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The Indie Film Industry Shares Their Top 10 Films of 2011

The Indie Film Industry Shares Their Top 10 Films of 2011

While Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” took the top spot in Indiewire’s’s recent 2011 poll of over 160 critics, journalists and other tastemakers of the film world, this much smaller grouping of industry folks – from distributors to publiclists to filmmakers themselves – highlighted a number of other movies large and small (but mostly small) from this year’s release calendar.

“The Tree of Life” did quite well here as well, as did “Melancholia,” “Nostalgia For The Light,” “The Interrupters,” “Take Shelter” and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.”

Indiewire thanks those who took part and were brave enough to share their choices. Participants were invited to include films released theatrically this year, but each person devised his or her own criteria.

Please share your Top 10 list for 2011 in the comments section at the end of this article (and don’t forget to include your name).

Michael Barker,
Sony Pictures Classics

* – Films made by friends (no Pedro, Terry, Wim, Agniezska, David, or Bennett here) and films released by Sony Pictures Classics are exempt as they would comprise my entire list this year.

1. Histoir(es) du Cinema:   JLG’s finest film finally reaches these shores
2. A Brighter Summer Day: Ditto for this masterwork  
3. Mysteries of Lisbon
4. Breaking Bad, Season 4 Episode 11 “Crawl Space”: Best American independent
  film of the year
5. Hugo
6. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
7. The Clock: film exhibition seen at the M F A in Boston
8. Army of Phantoms:  Book by J. Hoberman – A seminal work covering the
   blacklist in Hollywood and so much more
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
10. All the battle related scenes
    in War Horse
11. All the scenes with the kids
    in Super 8

Matt Dentler,
Head of Content, FilmBuff/Cinetic Rights Management

1. The Tree of Life
2. We Need To Talk About Kevin
3. Moneyball
4. Drive
5. A Separation
6. The Interrupters
7. Bridesmaids
8. Senna
9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
10. Shame

Jeff Deutchman,
IFC Films/Sundance Selects

*- I am excluding our own films this year, which could form a top 10 unto itself!

1. Nostalgia For The Light
2. Take Shelter
3. Meek’s Cutoff
4. Melancholia
5. The Tree of Life
6. Margaret
7. A Separation
8. Rebirth
9. Caterpillar
10. The Interrupters

Britta Erickson,
Denver Film Society/Starz Denver Film Festival

1. Martha Marcy May Marlene
2. Melancholia
3. The Descendants
4. Drive
5. We Need To Talk About Kevin
6. Senna
7. Beginners
8. The Artist
9. Moneyball
10. Hanna

Christian Gaines,
Festival Specialist, Withoutabox, a division of IMDb

1. The Artist
2. The Descendants
3. We Need To Talk About Kevin
4. Your Sister’s Sister
5. The Lie
6. Albatross
7. Monsieur Lazhar
8. Phase 7
9. Perfect Sense
10. Rise of the Planet of The Apes

Susan Gerhard,

1. Poetry
2. Certified Copy
3. The Arbor
4. Cedar Rapids
5. Into Eternity
6. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
7. Young Adult
8. The Trip
9. The Mill and the Cross
10. Project Nim

Howard Gertler,

1. Beginners
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
3. Weekend
4. 3 Backyards
5. Heartbeats
6. Bridesmaids
7. Myth of the American Sleepover
8. Super 8
9. Bellflower
10. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Sophie Gluck,
Sophie Gluck & Associates

The Artist
The Descendants
J. Edgar
Midnight in Pairs
Mysteries of Lisbon
Of Gods and Men
A Separation

Marie Therese Guirgis,

1. The Tree of Life
2. Margaret
3. Senna
4. Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy
5. The Skin I Live In
6. Jane Eyre
7. Like Crazy
8. Potiche
9. My Joy
10. House of Pleasures

