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
“Oh Lucy!”, an International Short Film Jury Winner at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, eluded me throughout its award-winning run on the festival circuit and even for a few months on Vimeo on Demand. However, I’ve finally caught it and oh, the reward of patience is so sweet. Japanese Filmmaker Atsuko Hirayanagi has created, while fairly long, a short that builds up in the most unexpectedly unnerving and darling of ways. I can't remember the last time I had such a response to a film: smiling, yet all the while, feeling a strange, dull ache in my heart. "Oh Lucy!", even in its quirkiest, goofiest of moments, kept me grounded in an eye-opening reality. Setsuko (played by Kaori Momoi), a middle-aged office worker in Tokyo, finds herself slightly forced into taking English language lessons by her fast-talking, persuasive niece. While at first hesitant, Setsuko agrees and so begins her short lived romance with a completely different side of herself. Donning a fake blonde wig and the American nickname "Lucy", Setsuko awakens something deep within her otherwise cold, lonely exterior. Whether it’s a crush, a desire for a different kind of life, a spontaneous reflex, or something altogether more raw: just a sense of purpose, it doesn’t matter. It has made its change. However, our newly designated “Lucy” doesn't take long to realize that she has fallen prey to a con - one that can either humiliate her back into submission or force her into staying awake within this new life. Created by a woman, directed by a woman, and portraying a woman, “Oh Lucy!” is critical to continuing the push for female-driven stories onscreen. While that's half the thrill of the short, the rest is all in the near flawless synthesis of story and character. I could barely blink throughout this film, every moment pulling me deeper into this inane yet offbeat, believable world of wigs, going away parties, English lessons, and betrayal. I felt I was both Setsuko and Lucy at many times, her transitions and regressions mirroring what loneliness truly feel likes. You're crazy if you don't want this story to continue onto the feature length platform it deserves ... Good news: Atsuko Hirayanagi is currently developing that script! With all that being said, when you get down to it, Hirayanagi’s film is simply just ... great. Delightful, absurd, touching and totally electric, it’s hard not to want to have genuine camaraderie with “Lucy”. Exploring loneliness and transformation, “Oh Lucy!” just gets it right with its own brand of whimsy. We see our Setsuko grow and shrink, left at an intersection of possibilities - it’s all just natural evolution. The short is now available to rent for only $0.99, via Vimeo on Demand. Believe us, it's money well spent. Watch now! And while you're at it, you can watch more amazing (and free!) shorts available on Indie Street!
It's been such a pleasure having the opportunity to revisit and feature some of Ornana’s most innovative stories on film over the past couple of weeks. From "(notes) on biology" to "A Different Kind of Movement", this mix of both touchingly real live-action and imaginatively animated adventures have proven what we all already know to be true: there are simply no boundaries to the groups' abilities to make a damn good film. Another case in point: Ornana's 2013 fully live-action feature, "Euphonia". The premise? Simple. The storytelling path it takes to get there? Anything but. At only 53-minutes, this low budget mini-feature follows the story of a teenager (Will Madden) with a curious, unhealthy obsession with recording sounds...to the point where the entire world around him becomes totally new, altered and strange. It's not just a film you should look forward to watching. This is a film you should look forward to hearing. An absolute must watch in the team’s catalog of success, "Euphonia" is like a coming of age story, only through the lens of the relationship between a boy and his recorder. Even though this SXSW gem has already being on the market for free (via Vimeo) for a few years now, "Euphonia" still has close to 100% relevancy in terms of its place within a constantly changing analog and digital landscape. Things move quickly these days, but the relationship between humans, technology and the world around them still fosters a sense of young naivety to it at times. This is why Madden’s teenage role is so effective. One of the film’s most obvious traits is that it does a great (and underhandedly terrifying) job of showing the results of a man-made synthesis of technology and the physical world around us. Nature, sound, auditory perception, the whole shebang, is constantly being both discovered and experimented with throughout the story. And this is all down to the out-of-this-world sound mix and narrative subtlety on display. The way the film smoothly integrates the actual digital recordings into the mix is also brilliant and refreshing to the ears. At just under an hour, a short running time makes sure this experimentally aural journey is easily digested. And don’t let the live-action stamp fool you. "Euphonia" carries the same amount of edge as any of Ornana’s surreal animations - possibly even more. It does everything within a real world we can vaguely recognize but not fully understand. Choosing to release it for free, the gang's POV on self-distribution is right on brand with Indie Street and makes this film an even more treasured addition to our roster. We are proud to have the chance to present this release for, not just your viewing pleasure, but your hearing pleasure as well. Pull out some quality headphones and get ready to truly teach your ears the exact power of sound! You can watch "Euphonia" for free, now on Indie Street!
