Embrace the irony of watching a film that shows how crucial filmmaking is to our past, present and future all the while critiquing it, too. This is the antidote to overdosing on today’s regurgitated blockbuster plots, slowly becoming a narrative with distant yet familiar moments that will touch you far after the credits roll. When life comes to an end, what will be your story? Will it be recorded and left behind or will you live freely and fully with no distractions and no visual legacy? With both its pros and cons, this is a film that truly explores what it means to be human. We start on a ship, after the end of Earth as we know it. Uninhabited by man, life from our planet has almost ceased to exist. The “chosen ones” - by successful application through the Earth Abroad Program - left for Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Along with them came a carefully curated collection of humanity’s remnants, creating an archive to teach future generations about Earth. However, as these things go, an accident occurred, leaving the spaceships damaged, most of the archive destroyed, and like a cancer, a growing memory loss amongst the survivors. No history, no memory and stranded away from Earth, a single woman named Sally (Allie Hankins) is chosen to set out and reclaim the human story. A librarian of sorts, complete with an implanted camera in her eye, Sally is sent back to Earth on a solo mission, along with one single crate from the lost archive that she must catalog. Most of the contents of this box, including a documentary film about alien looking Yugoslavian war monuments (Spomeniks), belonged to Jim (Kaleb Wentzel-Fisher), a filmmaker whose fate Sally works to figure out. What did these relics mean to him and were they enough to earn him a spot on the ship to Titan? The more Sally discovers about this man, the more she begins to doubt her mission. After walking out of the “Sankofa” screening at ISFF 2016, the crowd wasn’t just commenting on the film as a whole. They were stunned by the usage of these Yugoslavian memorials as a device to tell the inner story of the film. Like Sally, we watch the documentary footage as if it were a part of her story. If you don't know about the existence of these monuments, they really need to be seen to be believed. Because of them, "Sankofa" truly acts as a two for one special - a narrative juggling a documentary core. Wentzel-Fisher is currently working on “Concrete Empire”, a documentary about Albania’s 750,000 bunkers, built for a paranoid war that never happened. Like his character Jim, he's also a filmmaker interested in exploring the intricacies of untold human stories. Whether via offbeat cultural documentaries or science fiction films, Wentzel-Fisher is doing a damn good job of it all. If you value personal legacy, the importance of archiving history, irony, 20th-century architecture or even just supporting underrated indie films, there's something here for you. As Founder and President of Indie Street Jay Webb puts it, “Sankofa is a film that represents the essence of what makes Independent film creation so inspiring. Wentzel-Fisher paints a meaningful landscape of passion, love, and connectivity, that has the audience entrenched in the timelessness and fleeting nature of their own existence. A low-budget masterpiece that we hope is also archived for future space travelers to discover and cherish!” If someone decides, like our filmmaker-in-a-crate, to live behind or in front of a camera rather than away from it altogether, what do they lose from life? Is there something to gain from documentation vs. living in the moment? “Sankofa” strives to answers these questions in an almost melodic way. The pacing is like a crescendoing orchestral piece, building and fading to moments that reveal themselves like memories do over time. Ask yourself: Do you truly understand what was and what will become of the life around you? Like Buñuel said, without our memory we are nothing. It's our feeling, action, reason, connectedness - everything. It's time to start living and connecting while we still can. Why not start that journey off on a positive note of otherworldy proportions by watching "Sankofa" now on Indie Street!
