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The Indie Film Industry's Top Films of 2013 and New Year Resolutions

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire December 24, 2013 at 10:42AM

We asked our friends in the indie film world to share their favorite films of 2013 and resolutions for the new year.

By now, virtually every film critic has offered up a top 10 list surveying the year in cinema. But what about the rest of the film industry? Countless distributors, programmers, publicists and other film professionals see hundreds of new movies each year. So Indiewire has made it a tradition to give them some space in this conversation. Here are some of the most influential indie film people working today weighing in with their favorites of the year. In addition to inviting them to provide their top 10 lists of film and TV, we also asked participants to share their new year resolutions as well as what they're anticipating in 2014.

Michael Barker

Co-President, Sony Pictures Classics

I've expanded my view of what it means to be "cinematic" after reading David Thomson's amazing book "The Big Screen" and A.O. Scott's excellent essay in The New York Times about auteurism no longer being the province of cineastes but now a commodity for the masses (we are all auteurs now with our personal cameras).

This has been an amazing year for movies, television, theater, and books (especially from astounding female authors like Kate Atkinson, Eleanor Catton, Donna Tartt, and Nobel Prize winner (yay!) Alice Munro).

With the usual disclaimer that I am not including Sony Pictures Classics films (more difficult than usual in a year that includes so many films I adore), here are the best cinematic experiences I had in 2013:

Whitney Museum of American Art

This exhibition of a lifetime confirmed Edward Hopper as America's greatest painter and visual storyteller. Each gallery had scores of drawings detailing every stage of his process in creating each major painting. And there they hung, before the exit of each room, those glorious completed Hopper masterpieces framed and presented perfectly. Edward Hopper is a master filmmaker. Think about it. When you look at Nighthawks, there are stories within stories in the context of a complete world (it's all about the light). You say he's not a director of motion pictures? Look at the drawings for Road and Trees and I dare you to tell me those trees aren't moving!

Truly a great American movie. No filmmaker understands America like Alexander Payne. Detractors from this film have never been to Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, or Texas. This one gets deeper with every viewing (I have already seen it four times).

Episodes "Felina," "Ozymandias," and "To'hajiilee" and MAD MEN Episode "In Care Of"

American independent filmmaking doesn't get any better than these shows.

A play by Annie Baker, directed by Sam Gold presented at Playwrights Horizons

Imagine you're in the film The Purple Rose of Cairo and you the audience are characters on the screen, larger than life, observing the interior of the movie theater watching and eavesdropping on the detailed everyday lives and interactions between the ushers and the projectionist. A mind blower on realism AND heightened reality. Sam, when are you going to make that movie?

David O. Russell has that Preston Sturges gift of matching his words with his actors perfectly without losing any of his own rich and eccentric character.

Finally a major motion picture undiluted on the subject of American slavery. The artistic partnership of Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender is now the stuff of cinematic legend.

A great artist who many of us thought was unknowable. James Lapine's perfect documentary gives us the depth of the man and his process.

8 THE ZAPRUDER FILM of the JFK assassination slowed down to 17 minutes accompanied by a reading by Don DeLillo from his novel Underworld at the Telluride Film Festival.

A definitive experience that went to the unsettling heart of an event that changed our outer and inner lives.

JJ Abrams could be a 21st-century Howard Hawks.

10 WORKERS LEAVING THE LUMIERE FACTORY IN LYON (1895, Lumiere Brothers, 45 seconds).

The first movie ever made reshot on the same location in 2013. I (along with over a hundred European film directors, actors, and film professionals) was directed in a movie by Quentin Tarantino, Jerry Schatzberg, Michael Cimino, and Fatih Akin this year. Film savior Thierry Fremaux at his amazing film festival in Lyon orchestrated something indescribable. First he screened for us the original Lumiere film and then we became actors, recreating the original film 118 years later, playing modern workers coming out of that same building four times, directed by four auteurs. Tarantino asked us to be natural, Schatzberg calmly conducted us all as one unit, Cimino spurred us on as if in an action film, and under Fatih Akin's guidance we were in an avant-garde movie.

Performance of the Year
YouTube, April 11, 2013

Glenda Jackson speaking before the House of Commons on the death of Maggie Thatcher. To those of you who remember Glenda Jackson as a great actress, she's back. To those of you who are under 40 and don't know who she is (she won two Oscars for Best Actress in 1970 and 1973 without doing any interviews or even showing up), it's time you did. She gave up acting decades ago and became a successful Member of Parliament. Here she gives an 8-minute speech following a bunch of politicians, one after another, canonizing Maggie Thatcher. Glenda Jackson stands up in her eloquent, fiery, direct and classy way and blasts these guys to kingdom come. The subtext of the speech goes something like this: "Are you guys out of your fucking minds? Have you forgotten what she did to our society and why we threw her out of this place?" Her colleagues are so incensed they try to censure her for bad decorum, but the Speaker of the House of Commons demands they show Ms Jackson respect. Wow. If you saw this live in person you'd give her the Tony. If you saw this on a small screen she deserves the Emmy. And if you watched it on a big screen I say give her a special Oscar as actor and humanitarian. Glenda Jackson rules in the new age of cinematic technology.

Tom Bernard

Co-President, Sony Pictures Classics

1 Wolf of Wall Street

2 Nebraska

3 Spring Breakers

4 La Grande Bellezza

5 Mud

6 Second episode of the third season of Boardwalk Empire

7 Howard Stern's Steve Carell

8 Act of Killing

9 Bethlehem

10 A Hijacking

Looking forward to discovering great movies in 2014…………


To get the State of New Jersey to pass a bill that creates a competitive Film and Television Tax Rebate incentive plan….

Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Eugene Hernandez

Director of Digital Strategy, Film Society of Lincoln Center. Indiewire co-founder and former editor-in-chief.

1. "Inside Llewyn Davis," directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen [Movie, Theatrical]
The best new movie I saw this year, a humorous but achingly insightful portrait of a nearly famous artist and his struggles marrying maturity with musical success.

2. "Manakamana," directed by Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez [Movie, Locarno/NYFF]
A simple journey comprised of numerous short, real time trips to and from a mountaintop temple. Beautiful.

3. "Scandal," created by Shonda Rhimes [TV series, ABC]
Woven throughout my year and watched in spurts via my Apple TV, this series  offered a long form escape from the cinema. Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope is a terrific TV character, tough and tender, bright and bitchy. Love her.  

4. "12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen [Movie, Theatrical]
The brutality that McQueen depicts is stirring debates but the beauty captured through extended scenes of tranquil Southern landscapes and the poignant songs sung by slaves offer pained and powerful flourishes that make this exceptional film memorable.

5. "Last Summer," directed by Mark Thiedeman [Movie, Outfest/Newfest]
A good friend directed a really good movie - set in the rural South - the story of two boys dealing with the end of their relationship and the start of the rest of their lives.

6. "These Birds Walk," directed by Omar Mullick & Bassam Tariq [Movie, Theatrical]
Simply put, this is one of the best new documentaries of the year.

7. The Outs," created by Adam Goldman [Miniseries, Vimeo]
The acclaimed low budget series about the lives of 20-somethings in Brooklyn reached its conclusion this spring. Taken as a whole, its as good as any American indie relationship comedy I've seen in recent years.

8. "Wolf of Wall Street," directed by Martin Scorsese [Movie, Theatrical]
Excess and obsession viewed through an American lens. It would be solely scary and sad if it weren't also so outrageous and funny.

9. "At Berkeley," directed by Frederick Wiseman [Movie, Theatrical]
A few years ago I wrote, in Indiewire, that Wiseman is the greatest documentary filmmaker working today. He still deserves that title.

10. "Happy," by Pharrell [24 hour music video, Online]
Infectious and clever. It just may get an Oscar nomination (the song is from "Despicable Me 2." Quite a year for Pharrell, huh?

Runner-up: Chloe Goes to Disneyland (YouTube). Her side-eyed glance says it all.

2) Resolutions: Mission driven film institutions and independent art house cinemas are facing an array of challenges, from changing moviegoer viewing habits to the demise of film prints. We need to resolve to be strategic, nimble and collaborative as we aim to preserve and promote cinema culture and find new ways to engage artists and audiences alike. Easier said than done, but I'm quite optimistic.

3) Looking Forward: Tie: Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" & Andrew Haigh's "Looking." 

Fox Searchlight "12 Years a Slave."

Brian Brooks
Managing Editor
Deadline Hollywood Contributor (and former Managing Editor of Indiewire)

I stuck to movies that were on the big screen, no diss to TV.

1. 12 Years A Slave - Required viewing, period.

2. The Wolf Of Wall Street - I had to go to the restroom part way through this three hour insanity and was scared to leave. The quaaludes scene is worth it alone - but constantly seducing. And Leo is Hot again! (thanks for the nudity).

3. The Act Of Killing - It breaks a lot of rules. It's beautiful, has dynamic characters you sorta freak out about kinda warming up to some of the people.

4. Blue Is The Warmest Color - Love pretty much sucks. It lives up to the hype. Go see it!

5. Frances Ha - I live in New York and I have some rich friends and also have awful jet lag when I go to Europe.

6. Wadjda - Such a great movie. I watched it on a plane and so regretted not seeing it on the big screen. It's such a surprise and so sweet. Not being short listed is a real shame.

7. Inside Llewyn Davis - Fantastic film. Coens, cats and music I like… Done.

8. The Square - An unbelievable ride through history being made -- and yet so personal.

9. Nebraska - You go Bruce Dern and June Squibb - fabulous performances.

10. I Killed My Mother - A crime it took so long to be released in the U.S.A. Great movie. Xavier Dolan is a filmmaking star!

