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We’re just about midway through 2015, and that means taking stock of the cinematic year so far. In terms of feature films, it’s been a stellar year, with everything from “Inside Out” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” to “The Duke Of Burgundy” and “L’il Quinquin” making it one of the strongest first six months of a moviegoing calendar that we can remember  with a plethora of equally excellent movies having cropped up at festivals. But to focus on the fiction arena would be to miss whole swaths of great cinema, because the documentaries of the first half of 2015 have been excellent. Here's Indiewire's top picks for the 2015 so far. 

The 54th New York Film Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center have just announced the lineup for their highly anticipated immersive storytelling program, Convergence. Featuring nine interactive works and five panels, NYFF’s mission is to show that the art of immersive storytelling is constantly changing and evolving. From works fusing augmented reality and comic books together to viewers using digital devices to solve crime, the lineup is an impressive selection of work that proves we are heading towards innovative means of storytelling in the future! The program will also be complemented by panels talks from various innovators in the field, including Hilmar Koch, Lindsay Doran, Mike Knowlton and others. Click here for the full lineup and more info!

We are thrilled that the upcoming Venice Film Festival has officially launched its 2016 lineup, including both in competition and out of competition films. The festival will open with Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” and close with Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven.” In between that will be an exciting array of offerings from well-known auteurs, anticipated follow-ups like Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Batch”, and premieres from first time filmmakers. Venice Film Festival kicks off next month, running August 31 - September 10. You can check out Indiewire’s photo gallery featuring some of the line-up here!

Michael Moore is using his film festival, the Traverse City Film Festival to be exact, to challenge the issue of sexism in the film industry. How? By making every official selection, all 32 of them, films directed or co-directed by women. And what’s the name of the one programmed sidebar at the festival? How about, “Men Make Movies - The Struggle Continues.” Moore spoke to Indiewire on the topic, “Every film in our Official Selection (US), fiction and nonfiction, is directed or co-directed by a woman . . . And they’re all incredible movies. As an expression of tokenism usually reserved for women, I am bringing five films by American men in a sidebar called, ‘Men Make Movies —The Struggle Continues.'” The initiative is freaking fantastic for the continuing recognition of females in the industry as well as the sidebar being a hilarious stab at the establishment and high profiling of male filmmakers. However, it does signal a sad state of affairs when things like this can be seen as gimmicks, news-worthy stories that should actually be something expected and accepted. That being said, this is an amazing push for films that may otherwise be overlooked or only seen as fulfilling circumstantial programming measures. Hopefully this festival initiative will become a beacon and inspiration for many festivals to come! Read more on Moore’s lady-filled festival here!

IndieWire has just compiled and released their weekly film festival round-up column and none other than our very own Indie Street Film Festival has made the list! In only a few short days, the inaugural festival will hit the Red Bank area, offering an impressive line-up of films, entertainment, parties, panels and more! We are gearing up for a memorable week in support of the local arts community and independent film community all over! You can check out the full ISFF 2016 schedule here and while you are at it, hop on over to IndieWire's article to explore and support even more amazing, upcoming festivals around the world!

 Chief Curator of Film at the MOMA, Rajendra Roy, recently sat down with a group of indie film professionals at the Seattle International Film Festival for a panel called “Who Should Release My Movie?” Distribution and acquisition professionals from The Orchard, Well Go USA, Bleeker Street and Participant Media all discussed best steps for independent filmmakers trying to get their films out there and seen and how they can find the right audiences. From navigating VOD and DVDs, to festivals and pitches, no stone was left unturned. Read here for highlights from the panel!

When filmmaker Jim Cummings created his latest film "Thunder Road",  he didn't imagine it would ever get into Sundance, let alone win a top prize. And now, not only has his widely successful and lovably hilarious short film gone on to gain him exposure and amazing opportunities, he can also claim it has gained him a favor from "The Boss" himself. Cummings recently wrote an open letter to Bruce Springsteen regarding the cost of rights to his song "Thunder Road" - a song that makes up the very fabric of his film. Without the song, there's essentially no film. But with a 50K price tag on the rights to the song, it was looking likely the film would never make it online at Vimeo for free, as was Cummings' intentions. However, thanks to hard work and a touch of sheer luck, Sony has granted him digital rights to the classic Springstreen track. Festival wins, notoriety, an awesome film and now a favor from a musical legend. Not bad. Read here for more info on the one shot short that could! And be on the lookout for "Thunder Road" when it hits the Indie Street Film Festival in Red Bank this July! 

It's a wonderful time of the year! Summer is just around the corner and festival season is still in full swing! As the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival is set to kick off this week, Indiewire has compiled a list of 11 must-see films at the event. From directorial debuts to comedy films and even a reimagining of "High Noon", there's something for all film lovers. Check out the list of top films to watch out for here.

Yesterday, we shared with you the list of every Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Winner from over the past 4 decades. Piggybacking off of that, we now share with you, via IndieWire, a list of where to watch (almost) every winner. Unfortunately, not all of the amazing prizewinners are available for immediate online streaming, but from DVDs to Youtube, the list is still pretty comprehensive. If you've yet to experience what these films have to offer, this is a great place to start. Check out the full breakdown by platform here.

As the 2016 edition of the acclaimed Cannes Film Festival is right around the corner, now is as good a time as any to check out the lineup of films being showcased throughout the event. From competition films to pieces being considered in the Un Certain Regard section, Indiewire has compiled the full list here.