It’s officially September - how did this happen?! Time is flying by! It helps to know that, with every passing month, new milestones are popping up for us to celebrate. This week (specifically September 1st) marked the exciting 5th anniversary of The 78 Project! As an Indie Street partner film, “The 78 Project” is also a special type of musical documentary - one that showcases a journey across America as filmmakers Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Wright set out to make one-of-a-kind 78rpm records with a variety of musicians. The catch? Well, they are using a Presto 1930's direct-to-disc recorder. The unique project behind the film has actually been running since one fateful summer afternoon at The Brooklyn Botanic Garden on September 1, 2011. The team will be celebrating their anniversary by revisiting some of their favorite performances with the crazy talented assortment of artists they have had the pleasure and good fortune to work with over the past half a decade. You can revisit and stream the results of the 1st ever episode here, featuring Dawn Landes singing “The Brown Girl”. Alternatively, you can buy the vinyl copy of the original soundtrack to the film here and the digital copy via iTunes or Amazon. Love the music and want more? Be sure to check out the incomparable feature, “The 78 Project”, on Indie Street. By watching, you support our partner filmmakers in their continuing quests to tell new and innovative stories. For more information on the project and the film, check out their website or find them via Twitter and Facebook. Happy 5th Birthday, guys! Here's to many more magical and musical years to come!
Over here at Indie Street, we are always on the hunt for innovative new films, art, tech and pretty much anyone or anything breaking the mold in unexpected and exciting new ways. However, it gets tough out there on the frontline of self-distribution and sometimes we need to sit back and take a break. The best way to do this? Chilling, having a drink and...staying in discovery mode?! Yes, even in our downtime, we are obsessed with the hunt. And this includes a good…Beer! We continue to look on in awe and amazement at the explosive growth of the craft beer industry. Oftentimes, it’s as innovative and surprisingly unexpected as any film or art form out there. So, naturally, in our downtime, we've decided to start a new collaboration with passionate beer lovers and come up with new film and beer pairings! This month we are teaming up with Jayme G., a Warehouse Supervisor at Advintage, a Southeastern-based Distributor, to come up with our very first pairing. A former film student and current craft beer guru, Jayme G. has both the tastebuds and eyes for a great film and a delicious, refreshing beer. Check out Indie Street’s first collab with Jayme below. The theme? Summer + Surf! Film: SORRIA. The market may be littered with surf films, but Brazilian film SORRIA does something a little different to set itself apart from the pack. The word “sorria” actually means “smile” in Portuguese. Director Gabriel Novis’ film was his attempt to inspire people, make it known they should always be smiling, and have them go out and enjoy life. As they say, life is too short, don’t take yourself so seriously. The fact that SORRIA is a Brazilian film and we’ve just seen the Rio Summer Games wrap up is another reason we went with this film. Did you know surfing has just been announced as an official Olympic sport for the 2020 Tokyo Games?? And with Mexico, Indonesia, California and Hawaii featured within the film, this is as international as you can get. Another reason to smile! A fun, bizarre little project, at only 42 minutes, this is well worth the watch! SORRIA has even been recently Staff Picked on Vimeo, so it has its fans. You can now rent or buy the film via Vimeo on Demand here or check out the trailer below. Ride the wave, give us a smile, and get ready to wrap up Summer 2016 with a bang! And do it with our featured beer below! Beer: Fullsteam Summer Basil. Summertime, hot days and beer go hand in hand. But basil beer?! Don’t let the oddness turn you away. Winner of the Best Beer in the first-ever 2015 Southern Living Food Awards, looks like this North Carolina-based beer is worth the sip. Says Jayme of his choice, “Fullsteam's Summer Basil is about as refreshing as warm-weather beers come. Saisons are great for this season, and the addition of something fresh like basil really gives it some depth that other summer beers lack. The flavor of the beer changes from batch to batch as they get the basil at different points of the season, resulting in the beer always tasting a little different. I guess you could say Summer Basil also “changes with the tides” making this fresh and seasonal beer a perfect pairing for a surf film like SORRIA.” Well, we can’t argue with that logic! Give us a Fullsteam Summer Basil Farmouse Ale (or as they are calling their latest batch, "Southern Basil"), a beach and a front row seat to some surfing…we will be smiling for sure. Honorable Mention for Design: Coast Brewing's Dead Arm American Pale Ale. We're throwing an honorable mention out to Dead Arm American Pale Ale by Coast Brewing, simply for the sake of its can design. With a surfer riding a wave that also happens to pretty much morph into the jawline of a watery skull, this pairing seemed unmistakably destined to be. “A hoppy, sessionable ale that goes great with sun, sand and salt!” exclaims Jayme. Right on! From an East Coast brewery with a West Coast vibe, Dead Arm suits the refreshing international energy that Sorria radiates. So, sit back, cold one in hand, ready to chill, take in some gnarly surfing and SMILE. We got you! Stay tuned for next month, when we “brew up” another great pairing of film and craft beer for your viewing and drinking pleasure!