Runners up:

Kill Your Darlings
Fruitvale Station
Dallas Buyers Club
Lee Daniel's The Butler
20 Feet From Stardom
Inequality For All
The Broken Circle Breakdown
Stories We Tell
Our Nixon
Spring Breakers
All Is Lost

Peter Biskind

Author, "My Lunches With Orson" and programmer, FilmColumbia

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

The Past

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Fruitvale Station

Breaking Bad


Masters of Sex

Game of Thrones

The Good Wife

Dan Braun

Co-President, Submarine Entertainment

Breaking Bad

The Grandmaster 
American Hustle
We're the Millers
Muscle Shoals
20 Ft from Stardom

Big Star Nothing Can Hurt me

Three out of my ten are music docs, and these are some of the best in recent memory. 

Breaking Bad is one of the great TV shows of all time, more addictive than meth. It was a great binge. Thank you, Breaking Bad.

We're the Millers was the most raw and inappropriate  comedy of the year. A subversive, laugh-out-loud gem. 

There are only a few filmmakers who can produce a real honest to goodness epic. Wong Kar Wai succeeded with The Grandmaster. 

Mud was a great surprise and a future classic; McConaughey has proven to be consistently great starting with "The Lincoln Lawyer."

American Hustle is a great acting ensemble, but Jennifer Lawrence stands out and will probably win the Oscar again.

Harrison Ford was outstanding in 42. 

Blackfish brings pain and sorrow to my heart. These majestic and intelligent animals in captivity are forced to perform like circus clowns; I see this film as an indictment of some of the worst instincts of the human race. 

(Disclosures: The last four on the list were sold by Submarine. I haven't seen Blue Jasmine yet, otherwise I'm sure it would be on the list.


I hereby resolve that all my resolutions this year will be better than all my resolutions last year

Most Looking forward to in 2014:

Whatever Woody Allen movie comes out in 2014 and the new Godzilla movie.

Charlotte Cook
Director of Programming, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

20 Feet From Stardom
12 O’Clock Boys
Act of Killing
Forest of the Dancing Spirits
Garden of Eden
Spring & Arnaud
Stories We Tell
Tough Bond
The Unknown Known

2) I think the goal when working in documentary is always to find more funding avenues for filmmakers, but specifically I'd like us to find more funding for artistic documentaries, that perhaps don't have that obvious audience/issue. I think we at festivals can also be finding better ways to deal with the pressure of premieres so that the filmmakers don't suffer because of it.

3) As I'm right in the thick of the screening period for Hot Docs I'm enjoying, and looking forward to, seeing the exciting work for next year's festival, and then the absolute high of bringing that work to an audience at the festival.

David Courier
Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival

TOP 10 List of films and TV


American Hustle

Fruitvale Station

12 Years A Slave

20 Feet From Stardom

Cutie and the Boxer


The Way, Way Back

“The Good Wife”

“Top of the Lake”


To let go a bit and delegate responsibilities without fixating on the details.

Looking Forward To:

Sundance London 2014

Christine Davila

Program Associate, Sundance Film Festival

When it comes to end of the year lists, it's fairly easy to recall mine. I just think of the content that MOST wrecked my soul; to tears, in awe, in laughter, in shock, and gripped my heart.   

In no order:

Orange is the New Black - At first I suspected this series of a white upper middle class women lead in prison would not be able to deliver the shady, dark and authentic experience, as much as the funny it promised, but after last season's finale, I'm more than convinced and recognized another layer to Piper that's been so cleverly developed.

Kenny Powers Eastside & Down    - There is something about endearing oneself to a flawed character in which you brush off his irresponsibility,  and immorality because of his moments of brilliance

To The Wonder by Terrence Malik - I don't know if its because I'm getting older but I was able to reconcile rather than be infuriated about how relationships could be born like a big bang, then die, then come back half dead, half alive, and so on and so forth…. that there is just complete irrationality surrounding love and that its always elusive.

Narco Cultura by Saul Schwartz - Eye opening and incredibly shot.  There is much to discuss and contextualize here about the historical and socio-realities of the mexican american experience.

Who is Dayani Cristal? by Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal- I love the narrative structure, and unapologetic meta quality.  Out of all the border crossing films I've seen, this is the least didactic, most originally artful, and therefore most effective

Halley by Sebastian Hoffman  - an existential zombie movie.  Form and content so spellbindingly married.

The Dirties by Matt Johnstone- Clearly a taboo subject for a theme, but the film's audacity delivers a scale of depth, that was only achieved by getting this uncomfortably close.

Act of Killing -Joshua Oppenheimer   I can honestly say I've never had as many long-lasting and passionate arguments about any other film this year than I've had about this film.  Which is why I love it.

Water & Power - An LA noir pulp love letter to the city of Angels by chicano wordsmith Richard Montoya

Spring Breakers - like a good acid trip, I still get neon flashbacks from seeing this film.  I don't find the provocation totally novel as much as I love getting high and drunk off the  hyper sensational sensory audiovisual blasts, like I did with Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void.

In 2014 I plan on broadening beyond a curatorial/programming focus and immersing myself in other parts of the ecosystem of supporting film as a tool for change and social awareness.  This is in part because I'm now running a film festival and I'm now obligated to negotiate the financial support of sponsors, the support of the local government and current politics where you place the festival, as well as integrating rather than inserting oneself within the grassroots social services community who have many more years in the grind working towards  towards democratizing rights and culture of arts. I also hope to continue to review and spotlight films that I don't think are getting a fair shake out there through my blog.

I'm looking forward to more filmmakers embracing the online distribution platform so they get to distribute their films directly to audience.  It seems like we are sharing more information among us in the filmmaking community about what it was like to work with so and so, and using such and such, which helps us as a whole make better decisions.   I think documentary is going to continue to explode and give dramatic features a run for their money, because the documentary grounds are where aesthetics, truth and innovation are being smashed up and reinvented, transforming perception and creating new perspectives.  I'm also really looking forward to launching the Ambulante Documentary film festival in California.  There's something both old school and radical in the concept of traveling to different neighborhoods to bring and unpack a storytelling experience.

Sony Pictures Classics "Before Midnight"

Jeff Deutchman

Paramount Home Media

1. Before Midnight

2. The Act of Killing

3. Blue is the Warmest Color

4. Spring Breakers

5. Leviathan

6. Her

7. Post Tenebras Lux

8. 12 Years a Slave

9. No

10. Gravity/The Past (different approaches to the mystery of causality)

*excluding Paramount pictures from my list to avoid any perceived conflict of interests, but I dig a lot of those too!

Amy Dotson

Deputy Director & Head of Programming, IFP  

    Escape From Tomorrow – It's been a long time since I've been completely, utterly surprised by a film and from the Sundance premiere to the expertly executed marketing materials, this is the one for better or worse I can't get out of my head.

    The Killing – Amy Seimetz masterful, transformative turn as a troubled, young mother anchored a strong season and even, dare I say it, overshadowed  powerful performances by veteran actors Elias Koteas and Peter Sarsgaard. Thank you Netflix for bringing it back from the dead – again!

    We The Animals – This beautiful debut novel by Justin Torres is currently being developed into a feature film by Jeremiah Zegar (In a Dream). Cried through the book, sobbed through the script and well, not ashamed to say that the screenplay reading nearly wrecked me. And I'm not a crier.  2014 list makers, don't say I didn't warn you…

    We Always Lie to Strangers- As a gal with Oklahoma roots, I came into the film with high hopes and a heart full of Branson memories of my first Tanya Tucker concert and panning for gold in the stream near the Comfort Inn. AJ Schnack and David Wilson sure delivered, nailing the passions, kitch and perseverance that makes us midwestern folks a proud and wacky lot.

    Fruitvale Station- Ryan Coogler has a long career ahead of him, as much for creating the indelible performances in his incredibly moving film as for his infectious goodwill, giving spirit and graciousness to anyone who comes along his path on the fest circuit. A class act we could all take a page from.

    Top of the Lake – Totally twisted, well written mystery and Peggy Olson with a Kiwi accent. How could you not watch?

    Dallas Buyers Club – MM has come a long way since "Alright, Alright, Alright." Can't wait for True Detective this winter…

    Sharknado- Ian Ziering and a waterspout that lifts sharks out of the ocean and plops them in LA? F'ing brilliant.

    Frozen – My first movie with my son was a feminist Disney film. I never thought I'd see the day that the princess chose the love of her sister rather than the bumbling, bo-hunk(s). My heart soared and the 3-D effects weren't too shabby neither.

    #Post Modem – Jillian Meyer and Lucas Leyva are the future of film. Or whatever it is we're going to call visual storytelling five years from now.

Resolution is to watch more film and television, read more books, and discover new content online for myself and my kids…if only to keep up with my voracious, 95 year old grandmother Doris Puckett who had read, cast and practically produced the 50 Shades of Gray novels in her mind before any of us even knew that crazy little self published, e-book existed.  Without her to guide my tastes (and my brood too),  I'd still be eating Ho-Ho's and watching Melrose Place on heavy rotation.

Looking Forward to a year ensconced in the Made in New York Media Center by IFP getting schooled and humbled by all the technologists and storytellers who will teach me to look at creators and collaborations in a whole new light. And hanging with my kids there, creating new worlds, having epic pretends at the lego station and laughing as our clothes magically change colors in the coolest bathroom in Brooklyn…

'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Britta Erickson

Festival Director, Denver Film Society

Top Ten List:

My self-imposed parameters for my top ten list were that it I would only includes film (no TV) and only films which have gotten a theatrical release in Denver as of December 22. I also chose to leave off any film that were given a Red Carpet Gala or Special Presentation slot at the Starz Denver Film Festival - that would have felt like picking a favorite or two favorite children. And, I decided to go with alpha-order vs ranking them numerically outside of my #1...


2.-10. (alpha order):



The films that my parameters kept me from including are many but of note: HER (haven't gotten to see it yet and it won't open in Denver until mid-January but I suspect it would have made my top ten otherwise), and Starz Denver Film Festival darlings - CODE BLACK & DOOMSDAYS (neither have gotten a theatrical release).


