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by Peter Knegt
August 28, 2012 12:48 PM
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Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Indies You Must See

Various "Hyde Park on Hudson," "How to Survive a Plague," "The Impossible," "Amour" and "Django Unchained"

Summer is essentially over. Maybe not by the calendar, but certainly when it comes to Hollywood. The "Men In Black 3"s and "The Expendables 2"s have come and gone, and for anyone who likes a mediocre $200 million-budgeted film aimed at teenaged boys, you're out of luck for at least a few months. (Editor's note: Yay.)

Not to say this summer didn't give cinema-goers plenty of nice alternatives, from rare summer studio fare that pleased audiences and (most) critics ("The Dark Knight Rises," "Prometheus," "Magic Mike") to a good dozen arthouse films ("Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Moonrise Kingdom" perhaps the MVPs in that regard). But fall is a whole other monster. And more often than not, it's a monster that's a good friend to any cinephile.

The final months of 2012's specialty release schedule should easily fulfill the needs of any film lover. There's works from auteurs both international and domestic, a considerable documentary presence, many biopics and the annual plethora of Oscar-bait. And Indiewire has decided to offer the following list of 30 notable titles to watch for.

In addition, IW sorted those 30 and a few dozen extra via the calendar, listing the releases by date and giving each its own page complete with a ton of information (cast, distributor, synopsis, trailer, etc.).

It's more than likely said calendar will find a few notable additions once the Venice and Toronto dust settles. Films like Terrence Malick's "To The Wonder," Brian DePalma's "Passion," Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini "Imogene," and scores of others, remain distributor free. A number of them could find themselves in theaters by year's end, but for now no films without release dates or distributors are included in this list.

Of note: Indiewire's list veers away from studio efforts that very well could be high on one's fall to-see list. Defining what is and is not a "specialty film" is murky at best so we are simply sticking to including any film released from a independent distrubutor or an indie division of a studio.  But this rule remains problematic on numerous occasions. Many "studio films" specifically that would have surely been on and perhaps even near the top of this list include Ben Affleck's "Argo," Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski's "Cloud Atlas," Rian Johnson's "Looper," Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," and Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables."

All of those films have film pages, which can be found amidst full listings for September, October, November and December.

But before treading through those listings, consider the following 30 films first. From Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino and Gus Van Sant to L. Ron Hubbard, Leo Tolstoy and FDR, a fall indie preview begins on the next page.


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  • Me | August 29, 2012 3:09 AMReply

    Dont forget On The Road and Noah Baumbachs black and white film with Gretat Gerwig.

  • Nadir F. | August 29, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    OK - enough about indie-film race relations for a moment. Can anyone explain the ridiculous music on the Wuthering Heights trailer? Definitely a white boy edit.

  • Proj | September 4, 2012 4:17 PM

    I think that music is a result of the pop-up ad, but I couldn't shut it off. The actual trailer has no music and it's quite effective.

  • JUNE | August 28, 2012 2:12 PMReply

    Is this is order? Please say no.

  • frida n. | August 28, 2012 1:07 PMReply

    Your press for movies of color is pathetic. Your editorial leadership is lily white and horrible. Shadow and Act makes you feel like you have a pass. But this site is trash when it comes to it's press for anybody that does not look like you. You have not one Latino or Asian or Native or Middle Eastern or African film here. You have two Black American ones relegated to 28 and 30 that you write about like an afterthought. You make no attempts to be inclusive to anything that is not in your lily white world. And. You have just been called on it. I'm certain this comment will be deleted. But you read it and you know it is true. Get a life.

  • Crisp | August 29, 2012 1:58 PM

    I hope too that this list is not in order. The colored people's films being at the end of the list says a lot about what the author values and feels is "better." Indiewire is kind of like the Republican convention of the independent film universe. Everyday they tell us "others" WE BUILT IT, so the rest of you can stay out. You report on the obscure non-ethnic festivals and conferences but I can count on one hand the number of articles about our Latino festivals or those of other colored people.

  • Daniel | August 28, 2012 9:54 PM

    Two things: "Middle of Nowhere" isnt Ava DuVernay's directorial debut. That was "I Will Follow" released through AFFRM a few years ago. The other more interesting issue is Frida N's comment about there being two Black American films on the list. Does the fact that "The Paperboy" is directed by Lee Daniels, a black man, make it a black film? Interesting...

  • Peter Knegt | August 28, 2012 3:25 PM


    Of course we won't delete it. But I must ask you - Do you have any suggestions for the types of films you note that have distribution this Fall? There sadly and simply are very few quality Latino or Asian or Native or Middle Eastern or African films that have US distribution and are coming out this fall. I agree it's largely a lily white world. But as far as I'm concerned, Indiewire simply just lives in. We try and be as inclusive as possible, but we can't correct the sad state that is minority representation in cinema ourselves.