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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
August 28, 2012 12:48 PM
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Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Indies You Must See

1. The Master (September 14) &  2. Django Unchained (December 25)

Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson ("Master") and Quentin Tarnatino ("Django")
Casts: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern ("Master"); Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson ("Django")
Distributors: The Weinstein Company (both)

Why Are They "Must Sees"? Harvey Weinstein and his Weinstein Company are clearly looking to outdo themselves (something of a feat after two consecutive best picture winners) this fall with a mighty, mighty duo: Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."

Arguably the year's two most anticipated films, they'll essentially bookend the season with September 14th and December 25th release dates, respectively. The former -- as one is surely aware of by now -- is suggestively a veiled take on Scientology starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a L. Ron Hubbard-esque cult leader and Joaquin Phoenix as a drifter who becomes his right hand man. The latter follows a pre-Civil War era slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to take down a brutal plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Footage at Cannes from both films wowed pretty much everyone, while "The Master" is already earning raves from advance screenings ahead of its Venice premiere.

Check out the films' trailers below:

3. The Sessions (October 26)

Director: Ben Lewin
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Why is it a "Must See"? The film formerly known as "The Surrogate" is the second half of Fox Searchlight's impressive duo of Sundance pick-ups (the first being summer release "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which has clearly worked out for them).

READ MORE: 'The Surrogate' Turns Sex Therapy Into a Bittersweet Showcase for Helen Hunt and John Hawkes

The newly named "Sessions" comes out in late October, offering audiences the real life story of Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes), a poet and journalist with an iron lung who contacts a professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him lose his virginity. Remarkably heartfelt and built to please crowds (it won the audience award at Sundance), Oscar noms for Hawkes, Hunt and William H. Macy (as O'Brien's priest) are surely -- and reasonably -- on Fox Searchlight's mind.

Check out the trailer below:

4. Hyde Park on Hudson (December 7)

Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams, Olivia Colman, Samuel West
Distributor: Focus Features

Why is it a "Must See"? While the Spielbergian take on Abraham Lincoln might be the Presidential biopic on more people's minds this fall, Roger Michell's take on FDR is an indie alternative with quite a bit going for itself. 

"Hyde Park on Hudson" finds Bill Murray playing Franklin Roosevelt over a June 1939 weekend when the King and Queen of England (Samuel West and Olivia Colman) visit his home in upstate New York. The story is told through FDR's friend and neighbor Daisy (Laura Linney), and reads like "The King's Speech" meets "My Week With Marilyn," which as far as a second Oscar nomination for Murray is concerned, bodes well.

Check out the trailer below:


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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.