In 2014, I hope to continue to help support and move Colorado-based filmmaking forward. Working with the Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media and our state's new incentive program, I hope to have the time and space to help further nurse and develop more robust filmmaker support programs through the Denver Film Society including a filmmaker fund. There is much good and creative work happening here in our Mile-High City and our state but how do we look more like Austin? I'm resolving myself to create those necessary in-roads via grant-making, education and exhibition.

Looking Forward:

Just one thing? Tough. Looking forward to so much. GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and GONE GIRL - projects by directors that I greatly love and admire. But, I guess the "one-work" I'm looking forward to most is the one I was last year looking forward to most...THE MONUMENTS MEN. I came to the film industry via Art History and thusly, a film based on the true story of a fight by art academics to preserve art and culture - directed/produced and starring George Clooney is something I can't lie about being excited about. Given, my anticipation for this project keeps waning a bit.

Magnolia Pictures "Blackfish"

Nolan A. Gallagher

Founder and CEO, Gravitas Ventures

I had everyone from the staff weigh in so all 10 of the Gravitas voices could be heard.

Mia Bruno- Frances Ha for returning dignity to young women in their twenties.

Chad Miller - BEFORE MIDNIGHT – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke once again prove that in this endless age of unimaginative retreads, that heartfelt voices of originality reward those who support independent risk-takers.

Michael Murphy- Kings of Summer.  I loved that fact that I laughed out loud several times and felt like I was watching to a certain extent Stand By Me for 2013.  The characters were compelling.  I had many adventures in the Cleveland Metroparks growing up and loved that fact that some of the film was shot in the "emerald necklace."

Rebecca Luna-Blackfish- The reason I stopped going to sea parks & zoos years ago. Wild animals are not meant to be kept in tiny spaces for our enjoyment and financial gain. Interesting that people are shocked when an elephant in a circus or orca kill someone but wouldn't you if you were taken from your home and forced to be something you're not.

Brendan Gallagher- Breaking Bad – In the new era of the second-screen and instant commentary on social media, the final season was so riveting that I had to watch it at its regularly-scheduled time and with my phone off.

Melanie Miller- Season Six of SOA (aka SONS OF ANARCHY) blew my mind along with their clubhouse this season.  As their theme song states "you better have soul cuz when its business time, it's life or death." Sutter may be the soul of SOA but the shows rumbling heart is his amazing cast who bring his words to life with such raw emotion it's as if you're on the back of a bike & you're holding on for dear life.  It's thrilling & wild, with tinges of pain & a love for life on the edge.

Joe Wilka- Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere – With a series that makes its money on subverting genre expectations, the Game of Thrones showrunners unleashed their magnum-opus with the penultimate “Red Wedding” episode. Long awaited by fans – it shocked, horrified, and thrilled while also setting the internet on fire with captured audience reactions during its grisly climax.

Mark Lyons -Dog With A Blog  (Disney Channel)- for existing

Karia Brown- Criminal Minds - I have this fascination with crime fighting; something about catching the bad guy and bringing him/her to justice keeps my attention.

Nolan Gallagher- Shark Tank- because the show is excellently cast and produced and inspires millions of Americans to not be afraid to think differently

2) Resolutions: Tell us one or two things that you hope to do, change, question, improve, adjust, focus on in your professional life in 2013. Again, potential answers can be very broad, from something in your specific office or a certain project to something for the whole indie universe to consider. You can make them as personal or non-personal as you like.

I endeavor to have more 1 to 1 conversations with major media company execs to listen to their needs but also to invite them to think bolder and make bigger investments in independent filmmakers and documentarians.

3) Looking Forward: What is the one work- or entertainment-related thing that you are most looking forward to in 2013?

Bumping into friends and collaborators at all hours of the day in Park City, Austin, Cannes, Toronto, NYC, LA to name a few.

Howard Gertler


I've written my Top 10 without having seen a lot of the awards season's big guns, which I can savor better over the holiday break — Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, American Hustle. All Is Lost, Nebraska and Wolf of Wall Street.  But if I fall in love with any of them, it would certainly mean just having to somehow lengthen my list. (It's often the producer's job to fit 100 lbs into a 10-lb. bag). Anyway, in alpha order, a mix of both film and tv that moved me emotionally, one way or another, the most:

The Act of Killing — one of the most chilling and disturbing profiles of genocide's perpetrators that I've seen. Nightmare-inducing, which I mean as high praise.

The Crash Reel — as it relates to the parent-child struggle over self-determination, the "Terms of Endearment" of sports movies, and I also mean that as high praise.

Fruitvale Station — it's hard to make movies about contemporary social justice issues that don't feel like after-school specials — and this one tread the line expertly, letting the characters and story breathe and leaving the commentary to the audience and pundits

House of Cards — the first episode was one of my favorite David Fincher movies in a while. Nasty, funny and totally binge-worthy.

Orange Is The New Black — like the memoir on which it's based, the show explores issues of social and criminal justice in an insightful, empathetic and humorous way. Notable to see how it stealthily built word-of-mouth all summer to become a hit.

The "Red Wedding" episode of "Game of Thrones" —  reinforcing the power of simultaneous tv viewing, this was one of those times when you really did need social media to process what you'd just seen

Short Term 12 — with subtle and beautiful performances, perfectly-pitched direction and emotionally urgency, it gave "character drama" not just a good name, but the best one

12 Years A Slave — an impeccable artistic triumph and an appropriately horrific reckoning with our country's history. I may've flinched, but the director and actors certainly didn't as they explored slavery's heart of evil and madness

20 Feet From Stardom — soul-stirring music, deeply-felt characters, and the Lisa Fischer story (I used to listen to a lot of 98.7 KISS, so I was waiting for this). I've had Merry Clayton on heavy rotation since.

The World's End — the most fun that I had at the movies all summer — I can't resist a sci-fi mid-life crisis comedy with a Saint Etienne set piece in the middle.

Other films I loved that I urge anyone who's actually read this far to seek out: After Tiller, American Promise, Computer Chess, Cutie and The Boxer, Dirty Wars,  Enough Said, First Cousin Once Removed, Kill Your Darlings, Let The Fire Burn, Stories We Tell, What Maisie Knew

For 2014, I resolve to continually push the boundaries of what I produce, whether it's making familiar formats fresh or exploring new ones.

I don't want to jinx anything work-related by naming it — there's a lot that I'm ridiculously excited about, with some close friends and lifelong creative inspirations who make me feel very lucky to do what I do. I am looking forward to the series "Looking" — its creative team is terrific, and I've been eagerly awaiting Andrew Haigh's next one.

"Blue Is the Warmest Color"

Sophie Gluck

Sophie Gluck & Associates

1) Top 10 List 
** Note this is in alphabetical order


A film experience like no other this year. Left me knocked out and speechless. Great direction by Steve McQueen


Brainy, funny, talky. Love Linklater's mise-en-scene and how it integrates the settings into the narrative: the airport, the car, the house by the ocean, the hotel room. Hawke and Delpy are at their best. Linklater is the US indie answer to one of my favorite directors: Eric Rohmer.

Another unique, sad and beautiful film experience. The scene in the café where Adele sees Emma for the first time since their breakup is one of the most moving this year. Love how language and literature are an essential part of the film and i like to see a film character affected by what she reads, often a key experience during adolescence.
BURNING BUSH (full disclosure: I worked on it at Toronto and NY Film Festivals)

Agnieszka Holland is one of the best directors working today. While this was made for television - HBO Europe, it's incredibly cinematic. With a unique and personal perspective on historical events, it's gripping from beginning to end. 

FAUST (full disclosure: I worked on the NY release)

Sokurov's vision of the myth is trippy, dreamy, sometimes hilarious, always insane. Bruno Delbonnel's cinematography is literally out of this world. I loved being immersed in the character's journey.


One of the most oddly pleasurable films of the year. Fantastic art direction and design. Meticulously crafted without being gimmicky. Ultimately very moving. And love that Scarlet Johansson's voice is a fully embodied character.

IN THE HOUSE (full disclosure: I worked on the NY release)

Francois Ozon has written one of the best screenplays of the year, witty, twisted, surprising, always playful. Love how literature, fiction, and imagination are at the center of the film. The great Fabrice Luchini gives one of his best performances.


My favorite Coen Brothers movie in years.  Human, sad, beautiful. Again, amazing cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. The night scenes, all shadows and reflections, are to die for. No to mention the musical score.

THE PAST (full disclosure: I worked on the NY release)

Asghar Farhadi can do no wrong. Love how he creates a complex web of relationships between several very flawed characters and across generations. Has some of the best performances of the year, from Ali Mosaffa to Bérénice Béjo, Tahar Rahim, Pauline Burlet and the best child performance. 

STRANGER BY THE LAKE (full disclosure: I worked on it. Technically has not been released yet (It will in January 2014 but was shown at the NY Fim Festival.)

A gem from a truly original but still relatively unknown French writer-director Alain Guiraudie. STRANGER BY THE LAKE and The Film Society of Lincoln Center's survey of his films should change that. Guiraudie has created a minimalist gem, all beautifully shot in natural light.  One of a kind.

2) Resolutions:

Will hopefully initiate my 8 year-old daughter to the pleasures of Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Marx Brothers amongst others and continue showing her world animation, from the likes of Miyazaki. 

With that in mind, i would like to offer more viewing options to her elementary school so that teachers have a greater variety to offer the children than the latest animated blockbusters. The next generation of film viewers is in school. I find it important to open their eyes and minds to world cinema and i would like to be more active in film education.

3) Looking Forward: What is the one work- or entertainment-related thing that you are most looking forward to in 2013?

I have not had a chance to figure out what the exciting entertainment-related things will be in the new year so I will let myself be surprised!
"Crystal Fairy."