Chris Horton,
Artist Services, Sundance Institute

1. The Interrupters
2. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
3. The Tree of Life
4. The Skin I Live In
5. Margin Call
6. Senna
7. Moneyball
8. Dragonslayer
9. Armadillo
10. Like Crazy

Marcus Hu,
Strand Releasing

1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. The Tree of Life
3. Beginners
4. The Arbor
5. Hugo
6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
7. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
8. Shame
9. The Kid With The Bike
10. The Skin I Live In

Jason Janego,
New Label, The Weinstein Company

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
2. Shame
3. Bill Cunningham New York
4. Drive
5. The Artist
6. Moneyball
7. The Trip
8. Bridesmaids
9. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
10. Midnight in Paris

Keaton Kail,
IFC Films

1. The Tree of Life
2. Mysteries of Lisbon
3. Melancholia
4. Certified Copy
5. Incendies
6. Weekend
7. The Time That Remains
8. Pina
9. Martha Marcy May Marlene
10. Drive

Adam Kersh,
Brigade Marketing

1. The Muppets
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Weekend
4. Cold Weather
5. The Descendants
6. Le Havre
7. Bridesmaids
8. Bellflower
9. Heartbeats
10. Septien

Michael Lerman,
The Philadelphia Film Society/The Film Sales Company

1. A Separation
2. Incendies
3. The Time That Remains
4. Margaret
5. Certified Copy
6. Le Quattro Volte
7. Leap Year
8. Red State
9. If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle
10. Drive

Jennie Livingston,

1. Connected
2. Letters from the Big Man
3. Tomboy
4. Meek’s Cutoff
5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
6. Putty Hill
7. We Were Here
8. Gun Hill Road
9. Attenberg
10. Into The Abyss

Jared Moshe,
Director of “Dead Man’s Burden”; Producer of “Corman’s World” and “Silver Tongues”

1. Take Shelter
2. Warrior
3. The Tree of Life
4. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
5. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
6. Hugo
7. The Artist
8. Moneyball
9. Tabloid
10. Drive

Andrew Murphy,
Atlantic Film Festival

1. Melancholia
2. Take Shelter
3. The Artist
4. Weekend
5. Higher Ground
6. Hobo With a Shotgun
7. The Future
8. Le Havre
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
10. The Tree of Life

Susan Norget,
Susan Norget Film Promotion

1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. Melancholia
3. Certified Copy
4. Poetry
5. Mysteries of Lisbon
6. Pina
7. The Future
8. Aurora
9. The Interrupters
10. Cave of Forgotten Dreams

David Nugent,
Hamptons International Film Festival & Perugia International Film Festival

1. Nostalgia For The Light
2. The Artist
3. Drive
4. The Descendants
5. Melancholia
6. Le Quattro Volte
7. The Tree of Life
8. Moneyball
9. Beginners
10. Buck

Jenni Olsen,
Q Movie

1. Tomboy
2. Happy Happy
3. Beginners
4. Circumstance
5. Pariah
6. Making the Boys
7. 3
8. We Were Here
9. J. Edgar
10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Mark Elijah Rosenberg,
Rooftop Films

1. Septian
2. St. Nick
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. Strongman
5. Bad Posture
6. Cold Weather
7. Battle For Brooklyn
8. The Imperialists Are Still Alive!
9. Where Soldiers Come From
10. Pariah

Rob Scheer,
Brigade Marketing

1. The Tree of Life
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Shame
4. Moneyball
5. Take Shelter
6. Weekend
7. Warrior
8. Rango
9. Melancholia
10. We Need To Talk About Kevin

Richard Sheehan,
HSBC Bank Entertainment & Media Group

1. The Descendants
2. Shame
3. My Week With Marilyn
4. The Artist
5. Moneyball
6. The Skin I Live In
7. Pariah
8. Win Win
9. The Help
10. Hugo

Bryan Stamp,

1. The Tree of Life/Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. Nostalgia For The Light
3. Weekend
4. The Arbor
5. My Perestroika
6. Certified Copy
7. Le Havre
8. Drive
9. Melancholia/Take Shelter
10. The Future

