Top Independent Films Spring 2013

  MY BROTHER THE DEVIL  
A masterful debut from one of England's boldest and brightest new talents, Sally El Hosaini's MY BROTHER THE DEVIL stars James Floyd as Rashid, a young man from a traditional Arab family who runs with a gang that rules the streets of Hackney, one of London's most ethnically-mixed and historically volatile neighborhoods. Rashid's younger brother, Mo, (Fadi Elsayed) idolizes his handsome, charismatic older brother and dreams of following in his footsteps, but Rashid envisions a different life for Mo and insists that he stay away from gang life and stick to his studies. When Rashid forms a bond with Sayyid (Said Taghmaoui), an older man of similar background who is now a successful photographer, he is introduced to a world he never knew existed. But, just as he decides he wants out of his dead-end life on the streets, Mo decides he wants in, and starts doing drug runs behind Rashid's back. Headed on a collision course of conflicting desires, each young man is forced to face himself and confront the brother he thought he knew. 

A beautifully realized portrait of what it means to be a man, MY BROTHER THE DEVIL is all the more sharp and sensitive for having been made by a woman. Ms. El Hosaini, herself of Egyptian extraction and a long-time Hackney resident, developed the project at three Sundance Institute labs (Middle Eastern, Screenwriting, and Directing) and launched the film at this year's Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, winning prizes at each, before continuing on the international festival circuit, where the film has garnered numerous awards and accolades both here and abroad. The reviews generated by its recent UK release make MY BROTHER THE DEVIL one of the most acclaimed British films of the past several years. 

Directed by Sally El Hosaini and produced by Gayle Griffiths, Julia Godzinskaya and Michael Sackler. 

  THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
The daring new movie from the director of Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines is a sweeping emotional drama powerfully exploring the unbreakable bond between fathers and sons.

Luke (Academy Award nominee Ryan Gosling) is in constant motion, a high-wire motorcycle stunt performer who travels from town to town with the carnival. Passing through Schenectady in upstate New York, he tries to reconnect with a former lover, Romina (Eva Mendes), only to learn that she has in his absence given birth to their son Jason. Luke resolves to forsake life on the road and to provide for his newfound family, taking a job as car mechanic with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). Robin soon discovers Luke’s special talents, and proposes to partner with him in a string of spectacular bank robberies. But it is only a matter of time before Luke will run up against the law – which comes in the form of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper).

Avery is an ambitious rookie cop navigating a local police department ruled by the menacingly corrupt detective Deluca (Ray Liotta). When Avery, just beginning to balance his profession and his family life with wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) and their infant son AJ, confronts Luke, the full consequences will reverberate into the next generation. It is then that the two sons, Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen), must face their fateful, shared legacy.

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  STARBUCK  
Avery is an ambitious rookie cop navigating a local police department ruled by the menacingly corrupt detective Deluca (Ray Liotta). When Avery, just beginning to balance his profession and his family life with wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) and their infant son AJ, confronts Luke, the full consequences will reverberate into the next generation. It is then that the two sons, Jason (Dane DeHaan) and AJ (Emory Cohen), must face their fateful, shared legacy.
STARBUCK stars Patrick Huard as David Wosniak, a 42-year old lovable but perpetual screw up who finally decides to take control of his life. A habitual sperm donor in his youth, he discovers that he's the biological father of 533 children, 142 of whom are trying to force the fertility clinic to reveal the true identity of the prolific donor code-named Starbuck. 


  FREE ANGELA  
Directed and written by Shola Lynch, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners was hailed by the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival as “a fascinating chronicle of justice and strength,” Free Angela tells the dramatic story of how a young professor’s social justice activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a bloody shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

In this historical vérité style documentary, marking the 40th anniversary of her acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy, Angela Davis recounts the politics and actions that branded her a terrorist and simultaneously spurred a worldwide movement for her freedom as a political prisoner. At its core, the story wrestles with the meaning of political freedom in a democracy negotiated between the people and its government. Strong, attractive, and engaging, Angela Davis is one such person who became a symbol at the center of this still relevant power struggle. 

<<FREE ANGELA RELATED NEWS>>

 


 TRANCE  
Simon (James McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars, but after suffering a blow to the head during the heist he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. When physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang’s leader Frank (Vincent Cassel) hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon’s psyche. As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon’s broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.