In filmmaker Anna Rose Holmer’s feature-length debut THE FITS, we are presented with a rare type of coming of age story. One that, at just over one hour, gives us a concoction of near silence, sportsmanship, contagious bodily convulsions, and the age old teenage desire to simply fit in. Sound bizarre? Well, I think we can all agree: secondary school can do strange, unpredictable things to the minds of youth. Heck, it might even make them physically lose control of their own bodies under mysterious circumstances. And as unconventional as it may sound, this is exactly how THE FITS chooses to show us adolescence. With a synopsis that suits the stuff of (urban) legends, the basis of this film plays out like a finger pointing witch trial. It’s a film I can’t soon forget and yet can’t really explain why. However, I’m okay with THE FITS leaving me in a “fit” of wavering confusion from beginning to end because it simply owes me no explanation. As a title, THE FITS sorta plays out like a pun, having both psychological and social implications. From the get go we meet Toni, an 11-year-old girl played by the fittingly named Royalty Hightower. A tight-lipped, preteen with eyes quietly observing her peers, Toni takes on a tomboyish role, preferring to hang out with her older brother, Jermaine (played by Da’Sean Minor), and the other boxers. It’s when Toni awkwardly makes it onto The Lionesses, an all girls dance team, that the two gender spheres start to collide. A pinch of pride, jealousy, love and other flavors of youthful drama mix within the overlap. Quietly lingering in the middle of this recipe? Toni. And though there is drama, it's without the over the top flair. Why? Because the drama becomes their movement. As mysterious seizures (or “fits” as they call them) start to take over Toni’s dance teammates, the viewers are left as stumped as the characters. Everyone starts to fall prey ... well, everyone except for Toni. The film never really tells the secrets of this ailment. Is this a malady of the mind or body? Is there something in the water? Something paranormal or religiously transcendental happening? Or has the symbolic psychological need to fit in and the fear of being left out overcome rational behavior? Life goes on, hysteria sets in, and here we sit, observing and curious, like our protagonist. These questions bring us to the end of this indie marvel, with a poetic conclusion that plays out like an otherworldly tribal ritual. A feeling of religious release, an unspoken explanation, finally overtakes Toni, our navigator through this world. She too gets "the fits" and finds her beat. Her transition is complete. And like that, we are also done. Holmer’s debut barely gives us any adult figures, leaving us to piece together the story through the movements, words and suspicions of these teenage hysterics. Through the eyes of youth, we also live ignorantly and blissfully unaware of anything outside our circle of consequence. Finish reading this and go watch. As a viewer, you are also best to just give into "the fits" without looking back.