Basil Tsiokos,
Consultant/Programming Associate, Sundance Film Festival

1. The Interrupters
2. Resurrect Dead
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
5. The Arbor
6. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
7. Weekend
8. Summer Pasture
9. We Need To Talk About Kevin
10. Melancholia

John Von Thaden,
Magnolia Pictures

1. Melancholia
2. Certified Copy
3. Take Shelter
4. Margaret
5. Mysteries of Lisbon
6. Nostalgia For The Light
7. Drive
8. Moneyball
9. A Separation
10. House of Pleasures

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1. We Need To Talk About Kevin
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Shame
4. The Woman in Black
5. 50/50
6. A Dangerous Method
7. Melancholia
8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
9. My Week With Marilyn
10. One Day

I'm sure The Tree of Life and The Artist should be on here, but I haven't seen them yet.


1. The Future 2. The Descendants 3. Weekend 4. Pariah 5. Another Earth 6. Meek's Cutoff 7.the Muppets 8. Bridesmaids 9. Jane Eyre 10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Nobody mentioned "Another Earth"? I thought it was great!

Roric Brown

1. The Tree of Life 2. The Interrupters 3. Drive 4. Another Earth 5. Take Shelter 6. The Skin I Live In 7. A Separation 8. Win Win 9. Midnight in Paris 10. The Future

Marco Túlio de Urzêda Freitas

1. Certified Copy
2. Black Swan
3. The Skin I Live In
4. Biutiful
5. Melancholia
6. Midnight in Paris
7. Shame
8. The Tree of Life
9. Moneyball
10. House of Pleasures


most of them aren't fair .Pina and Declaration of War(French) are great and deserve to Oscar.


After reading this I can safely say that "We Need To Talk To Kevin" is one of the most overrated movies of the year, I'm not going to say the movie is horrible but I personally hated it and other than Tilda Swinton the acting was horrible


1.A SEPARATION 2.the tree of life 3.the artist 4. a dangerous method 5.the girl with the dragon tattoo 6 .HUGO 7.the skin i live in 8.take shelter 10.midnight in paris


What a f***ing joke. NONE of these films are Independent, you f***ing morons.


1. The Artist (Wow!)
2. Super 8 (Elle Fanning!)
3. We Were Here (Truly heartrending.)
4. Certified Copy (Whoa!)
5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Wha…?)
6. Jane Eyre (I was blown away by this)
7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Featuring best performance by a chimpanzee)
8. World on a Wire (First time(?) shown theatrically in US, I believe? One of Fassbinder's wierdest)
9. The Tree of Life (hypnotic, meditative, beautiful)
10. The Tacqwacores (Doesn't anyone else know/care about this movie?)


I still need to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Melancholia; We Need to Talk About Kevin; Meek's Cutoff; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Young Adult; Another Earth; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; The Adventures of Tin Tin; A Dangerous Method; Martha Marcy May Marlene; The Help; The Artist; Shame; A Separation. But other than all of those, here's my top 10.
1. Archie's Final Project
2. Bellflower
3. Like Crazy
4. 50/50
5. The Way
6. Super 8
7. Win Win
8. Midnight in Paris
9. The Descendants
10. Submarine

Matt Johnson

No love for Another Earth? Easily most underrated movie of the year. On my top 10 list.

Brian Carlson

1. The Tree of Life
2. Drive
3. The Guard
4. Submarine
5. Take Shelter
6. Win Win
7. A Dangerous Method
8. Rubber
9. Warrior
10. The Descendants


I still need to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Melancholia, and We Need To Talk About Kevin. I'm quite expecting most if not all three will make it onto my top ten list. As it is, here is what I have so far:
1. The Tree Of Life (the only true masterpiece of the year)
2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. Hanna
5. Drive
6. Bridesmaids
7. Midnight In Paris
8. The Descendants
9. Contagion
10. Hugo


Although I found it overtly funny but forced, does Bridesmaids really belong with movies with tremendous depth other than to fill a comedic void?