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  AT ANY PRICE  
In the competitive world of modern agriculture, ambitious HENRY WHIPPLE (Dennis Quaid) wants his rebellious son DEAN (Zac Efron) to help expand his family’s farming empire. However, Dean has his sights set on becoming a professional race car driver. When a high-stakes investigation into their business is exposed, father and son are pushed into an unexpected crisis that threatens the family’s entire livelihood

 

<<AT ANY PRICE RELATED NEWS>> 

 


  ARTHUR NEWMAN
Wallace Avery is tired of his life. Divorced, disconnected from his son, dissatisfied with his love life, he decides the time has come for a radical solution. He literally walks away from his life, buys himself a new identity as Arthur Newman, and sets out toward his own private Oz - Terre Haute, Indiana - where he believes he has a chance to work as a golf pro. Wallace's idea of a second chance is to become a second person.His road trip is derailed by the entrance of Michaela Fitzgerald, whom Arthur discovers passed out poolside at a motel. It takes her all of a couple hours to bust Arthur's identity scam. It takes Arthur a lot longer to bust hers.Colin Firth and Emily Blunt co-star in this gently comic love story set in a perfect storm of identity crisis. ARTHUR NEWMAN, from a screenplay written by Becky Johnston, looks at how two people, desperate to remake themselves, fall in love and find a way to accept responsibility for who they really are. 

 


  MUD  
MUD is an adventure about two boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and his friend Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), who find a man named Mud (Matthew McConnaughey) hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios—he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn’t long until Mud’s visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.

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  THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST  
From Award-winning director Mira Nair, and based on the acclaimed novel by Mohsin Hamid, comes the explosive new film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. In 2010, as student demonstrations rage in Lahore, a young Pakistani professor Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed) is interviewed by American journalist Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber). Princeton-educated Changez tells Lincoln of his past as a brilliant business analyst on Wall Street. He talks of the glittering future that lay before him, his mentor, Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland), and the beautiful and sophisticated Erica (Kate Hudson), with whom he was set to share that future.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the alienation and suspicion he is suddenly met with leads him back to his homeland, and the family to whom he is very close. Charisma and intelligence catapult him to become a leader both in the eyes of the Pakistani students that adore him, and the American government that suspects him. 

The collegial pretense of the meeting in a Lahore tea house, between Lincoln and Changez, slowly gives way to why the unlikely pair is meeting on a summer day—a foreign professor has been kidnapped by extremists, and the clock is ticking toward the deadline for his execution. Changez's family is being harassed and is in real danger. Bobby listens carefully, but with an agenda of his own. Leading us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an exploration of bias and the phenomenon of globalization that is both brilliant and unsettling. 


<<THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST RELATED NEWS>>

  THE ICEMAN  
Inspired by actual events, The Iceman follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Academy Award® nominee Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father; in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless killer-for-hire. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession. Co-starring Academy Award® nominee Winona Ryder (Black Swan) and Chris Evans (Avengers, Captain America), The Iceman is directed by Ariel Vromen (Danika) from a script he wrote with Morgan Land (Rx). Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), David Schwimmer (“Friends”), Robert Davi (“Profiler”) and Danny Abeckaser (Alpha Dog) round out the cast. The film features cameo appearances by Stephen Dorff (Public Enemies) and James Franco (127 Hours). Millennium Entertainment will release The Iceman May 3, 2013.

 <<THE ICEMAN RELATED NEWS>>

 


  CAROLINE AND JACKIE  
On a celebratory birthday trip, Caroline visits her sister, Jackie and her boyfriend. What starts out as a fun evening with close friends quickly goes askew. Caroline and the group attempt to support Jackie for an apparent illness - though it's unclear who really needs the most help. 

 



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  DEAD MAN'S BURDEN  
Set in 1870 in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, DEAD MAN’S BURDEN is the story of Martha (Clare Bowen, ABC’s Nashville) and her husband Heck (David Call, Tiny Furniture), who are struggling to make ends meet on the rural New Mexico frontier. When a mining company expresses interest in buying their land, Martha and Heck see their ticket to a better life. Their hopeful plans are soon complicated when Martha’s oldest brother Wade (Barlow Jacobs, Shotgun Stories), presumed dead during the war, returns to the family homestead after learning of their father’s death. A defector to the Union Army, Wade soon discovers that Martha is hiding secrets of her own. As the two siblings become reacquainted, torn between a desire to reconcile with the only family they have left and their clashing convictions, tension and suspicion continue to mount. Filmed on location in the rugged high desert of northern New Mexico, DEAD MAN’S BURDEN, shot in the style of a classic western, marks Jared Moshé’s directorial debut.

