By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire March 2, 2012 at 10:40AM
Indiewire has weeded through the films hitting VOD this March to bring you 10 to look out for. You'll find everything from a teen horror film helmed by "American Psycho" director Mary Harron to a quiet music documentary from Jay Duplass, the non-acting half of the Duplass Brothers.
Here are 10 indie films to watch on VOD this March, in alphabetical order:
"4:44 Last Days on Earth" (March 23)
Bad-boy filmmaker Abel Ferrara ("Bad Lieutenant") returns to the New York streets for the first time in a decade with one of his most critically acclaimed films in a good long while, "4:44 Last Days on Earth." Like "Melancholia," the film imagines the end of the world as we know it. If you thought Lars von Trier's vision was understated, just wait till you see Ferrara's. Willem Dafoe stars alongside the director's real-life girlfriend, Shanyn Leigh, as a couple who spend their final hours hanging around their roomy loft in the Lower East Side. "Likely Ferrara's most personal work," Eric Kohn wrote in his review, "it's also ironically the most life-affirming in a career defined by anger and grime. Ferrara has gone soft without selling out."
"ATM" (March 2)
This horror film from first-time filmmaker David Brooks, has a premise that begs you to give it a shot. The film revolves around three co-workers who stop by an ATM booth after their company's Christmas party, only to find themselves locked inside and fighting for survival after a stranger donning a scary-looking parka (!) starts to terrorize them. Yep, you heard that right. If that synopsis doesn't sell you, then the stellar cast -- headlined by Alice Eve ("She's Out of My League"), Josh Peck ("The Wackness") and Brian Geraghty ("The Hurt Locker") -- should.
Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival, the powerful second feature from "Maria Full of Grace" director Joshua Marston, tells the story of an Albanian family caught up in a blood feud. Nik (Tristan Halilaj) is a carefree teenager in a small town with a crush on the school beauty and ambitions to start his own small internet business. His world is upended when his father becomes entangled in a dispute that leaves a fellow villager murdered. As Kohn wrote in his review, "'The Forgiveness of Blood' examines the barriers of ritual and the passage from youth to adulthood in Albanian society with the perceptive detail of a grand literary feat. At the same time, it retains the simplicity of a parable." Marston shares a scene with Indiewire HERE.
"The Hunter" (Available March 2)
Rookie director and established author Julia Leigh -- whose feature directorial debut "Sleeping Beauty" ignited a flurry of interest in its Cannes premiere -- is the mind behind "The Hunter," a psychological thriller starring Willem Dafoe. She penned the 2001 novel of the same name, which the film, directed by Daniel Nettheim, is based on. In "The Hunter," Dafoe stars as Martin, a mercenary sent from Europe by an anonymous biotchech company to the wilderness on a hunt for the last Tasmanian tiger. Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor co-star.
"Kevin" (March 1)
Jay Duplass, the non-actor half of the Duplass Brothers, helmed this quiet musical portrait that played at last year's SXSW Film Festival. The documentary profiles Austin musician Kevin Gant as he goes from spiritual solo artist to frustrated UPS employee, before finally returning to his musical roots. "A simple, focused portrait, the movie efficiently outlines Gant's role in Austin's music culture, particularly the iconic showcasing of local artists at the now-defunct Chicago House, where Gant often played," wrote Kohn in his review out of SXSW.
"Last Days Here" (March 16)
Bobby Liebling, the cult metal legend who made his mark in the '70s as the outrageous frontman of Pentagram, takes center stage in this harrowing documentary from Don Argott ("Rock School") and Demian Fenton. The film, which has twists more twists than anything M. Night Shyamalan dreamed up, chronicles Liebling's bid to resurrect his life and career after decades spent wasting away in his parents' basement. With the help of fan-turned-manager Sean "Pellet" Pelletier, Liebling stuggles to overcome his self-destructive nature that brought about his ruin. Argott and Fenton spent three years making the project.
"American Psycho" director Mary Harron is back to her bloody ways with "The Moth Diaries," a teen vampire thriller that premiered at last year's Venice International Film Festival. Sarah Bolger ("The Tudors") stars as Rebecca, a young student at an exclusive female boarding school, who is haunted by her father's suicide. Her close friendship with Lucy, her roomate, means everything in the world to Rebecca. So when a new student, Ernessa (model-turned-actress Lily Cole) swoops in and attracts the attention of Lucy, Rebecca gets jealous. Turns out she has a right to be concerned; Ernessa might very well be a vampire.
"Passione" (March 6)
Actor/filmmaker John Turturro's acclaimed documentary "Passione" looks at the musical roots and traditions of Naples, Italy, as well as its influence on the rest of the world. "Subtitled 'a musical adventure,' the actor-director's love letter to some 800 years of Neapolitan expression probes its subject with a wide romantic outlook," Kohn wrote in his review. "The movie often adopts a conventional documentary approach, allowing musicians to discuss their heritage while dissecting the lyrics that have passed through innumerable generations. Primarily, however, Turturro presents a record of the feisty rhythms and mournful elegies that define the national temperment."
"Splinters" (March 1)
Surfing fans will want to check out "Splinters," a rousing documentary from first-time feature filmmaker Adam Pesce that tracks the evolution of indigenous surfing in the developing nation of Papua New Guinea. For residents of the seaside village of Vanimo, where there is no access to economic or educational advancement, let alone power or water, a spot on the national surfing team is the way to see the world. Pesce follows four determined surfers vying for the spot. Go HERE for our interview with the filmmaker.
"Windfall" (March 1)
Laura Israel, an established editor best known for her music video work with artists including Duran Duran, Billy Joel, Keith Richards and Patti Smith, makes her mark as a documentary filmmaker to watch out for with her feature debut, "Windfall." Her eye-opening expose sheds a light on the dark side of wind energy development. Israel keeps her film based in one of New York State's poorest counties, where residents and the local city council are duped by the prospect of easy money in exploiting one of its natural resources. Go HERE for our interview with the filmmaker.