I've seen about 8 I really like
and plan on seeing Moneyball,
1. Tree of Life
2. Young Adult
3. Descendants
4. Beginners
5. Hugo
6. Brides Maids
7. Cowboys and Aliens
8. Drive


1) Melancholia 2) The Artist 3) Martha Marcy May Marlene 4) The Skin I Live In 5) Certified Copy 6) Take Shelter 7) Midnight In Paris 8) Shame 9) Le Havre 10) We Were Here


1)A Separation 2)Drive 3)shame 4)take shelter 5)The Tree of Life 6)The Artist 7)We Need To Talk About Kevin 8)Melancholia 9)Hugo 10)The Help

Ozge Von

1. A seperation
2. Le gamin au velo (the kid with a bike)
3. Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (Once upon a time in Anatolia)
4. Le havre
5. Submarine
6. Weekend
7. Beginners
8. Hugo
9. Tomboy
10. Life in a day

Ben Marshall

1) Senna 2) Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3) Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4) Elite Squad 5) Win Win

Films I am still dieing to see: The Interrupters, J. Edgar, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ides of March


1: Melancholia

2: The Tree of Life

3: The Skin I Live In

4: Shame

5: Drive

Marty McFly

10/ Pina
9/ The Artist
8/ J. Edgar
7/ The Skin I Live In
6/ Melancholia
5/ House of Pleasures
4/ Like Crazy
3/ War Horse
2/ Tyrannosaur
1/ Bellflower

Ken Dosch

1) The Skin I Live In 2) We Need To Talk About Kevin 3) Martha Marcy May Marlene 4) The Future 5) Drive 6) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives 7) The Ides of March 8) Super 9) Red State 10) Rubber/Midnight In Paris/Albert Nobbs/A Serbian Film


1. The Tree of Life 2. Bridesmaids 3. Young Adult 4. Harry Potter DH2 5. Drive 6. Miss Bala 7. A Separation 8. Martha Marcy May Marlene 9. The Muppet's 10. Like Crazy

yizhack jacobs

my fevorits this year
1. Bellflower
2. Septien
3. The Scenesters
4. Higher Ground
5. Higher Ground


There is no doubt. The Oscar goes to A Separation!

Ibad Shah

1. A Separation
2. The Tree of Life
3. Bal (Honey)
4. We Need To Talk About Kevin
5. Weekend
6. This Is Not a Film
7. Drive
8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'
9. Tyrannosaur
10. Senna

Hotton Machado

1. The Tree of Life
2. Beginners
3. Melancholia
4. We Need to Talk about Kevin
5. Elite Squad 2
6. The Guard
7. Tomboy
8. Drive
9. Ides of March
10. The Skin I Live In


1. The Tree of Life
2. Essential Killing
3. Melancholia
4. A Separation
5. Black Swan
6. Another Year
7. Carlos
8. Midnight in Paris
9. Super 8
10. The Skin I Live In

Arslan Baig

My Top 16 Films of 2011:

1. Drive
2. The Ides Of March
3. The Artist
4. The Descendants
5. Take Shelter
6. The Tree Of Life
7. Melancholia
8. Shame
9. Moneyball
10. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
11. Martha Marcy May Marlene
12. A Separation (Iran)
13. J. Edgar
14. We Need To Talk About Kevin
15. The Help
16. Insidious


The Oscar of the Best foreign language movie goes to A Separation!



Barak Epstein

1. Hugo
2. The Last Circus
3. Drive
4. Tree of Life
5. Melancholia
6. General Orders No. 9
7. Carnage
8. Shame
9. Dogtooth
10. Bellflower

Honorable Mentions: Norwegian Ninja, Super

Didn't see: Take Shelter

Best movie seen in 2011, coming out in 2012: Kill List


i respect spc and ifc for not allowing their own films to infiltrate the lists. the same standard should've been volunteered by all.

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