<<DEAD MAN'S BURDEN RELATED NEWS>>

 


 WHAT MAISIE KNEW 
A contemporary reimagining of Henry James’ novel, WHAT MAISIE KNEW tells the story of a captivating little girl's struggle for grace in the midst of her parents' bitter custody battle. Told through the eyes of the title's heroine, Maisie navigates this ever-widening turmoil with a six-year-old's innocence, charm and generosity of spirit.

An aging rock star (Moore) and a contemporary art dealer (Coogan)—Susanna and Beale are too self-involved even to notice their neglect and inadequacy as parents; their fight for Maisie is just another battle in an epic war of personalities. As they raise the stakes by taking on inappropriate new partners, the ex-nanny Margo and the much younger bartender Lincoln (Vanderham and Skarsgård), the shuffling of Maisie from household to household becomes more and more callous, the consequences more and more troubling. Always watchful, however, Maisie begins to understand that the path through this morass of adult childishness and selfish blindness will have to be of her own making.

Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, written by Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne, and from the producers of The Kids Are All Right, WHAT MAISIE KNEW is a heartbreaking but redemptive story of family, self-sacrifice, and the indelibility of one child's love, starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Steve Coogan and Joanna Vanderham, introducing Onata Aprile as “Maisie.”

 <<WHAT MAISIE KNEW RELATED NEWS>>

 


  BLACK ROCK  
Three young women – Sarah (Kate Bosworth), Abby (Katie Aselton) and Lou (Lake Bell) – get together for a private campout at one of the iconic settings of their childhood, an empty island off the coast of Maine, to renew their bond of sisterhood. They quickly learn, though, that the island is anything but empty, when they encounter three recently-returned servicemen, who have come to the island to hunt. A misunderstanding quickly turns to tragedy, and the three women soon find themselves the targets of the hunt. What started as a simple getaway to recall old times is now a race for survival as three ordinary woman must find extraordinary strength in order to beat the odds against violence and the elements.

Also directed by Aselton and written by her husband Mark Duplass, BLACK ROCK, was filmed on location off the coast of Maine, where beautiful imagery is interplayed with a host of horrors as the three friends try to make it out alive.

 


 THE ENGLISH TEACHER  
Linda Sinclair (Julianne Moore) is a forty-year-old unmarried high school English teacher in the small town of Kingston, Pennsylvania. She shares a small apartment with two Siamese cats and her rich collection of great literature. She maintains no close personal relationships aside from those she has with her favorite authors and stories. Her life is far less complicated than the dramas she devours on the page, and she likes it that way.

But Linda's simple life turns an unexpected page when former star pupil Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano) returns to Kingston after trying to make it as a playwright in New York. Now in his 20s, Jason is on the verge of abandoning art, pressured by his overbearing father, Dr. Tom Sherwood (Greg Kinnear), to face reality and go to law school. Linda can't stand the thought of Jason giving up on his dreams so she decides to mount his play - a dark, angst-ridden, ambitious work - as a Kingston High School production, with flamboyant drama teacher Carl Kapinas (Nathan Lane) directing. 

As Linda, now well out of her normal comfort zone, takes further risks in life and love, the stage is set for highly comic downfall. With the play, her reputation, and her teaching career on the line, Linda finds an unlikely ally in herself. Amidst the ruins of her formerly perfect life, can she find a way to her own unique storybook ending?

 


  PIETA  
Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, Pietà is the acclaimed film from the celebrated and controversial Korean director Kim Ki-Duk (Bad Guy; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring; 3-Iron). In this intense and haunting story, a loan shark living an isolated and lonely existence uses brutality to threaten and collect paybacks from desperate borrowers for his moneylender boss. He proficiently and mercilessly collects the debts without regard to the pain he causes his countless victims. One day, a mysterious woman appears in front of him claiming to be his long-lost mother. After coldly rejecting her at first, he gradually accepts her in his life and decides to quit his cruel job and seek a decent, redemptive life. However, he soon discovers a dark secret stemming from his past and realizes it may be too late to escape the horrific consequences already set in motion from his previous life.

 


  SHADOW DANCER   
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker James Marsh (“Man on Wire,” “Project Nim”), Magnolia Pictures’ SHADOW DANCER stars Andrea Riseborough (“W.E.,” upcoming “Oblivion”), Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen. 

A conspiracy thriller set around an act of betrayal within a tight knit family, the story centers around single mother Collette McVeigh (Riseborough) -- a Republican living in Belfast with her mother and hardliner IRA brothers. 

