INDIE FILMS

How the Premiere Film Festival Experience Evens the Playing Field

Eccles Theater

As the high school auditorium converted to a movie palace begins to fill, I glance around. Behind me sits the entire executive team of Fox Searchlight, in front of me the entire cast & crew of the movie we're about to see. A few seats over are two writers for Rolling Stone; amongst the crowd are all of my other critic/blogger/movie friends – from the lead reviewers at industry trade magazines like Variety and Hollywood Reporter, to my pals Peter from SlashFilm and Neil from Film School Rejects, and Ethan Anderton, too. We're all here, sitting together, all about to experience the world premiere of a movie no one has seen yet. This is what I love about film festivals. It puts us all on the same level, and together we get to experience cinema.

 Posted January 28 in Editorial, Indies, Sundance 15 | Comments

Sundance 2015: Continuously Updated List of Movies Sold at Festival

Sundance 2015

The Sundance Film Festival is host to the world premiere of dozens of independent films, most of them looking to get distribution so they can make it to the big screen (or at least VOD). And since there are so many sales that happen at the festival, we wanted to keep you updated with a complete and comprehensive list of all the films getting picked up here at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. As of the writing of this initial post, five films have already been sold, and the festival has barely started. You'll find the festival films sales listed below as well as other info on each movie, starting with the most recent acquisition. Read on!

 Posted January 25 in Indies, Movie News, Sundance 15 | Comments

'The Cove' Director Exposes Threats in 'Racing Extinction' Doc Trailer

Racing Extinction

After exposing the despicable world of illegal dolphin hunting and meat sales in Japan, the director of The Cove is broadening the scope a bit to shine a light on something even more threatening and on a much larger scale. Louie Psihoyos is back at Sundance with his documentary Racing Extinction, a film focusing on mankind’s role in precipitating mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of the world’s species. This seems to be much more than just tree-hugging, hippie stuff as some like to say, and you can see for yourself in the first trailer. This looks like a documentary to pay attention to very closely. Watch!

 Posted January 23 in Docs, Indies, Sundance 15, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Cinema in the Cold - We're Ready to See Films at Sundance 2015

Sundance Film Festival

It's time. We've packed our winter jackets, long underwear, a pair of boots and gloves/hats galore. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is about to kick off in the mountains up in chilly Park City, Utah and we're back, ready to fire up the festival and watch films. This is FirstShowing's ninth year in a row covering Sundance. It all started back in 2007, when I made the trek to Park City by driving from Colorado, seeing an impressive 31 films by the end of my first year. I've returned here ever since; I can't help it, I love this festival with all my heart and have grown to appreciate films of all kinds by coming back every year. And I'm ready for more.

 Posted January 22 in Editorial, Indies, Sundance 15 | Comments

Vincent Cassel in Aussie Sundance Drama 'Partisan' Teaser Trailer

Partisan

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off today, and we'll have plenty of updates of the most buzzed about films, acquisitions of the indies for distribution, and plenty more from Park City, Utah. But before the films start playing this evening, the teaser trailer for one of the entries in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition has been unveiled. Partisan is a drama from Australia starring Vincent Cassel (Trance, Oceans 12) as a man running a closed community, overseeing a boy named Alexander, who runs dangerous errands to help provide for the group. But slowly, Alexander gets more inquisitive, and that's a problem.

 Posted January 22 in Indies, Sundance 15, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Lionsgate Picks Up 'Don Verdean' Before Its Premiere at Sundance

Don Verdean

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival won't even begin until tomorrow, but Lionsgate has already picked up a film debuting in Park City this month. It's been 11 years since director Jared Hess made a huge splash at Sundance with Napoleon Dynamite, and now he's back with Don Verdean, a new comedy starring Sam Rockwell, Jemaine Clement, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride, Will Forte and more. And now Deadline reports Lionsgate has already picked up the distribution rights to the film before it premieres next week. Does this mean that Hess might finally have another good film to follow his breakthrough indie sensation? We certainly hope so, especially since it's one of our 10 most anticipated films of the festival. More below!

 Posted January 21 in Indies, Movie News, Sundance 15 | Comments

Watch: Teaser Trailer for Hip-Hop Fueled Sundance Drama 'Dope'

Dope

Most of the films we named as our 10 Most Anticipated Films of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival have only revealed a couple first look photos and a vague synopsis. However, one of the picks on Alex Billington's list gets teased a bit more in a short tease for Dope.  The film follows a group of high schoolers living in The Bottoms, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Inglewood, California. Shameik Moore leads the film with The Grand Budapest Hotel's lobby boy Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Zoë Kravitz, rapper A$AP Rocky and "Workaholics" star Blake Anderson. We'll definitely be checking this one out. Watch below!

