By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire December 28, 2011 at 12:18PM
The indie world has been on a wild ride this year. Lars von Trier and Hilary Swank engaged in questionable behavior; Woody Allen and Kevin Hart had huge hits at the indie box office.
Below are the top ten most viewed stories on Indiewire this year:
Lars von Trier Causes a Brouhaha in Cannes
Praise was generally high for Lars von Trier's latest film "Melancholia" at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Unfortunately, his artistic achievement was overshadowed by the response to a comment he made next to an aghast Kirsten Dunst at the film's festival press conference. Three articles from the snafu were Indiewire's top articles of the year, and Indiewire readers were enthralled by the drama. First, the apology; then, the announcement that von Trier was considered persona non grata by the festival; finally, his announcement that he would never do a press conference again.
At the premiere of his new film "Red State" at the Sundance Film Festival's largest venue, Kevin Smith was greeted by members of the ultrafundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church. Smith bookended the screening with rants about what he sees as the morally bankrupt indie film industry, whose 10 choice quotes provided entertainment for everyone not in attendance.
It's rare for Woody Allen to hit it out of the park these days, but with his latest, "Midnight in Paris," Allen proved he was still a blockbuster auteur for the literary crowd. The box office story celebrating the film's success was our third most viewed stories.
Tim League and his Austin mainstay the Alamo Drafthouse proved they had their finger on Indiewire readers' pulse when they released their hilarious "Don't Text or Talk [During Movies]" PSA. Ninety-five comments debated the ethics of texting and talking at a movie theater -- and the ethics of posting a disgruntled costumer's complaint call on YouTube.
Comedian Kevin Hart took the indie box office surprise by grossing $2 million for his stand-up concert film "Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain." The comedian's fans came out in full force to celebrate the film's hit, making it our fifth most popular news story.
It was a sad day indeed when "Restrepo" director Tim Hetherington died in Libya while documenting the situation in the nation then led by Qaddafi. His "Restrepo" co-director Sebastian Junger had this to say: "Tim was one of the most courageous and principled journalists I have ever known. The good that he accomplished – both with his camera, and simply as a concerned person in some of the most devastated countries in the world – cannot be measured. I can’t believe he is truly gone."
Audiobook producers take note: Indiewire readers want to hear Werner Herzog read anything. A special recorded reading hosted by the New York Public Library of the instant classic children's book "Go the F**k to Sleep" delighted Indiewire readers this year.
Hilary Swank made us scratch our heads with a weird public appearance at the birthday celebration of questionably ethical Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In this editorial, Dana Harris and Austin Dale broke down the situation for Indiewire readers and ended by wondering "What were you thinking, Hilary?"
The always controversial Howard Feinstein made his case that festivals are too star hungry in his public letter explaining his resignation from the Sarajevo Film Festival.
The events at Zucotti Park and across the world were indeed presaged by a slew of documentaries released in the past few years. Indiewire suggested ten, and we got a nice list of additional examples in the comments.