“Fail to see the tragic? Turn it into magic!”- Marilyn Manson's "Dope Hat" Rarely does a film open with the intensity of Marilyn Manson lyrics on screen and then evolve into such a low-key family drama. Going into this film blindly, you might ask yourself, what do a pink haired nun and disfigured war vet have in common? Stumped? Well, Zach Clark’s whimsically double entendre titled film, "Little Sister", proves that the two entities in question, a man and his "soon-to-be-full-blown-nun" little sister, have a lot more in common than you’d think. The bind between them? Well, how about the inner gothic turmoil regarding coming home, expressed through those very opening Manson lyrics. Clark’s film takes on the all too common indie trope of returning home to find oneself and deconstructs it through his signature offbeat lens while still being ruthlessly relatable and lighthearted all at once. Watching a bloody, pink haired nun lip-synching to Gwar never seems out of this world. It actually feels strikingly familiar. Colleen (Addison Timlin), is a NYC-based nun about to take her first vows into official sisterhood. An ex-goth and keen admirer of performance art, she borrows her supervisor’s car to return to Asheville, NC, reacquainting herself with a family on the brink of a breakdown. A drug dependent mother (Ally Sheedy), a failed actor of a father (Peter Hedges), a reckless activist friend (Molly Plunk) and Jacob (Keith Poulson), her disfigured brother, newly returned home from Iraq, make up the buckling family. Upon meeting the rather unusual crew, we see how the film's title “Little Sister” suddenly takes on both its religious and secular meaning. Colleen continues navigating her devotion to becoming a nun while reestablishing her relationship with an older brother who doesn’t quite know how to return to normality. Perhaps it can be blamed on its underlying religious tones, but there is a pervasive sense of peacefulness to this film when peace seems to have no business being around at all. Hardcore pasts and dark presents combine to give the future a sort of heavenly glow for this lot. It's not only the subdued handling of the gothic-flavored religious subtext that makes “Little Sister” stand out as much more than an off-kilter family drama. It's also that the film is placed within the context of the lead up to the 2008 election. This is emphasized by a selection of embedded Obama speeches, championing hope and stimulating a desire for change. Colleen’s religious vocation, Jacob’s scarred normality, his girlfriend’s still burning lust, and their mother’s piling addictions all tie into something much larger than themselves within these disarmingly honest circumstances. Clark also makes a spectacular use of text overlay throughout the film - not only with the opening Manson lyrics but also by announcing the passing days of Colleen's quest. As God is understood to have created the world in six days - how many days will it take Colleen to salvage her own world? You can find out by supporting this clever, unaffected indie about a series of flawed but honest homecomings in a politically changing landscape. Filmmaker Zach Clark is a name to keep on your indie radar. With this latest must-watch addition to his filmography ranks, he marches on with "Little Sister" at an impressive beat.
What a week!!! The first annual Indie Street Film Festival came to a close on Saturday July 9th after 4 days of screening 75 new independent films! And what an amazing experience the whole festival was, bringing together a community in the spirit of independent film and art! Women Who Kill directed by Ingrid Jungermann won the award for Best Narrative Feature and Romeo Is Bleeding directed by Jason Zeldes took home the award for Best Documentary Feature. The Jury also chose to honor the Ensemble Cast of Sam Kretchmar’s Keep In Touch with the Special Jury Award. Short film winners were: BEST ANIMATED SHORT – The Past Inside the Present directed by James Siewert BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – Love Wins directed by Robin Kampf BEST NARRATIVE SHORT – Thunder Road directed by Jim Cummings The Awards ceremony took place on stage at the Count Basie Theatre prior to the closing night screening of Ira Sachs’ Little Men. Encore screenings of the winning films took place at the Red Bank Middle School on Sunday, July 10. The Jury for the Inaugural Indie Street Film Festival was comprised of New York Magazine chief film critic David Edelstein, Founder and Director Emeritus of the Black Maria Film Festival John Columbus, IHeartMedia co-host/News Director Shelli Sonstein, Emmy-winning film producer Sylvia Caminer (Chosen), Co-Founder and CEO of Cartuna James Belfer, and Indie Street partner filmmakers Alex Steyermark (The 78 Project Movie) and Benjamin Wiessner (Ornana Films). ISFF Audiences had a chance to vote on their favorite films throughout the festival and the Audience Awards were handed out to: BEST SHORT: The House Is Innocent (Documentary) directed by Nicholas Coles BEST FEATURE: Auld Lang Syne (Narrative) directed by Johanna McKeon BEST NEW JERSEY FILM: After Sandy (Documentary) directed by Joe Minnella ISFF Feature competition included the World Premiere of Johanna McKeon’s Auld Lang Syne and New Jersey premieres of James Morrison’s Diverge, Juan Pablo Arroyo Abraham’s Day Six, Sam Kretchmar’s Keep In Touch and Ingrid Jungermann’s Women Who Kill. Documentaries included: Joe Minnella’s After Sandy, Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang’s Hotel Dallas, Beatrice Alda’s Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town, Adam Irving’s Off the Rails and Jason Zeldes’ Romeo is Bleeding. Indie Street Film Festival Director of Programming Bill Augustin said “I am extremely proud of the inaugural program of the Indie Street Film Festival. It was a diverse and artistically rich mix of independent films that exemplified our motto of ‘Story over Budget’. We received nearly 350 submissions from over 20 different countries and were excited to bring unique voices from around the world to Red Bank.” Since ISFF is more geared toward cooperation than competition, all feature films accepted into the festival have been awarded the opportunity to join Indie Street as a partner filmmaker and be promoted through its VOD platform. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a minimum 1-week theatrical release in NYC. Short film winners from each category will be considered for coop inclusion and will be presented and promoted through the Indie Street platform. It was an amazing week and we look forward to already planning for next year’s second annual Indie Street Film Festival!! Keep checking out indiestreetfilmfestival.org to keep up to date on winners and more!