Carlos A. Gutiérrez
Co-Founding Director, Cinema Tropical

1) Top Ten List of Latin American films (in alphabetical order):

- Crystal Fairy (Sebastián Silva, Chile). A quirky film from Silva, which confirms him as a great director.
- Gloria (Sebastián Lelio, Chile). A fantastic character study with an amazing performance by Paulina García.
- El alcalde / The Mayor (Carlos Rossini, Emiliano Altuna, Diego Osorno, Mexico). A great and very timely Mexican documentary with an irresistible character. 
- El otro día / The Other Day (Ignacio Agüero, Chile). Another gem from one Latin America's leading documentarians.
- La chica de sur / The Girl from the South (José Luis García, Argentina). One of the best Latin American documentaries of the year, which sadly has had very limited exposure in the U.S.
- Los mejores temas / Greatest Hits (Nicolás Pereda, Mexico). A playful doc/fiction hybrid film which consolidates Pereda's filmography.
- No (Pablo Larraín, Chile). A skillful and astute and meditation on advertising and politics.
- Post Tenebras Lux (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico). Reygadas' most recent film is an intricate hypnotic work with a cinematography to die for.
- Tanta agua /  So Much Water (Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, Uruguay). An assured directorial debut that continues the legacy of recent Uruguayan cinema.
- Viola (Matías Piñeiro, Argentina). An instant Latin American classic. Piñeiro opens an exciting, unusual, and playful door for Latin American cinema.

Honorable Mention: Nebraska (Alexander Payne, USA), could easily be mistaken for an Uruguayan film.

2) We cannot longer talk about the coming-of-age of Latin American cinema as it's been almost 15 years since it reached a new level of artistry with the New Argentinean Cinema. Yet, it is regrettable that despite the magnitude and global influence of Latin American films, they still receive meager coverage from most of the film media outlets. My personal and professional resolution is to keep heralding this outstanding body of work that is not showings any sign of weariness yet.

3) I'm excited about the new crop of Argentinean film due out in 2014 including Martín Rejtman's Two Gun Shots, Piñeiro's The Princess of France, Lisandro Alonso's untitled film, and Celina Murga's The Third Side of the River. Also glad that Lucrecia Martel is set to start production of her most recent film in the new year.

Chris Horton

Director, #ArtistServices / Sundance Institute

Rather than list my 10 favorite films of the year, here are 10 distribution campaigns I've admired (omitting any I've worked on). These films showed innovative windowing and marketing strategies in a climate where nothing is certain:

1a. BEYONCE / iTunes exclusive. I'm praying Tarantino is paying attention.

1b. BLACKFISH (CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures)

2. SOUND CITY (Roswell Films/Gravitas Ventures)


4. SOMM (Samuel Goldwyn)

5. GRAVITY (Warner Bros.)

6. MUD (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate)

7. A BAND CALLED DEATH (Drafthouse Films/Image Entertainment)


9. DRINKING BUDDIES (Magnolia Pictures)



Cutting the cord. It's hard to justify $170/month.

Looking forward:

We're working on a research project focused on the non-theatrical & educational distribution space. You rarely read about such distribution methods in outlets like Indiewire, but we think there is strong potential for revenue and impact.

Sony Pictures Classics "Blue Jasmine"

Marie Therese Guirgis


Top 10 Films Released in 2013, not ranked. The films I loved the most.

Blue Jasmine
Museum Hours
12 Years a Slave
Cutie and the Boxer
Something in the Air
Before Midnight
The Great Beauty
Fruitvale Station
Saving Mr. Banks

Films I am sorry not to have yet seen  by directors I love:

Touch of Sin
Wolf of Wall Street
The Grandmaster

Special THANK YOU to BAM, FSLC, AMMI, Film Forum, Anthology, IFC Center, MOMA for all the great repertory films I saw this year, often with special guests present. You make the crazy cost of NYC living worthwhile.

Most inspiring Q and A of the year:
Shane Carruth,  Berlin Film Festival


I will work harder to maintain utter gratitude that I get paid to work in a medium that I love more than any other (even when cursing the lack of anything healthy and readily available to eat at Sundance). I am lucky,  period. All of us who make even one dime working in film are lucky. Now, let's make sure we all make at least a dime!

Filmed entertainment I am most excited to see in 2014: Tie between Girls and Mad Men.  Sorry, movies!

Anne Hubbell

Co-founder, Tangerine Entertainment

I thought this was a great year for movies.  Granted, I didn’t see everything.  But all of these films made me excited about the art of filmmaking and hopeful for the industry.  Sadly, only three movies in my top ten of 2013 were directed by women. (Even sadder, is that my 30% is more than three times the average of female-helmed projects represented at the US box office each year!)  

Anyway, here is the Hub top ten for 2013 in alpha order…

 12 YEARS A SLAVE – Don’t let the devastating subject matter overshadow this fantastic piece of filmmaking.  It is extraordinarily acted and beautifully shot by Sean Bobbit. Steve McQueen managed to make an accessible Hollywood movie and not lose his unflinching art world style.

CONCUSSION – It is hard to believe this is Stacie Passon’s first feature.  She directs an incredible performance by Robin Weigert.  What I love about this movie is its exploration of class, identity and what it is like to be in a long term, suburban relationship.  The fact that the protagonist is a lesbian is secondary, and yet opens the movie up into a world most audiences haven’t seen before. 

GLORIA – This movie made me so happy.  It’s a slice of life about the kind of person that society so commonly and easily dismisses.  Insightfully directed by Sebastian Lellio, with a super winning performance by Paulina Garcia.  Here’s to more screen time for beautiful, average middle aged women!

HER – How did Spike Jonze do it?  HER is high concept and yet so nuanced, layered and uncanny in it’s understanding and treatment of relationships, not to mention how we interact with technology.  Genius casting and use of Joaquin Phoenix, who gives his best performance yet while mainly acting alone.  This movie was really a surprise to me and probably my fave of the year.  

**Extra points to Jonze for checking all the Above The Line boxes in 2013 - writer, director, producer, actor, and being a top ten triple threat (he produced BAD GRANDPA and acts in WOLF OF WALL STREET). What a year!

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – A sheer gift to Coen Brothers fans and New Yorkers like me!  The music is fantastic, Bruno Delbonnel paints the time period beautifully and Oscar Isaac is totally compelling. I find all the Coen-isms comforting. I even like the cat!

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA – Let’s face it, Johnny Knoxville is a genius.  I laughed so hard, I nearly snorked my Diet Coke (and Bacardi) into my popcorn. The filmmakers are smart enough to be sentimental under all the extreme humor. Young Jackson Nicholl holds his own with Knoxville and is odd and natural and hilarious as Billy.

MUSEUM HOURS –This movie is stunning. It’s quiet and deep and made me think about truth in art and in friendships. As a long time fan, I am can say that Jem Cohen’s work keeps getting deeper and better.  2013 was another prolific, successful year for him with this beautiful feature and the extraordinary installation/performance, WE HAVE AN ANCHOR presented in September at BAM. 

STORIES WE TELL – Sarah Polley’s first foray into non-fiction is entertaining, brave,  innovative and a refreshing twist on the traditional “personal documentary.” She is such an exciting filmmaker.  I love that this film is garnering so much (very deserved) attention without being a caused based doc.  Just goes to show that good storytelling can trump “important” subject matter.  

WADJDA – It’s amazing that a woman is the first to direct a film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia!  Haifaa Al-Mansour’s sure-handed debut is a simple, strong and even risky, feminist story featuring natural, emotional performances by Waad Mohammed and Reem Abdullah. And as great a piece of storytelling as it is, it is also a fantastic feat of low budget, clandestine film production.

WOLF OF WALL STREET – Next to BAD GRANDPA, the funniest movie of 2013. Leonardo DeCaprio’s physicality is a revelation.  The “Lemon 714” scene alone makes this worth seeing twice. Heavy hitters prove they are worth all the accolades - Robbie Robertson’s soundtrack, Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography and Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing are all spot on and keep up the kinetic absurdity of this crazy American story. Remarkably, Martin Scorsese still has the vision and audacity of a newcomer.  This one is way up there for me!

Doug Jones

Associate Director of Programming, Los Angeles Film Festival


“40 Years from Yesterday”

Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck made their feature debut with this meditation on death and family, the most criminally underseen American indie of the year.

“Drug War” Dir. Johnnie To

Hong Kong maestro Johnnie To delivers one of his best, slyly working under the watchful eye of Mainland China censors to deliver a high octane crime movie that leaves no one, cops or robbers, unscathed.

“Expedition to the End of the World” Dir. Daniel Dencik

Few films this year delivered as many surprises or covered as much philosophical ground as this documentary about a team of scientists, biologists, ecologists, artists, musicians and poets exploring the Artic Circle.

“Grand Piano”

With just the perfect amounts of De Palma, Argento and Hitchcock, this high concept thriller delivers on everything its cocktail pitch promises—“Speed” with a piano.


After getting his first tour of a Hollywood studio, Orson Welles remarked, “This is the biggest electric train set any boy ever had.” After seeing “Gravity,” I couldn’t help but think that Alfonso Cuarón had just reinvented the train set.

“Inside Llewyn Davis”

Llewyn Davis is a fascinating, elusive, mercurial character, and with each viewing of the film (I’m up to three now), his journey down his lonely road grows more meaningful and melancholy.


An S&M comedy of humiliation and joy, Hitoshi Matsumoto’s film is ridiculous fun, at times meta, at times Pythonesque, but mostly just hilarious. Is there an award somewhere for Editing with the Best Sense of Humor?

“A Touch of Sin”

Never has a Jiao Zhangke film felt so angry. Few films can be summed up in a single image, but this one can—a blood-spattered woman brandishing a dollar bill at her side as if it was a sword in a martial arts movie.

 “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear”

There has been a remarkable outpouring of films from Quebec filmmakers in recent years. Denis Côté was one of the first and remains the most adventurous, unafraid of bending genre and narrative conventions to his own remarkable ends.

