Today on indieWIRE, we rounded up the best of this year’s indie films (thus far), Sarah Palin furthered her documentary career and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” got graded.
The Best Indie Movies of 2011 So Far: “Sound of My Voice” and “The Interrupters” Top criticWIRE
With the midway point of 2011 just days away, it’s a good time to look at how the year’s films have fared on criticWIRE thus far. At film festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and Berlin, and as films are released theatrically, indieWIRE polls over 100 critics and bloggers for letter grades and review links.
Everything You Wanted to Know About This Year’s Los Angeles Film Festival
The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival came to a close over the weekend with the world premiere of the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror remake “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” indieWIRE was on the scene during the 10-day event to review the high profile entries and report on the biggest happenings.
“Familiar Ground” & “Wish Me Away” Win Los Angeles Film Festival
Stéphane Lafleur’s “Familiar Ground” won the Narrative Film Competition during an awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Film Festival, while Beverly Kopf and Bobbie Birleffi’s “Wish Me Away” took Best Documentary at the awards brunch, which took place at CHAYA Downtown and co-hosted by Allison Janney and John C. Reilly. Both awards include a $15,000 cash prize. More here.
LAFF REVIEW | “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” Remakes the Original, Minus Most of the Frights
“Remade now by former comics illustrator Troy Nixey, and aided by a screenplay co-written by Guillermo Del Toro, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” loses that same fright factor when expanded to the big screen,” wrote Erich Kohn in his review of the Los Angeles Film Fest closer. “The story hasn’t changed: A young girl moves into the creaky old mansion with her architect father and his girlfriend; ghoulish supernatural beings stalk her whenever the lights go out. By and large, however, the spookiness has gone soft, possibly because shock standards have shifted.” Check out Eric Kohn’s full review.
Sarah Palin Gets Another Doc, This One Courtesy of Nick Broomfield
Is there room for two Sarah Palin documentaries this year? On the one end there’s the Palin-sanctioned feature, “The Undefeated,” crafted to boost her pre-presidential campaign (the film world premieres tomorrow in Pella, Iowa with Palin in attendance). On the other? A decidedly different take on the former Alaska Governor by Britain’s favorite documentary troublemaker, Nick Broomfield (“Kurt & Courtney,” “Biggie & Tupac”).
indieWIRE’s Project of the Day: Digital Democracy Doc “#killswitch”
Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.
The Levi’s Film Workshop is a (Temporary) Fairy Tale Come True
Levi’s Film Workshop in downtown Los Angeles sounds like an indie-film Tinkerbell: It pops up one day, wholeheartedly devotes itself to supporting filmmakers with equipment, staffing and facilities, until one day it disappears. Check it out here, while you still can.
Review: ‘Hot Coffee’ An Eye-Opening, Must-See Doc About A Legal Case You Thought You Knew
“In 1994, a decision in a seemingly innocuous legal case made waves around the country, becoming fodder for “Seinfeld,” late night stand-up routines and editorials around the country, and you probably remember it,” wrote The Playlist in their review of the doc “Hot Coffee.” “Susan Saladoff’s “Hot Coffee” uses Liebeck’s lawsuit as a springboard to investigate how the public spin on that case was slowly used to strip the rights of regular citizens, consumers and employees to sue big business.”
Watch: Full 30-Minute Spike Jonze/Arcade Fire Collaboration ‘Scenes From The Suburbs’
A nice bit of good news to start your week: as long promised, MUBI has premiered the latest short film from Spike Jonze, the director of “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation” and “Where The Wild Things Are,” his long-awaited collaboration with one of the biggest bands in the world, Arcade Fire.