INDIEWIRE

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. 

If you plan on attending this month's SXSW in Austin, You won't want to miss these promising under-the-radar titles. The SXSW Film Festival opens this Friday with "Brand: A Second Coming," documentarian Ondi Timoner's portrait of comedian Russell Brand, but it's hardly the only game in town. While anticipation for that behind-the-scene peek remains high, big names don't convey the full scope of the Austin festival's lineup. Instead, SXSW prides itself on showcasing rising stars of the festival circuit, promising newcomers, and off-beat or otherwise funky topics that give the lively gathering its distinctive character. See the list here.

Indiewire.com picks 10 Folks that made a major impression at this year's Berlin Film Festival. The Berlin International Film Festival came to a close this weekend, but there's many filmmakers and actors from the festival we'll likely be hearing about for some time. Over the course of the festival, there were numerous names few had heard of a few weeks ago that all of the sudden, were the subject of conversation thanks to their breakout work in the festival's program. Click here to read about the 10 filmmakers in particular on Indiewire.

Throughout writer-director Farhadi's wrenching, relentlessly intelligent drama, characters shield their feelings with unspoken motives and actions. Like last year's Oscar-winning "A Separation," Farhadi's new work confirms his unique ability to explore how constant chatter and anguished outbursts obscure the capacity for honest communication...click post title to read full review written by Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival, wrapped its 21st edition over the weekend with record-breaking audience numbers reaching an estimated 192,000. "The Backward Class," directed by Madeleine Grant, was the winner of the Audience Award, which is tallied from audience votes throughout the festival. The crowd-pleasing "Meet the Patels" by Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel came in second, followed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner's "The Case Against 8."...read full article on IndieWire

Had a bit of trouble staying awake when reading the synopses for the "most anticipated" films of Tribeca this year. It seems like every narrative is a "gripping story about a group of friends that discover that life is hard." Maybe the world is running out of original stories to tell? IndieStreet's most anticipated on the Indiewire list is "Point and Shoot" from Director Marshall Curry ("If A Tree Falls"). We'd be very surprised if this doesn't take home the documentary award. To be honest the documentaries in general seem a bit more intriguing, which is the historical case for the Tribeca Festival. Indie Wire is always a great resource for Film Reviews and Festival buzz so we are sure that the majority of the films will be better than they read on paper, and there will be a few films that are surprisingly unique. While IndieStreet is currently brainstorming new strategies that will deviate from the old festival model, we still understand the current value and importance of festivals within Indie Film. View Indiewire's The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The Tribeca Film Festival 2014