Following the flurry of news arriving out of last week’s Cannes lineup announcement, this week felt a little like the calm after the storm, but that didn’t stop it from still producing some extremely noteworthy news of its own. Our annual Summer Movie Preview released its first (and four subsequent) installments this week, detailing the 50 Indies that have us most excited for the predominantly Hollywood driven time frame, while Kickstarter once again made headlines with two noteworthy projects. Meanwhile we spoke with Colin Firth about previous projects as well as the just-released “Arthur Newman,” two of television’s most popular series had episodes ranking amongst the best of the series, and we got to see everyone’s favorite madman Michael Shannon channel his inner sorority girl.
Take a look at all of these stories and more below as we take a look at the ten most viewed news, interviews, and features from this week at Indiewire:
Summer Movie Preview: The 50 Indies You Must See (Part 1)
With this year’s summer slate beginning to hit theaters next weekend, we took the opportunity to list our most anticipated indie alternatives to the summer’s normal blockbuster packed schedule. Including such heavily anticipated films as Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” Pedro Almodovar’s “I’m So Excited,” and many others, this summer is looking to be one of the best seasons for Indie releases in some time, leading us to expand our annual list to 5 parts and 50 films. Who said the summer is just for the major studios?
With Cannes’ just announced competition lineup bringing the expected big names (Polanski, Refn, Soderbergh) and not much else to the table, many are looking at this year’s Directors Fortnight lineup as a welcome change of pace, highlighting the more experimental, unexpected works that seems to be lacking in festival’s Main Competition. Escaping the exclusivity that has plagued the main slate for years, IW’s Eric Kohn explains why Directors Fortnight’s lineup is the most diverse and exciting lineups we’ve seen in a while, ranging from experimental masters (Alejandro Jodorworsky) to many first and second time filmmakers, creating a lineup much more interested in challenging expectations than meeting them
With Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, and now Cannes receiving the spotlight year after year with their glamorous images and celebrity filled events, it’s easy to lose sight of the independent films and filmmakers that made these events so special in the first place. Reporting from the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival, Aaron Hillis explains how the celebration of independent film and filmmakers is alive and well at the Gulf Coast festival, exhibiting some of the most exciting works around and giving filmmakers an opportunity rarely afforded, and making it one of the best kept secrets in the film festival world and the perfect place for filmmakers to send their labor of love.
Michael Shannon Channels His Inner Sorority Girl to Read the Infamous Delta Gamma Letter, F-bombs and all
Last week, Gawker posted what they called “the most deranged sorority girl email you will ever read.” The letter, written by an infuriated member of the University of Maryland’s Delta Gamma sorority, was one of the most gloriously profane and deranged reads to come out in quite some time, quickly making it a viral hit. In response to the letter, Funny or Die enlisted everyone’s favorite master of derangement Michael Shannon, to bring the letter the terrifying gravitas clearly lacking in a simple read through. Needless to say, the video was a hit.
Even with his seemingly endless list of in-progress, cancelled, or on hold productions, Guillermo Del Toro has apparently found time to fit one more project into his ever-expanding portfolio, this time as a series for HBO based on a popular manga series by Naoki Urasawa. Already adapted into a 74-episode anime series by Madhouse, the project would find HBO in startlingly new territory with their first comic book adaptation, likely hoping for something similar to their huge success with “Game of Thrones.” At this point, as with any Del Toro production, it’s almost impossible to say if this project will ever make it to the airwaves, but it remains an exciting prospect nonetheless.
This week also marked the long-awaited return of Zach Braff to directing with the announcement of a Kickstarter campaign for a follow-up to 2004’s “Garden State,” “Wish I Was Here.” But while clearly inspired by the success of the recent “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter, Braff’s campaign holds one major difference to that necessity driven campaign: studio interest. Citing a lack of creative control from studio offers, while refusing to sell advance copies of the film in favor of working within the studio world, Braff has created an extremely novel approach to the crowd-funded campaign, with IW’s Bryce Renninger detailing what makes the campaign stand out, and why it stands out as one of the more interesting Kickstarter propositions in recent memory.
Forget “Veronica Mars,” The Real Kickstarter Surprise is “Lizzie Bennet”
But while so much attention continues to be paid to the big names utilizing Kickstarter, we suggest you turn your attention to a different surprise to come out of the crowd-funding hub, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Originally posting a $60,000 goal, the YouTube-based adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” has now raised $462,405. As an amazing representation of both original YouTube programming’s ability to stand up with most successful, star driven projects and the possible maturation of our interest in women’s programming, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” deserves and demands your attention, with the conclusion and massive success of its campaign proving the more diverse possibilities available through crowd-funded entertainment.
Colin Firth on Playing a Yank Opposite Emily Blunt in “Arthur Newman” and Life After “The King’s Speech”
This week’s release of “Arthur Newman,” marks the first lead role for Colin Firth since his turn as King Goerge VI in “The King’s Speech,” playing a character both alarmingly different and similar to his Academy-Award winning role. Firth sat down with us following the film’s Toronto premiere and spoke on what brought him to the role, the effect of being in constant motion, and the state of his career after and his most-celebrated turn yet, as well as the prospect of living down the role, making it clear that his career will continue to alter and shift as long as he’s around.
After a slow start caused many to worry that HBO’s massively popular “Game of Thrones,” could be losing some of its flair, this week’s episode solidified just how false that idea proved to be. Finally realizing the potential of fan-favorite character Daenerys Targaryen, the episode transformed what was on paper a simple act of empowerment into a defining statement of the show as a whole, using the long-held anticipation of such an event and once again reminding us why we tune in in the first place.
After many left last week’s episode cold, with Indiewire’s Alison Willmore calling it one of the series’ low points, this week’s episode marked another welcome return to form for the series and the season’s strongest yet, brilliantly pitting Peggy and Don against each other. The show also finally began to expand on some of its more surface level character, particularly Dawn, writing that the show “gave us the show’s first real look at Dawn after introducing her last year largely as a way to show off other characters’ attitudes with regard to race.”