 Posted January 21 in Indies, Sundance 15, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Sundance 2015: Our 10 Most Anticipated Films We Can't Wait to See

Sundance 2015

Nothing like seeing movies in the mountains. Kicking off this week in snowy Park City, Utah is the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where both Ethan and I are headed for 10 days to see fresh new indie films non-stop. To help get everyone up to speed on some of the films we're interested in, here are 10 Sundance 2015 films that we're excited for, a small look at some of the films we're keeping an eye on and will be seeing at any earliest opportunity. Alex has chosen five he's interested in, and Ethan has also chosen another five he's ready to enjoy from the diverse and hopefully impressive 123-film line-up this year. Whether it's horror or drama or comedy or a documentary or something else entirely, we seek great movies to fall in love with.

 Posted January 21 in Editorial, Indies, Lists, Sundance 15 | Comments

The 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014 - Start Watching Now

19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014

The best of the best - that you didn't see last year. We have returned with another set of worth watching, underseen films from 2014. Back by popular demand is our eighth annual list of the 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2014 (past lists: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007). Featured below is a hand-picked line-up of the best independent and/or mainstream films that were either quietly dumped, ignored by audiences, or just not marketed well enough. So to give them extra attention in the spotlight, and to support some of the finest filmmakers out there, here is our best of 2014 recap. Read on for the full list!

 Posted January 20 in Editorial, Feat, Indies, Lists | Comments

Dustin Hoffman Conducts a 'Boychoir' in the Trailer for TIFF Drama

Boychoir

"How dare you squander your talent?" If Whiplash was a little too brutal for your tastes, but you still have an interest in a film set in the world of music, then it looks like the Toronto International Film Festival selection Boychoir may be for you. The film follows an adolescent boy (Garrett Wareing) fresh in a new boarding school who wastes his natural talent for singing when he could be a pivotal part of a world-class choir of boys. But luckily, Dustin Hoffman is there as his choir leader to help inspire him, even if it means getting a little tough and stern. Eddie Izzard and Kathy Bates come along for good measure too. Watch!

 Posted January 20 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

That Breathtaking Cinematic Moment in Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy'

Xavier Dolan's Mommy

"It's not where you take things from—it's where you take them to." (-Jean-Luc Godard) There is a moment in Xavier Dolan's film Mommy, officially my #1 film of 2014, that took my breath away. It's the kind of moment all cinema enthusiasts live for, the kind of visceral surprise that leaves you in such awe that you end up holding your breath until that moment – the scene – ends. The more I think about it, the more it grows in my mind, and upon further reflection I believe it is one of the defining moments in cinema in 2014. That no one is talking about… yet. I can't get it out of my mind, and out of everything I saw in 2014, it's one of the most brilliant cinematic decisions any filmmaker made. Xavier Dolan showing the rest how it's done.

 Posted January 19 in Discuss, Editorial, Indies | Comments

Kodi Smit-McPhee Has Teen Angst in 'All the Wilderness' Trailer

All the Wilderness

After his breakthrough role in Let Me In, young actor Kodi Smit-McPhee has grown up quite a bit, as evidence by his pivotal supporting role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And now he has the SXSW entry All the Wilderness allowing him to showcase his still impressive acting abilities with the coming-of-age drama about a teenage boy struggling through life after the death of his father. The first trailer for the film has arrived, and it looks beautiful. Reviews have also praised the film's soundtrack that features Sigur Ros and more. It's also nice to see Danny DeVito on the big screen again. It looks like one to seek out. Watch!

 Posted January 19 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

Anne Hathaway Feels Love Through Music in New 'Song One' Trailer

Song One

By the time Song One hits theaters this month, it will have been about an entire year since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, but that's just how independent releases work out sometime. So here we are with a second trailer for the touching drama about a woman (Anne Hathaway) coping with a return home due to an accident that has left her brother in a coma. In an effort to bring him out of it, she starts recording sounds in the city, and even finds his favorite indie musician (Johnny Flynn). And that's when the two find a blossoming romance and connection that may change their lives, hopefully for the better. Watch it!

 Posted January 16 in Indies, To Watch, Trailer | Comments

National Lampoon Documentary Sundance Poster Makes a Threat

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon

In less than a week, we'll be bringing you all the buzz from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and some of the hype for the films premiering in the mountains is already kicking off. There's tons of dramas, comedies and documentaries on the table for us to sink our teeth into, and one of the films that I'm particularly excited about is a documentary called Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon. As you may have surmised, the film follows the launch of the first humor magazine for adults, and how it served as the starting ground for comedy legends like John Belushi, Bill Murray and many more. And now we have the teaser poster inspired by the magazine's first issue from 1973. Look!

 Posted January 16 in Indies, Posters, Sundance 15 | Comments

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Alex's Top 10 of 2014
1. Mommy
2. Whiplash
3. Force Majeure
4. Selma
5. The Overnighters
6. Blind
7. John Wick
8. Snowpiercer
9. The Imitation Game
10. Birdman
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Ethan's Top 10 of 2014
1. Wild
2. Boyhood
3. Whiplash
4. Guardians / Galaxy
5. The LEGO Movie
6. Gone Girl
7. Life Itself
8. Birdman
9. The Raid 2
10. They Came Tgthr
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