We are excited to announce that the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival kicks off today! From now until July 10th, you can catch over 70 films across the entire town of Red Bank! From short films to feature films, documentaries to fiction films, special events and everything in between - there's something for everyone! Check out the official line-up and more info over at indiestreetfilmfestival.org and join us as we kick off this amazing event!
It’s an exciting time to be in the Red Bank area this summer as the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival is set to take over the town, July 6-10! We are thrilled to announce the launch of the first ever ISFF festival line up, featuring a variety of events and films which are sure to please audience goers of all types. The event will include screenings of more than 75 different independent feature and short films, plus a performance by comedian Lisa Lampanelli at the Count Basie Theatre Friday, July 8th. Chad Hartigan’s Sundance hit Morris from America starring Craig Robinson will also open the festival. Other highlights include a public screening, presented by Sony Pictures Classics and its co-founder / co-president and area resident Tom Bernard, that will take place on July 7th outside the Molly Pitcher hotel. Fans can visit http://www.facebook.com/IndieStreetFilmFestival to cast their vote amongst several Sony Pictures Classics titles, including Welcome To The Dollhouse, SLC Punk, The Wackness, Moon, and Junebug. “Indie Under The Stars” is also made possible by ShoreFlicks, Flying Fish Brewing Company and popchips. Indie Street’s Feature competition will include the world premiere of Auld Lang Syne by director Johanna McKeon, an associate director on Broadway Idiot, the documentary that detailed the transformation of Green Day’s American Idiot into a hit musical. New Jersey premieres of Diverge by James Morrison, Mexican filmmaker Juan Pablo Arroyo Abraham’s DIA6EIS (Day Six), Michael Covino’s Keep In Touch and Ingrid Jungermann’s Women Who Kill will be featured, along with winning films from the Basie’s PROJECT FX statewide student film festival. After Sandy, the post-superstorm film from Tinton Falls filmmaker Joe Minnella, will be amongst several documentary features. Documentarians Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee’s Hotel Dallas – detailing the adventures of a Romanian woman who travels to the U.S. under the influence of the early 80s television hit Dallas – will also be screened. Beatrice Alda’s Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town, Adam Irving’s Off the Rails and Jason Zeldes’ Romeo is Bleeding will also compete in the documentary category. Also featured will be 57 short films from over a dozen countries in 7 competitive programs, including shorts by directors Danny DeVito and Matthew Modine. Shorts will be broken down into seven categories; three narratives, two documentary sets, a set of animation shorts and a special “Jersey Shorts” screening featuring narrative and documentary shorts by local filmmakers. Like others of its kind, Indie Street Film Festival is both a showcase and competition of up-and-coming films and filmmakers. Winning films will be selected by a jury consisting of industry gurus, including producer / director and three-time Emmy winner Sylvia Caminer, movie critic and Q104.3 radio host Shelli Sonstein, and John Columbus, Founder and Director Emeritus of Jersey City’s Black Maria Film Festival. Award winners will be honored onstage at the Count Basie Theatre prior to the festival-closer. A complete schedule of events is listed at www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org.Festival passes and tickets to individual screenings are on sale now via www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org and theBASIE.org. For more information on the Indie Street Film Festival, contact email@example.com.