A cathartically paced portrait of a community branded by its own self-aware dependency on prescription drugs, Sean Dunne’s directorial feature film debut, “Oxyana”, is a controversial yet necessary and affecting offering. The film plays out like a patient yet evocative conversation that lets the audience draw their own opinions. Dunne's documentary portraits Oceana, a small once thriving coal mining town in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. This is a community that that has been so stricken by prescription pill epidemic that it's residences have nicknamed it Oxyana. What we see is a people shaped by a failed system and the failed war on drugs.
Recognizing the innate beauty of Oceana and its surrounding areas, it doesn’t take long to also recognize the ghostly reminder of what once. As Dunne states, “Yet there it was, a constant and growing hum of anxiety. So we started to ask questions, and we started to get answers, all pointing towards a familiar narrative.” By leaving the camera on the subjects of the film and allowing their words to naturally flow, you get an honest, staunch depiction of dependency and addiction through the eyes of the ones that are suffering. We get their stories, and it’s a heartbreaking reality to face.
Winner of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival Best New Documentary Director Award, clearly both “Oxyana” and Dunne have earned their prestige. It is because this is a film that is as hauntingly memorable as it is a pretty necessary conversation starter to have on the film scene. It doesn’t set up the film’s subjects as failures of society to be laughed off and forgotten. It sets them up as tragic heroes, failed by something way bigger than we can imagine. The secrets buried deep within the rolling mountains and forests of this West Virginian region are laid bare, raw and untouched. In “Oxyana”, scandal and sensationalism are pushed aside for the true depth and revelation of honesty, pain, and darkness suffered through drug addiction. Dunne’s skillful ability to uncover that realistic, objective narrative regarding the outskirts of America is on full display. Produced by Cass Greener and Nadine Brown, “Oxyana” is being re-released on VOD and is truly a masterful, meditative documentary worth the watch, if only to see how well Oceana finds and displays its own unique, troubled voice for the rest of the world to try and understand.
With another exciting festival week about to wrap up, the 2017 Sundance Film Festival announced its short film awards on Wednesday, with the jury granting seven prizes overall. Check out the winners below and keep your eyes peeled for these shorts as they continue their successful runs on the festival circuit! Short Film Grand Jury Prize: “And so we put goldfish in the pool.” (Japan, Director: Makoto Nagahisa) Short Film Jury Award, US Fiction: “Lucia, Before and After” (USA, Director: Anu Valia) Short Film Jury Award, International Fiction: “And The Whole Sky Fit In the Dead Cow’s Eye” (Chile/USA, Director: Francisa Alegria) Short Film Jury Award, Non-Fiction: “Alone” (USA, Director: Garrett Bradley) Short Film Jury Award, Animation: “Broken - The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck” (Germany, Directors: Volker Shlecht, Alexander Lahl) Special Jury Award for Cinematography: “Dadyaa - The Woodpeckers of Rotha” (Nepal/France, Directors: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet) Short Film Special Jury Award for Editing: “Laps” (USA, Director: Charlotte Wells)
While this week has been quite the politically challenging one, at least the indie film community had something to look forward to at week's end. Though we can't ignore the power shift happening in DC today, we can soothe our souls with a bit of filmic therapy. This is why we are estatic that both the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival are officially a-go! The power of cinema is strong and both festivals will introduce new indie big hitters as well as lower budget indie outliers. We can't wait to hear about the excitement, new technologies, and new stories that come out of Park City this year. If you'll be in the area, are a dreamer or just want to keep up with both of the festivals' schedules, be sure to give the Slamdance and Sundance line-ups another peak over the next week!
Ready, set…..make a movie?! Yep, you read that right. Wanna get those creative gears a-turnin’ but worried they might be a bit rusty? Nothing like a good old-fashioned race to get things moving again. Join F*It Club & the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival on January 17 - 21 for a bit of friendly filmmaking competition in the form of F*It Club’s Third Annual Film Race! One theme + Multiple teams + $20 + 72 hours = A whole lotta creativity on the big screen! Always wanted to screen at a film festival or just have an excuse to make something? Looks like you've got what it takes to reach this finish line! The official contest theme and required script elements will be announced January 17th and teams will have around 72 hrs to complete their visions. Get this: ALL films will be screened during closing night of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival at New Ohio Theatre on January 21st. Don’t worry, like a true competition, there’s another kind of prize, too. And what will the victorious team be awarded? How about ONE FREE HOUR of open bar at The Chester in NYC! Sound tempting? Well, what are you waiting for?! Rally the troops (or just yourself will do!), grab some equipment (a smart phone is good enough!), sign up and get ready to get out there and start making something great! To officially sign up your team (minimum of one person, maximum of ∞), it only costs $20. Never made a film? Well, now is your shot! Creators of all types, including low budget/first time filmmakers, are encouraged to apply! Sign up NOW! Got questions? Email email@example.com.Too lazy/busy to make a film and wanna participate with just your eyes and voting capabilities? Then head to closing night of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival on January 21st to cheer on the teams and support the indie film community! Tickets are only $10 to attend!Make sure to also check out the festival's full line-up for other exciting screenings, too!So, spread the word! OR Make a film! OR Watch the films! Or, F*It and do it all! We hope to see you there!