“We Are the Best”

Lukas Moodysson returns to top form with this irrepressible movie of three preteen punk rockers in 1980s Stockholm, which will be pure catnip to anyone who ever dyed their hair or donned a pair of Doc Martins.

“The Women and the Passenger”

Sage-like maids at a Chilean no-tell hotel discuss love, romance, marriage and, of course, sex. Without ever snickering or leering, Valentina Mac-Pherson and Patricia Correa deliver a wonderfully warm portrait of some remarkable women.


"That’s what bullets do." From “Blue Ruin,” written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier


2013 found my son discovering Doctor Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, EC horror comics and ComicCon. I can’t wait to see what pop culture nonsense he gets up to in 2014 (and my apologies to my wife for turning our home into a den of geekery).

Aaron Katz
Oscilloscope Laboratories

1. Her
2. Kings Of Summer
3. 12 Years A Slave
4. 12 O'Clock Boys
5. Gravity (IMAX 3D)
6. Upstream Color
7. The Past
8. See You Next Tuesday
9. The Act Of Killing

10. The Punk Singer

Looking Forward to in 2014: The Raid 2

Mike Maggiore
Film Forum

I have no idea if it will be ready in 2014, but I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary Laura Poitras has been making for the past couple of years on the NSA and domestic surveillance. So far she's released two videos that hint at what's to come: PRISM -- THE WHISTLEBLOWER (her storied 12 1/2-minute interview with Edward Snowden about NSA spying, released in June of this year) and the 2012 New York Times Op-Doc "The Program" (on NSA codebreaker/whistleblower William Binney). Poitras' own experience of being detained by Department of Homeland Security officials upon re-entering the U.S. over 40 times in the last 8 years (according to an interview she gave to The New York Times), her groundbreaking interview with Snowden, and her expertise as an investigative documentary filmmaker makes this a must-see whenever it's finished.

Dylan Marchetti

Variance Films

1. Top 10 for the year:
As usual, sticking to films that were theatrically released in 2013, and Variance releases are excluded… but I can honestly say that if they weren’t, two of them would be on here (I’ll never tell which, though).

Also have to note that my usual is to catch up on the awards contenders over the holiday break, so I’ve yet to see an embarrassing number of films including Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska, The Great Beauty, Beyond the Hills, and Inside Llewyn Davis, all clearly contenders.
Upstream Color
As far as one-man bands go, Shane Carruth now has my complete and undivided attention.  This is one of the best shot, best sounding, and most tonally perfect independent film in quite some time, and one of the very few that demands a rewatch the moment it’s over.
Fruitvale Station
I can’t recall the last time a film made me this mad in the theater. I gave out an entire pack of Kleenex at the theater, and that says something at a Sundance P&I screening.   
The We and the I
Michel Gondry is known (somewhat unfairly) for his “bag of tricks”, and what’s so great about this one is that he literally runs one of them over with a bus in the opening credits and then proceeds to deliver one of the most human films of the year. Full of love and fun and tiny heartbreaks and all the other things you remember about growing up, whether it was in the South Bronx or suburbia. 
Gravity/The World’s End/This is the End
Guys, close your eyes and just imagine: what if all big budget studio films could be like this? I mean, would you even go outside anymore?
Hollywood loves to make docs about itself, to varying degrees of success, but with John Milius we finally have a subject worthy of the big screen- even if I disagree with just about everything he says.
12 Years a Slave
I never want to see this film again for the rest of my life, but I feel like I need to see this film again.  McQueen is a master, easily one of the most interesting working today.
American Hustle
There’s something undeniably thrilling about seeing a filmmaker at the peak of his/her powers.  This is the kind of film that only works when all cylinders are firing, and Russell pulls it off flawlessly -- I can only imagine how many directors would’ve turned the script into a “look at that perm and check out that dress and listen to this pop song” Scorsese-a la-Casino ripoff.
After Tiller
I want to believe that this country is going to be ok.  Films like this make it very hard for me to believe that’s going to be the case without a serious fight.
Look, if like 100 of us put in $25 each, we can rent out one of those giant sixty foot screens in Times Square with the 16 subwoofers, get a DCP of this loaded up, sit down in the very front of the theater and hit play, and things will never be the same for any of us again. 
The ingredients of this one suggest that it’s basically genetically engineered for me to love, and most films like that never deliver on the promise.  This one, however, very much does.  My heart still kind of hurts but in the good way.
Honorable Mentions, all worth a watch:
A Touch of Sin, Short Term 12, Like Someone in Love, The Spectacular Now, Post Tenebras Lux, Call Me Kuchu, Spring Breakers, To The Wonder, Blancanieves, Mother of George, the guy bringing back The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (more of this kind of thing please), Berberian Sound Studio, Before Midnight.
Also, on someone’s recommendation I ducked into the last ten minutes of Safe Haven on the way out of another film, and it was the funniest goddamn thing I’ve seen in years.
2) Resolutions
I’m going to make smart people let me buy them coffee.  I realized this year that meetings where smart folks talk, but nobody really wants anything in particular, are not only my favorite meetings but also my most productive meetings. So I’m going to unbusy myself from things other people in the office can do and take more of those.  
Also, slightly related, I’m going to drink less coffee but better coffee.  Do you have a Keurig?  You have to get rid of it.  Put it in the street.  We can do better as a society.
3) Looking forward
Oh man, check back in January.  Can’t tell you yet.

Drafthouse Films A musical sequence from "The Act of Killing."

Sara Kiener

Film Presence

1. The Act of Killing
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Spring Breakers
4. Enlightened, Season 2: Episodes 6-8
5. Before Midnight
6. Beyond the Hills
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. After Tiller
9. Cutie and the Boxer

10. Frances Ha

My resolution is to collaborate more!

I'm always looking forward to more female-helmed productions so I'm keeping an eye on Gamechanger, Tangerine Entertainment, Chicken & Egg and a lot of kick-ass lady producers out there doing their thing to see what 2014 may hold. I'm excited about a bunch of things at Sundance this year (Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, Concerning Violence, Green Prince and Dino 13, just to name a few). TV-wise I'm really looking forward to Mr. Romance and the next season of Veep (this show keeps getting better and better!). And I'm looking forward to anything featuring June Squibb.

David Laub
Co-President, Oscilloscope Laboratories

1) I am highlighting a lot of movies this year--I did a regular top 15, plus an additional 10 honorable mentions.  I know this may seem excessive, but I genuinely saw a lot of movies I really liked throughout the year, and thought they deserved mention.  

*Please note: all O-scope titles are excluded from these lists. 

Top 15

1. Her
2. Fruitvale Station
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Nebraska
6. Prisoners
7. Bue Jasmine
8. The Past
9. Pain and Gain
10. Stories We Tell
11. The Place Beyond the Pines
12. Beyond the Hills 
13. Short Term 12
14. Gravity

15. Ain't them Bodies Saints

Honorable Mentions 

(in alphabetical order)

About Time

The Attack
The Hunt
In A World
Magic Magic
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 
The Spectacular Now
A Touch of Sin
The Wind Rises

2) Resolutions: I am extremely proud of all the work we have done at Oscilloscope in 2013.  My only resolution would be to keep it going for 2014--we have a wonderful company and an amazing staff, and I am excited to see us continue to grow and flourish in the new year.  At a time when there are again cutbacks and alterations in indie film distributors, it's truly a gift to be part of a company unwaveringly dedicated to working on high-quality, bold, unique independent films.  Very excited for 2014 at O-scope! 

3) Looking Forward: Inherent Vice!

Mynette Louie
Producer, Cold Comes the Night

As I made my list, I was delighted to see that all the films I chose, except for one, is a “true indie.” Granted, I have yet to see many of the bigger budget Oscar-baiting prestige pics (of the ones I have seen, I liked Inside Llewyn Davis best). With that caveat, here are the 2013 films that touched my heart and/or head, in alphabetical order:

1. Blue Ruin – Actor Macon Blair creates a new breed of beta-male vigilante, and director Jeremy Saulnier's assured direction and evocative cinematography immerses us in world that's tactile and bleak.

2. Computer Chess – Many filmmakers claim that their film is “unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” but very few films actually live up to this claim. Computer Chess totally does, and what’s most astonishing is that Andrew Bujalski can make you feel something profoundly emotional through something that’s such a nutty head trip. [Full disclosure: I co-produced Andrew’s second feature, Mutual Appreciation.]

3. The Dirties – An enthralling and tonally unique "school shooting comedy" that grapples with one of the most urgent issues of today in a very unexpected way.

4. In a World – It’s tough to make a “message” film without coming off as didactic. It’s even tougher to make it charming, funny, and entertaining, but Lake Bell does just that.

5. It Felt Like Love – Probably the most assured feature directorial debut I’ve seen this year, Eliza Hittman is someone that everyone should watch (as is the film’s star, Gina Piersanti). The film fully immerses us in an adolescent girl’s POV as her sexuality buds.

6. Like Father, Like Son – I cried throughout most of this film. Not that I would expect anything less from a Kore-eda film.

7. Short-Term 12 – I cried throughout most of this film too. It was pretty pitch-perfect. I also love films that launch careers, and I think Brie Larson and Destin Cretton have long ones ahead of them.

8. A Teacher – Hannah Fidell’s film is an intense jolt of character and emotion. Lindsay Burdge’s star- making performance obviates the need for further backstory and explanation of why her character is on this path to inevitable self-destruction.

9. Towheads – Shannon Plumb brings her Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin-inspired performance art into the feature realm, resulting in a disarming screwball character study of a modern wife and mother.

10. You're Next – A smart, thoroughly entertaining adrenaline rush of a horror film in which the female lead (Sharni Vinson) kicks some serious ass.

