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December 23, 2003 2:00 AM
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Actors, Directors, and Industry Execs Sound Off on the Best of 2003

Actors, Directors, and Industry Execs Sound Off on the Best of 2003

compiled by Wendy Mitchell



Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" received the most top-10 votes from the actors, directors, and industry execs that we surveyed. Photo courtesy Focus Features.


Our opinions on the best films of 2003 aren't the only ones that count. indieWIRE decided to ask some of the actors, directors, and industry folks that made news in the indie film world this year to share their top 10 films of 2003. Read on to see what Steven Beer, Ben Coccio, Peter Dinklage, Liz Garbus, Mark Gill, Marie Therese Guirgis, John Cameron Mitchell, Paul Schneider, Peter Sollett, and Ryan Werner thought were the tops of 2003.


STEVEN BEER, head of film practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP and producer

"Pieces of April"

"The Station Agent"

"Lost in Translation"

"The Hebrew Hammer"

"State of Denial"

"Capturing the Friedmans"

"Secretary"

"Talk to Her"

"Mystic River"

"What Alice Saw"

BEN COCCIO, director of "Zero Day"

(in personal chronological order)

"Lilya-4-Ever"

Lukas Moodysson just keeps getting better and better.

"Speedo"

This documentary is about MY people.

Eric Fensler's "G.I. Joes" PSAs

An interchangeable collection of 25 shorts. Here are a few of them:
http://fenslerfilms.heavengallery.com/

"28 Days Later"

Dr. Who on Speed. Nuff said.

"School of Rock"

Doing this kind of movie this well may be the most difficult thing a
director can do.

"Lost in Translation"

Everybody is right about this one.

"Mystic River," "Kill Bill"

I saw these two back to back. An interesting juxtaposition, what with both of them hinging on revenge and both being from such different ends of the continuum.

"Elephant"

"Bad Santa"

I haven't laughed that hard at a movie in a long, long time.

"Raising Victor Vargas"

PETER DINKLAGE, actor, "The Station Agent" and "Elf"

"Lost in Translation"

"Dirty Pretty Things"

"Finding Nemo"

"American Splendor"

"All the Real Girls"

"Whale Rider"

"Pieces of April"

"A Mighty Wind"

"Stevie"

"Spellbound"

LIZ GARBUS, director of "Girlhood," co-founder of Moxie Firecracker

"Girlhood" -- and I especially like the director :-)

"Raising Victor Vargas"

"To Be and To Have"

"American Splendor"

"The Magdalene Sisters"

"Whale Rider"

"Mystic River"

"Spellbound"

MARK GILL, President of Warner Independent Pictures

(in alphabetical order)

"American Splendor"

"Cold Mountain"

"Dirty Pretty Things"

"The House of Sand & Fog"

"Lost in Translation"

"The Magdalene Sisters"

"Mystic River"

"21 Grams"

"Under the Tuscan Sun"

"Whale Rider"

MARIE THERESE GUIRGIS, Head of Acquisitions, Wellspring

(in no order)

"Mystic River"

"Friday Night"

"All the Real Girls"

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"

"Divine Intervention"

"Love and Diane"

"Open Hearts"

"In This World"

"Something's Gotta Give"

"Platform"

The most affecting film I saw this year was Mark Romanek's video for "Hurt" by Johnny Cash. If that counted it would be #1 on my list.

JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, director of the forthcoming "Untitled Sex Project"

I haven't been a good boy and seen everything, but here are a few:

"Tarnation"

A new kind of documentary made completely on Apple's I-movie for about 200 bucks. Director Jonathan Caouette has been documenting his life with his schizophrenic mom since he was 11. He uses that footage mixed with bits of his own short films, fragments of pop culture, reenactments and outright lies to create the most powerful and original movie of the year (doesn't have a distributor but will play Sundance 2004).

"Angels in America"

Still the most intelligent and and humane attempt to explain the American spiritual predicament.

"Lost in Translation"

Delicate and melancholy and funny. I loved it.

"My Architect: A Son's Journey"

Starts off as just another doc and then blows you away emotionally.

"The Fog of War"

Chilling and amazing.

"Spellbound"

Sweet and moving.

"Finding Nemo"

A hoot.

"American Splendor"

Made me all warm at the end. Hope Davis rocks.

"Capturing the Friedmans"

Creepy but cool.

"City of God"

Bravura technique, makes me want to see what the filmmakers do next.

PAUL SCHNEIDER, actor, "All the Real Girls"

(in alphabetical order)

"Carnage"

"Cremaster 3"

"Dogville" (film fest viewing)

"In This World"

"Irreversible"

"My Architect"

"Pirates of the Caribbean"

"Rivers and Tides"

"School of Rock"

"To Be And To Have"

PETER SOLLETT, director of "Raising Victor Vargas"

(in alphabetical order)

"Au Hasard Balthazar"

For demonstrating that the poetry is in the action, meaning in the silences.

"Horns and Halos"

For blurring the line between the mainstream and its slipstream.

"Lost In Translation"

For Bill Murray's perfectly subtle performance.

"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"

For doing what Hollywood does best and what it frequently does not.

"Mondays in the Sun"

For the respect and dignity it gives its characters.

"Old School"

For accomplishing exactly what it intended to.

"The Station Agent"

For its patience and faith in its cast.

"Sweet Sixteen"

For the continuing inspiration of Ken Loach's fearless work.

"Whale Rider"

For turning the geographically specific into the emotionally universal.

All The Films I Haven't Seen Yet

For why must they all be released at the same time?

CHRISTINE VACHON, president of Killer Films

(in no order)

"American Splendor"

"Shattered Glass"

Especially Peter Sarsgaard.

"Old School"

So funny.

"Camp"

It rocks.

"The Company"

"Party Monster"

How could the Spirits have overlooked Mac and Seth??

"Pirates of the Caribbean"

"My Flesh and Blood"

"The Triplets of Belleville"

"Lost In Translation"

Well, I haven't seen it yet -- but everyone else at Killer says I will love it.

RYAN WERNER, head of theatrical distribution, Palm Pictures

"Mystic River"

"Elephant"

"Friday Night"

"demonlover"

"Kill Bill"

"The Man Without a Past"

"Spider"

"All The Real Girls"

"The Barbarian Invasions"

"The Son"

Also: "American Splendor," "The Flower of Evil," "The Secret Lives of Dentists," "School of Rock," "Ten," "Unknown Pleasures"

And had it been released in theatres, "Angels In America" would surely have been at the top of my list.

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