The 2017 Slamdance Film Festival is right around the corner and we're getting stoked on checking out all of the outliers and amazing under the radar indie films they are bringing to new audiences! And now the full program is available online! From narrative, documentary, experimental, animation and anarchy short blocks to innovative features, events and more, if you're gonna be in or around Park City on Jan 20th - 26, you've got to check out the full lineup. Don't miss a thing - take a gander and get acquainted with the festival program now!
Pop the champagne! Grab those noise makers! Get lost in a sea of balloons, confetti and kissing couples. It’s a New Year! 2016 was one heck of a ride - a true rollercoaster that threw us for loop after loop. However, you can’t deny at least one exhilarating high that the big bad ol' 2-0-1-6 presented to us: the magic of cinema. The past year can definitely brag about that one bright spot, as we’ve seen an onslaught of breathtaking shorts and features presented both online and in cinemas and festivals around the world. Before we start all over again in a fresh, new year, the Indie Street and Indie Street Film Festival staff would like to present our favorite films from ISFF 2016 and beyond! From our inaugural year favorites to other indie hits and theatrical releases, we thank you 2016 for allowing us to throw one heck of a new festival and for showcasing some beautiful, smart and thought-provoking films. Let’s hit the corner of Indie Street and Memory Lane before looking ahead to what the new year has to offer!
Romeo is Bleeding, dir. by Jason Zeldes
Documentary Feature (ISFF 2016 Selection)
Short Synopsis: Donte Clark's poetic voice was honed on the violent street corners of a struggling city. Yet rather than succumb to the pressures of Richmond, CA, Clark uses his artistic perspective to help save his city from itself.
Why we love it: It’s important to remember that, throughout history, one person can ignite change. Romeo is Bleeding, which won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at ISFF 2016, is a must-see doc if you’re looking for an inspirational, beautifully shot raw human story that seems more relevant than ever.
The Lobster, dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
Short Synopsis: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Why we love it: A kind of macabre black comedy, here unfolds a story about single loners that must find a partner before their time runs out and they are forced to be turned into an animal of their choice. This dark and twisted film is a love story unlike any we've ever seen. A Cannes Jury Prize Winner, this peculiar festival pleaser and critic favorite should peak interest in both lovers of the unusual and ones simply interested in the intricacies of human connections.
Thunder Road, dir. by Jim Cummings
Narrative Short (ISFF 2016 Selection)
Short Synopsis: Officer Arnaud loved his Mom.
Why we love it: The Boss should be honored...Jim Cummings gives this classic song new depths of humor and humanity. A one take film with a million dynamics, get ready for a short film that will have you go from crying tears of laughter to suddenly crying tears of sorrow. The 2016 Indie Street Film Festival Jury Prize Winner for best Narrative Short, if you’ve not seen this incredible ode to loss, what are you waiting for?!
The Boatman, dir. by Zack Godshall
Documentary Short (ISFF 2016 Selection)
Short Synopsis: As Joseph and Selina Gonzales approach their 71st wedding anniversary, they reflect on endurance, love and fortitude after years of living outside the flood walls in Yscloskey Beach, Louisiana.
Why we love it: Sometimes all it takes is the jarring grit of reality to form a story that will linger long within both your mind and your heart. A portrait of love, perseverance and endurance throughout hardship, The Boatman is an Indie Street Film Festival short doc selection well worth your time. Have the tissues ready - this one is quite the beautifully human tearjerker.
The Past Inside The Present, dir. by James Siewert
Why we love it: No dialogue and no words to describe this genius hand-crafted animation. Showcasing the mad, twisted rotoscoped world of a couple reliving and renewing moments from their relationship, this jaw-dropping and intricately created film will have you in awe of both its depiction of our relation to time as well as its layers of art and storytelling.