Happy Friday, ya'll! If you’re lucky, you bravely face another weekend of relaxation. But how ever will you chill?! We know, it's tough! But we've got you covered with the second installment of our craft beer and indie film pairings. Thanks to our “beery best pal” (see what I did there?) Jayme G., a Warehouse Supervisor at Southeastern-based Distributor Advintage, you're looking at a mighty fine weekend ahead, indeed. The theme this month? Nuts. Lots of them. Film: Nuts! Folks, let's get real with each other. I need to be honest. Sometimes ... just sometimes ... documentaries are lost on me. Not all - just some. I mean, many of my favorite films are docs. It's just that box of cliches you gotta sort through to find the real gems - it gets tiresome. It’s always the same Ken Burns effects, talking heads, narrators, historical fact-spewing, regurgitated mumbo jumbo. I crave (a beer, sure, that's a given) a reality that's truly different. Color me surprised when I finally caught Penny Lane's newest doc and Sundance hit "Nuts!" on Vimeo on Demand a few weeks ago. The film follows the (self-proclaimed “mostly true”) story of Dr. John R. Brinkley. A true eccentric and so-called genius, Brinkley is credited with building an "empire" in early twentieth-century America. How? A goat testicle impotence cure, of course. This doc about a “quack doc” uses a mix of re-enactments (superbly animated), a few interviews, and creatively sourced archival footage. Good goat testicles, a powerful radio station, kinda becoming the Governor of Kansas ... “Nuts!” has it all. Lane shows us the rise and fall of Brinkley in only the most suiting of ways for a story of this nature. And it all builds up for an amazing twist. It's weird, odd, absurd, quirky, bizarre ... where's my thesaurus because I could keep going. Most of all, it's just freaking plain delightful and a real hoot and a half. Watching this feature length doc is a refreshing taste of something new (and I don't mean goat nuts new)! Winner of the 2016 Sundance US Documentary Special Jury Award for Editing, you can catch the film across multiple VOD platforms now, including iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo on Demand, Amazon, Vudu and BitTorrent. Seriously, it's splashed out there AND making a splash. You have no excuse not to see this inventively woven tale. So, why not enjoy this film with an equally as nutty beer - literally! Beer: River Rat's Peanut Butter Porter! Jayme's beer recommendation happens to come from one of my local hometown breweries: River Rat Brewery. The Brewery was founded in 2013 in Columbia, SC, getting its name from the three rivers that run through the city as well as the working-class men who labored on the canal over a century ago. It was in their honor that River Rat set out to create craft beers that would be thirst quenching and satisfying after a long day's work. We're quite sure Brinkley would have thrown down a pint or two in his day after a grueling few hours of goat nut handling. So, which River Rat beer would suit a film like "Nuts!”?? Only River Rat's finest Kerry's Peanut Butter Porter. With limited availability, it’s one to seek out and find. "Only as heavy as a Porter should be, despite what you may think something like peanut butter would do to a beer. It has the familiar, pleasant taste of the peanut butter without being too sweet," Jayme says of his quite literally nutty pick. Just like Brinkley sweet talked and conned his way through life, let this smooth beer sweet talk its way … right down your throat. No worries, it's just delicious peanut butter. No animals were harmed or castrated in the making of this beer. Honorable Mention for Design: Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock Come on, this one is a given. And good. Very good. Remember, it's never too late to start supporting your local breweries as well as some amazing little indie films on VOD - let this nutty pairing be a fruitful start on that trek!
Stay tuned for next month, when we jump into delicious Fall and get our Oktoberfest on! Enjoy!
Are you 30? Almost 30? Beyond 30? Not even close to 30 but still dreading it? Chances are, if you’re at least within the vicinity of the big 3-0, you are familiar with the negative stigma that surrounds its impending arrival. There’s just something about officially living 3 decades on Earth that really makes you put your life into perspective. But why is there so much dread that encompasses leaving behind your 20s? Why does 30 still carry the burdensome mark of true adulthood and expected social maturity? In “Adult Life Skills”, British filmmaker Rachel Tunnard’s feature directorial debut, we are presented with a unique perspective regarding this stunted adulthood concept. It’s a familiar kind of millennial story but told in a rustic, quirky, messy yet lovable way. This is a story for any twenty-something year old that is terrified of the future, still holding onto their past, and constantly living in a present that seems devoid of any real purpose. Welcome to being an adult, ladies and gentlemen. Anna (played by a relatable Jodie Whittaker) has reached an impasse. She’s almost 30 and has just moved back home to her rural, middle-of-nowhere hometown. Living in her mother’s shed in the backyard while working a small, menial job at a seaside boating facility, Anna continues to hole up within her own imagination, making short films with her thumbs and irritating her mother by seemingly not wanting to move on with her life. Tragedy, specifically the passing of her twin brother years before, has forcibly held Anna back in the past, stunning her into a sort of paralyzed emotional aging cycle. The loss of something cherished she once shared with her brother sends things into a further downward spiral. It’s not until she starts befriending Clint, a troubled young boy in the area, that the two unlikely pals form a bond that reaches across the age spectrum, opening Anna’s eyes to a future that might not be so bad. Is it possible to merge past, present and future in a way that is just…okay? Not terrifying and not perfect, but totally doable? “Adult Life Skills” is actually the expanded, feature length version of Tunnard’s popular BAFTA-nominated short film, “Emotional Fuse Box”. And now winner of the Nora Ephron Prize at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, there may be a bright future ahead for this up-and-coming British filmmaker. Her feature may tell a familiar story, but the whimsical touches she sprinkles on happen to spark into a delightfully fiery mix, with bits and pieces of dreaminess, darkness, wit and drama. It’s messy, but isn’t that life? Anna’s absurd little “thumb movies” aside, this is a film about growing up despite everything life takes from you as well as never gives you. We are all constantly trying to find ourselves and it’s never as easy or prepackaged as we want it to be. And as Tunnard shows us: that’s half the fun of it all.
If you're lucky enough to be based in the UK, you can now catch this late bloomer coming of age indie on several VOD platforms. For all of us in the US, the trailer (and a rewatch of "Emotional Fusebox") will have to suffice for now!