Note that I haven’t yet seen these films that I suspect I might like: 12 Years a Slave, All is Lost, Blue is the Warmest Color, Enough Said, Her, Nebraska, The Past, Spring Breakers, Sun Don't Shine, Upstream Color, The Wolf of Wall Street.

2) I hope to help more stories by filmmakers from underrepresented groups get told. I hope to get the industry and the public to take better notice of women, people of color, and older folks, and to realize that their stories can be as relevant and commercial as mainstream ones if given equal support and attention.

3) I’m looking forward to financing and executive producing women-directed narrative features via Gamechanger Films. I’m also looking forward to premiering two new films I produced: Cold Comes the Night by Tze Chun (opens January 10, 2014 via Sony/Goldwyn) and Land Ho! by Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz (premieres at Sundance 2014), the latter of which is also Gamechanger’s first film.

Jared Moshe

Writer-director, "Dead Man's Burden"

1) My Top 10
(disclaimer - there are number of contenders I've unfortunately not yet had a chance to see. Notably WOLF OF WALL STREET, HER, NEBRASKA and AMERICAN HUSTLE)

In alphabetical order --

12 Years a Slave -- A devastating period peace that forces America to face it's flawed past. How could it not speak to me?

The Act of Killing -- Stunningly original. Frightening. Profound.

All is Lost -- JC Chandor showed me a side of Robert Redford that I never knew existed. A tour de force.

The Attack -- I love films that can explore complex issues in the confines of genre. Here it's Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Breaking Bad/"Ozymandias", "Granite State" & "Felina" --  A perfect ending for a perfect show.

Game of Thrones/"Rains of Castamere" -- Heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time.

Gravity -- Pure cinematic joy to watch.

Inside Llewyn Davis -- The Coen Bros at the top of the game.

The Spectacular Now -- I was totally caught off guard by this love story that still brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

Upstream Color -- See it and you'll be amazed. That's all I can say.

Honorable Mention:

My wedding video -- the day I married the woman I love captured on HD. Every time I watch it I'm excited and inspired by life.

2) My resolution:

To move to LA. (Yes, for real)

3) Looking Forward:

The final season of MAD MEN. I have no clue where the show is going to go, and I love that!

Tribeca Film Festival "Bending Steel"

Brian Newman

SpringBoard Media

I've picked only documentaries because I've missed many of the narrative films that would likely make the top ten this year. I also focused more attention on a few films that aren't getting as much recognition, but that had the most impact on me this year. 

1. The Square - Powerful long-form doc filmmaking at its best.
2. SloMo - Dare you to watch it and try not to smile.
3. Night Labor - Ashley Sabin and David Redmon made two brilliant films this year, but Night Labor stands out for turning one man's night of work into a lyrical, meditative film.
4. Downeast - Sabin and Redmon's look at this Maine lobster factory was one of the more dramatic films of the year.
5. Coach - Bess Kargman and ESPN films do it right with this inspirational look at women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer
6. Bending Steel - Intensely human portrait of a man's personal journey, and hell, he BENDS steel!
7. Linsanity - Not making many top ten lists, but it's the most exciting and fun film of the year.
8. Who Shot Rock & Roll - Steven Kochones delivers a great history of rock and roll photographers, and the Annenberg Foundation knows how to spread the word about great photography
9. Into The Mind - Extreme sports cinema at its best

10. Blackfish - Not the best made doc of the year, but it had the most impact thanks to CNN Films marketing push. Only doc of the year that actually became an event.

2. Resolutions: To see more narrative films this year. To focus only on world-changing projects. To finally quit Facebook.

3. I'm looking forward to helping a major consumer brand release an incredible environmental film. I can't say more now, but it's going to be  something you hear a lot about soon. I'm generally very excited about brands getting active in the film space, and think it's the most exciting area of the film world right now.

David Nugent

Artistic Director, Hamptons International Film Festival

The following list of 10 or so highlights from my year of viewing is in no particular order.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and THE MISSING PICTURE (as well as THE ACT OF KILLING which I discuss below) are two films that took formally bold approaches to detailing shameful periods in a country’s history. Their inventiveness and craft meant that the experiences of watching them was exhilarating and enlightening for me, and not medicinal or didactic. 

BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN: Perhaps the most emotionally moving experience that I had with a film all year. 

BLUE RUIN: A really good thriller, especially from the indie world, is truly rare. Jeremy Saunier nailed it with this bloody revenge thriller. 

THIS IS THE END: Far exceeded my expectations. Along with THE CRYSTAL FAIRY, amongst the funniest films that I saw all year. 

SPECTACULAR NOW: James Ponsoldt is such a master at capturing the way people act, talk, look and feel and each of his films is a gift. 

SHORT TERM 12: This was a project that was in the Hamptons International Film Festival’s Screenwriters Lab that I run back in 2011, and I was so excited to see how it turned out. Destin Cretton surpassed my already lofty expectations, and Brie Larson gave a nuanced performance of real depth. 

THE ACT OF KILLING and PRISONERS: Two films that I greatly admired this year. They also happen to be, along with a film like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, a film that I don’t think that I could ever watch again.

THE SELFISH GIANT: Clio Barnard deployed vastly different styles of storytelling to similar subject matter in both this film, and its predecessor THE ARBOR. She’s an incredibly talented filmmaker.

THE WOLF OF WALL ST and GRAVITY: For different reasons, these 2 films probably represented the most fun experiences that I had in a theater all year. For GRAVITY, the sheer experience of seeing Cuaron’s vision come to life in Imax & 3D, and for THE WOLF OF WALL ST, it was just such a pleasurable experience to see with an audience…especially a New York one. 


I don’t get to watch nearly as much of the great television that is on these days, but I certainly enjoy Mad Men, Portlandia, Louis, Frontline, and The Walking Dead.

My New Year’s resolution is to give streaming more of a chance, even though I strongly prefer the theatrical experience, and DVD’s & Blu Rays. 

And I’m looking forward to Sundance & Cannes because each year they renew my faith in what great artists can do when working together, often despite magnificent odds.

Dan Nuxoll

Director of Programming, Rooftop Films

12 films, moments from films, or elements of films in 2014, that surprised me tremendously, in no particular order:

1. The Act of Killing. The best film of the year is also the most unique. Watching this film changes your life.

2. The naked honesty of Joana Arnow’s i hate myself :). This is the gutsiest filmmaking feat of 2014, and I can’t believe that even the more daring doc festivals were afraid to program it.

3. Gaby Hoffman and Michael Cera in Sebastian Silva’s Crystal Fairy. This film really snuck up on me, and by the end I was startled by how invested I was in both of their characters. My favorite comedy of the year, and it isn’t even close.

4. The formal adventurousness of An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Terence Nance does nothing but take chances with this film. Not every choice works, but the risk-taking is its own reward.

5. Ushio and Noriko Shinohara in Cutie and the Boxer. Zach Heinzerling let these two extraordinary subjects be themselves, and the result is one of the most interesting portraits of romantic ambivalence ever captured in fiction or documentary film.

6. It Felt Like Love. Eliza Hittman’s film is not only the best undistributed fiction film of the year, it is one of the best films about the desperate loneliness of teenage life that I have ever seen.

7. The climactic moments of Fruitvale Station. This film is seriously flawed, but at the most important moments it is devastatingly effective. At certain small moments it is maudlin and cliche, but at the most powerful moments it becomes surprisingly nuanced, and that is what makes this film so important.  And even in those moments that the film veers off course, Melonie Diaz is always fantastic. She is one of the most underrated actors working in film, but I hope it doesn’t stay that way.

8. Room 237. Who would have imagined that this deeply bizarre film would end up being the most entertaining doc of the year?

9. The sense of gravity in Gravity. My favorite film moment of the year might be Sandra Bullock struggling to push her body up off of the beach. Plenty of things to complain about in this film, but how often does a film change the way you think about a fundamental force of nature? The experience of watching this film was more meaningful than all the other big budget films I have seen this year put together.

10. Let the Fire Burn. I am surprised this film hasn’t gotten more attention. Of all the many documentaries I have seen this year, Let the Fire Burn was the one that transported me most completely into a different time and place. Deceptively simple, built entirely from archival footage, the film feels like a time machine. By the end I felt like I had grown up in Philadelphia having lived through this awful episode. 

11. Short Term 12. Destin Daniel Cretton has a unique ability to take his audience to the border between reality and melodrama, but at those moments when you think he is about to go too far, instead he manages to twist the path and take you to an emotional place you didn’t think you would end up. This film jerks the tears, but it pulls them from of a very real place inside us.

12. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. These two... I just loved watching them together. Such graceful performers. I fell in love with both of them.

Honorable mentions: The irreverence of Our Nixon, Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, Shannon Plumb’s Towheads, Sarah Polley capturing her family as they lay their emotions bare in Stories We Tell, Amy Seimetz making the surreal seem real in Upstream Color, the sensitive patience on display on both sides of the camera in After Tiller, the terrifying revelations in The Kill Team, and the glorious climactic Coney Island sequence at the end of Bending Steel. And Lake Bell is a comic powerhouse, but I think that in this era she will end up being the type of talent that ends up on television, for better or worse.


Every year I just hope that I can keep myself open enough to experience new surprises.

Looking Forward to:

Expectations are boring. The most meaningful movie-going experiences are those that you were least prepared for going in. That being said, I am very excited for the newest films from Mike Tully, Joe Swanberg, Kat Candler, Carter Smith, the Zellner Bros., Gillian Robespierre, Robert Greene, Jeremiah Zagar, Jesse Moss, Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin, Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, Alex Ross Perry, and the list goes on and on. 