Moonlight, dir. by Barry Jenkins
Short Synopsis: A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the "War on Drugs" era.
Why we love it: Well, first of all, who doesn’t love it?! Moonlight has taken the indie community and beyond by storm. A haunting portrait of African-American identity and repression, here masculinity, desire, and sexuality are all explored in a tender, emotional way. This is a film well worth the acclaim it's finding with audiences and critics alike.
Sonita, dir. by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Documentary Feature (ISFF 2016 Special Screening)
Short Synopsis: A young Afghani refugee in Iran channels her frustrations and seizes her destiny through music after her family tries to sell her into a marriage.
Why we love it: Should a filmmaker get involved with their subject even if it means a new chance at life? Winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize for Best World Cinema Documentary, Sonita goes beyond the story of a young girl following her dream to be a rapper and becomes a must-see film about politics, culture and fighting against obstacles in order to find opportunity and identity outside of expectations.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople, dir. by Taika Waititi
Short Synopsis: A boy and his “uncle” become the subjects of a manhunt after they get stranded in the New Zealand wilderness.
Why we love it: A misfit adventure between an unwanted, troublemaker orphan and a misunderstood foster uncle through the wilderness of New Zealand? Count us in! The wit and acting alone within this hilarious offering from writer/director Taika Waititi should put this film on your must-see list. Add in the million other positives on display within this unique production and we think it should definitely jump to the top of your list!
Whale Valley, dir. by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson
Short Synopsis: Two brothers live in a remote fjord with their parents. We look into their world through the eyes of the younger brother and follow them on a journey that marks a turning point in both of their lives.
Why we love it: A haunting portrait of two brothers, their deep bond & the feeling of isolation that comes from living within an overpowering, remote landscape, we don't think there has been a more beautiful, cinematic short film released this year. This Cannes Special Mention Winner is a film that goes beyond words, best enjoyed in feeling and trust. An absolute must-see!
The Indie Street team wants to wish all you film lovers the happiest, healthiest and safest of New Years! Goodbye 2016! It has been a great year for cinema and indie film but we can't wait to see what the new year holds! See you all in the brand new, sparkling 2017!
Champagne. What a New Year’s cliche! Why not try popping a totally different kind of bottle this year?! Our end of year gift to you is another round-up of the best in indie film and craft beer on the scene! As the cursed year of 2016 rolls out and a fresh, optimistic 2017 hopefully blossoms, Indie Street wants to wish all you film and beer lovers the happiest of new beginnings. We heard the first step towards change is making resolutions. So, make adventure a New Year’s resolution this time around, even if it’s just an adventure for your taste buds. Advintage's Jayme, our partner in beer and cinema related crime, has teamed up with us once again for an end of December offering. The theme this month? Out with the old, in with the new. Trust us, no one wants to be left behind in 2016. So, put the bubbly away and get ready for a twist on the old New Year’s classics! Film: Auld Lang Syne We can’t say enough about why we love this film. It’s funny, witty, and honest with a lovely, kind-hearted, amazing team behind its production. What more could you want? Take our word for it and read our review of one of Indie Street’s latest VOD releases. Like popping a bottle of champagne, the film shows us just what happens on New Year’s Eve when secrets between friends get bottled up until the point of exploding pressure. If you like pie, off the wall comedies about the trials and tribulations of human connection and also appreciate the arts and following your passions, you’ve got to check out Auld Lang Syne before the clock strikes midnight! As the old Robert Burns' poem/tune asks, should old acquaintance be forgot? You be the judge! Just don’t do it empty handed! Beer: Malheur Bière Brut Champagne is the obvious choice of liquid magic for ringing in the New Year, but why not take a different corked route to 2017? Malheur may mean "misfortune" in French, but this beer is anything but! Jayme says of his champagne-style beer pick: "Malheur Bière Brut, of the few champagne-style beers I've had, is my favorite. Brewed with champagne yeast and put through the same rigorous process (called methode champenoise, which is rather intensive for a beer if you look into it), it has many of the same characteristics of fine sparkling wine but with the build of a very nice Belgian beer. Crisp and a little sweet with great floral and fruit notes, this is definitely a beer to ring in the new year. Nostrovia!" There you go: marvelous film, delicious beer. A match made in heaven. End 2016 on a cheery buzz and give our December pairing a try before it’s too late!! We wish you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year! Remember: Drink and watch responsibly!
