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Summer 2012 Movie Preview: The 20 Indies You Must See

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire April 30, 2012 at 1:05PM

The summer movie season isn't exactly best known for independent film. With billions of dollars set to be spent on a vast amount of sequels, remakes and board game adaptations ("Ice Age 4," "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Battleship," "The Expendables 2," etc, etc.), one has to wonder: How much space is left for the little guys?
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17. God Bless America (May 11)

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr and Mackenzie Brooke Smith
Distributor: Magnet Releasing

Why is it a "Must See"? Comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait follows up his "World's Greatest Dad" with another very dark comedy. In "God Bless America," he gives us Frank, a jobless, loveless man who decides to give up on life, grab a gun and kill the folks who he considers the most repellent members of American society. And he's not doing it alone. He finds an unexpected accomplice in a 16 year old girl who is similarly fed up with her world.

Check out the film's trailer:

18. Searching For Sugar Man (July 27)

Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Why is it a "Must See"? Yet another must-see doc from Sundance 2012's impressive crop, Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching For Sugar Man" follows two South Africans who set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero: The mysterious 1970s rocker Rodriguez. An incredible story that had all of Sundance talking, audiences should definitely go on their own search for "Sugar Man" this July.

Check out the film's trailer:

19. & 20. The Loneliest Planet (August 24) and Planet of Snail (July 25)

Directors: Julia Loktev ("Loneliest"); Yi Seung-jun ("Snail")
Casts: Hani Furstenberg, Gael García Bernal and Bidzina Gujabidze ("Loneliest"); Young-Chan and Soon-Ho ("Snail")
Distributors: Sundance Selects ("Loneliest"); The Cinema Guild ("Snail")

Why Are They "Must Sees"? Julia Loktev's narrative "The Loneliest Planet" and Yi Seung-jun's doc "Planet of Snail" have little to do with each other, or planets from anything other than a metaphorical standpoint.  But they do both follow couples, and both are quietly powerful films from up-and-coming filmmakers that are worth the price of admission.

"Loneliest" follows a spirited young couple (Gael Garcia Bernal  and Hani Furstenberg) as they backpack across the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia a few months ahead of their American wedding. "Snail," meanwhile, is a portrait of Young-Chan, a Korean man who is both deaf and blind (he calls himself a "snail" as he can only communicate through touch).  At the centre of the story is Young-Chan's relationship with his wife Soon-Ho, who lovingly works as his eyes and ears.

Check out a clip from "Snail," and the Indiewire panel from "Loneliest" at last year's Toronto Film Festival:





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