Olivier Père
Managing Director, ARTE France

1 – L’Inconnu du lac by Alain Guiraudie

2 – A Touch of Sin by Jia Zhangke

3 – Cloud Atlas by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski

4 – Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine

5 – Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-ho

6 – La Vie d’Adèle, chapitres 1 & 2 d’Abdellatif Kechiche

7 – Shokuzai by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

8 – La Jalousie by Philippe Garrel

9 – La Fille de nulle part by Jean-Claude Brisseau 

10 – Historia de la meva mort by Albert Serra

Paul Rachman

Programmer, Slamdance Film Festival

Top Ten

HER - It was a pleasure to watch Spike Jonze lead the path for Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johanssen (in post) through his first writer - director sortie.  The film had both an old Hollywood romance air to it while also forging thoughts about the very near future.  Only Spike can do that.

UNA NOCHE - First I'll admit I was a mentor of sort for this film for several years but despite that I still think that Lucy Mulloy's debut was one of the most exciting and accomplished indies of the year.  The critics at large gave it high marks to boot.  Lucy is a skilled director who will take on complex stories and deliver them with excitement, wait and see.

AMERICAN HUSTLE - I was a college kid during this era.  I remember people like this. David O'Russell nails it. Jealous it's so good.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE - Comforting to see Jim Jarmusch come back to hang out with the exiles, losers and outcasts he knows so well.  I feel comfortable with his characters In this film.  I can hang there.

FRANCES HA - I never loved much of Noah Baumbach's earlier work - eh...maybe Squid and the Whale a bit.  But I loved this film - he and Greta Gerwig captured NYC and Brooklyn a la French New Wave and it worked for me, twice.

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR - I have a special penchant for French Cinema. I was French educated until 10th grade.  Even without the over hyped sex scenes this is a great film, gritty, personal, in your face and emotional.  This is what indie film should be.  Unfortunately the last American director to come close to so anything like this was John Cassavetes.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - A pissed-off, shit-kicking, rodeo riding, promiscuous, drug addict takes on a rebellious quest for a cure and the fight for aids in Texas! WTF how could you not get into that for 90 mins. Kudos to McCaughney and Jared Leto. 

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - Another film that I can identify with.  Loser musician in the village.  They're still around and I still hang out with some.  Could feel, smell and touch it. 

HANK AND ASHA - Last year's audience winner at Slamdance is a great pure small indie film.

A simple modern romantic story.  Perfectly executed by it's filmmakers and performed by it's actors.  This is the perfect example of what you can do with no money.  This is the most underrated film of the year by far.

AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY - Just saw this.  Meryl Streep blew me away she is so completely committed to her really fucked-up matriarchal character in this movie.  Almost every scene.  It doesn't matter how good the actors around her are - she crushes them all with the tiniest of actions.  It's so fun to watch.  I'll watch it again and she should easily beat Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) for best actress oscar, again.  Really.

RESOLUTION for 2014 - Be more productive and focused, finish Lost Rockers, shoot a few more Zoe Lund project shorts and start a new film in some way before the end of the year.  That's a lot...fuck it I'm going there.  This thing we do gets harder and harder but it's what we do

It's the life.

Looking forward to Chris Nolan's - Interstellar.

Rajendra Roy

Chief Curator of Film, Museum of Modern Art

Top Ten (in no order)

12 Years a Slave - Because it helped me understand what really terrifies those who cling to race-based exceptionalism - an educated "other".

The Wolf of Wall St - Because it made me laugh (really fucking hard).

Her - Because I'm the guy who always wanted to get published...

Stories We Tell - Because normalcy is always a front.

Enough Said - Because I'll be 50 one day (soon).

Tom a la ferme - Because I've never been so set on edge by a bad dye-job (that Xavier can do no wrong).

Sorcerer (Restoration) - Because Billy, Roy and those guys actually went THERE, and did THAT! (No CGI).

Gravity - Because Alfonso and Jonas created a beautiful, exhilarating space road-trip with the best CGI ever.

A Touch of Sin - Because we're all Chinese.

All is Lost - Because Greatness is Greatness.

My Resolution is to watch more movies with people I love (like my husband), and less with people I don't (you know who you are).

And I am very much looking forward to discovering the thing I least expect to discover. (I'll be sure to scream very loudly when I find it - I always do!)

Marc Schiller
CEO and Founder of BOND Strategy and Influence

In no intentional order…

MASSIVE ATTACK V ADAM CURTIS - Both a live concert and a multi-screen film, I found myself - along with hundreds of others in the massive Park Avenue Armory - totally in awe of the immersive experience that the collaboration had generated. It was one of those nights that made me remember why I decided to move to New York.

CUTIE AND THE BOXER - There were lots of great documentaries released in 2013. But, for me, nothing came close to matching the emotional intensity and intimacy that Zach Heinberling captured while behind the camera living with artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara.

STEVEN SODERBERGH’S “STATE OF CINEMA” KEYNOTE AT THE SAN FRANCISCO FILM FESTIVAL -  Both a sobering critique and a galvanizing call-to-arms, Soderbergh captured perfectly the sentiment that many in the industry, including myself, have been feeling in 2013. 

BRITDOCS - With the multinational expansion of their GOOD PITCH events and the theatrical release of Dirty Wars in the UK, Jess Search and her team at Britdoc’s not only expanded in 2013 the vital resources they provide filmmakers of social justice documentaries, they established an all-important sense of community that keeps the industry motivated and inspired. 

VHX - A few technology players jumped into the “direct digital download” space in 2013, but none of them were able to match the real-time analytics and customization that VHX provides filmmakers to sell their movies directly from their website. 

PRINCE AT CITY WINERY - Not only was it one of the best music concerts I’ve ever seen, seeing Prince perform in front of 400 people was one of the best nights I’ve ever spent in New York City. Walking home as the sun rose over Manhattan, I was reminded just how powerful live music can be.

LAURA POITRAS -  Rarely does a filmmaker take the risks that Laura Poitras did in 2013 to get a story out into the public, and for this we should ALL be grateful. 


My resolution for 2014 is to continue to focus on people and projects that push me out of my "comfort zone,” force me to learn new things, and test the limits of my capabilities. 


I’m excited that throughout 2014 we’ll be shooting interviews for DEEP WEB: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and Silk Road, a documentary I’m producing with Alex Winter and Glen Zipper. If the interviews shot in December are any indication of what’s to come, we’re going to have an incredible and important film on our hands.

Also, in March, BOND/360 and ABRAMORAMA will release Particle Fever, an incredibly inspiring and entertaining film about a group of amazing physicists who dedicated their lives and careers to find the Higg boson. I’ve been working on the project since last Summer and can’t wait for audiences to experience the film in theaters across the country.

Carl Spence

Artistic Director, Seattle International Film Festival and Lead Programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival

CARL SPENCE – ARTISTIC AND CO-DIRECTOR, Seattle International Film Festival and Lead Programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival

In terms of 10 best lists. There is the somewhat obvious (and deserving) films that are contending for this years awards that most have seen or can seen over the next two weeks. There is no question that these are the top films being released in 2013 including The Great Beauty, Fruitvale Station, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, Nebraska, Gravity, The Past and last but not least 12 Years a Slave.

What intrigued me most, in terms of looking back over 2013 is the films I saw on the festival circuit that haven’t been released yet. I must admit, I didn’t see much on tv this year just due to timing and circumstance (although I know there is great tv I am missing). In anycase, I am impressed with what was generated for tv by bigscreen filmmakers. Two of my favorite films were made originally for foreign tv and the filmmakers clearly imagined these as big screen epics.


1.     Generation War by PHILIPP KADELBACH originally made for German television and being released by Music Box. Shown in two parts and almost 5 hours – this film kept me like a great book. I could have stayed up all night to finish it.

2.     Burning Bush by Agniezksa Holland. Made for HBO Czech Television. This gripping thriller set against the true story backdrop of living under the iron curtain in Czechoslovaki in 1969. Another long but worth its running time film.

3.     Starred Up by David Mackenzie. Despite the fact that the film lacked necessary subtitles to understand the thick accents, this film transcends the prison genre for a gripping portrait of a 19-year old who desperately wants to stay behind bars in order to get closer to his father. Mackenzie is an underrated director that has made some of the best and more original films to come out of the UK.

4.     Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – a daring act by first time feature director to make two films as one that actually works and is carried by its two leads Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.

5.     Gloria – This film deserved a chance at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and it just doesn’t make sense that it was overlooked by the committee. Paulina García is marvelous as the older divorcee that breathes new possibilities into her life with infectious vigor. Sebastain Lelio is someone to watch.

6.     Joe – The combination of Nicolas Cage and director David Gordon Green equal success. This is a career changer and credibility boost for Nicolas Cage who shows that while we might not have seen it much in the last decade or so, he never lost his ability for magnetic, restrained and perfect pitch performances.

7.     Can A Song Save Your Life – This film put a smile on my face. What can I say.

8.     Eastern Boys – Robin Campillo’s film goes into completely unexpected territory. What could have been your basic and conventional film about an well-to-do older man taking advantage of a younger street hustler  goes much deeper beneath the surface to create a taut thriller.

9.     The Double – this updating of the famous Dostoevsky novella by Richard Ayoade is a great ride. His 2010 film Submarine was another standout that was overlooked by US audiences.

10. The Missing Picture – an important and original work surrounding the devastating brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia that deservedly made the Oscar short list for best foreign language film.


For SIFF we look forward to re-opening the Egyptian Theatre in Seattle and operating it year-round. It closed for business just after the Seattle International Film Festival this past June. The Egyptian was actually created and built by the founders of SIFF back in 1980. The lease was sold around 1990 in order to fund SIFF’s incorporation as a non-profit and move to focus solely on the annual festival. Coming full circle we’ve secured it for the Seattle International Film Festival in May with a target of re-opening after renovations later in 2014. We’ve been operating 4 screens since 2011 with the historic SIFF Cinema Uptown and SIFF Film Center with success in growing our audience each year for year-round theatrical exhibition.


 Looking forward to a triptych of festivals at the beginning of 2014 with the first festival of the year in Palm Springs, followed by Sundance and then one of my all-time favorites where I saw some of the best films of the past year at the Berlinale in February.