Sparkling with nostalgic high school vibes, “First Girl I Loved” is like the many teen dramas that came before it, taking its first steps into the silly, irrational unknown. All fun and games until someone falls in love and gets hurt, no? But are the consequences greater when the burgeoning relationship is between two young and confused high school girls that have absolutely no idea what they are doing? This is what Kerem Sanga’s newest Sundance winning feature strives to capture and answer: what happens as the first inklings of love are born, what happens when discovering one’s true identity, and finally, what happens when facing the fact that these two moments sometimes don’t mesh at all. Anne, played by a captivating Dylan Gelula, lives a rebellious life, flanked by her best friend Cliff (Mateo Arias). A sort of disheveled beauty, with a blue streak of hair and a natural sense of androgynous fashion, Anne is magnetic, drawing our curiosity towards the screen. As Cliff and Anne set out opening bottles of wine with samurai swords and attacking each other like predator and prey in a convenience store, “First Girl I Loved” initially starts out as slightly less intriguing than I hoped, despite the initial magnetism born from synopsis and trailer. However, the frivolous nature of the film changes dramatically when secrets are spilled - secrets that change the course of this friendship forever. You see, Anne isn’t harbouring unrequited feelings for her best friend, as these things tend to go. She’s fallen for softball player and role model senior, Sasha, a radiant Brianne Hildebrand in the role. And yes, softball players are girls, not boys. As Anne and Sasha’s friendship-relationship blossoms, the film takes the twists and turns of teenage love so smoothly and with total ease. It’s messy, confusing, and heartbreaking - but sometimes, just sometimes, it makes more sense than anything else in the world. Well, until it doesn’t anymore and the inevitable crash and burn of young love incinerates the hearts and reputations of everyone involved. The two female leads do an amazing job portraying characters that are constantly in a state of figuring themselves out and yet, never really getting there. And well, that’s growing up to a T. The giggles, the inside jokes, the awkward tension between two people that are meant to be more than just friends - it’s all here in Sanga’s new wave teenage romance and it’s all very real and very raw in its portrayal of growing up. If you can forgive the plot technicalities glossed over within the story, not think too much about what’s left unsaid between certain characters, and see this as a sugary sleek, well handled narrative about coming out, you may just find something to love about “First Girl I Loved”. It’s a slick, hip take on same sex discovery and the consequences it sadly brings. It’s all about finding yourself and accepting that at the most terrifying point in your life: being a teenager. We’ve all been there or will be there. And there’s no escaping self-discovery when it rears its ugly, yet necessary little head.
#222222; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; background-color: #ffffff; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; font-family: helvetica;">Season’s Greetings! Indie Street wants to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and happy holiday season! Here’s to time with family, friends, neighbors, kitties, or whatever you choose to surround yourself with this week! We hope you make magical memories full of cheer, laughs, and great times with the ones you love! If you’re looking to cozy up by the fireplace tonight or tomorrow night and check out a new movie, don’t forget Indie Street is at the corner of innovation and storytelling and therefore the perfect place to find that unique film to fit any of your festive needs. From New Year’s Eve friendship comedy Auld Lang Syne to Sankofa, a scifi film about human connection and memory, get comfortable with one of our recent 2016 releases and make some new traditions this year in the form of supporting the best indie filmmakers out there! Happy Holidays and lots of love from the Indie Street team! <3
It’s true: 2016 saw its far share of up and downs. And while many of those downs reached record breaking lows, one of those ups reached enormous heights. We’re talking about the success of the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival! The first ever edition of ISFF was a tremendous event, filled with dozens of films from around the world, live art, parties, panels and more! Earlier this week, the second annual ISFF was announced and we couldn’t be more excited for the months of planning ahead. Set to take place once again in the vibrant, art-friendly town of Red Bank, NJ, the 2017 festival will take place July 26-30! Are you a filmmaker or innovative storyteller?! Then what are you waiting for? #submit" target="_blank">Become a part of our story and submit today! And guess what? You don’t have to be a filmmaker to attend. Discounted early bird passes to the festival are on sale for a limited time! Love films? Grab a few FILM ONLY Passes…or while you’re at it, why not go all out and pick up a few ALL ACCESS Passes to get access to all of our special events and more! Hurry, there’s only 2 days left before Christmas and we hear the gift of indie film is the hot gift of the season! Make those cinephiles in your life beam with joy this holiday. We will see you next July!