When she is arrested for her part in an aborted IRA bomb plot in London, an MI5 officer (Owen) offers her a choice: lose everything and go to prison or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. With her son’s life in her hands, Collette chooses to place her trust in the MI5 and return home. When her brothers’ secret operation is ambushed, suspicions of an informant are raised and Collette finds both herself and her family in grave danger.

With informants working on both sides, Collette’s psychological and personal turmoil builds.

<<SHADOW DANCER RELATED NEWS>>

 


  THE EAST  
In THE EAST, Sarah Moss (Marling) is a brilliant operative for an elite private intelligence firm whose top objective is to ruthlessly protect the interests of their A-list corporate clientele. She is assigned to go undercover to infiltrate an anarchist collective known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Living amongst them in an effort to get closer to their members, Sarah finds herself unexpectedly torn between two worlds as she starts to fall in love with the group's charismatic leader (Skarsgard), finding her life and her priorities irrevocably changed.

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  THE KINGS OF SUMMER  
Premiering to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, THE KINGS OF SUMMER is a unique coming-of-age comedy about three teenage friends – Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises Arias) - who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Free from their parents’ rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family - whether it is the one you’re born into or the one you create – is something you can't run away from.

<<THE KINGS OF SUMMER RELATED NEWS>>

 


   WISH YOU WERE HERE  
Kieran Darcy-Smith's feature debut is a calmly devastating exploration of how one misjudged moment in life has the potential to cause everything to fall to pieces. Dave (Joel Edgerton) reluctantly travels to Cambodia with his pregnant wife (co-writer Felicity Price) and her younger sister and new boyfriend, and after a night of partying the boyfriend disappears without a trace. The others are left to return to their lives, each bearing differing degrees of knowledge about what happened. Delivering doses of information bit by bit, the film's meticulously edited, nonlinear disclosure of events is transfixing-as are the superb performances.

 


   VIOLET & DAISY  
VIOLET & DAISY, the whimsical story of a teenager's surreal and violent journey through New York City , follows Oscar-nominee Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, Atonement, The Lovely Bones) as Daisy. With her volatile partner-in-crime Violet, played by Alexis Bledel (Sin City, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Gilmore Girls), the two young assassins face a series of opponents, including one unusually mysterious man (James Gandolfini), in a life-altering encounter. The film, written and directed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), also stars Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Danny Trejo

 


 THE BLING RING  
In the fame-obsessed world of Los Angeles, a group of teenagers take us on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood hills. Based on true events, the group, who were fixated on the glamorous life, tracked their celebrity targets online, and stole more than 3 million in luxury goods from their homes. Their victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Rachel Bilson, and the gang became known in the media as “The Bling Ring.”

In THE BLING RING, Oscar Winning filmmaker Sofia Coppola takes us inside the world of these teens, where their youthful naivete and excitement is amplified by today’s culture of celebrity and luxury brand obsession. The members of the Bling Ring introduce us to temptations that any teenager would find hard to resist. And what starts out as youthful fun spins out of control, revealing a sobering view of our modern culture.

With an ensemble cast starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Georgia Rock, and Gavin Rossdale, THE BLING RING is written and directed by Sofia Coppola.

Coppola also serves as producer with Roman Coppola and Youree Henley. Executive producers for the picture are Michael Zakin and Francis Ford Coppola for American Zoetrope, alongside Fred Roos and Paul Rassam. Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Caamano Loquet also acted as Executive Producers via their Nala Films label. Reteaming with Coppola is costume designer Stacy Battat, production designer Anne Ross, Editor Sarah Flack, and Cinematographer Harris Savides.

<<THE BLING RING RELATED NEWS>>

 


  A HIJACKING  
The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbour when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship’s cook Mikkel (Pilou Asbæk) and the engineer Jan (Roland Møller), who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company (Søren Malling) and the Somali pirates.

 


  MANIAC  
Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt. Frank (Elijah Wood) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) appears asking for his help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops and Frank's obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill. A 21st century Jack the Ripper set in present day L.A., Franck Khalfoun's MANIAC, produced by Alexandre Aja (THE HILLS HAVE EYES, HAUTE TENSION), and composed by Rob of the band "Phoenix", is a re-boot of the William Lustig cult film considered by many to be the most suspensseful slasher movie ever made - an intimate, visually daring, psychologically complex and projoundly horrific trip into the downward spiralling nightmare of a killer and his victims.

<<MANIAC RELATED NEWS>>

 


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