Basil Tsiokos

Programmer, Sundance Film Festival/Nantucket Film Festival/DOC NYC

Top Ten (documentaries, alphabetical order):

"The Act of Killing"

"American Promise"

"Cutie and the Boxer"

"Let the Fire Burn"


"Our Nixon"

"Room 237"

"Stories We Tell"

"The Trials of Muhammad Ali"

"Vivan las Antipodas!"

+ Five More:

"20 Feet From Stardom"

"After Tiller"

"At Berkeley"

"The Gatekeepers"

"The Square"


See more fiction features...

Looking Forward:


Michael Tuckman

President, mTuckman Media

I decided to do a twist on traditional top 10's and rank the Top 10 films handled by former colleagues of mine at THINKFilm, whether via their own distribution companies, publicity agencies or other film entities. So here goes:

10. Go For Sisters - Dylan Marchetti, Variance

This was Variance's 2nd dalliance with John Sayles, and hopefully the 2nd of many, as they do great work together. May have been Sayles' best work since "Lone Star", and Dylan and his team did a great job bringing it to audiences.

9. Spring Breakers - David Fenkel and Daniel Katz, A24

Two of the original amigos at THINK made their new company known in a big way with their bold and aggressive release of Korine's klassic. As a middle aged man said to me after the press screening at TIFF, "ah, if life could only be the first 10 minutes of that film forever..." Live the dream, ol' man, live the dream.

8. After Tiller - Dan Berger and David Laub, OScope

When Adam Yauch handed over the keys to D&D, he said he was "looking forward to seeing Dan and Laub kick some ass, nice-young-jewish-boy style." The lads responded by taking on a film that showed the model of courage on one's field of work in following the four doctors in "After Tiller." 

7. If You Build it - Erin Owens, Longshot

Erin Owens' shingle is handling one of the most inspiring and heartfelt docs I saw on the festival circuit this year. Catch it in theaters in January.

6. Gravity - Wendy Smith, NBR

No, the National Board of Review did not release this film. But as Creative Director at the NBR, my former colleague Wendy Smith was kind enough to allow me in to a screening of this in the Dolby ATMOS screening room. I'm still a sucker for being blown away by audio and visual effects, and the film had it all in a quick 90 minutes.

5. My Brother the Devil - Mark Urman and Amanda Sherwin, Paladin

The good folks at Paladin put out one of the year's most under the radar films, a gripping and tense family drama set in the UK. Keep your eye on director Sally El Hosaini, and ladies, I challenge you to try to take your eyes OFF of James Floyd.

4. Before Midnight - Steve Farneth, Cinetic

ThinkFilm's all-star intern, Cinetic deal-maker Steve Farneth has been involved in some amazing titles. But Linklater's latest in the trilogy takes the cake. May have been the best of the three, characters I hope I'll get to visit again and again.

3. At Berkeley - Sara Kiener, Film Presence

Another stellar former intern, Sara Kiener's Film Presence handled the social media campaign for the Zipporah Films' release of Fred Wiseman's latest film. Brilliant in its scope, covering larger issues of public education today, along with smaller moments of pure documentary magic, like capturing the one man responsible for tending to all of the campus's grounds. Getting no shortage of love from scores of other top 10 lists, but sadly and unjustifiably ignored once again by Mr. Oscar.

2. The Broken Circle Breakdown - Randy Manis, Tribeca Film

Former ThinkFilm acquisitions exec Randy Manis hasn't lost a step, being part of the acquisitions team at Tribeca that brought in this much referenced frontrunner to be one of the five Academy Award nominated titles for Best Foreign Language film. The film is the very definition of an emotional roller coaster, topped off by perhaps the most moving and memorable final scenes I've witnessed in years. I often found myself getting choked up just reading reviews that mentioned it. And that soundtrack. OH MAN... that soundtrack. Phenomenal and sublime.

1. Upstream Color - Alex Klenert, Prodigy PR and Shane Carruth (Primer, ThinkFilm 2004 release)

Prodigy PR, working in conjunction with Susan Norget, hit it out of the park on this one. Carruth was also part of the ThinkFilm clan with his 2004 Primer (on which Klenert worked as an agency publicist prior to joining ThinkFilm). A million things can and have been said about "Upstream Color", but to me, at its core, it was one of the most touching, human and original love stories I've ever seen.

I resolve to see even more films next year.

And the entertainment event I can't wait for? The remake of ROBOCOP. The director of BUS 174 re-imagining Verhoeven? Can. Not. Wait!

Peter Van Steenberg
VP of Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures

2013 was one of my personal favorites at Magnolia/Magnet and, even more generally, working in this industry. It was competitive, inspiring, and in my mind a benchmark year. THE HUNT, DRINKING BUDDIES, BLACKFISH, A HIJACKING, PRINCE AVALANCH, VHS2, JOHN DIES AT THE END and others, are not only some of my favorite films of the year, but some my favorite films Magnolia/Magnet has acquired since joining the company. I’d hate to grade my in-house favorites though, so this list won’t include any Mag titles. These are the films I’ve enjoyed the most as a pure viewer in 2013, outside of the films we’ve acquired:


2. HER



5. ROOM 237






And a special mention to the Fantastic Fest 2013 screening of Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS. That was one of the top 10 film-going experiences of my life.

Resolution: I missed a fair amount of the foreign language releases this year, which was disappointing considering the acknowledged critical level of quality. At the international markets, I’m going to cram in those extra few films near the end when the stress and lack of sleep usually kills the momentum.

Looking Forward: to the energy of Sundance kicking off 2014 (the year looks insanely good), the discovery films of Berlin, and a hopeful, viable market in spring season. As always, hoping for that one film which sets off fireworks in my brain.

John Von Thaden

Director of Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures

Below is just 10 favorite films released in 2013, in alphabetical order. There are many more films I'd like to mention (and see) for this list, and all Magnolia/Magnet releases are also left off.BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Ryan Werner
Independent marketing and publicity consultant
Top films (not in order)

Before Midnight, Inside Llewyn Davis, Upstream Color, 12 Years a Slave, Frances Ha, The Great Beauty, Blue is The Warmest Color, A Touch of Sin, Enough Said, Something in the Air, Beyond The Hills, Gimme The Loot, Post Tenebras Lux, Bastards, Short Term 12, Museum Hours, Computer Chess, Drinking Buddies, This is the End, In The House

Top  Docs (Not In Order):  Twenty Feet From Stardom, At Berkeley, Cutie & The Boxer, The Square, The Crash Reel, Dirty Wars, The Last of the Unjust, Room 237

John Wildman
Film Society of Lincoln Center

I'm going to keep this as a basic Favorite Films of 2013 list. Collectively, these films thrilled me, encouraged me that filmmakers were trying for a little something extra or different, fascinated me with either real stories of humanity and human spirit at its best or with brilliantly heartbreaking depictions of the same, inspired me with the filmmakers' artistic invention and innovation or just managed to capture some giddy joy - both behind and in front of the camera.  

1          SIGHTSEERS


3          12 YEARS A SLAVE

4          SHORT TERM 12

5          STORIES WE TELL

6          AFTER TILLER

7          HER




RESOLUTIONS: To more effectively balance my job as a publicist for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, with writing for Film and Film, to trying to get that first film out there in the world. And maybe not get involved in so many political debates on facebook. That might free up some time for those other three things. 

LOOKING FORWARD: I'm looking forward to hopefully visiting and experiencing some film festivals in 2014 that I have never been to previously, like Oxford, Sarasota, Fantasia, etc. - fests that I have heard great things about but haven't been to as yet. I also want to return to the amazing Big D fests that I love: Dallas and Denver. That would automatically make for an awesome year of movies.

Landon Zackheim
Programmer, Sundance Film Festival and AFI Fest


I initially came up with far too many worthy films than there is room to include. I saw a lot of impressive work in 2013, and though some really great films have been left off of this list, the ones that remain are here because all surprised me in some very positive way, and hit me with an emotional response that has lingered long after their initial viewing. Some are certainly imperfect, but all are ones I have seen more than once, and I continue to feel enriched by their storytelling and filmmaking prowess. Four films have yet to be released theatrically, but they are just too impressive to forget about. I should add that I have yet to see GLORIA, STORIES WE TELL, THE HUNT, THE ACT OF KILLING, HANNAH ARENDT or THE WOLF OF WALL STREET among others. I've also seen precious little TV this year (no Mad Men, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad - sorry). These are in alphabetical order, though let's be honest, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS would be my #1.

Blue Jasmine
Child's Pose
The Great Beauty
Harmony Lessons
Inside Llewyn Davis
Short Term 12
This Is Martin Bonner
We Are The Best!

Honorable Mention goes to the 4th season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. If Netflix is the platform that represents the future of television, this is the first original series that feels like it takes advantage of the unique tools available on this model - the irregular episode runtimes, the structure that rewards binge-watching, the deeply embedded references, the way it was used to resurrect the show at all, and the (later abandoned) concept that all episodes could be watched in any order.


I would like to be able to spend more time helping filmmakers, especially short filmmakers, to connect with opportunities outside of the major festival circuit. Of course I mean this for our festival alumni, but more importantly for the films we love that we don't end up find spaces for in our program lineups. Some of these films are quite good, and all could always use the help of passionate champions. I would also like to indulge more in my love of site-specific film exhibition, answer emails faster, and stop obsessively sassing and embarrassing AFI FEST Assoc. Director of Programming Lane Kneedler by showing videos like this:


Over the last couple of years, I have managed to view 21 of the 24 hours that make up Christian Marclay's film and television installation THE CLOCK. In 2014, I am confident that I will be able to complete the final three hours when it is next shown in Los Angeles, and I am unbelievably excited about this.

This article is related to: Best Movies of 2013, Best Films of 2013, Best of 2013, Best of 2013 top 10s, Movie Lists, Lists, Industry