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by Indiewire
January 4, 2013 1:21 PM
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The 50 Indie Films We Want To See In 2013

With the avalanche of 2012 Top Ten lists petering out and the Sundance Film Festival a mere two weeks away from introducing what could be this year's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" or "Sleepwalk With Me," it's time to stop reflecting on the past year's cinema and start getting excited about this one's. Because if the 50 films most anticipated by Indiewire's editors listed below are any indication, it looks like a very promising year ahead.

From the work of Steve McQueen, Lars Von Trier and Sofia Coppola to the inspirations of Julian Assange, Linda Lovelace and David Sedaris (not to mention double doses of on-screen magic from Tilda Swinton and Ryan Gosling), here are 50 films likely to be released in 2013 that Indiewire's staff are most excited to see:

"12 Years a Slave"
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano
Distributor: None yet
Release Date: None yet, but it will likely surface at Cannes
Why It Might Be a Must-See: British director Steve McQueen first gained serious critical acclaim in 2007 for his tense prison drama "Hunger," which he followed up with the 2011 drama "Shame," an unnerving portrait of sex addiction. Here, he adapts Solomon Northup's remarkable account of being kidnapped and sold into slavery for a dozen years in the middle of the 19th century. The material is inherently suspenseful and harrowing, since Northup provides a detailed account of slavery's brutal nature in the Deep South. But it's Fassbender's penchant for creating disquieting atmosphere that's well positioned to make this spectacular survival tale come to life and possibly provide one of the more accurate recreations of slavery life in America. (Take that, "Django Unchained.") It also could provide a bigger showcase for Ejiofor, a great underrated character actor. [Eric Kohn]

"Admission"
Director: Paul Weitz
Cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff
Distributor: Focus Features
Release Date: March 8
Why It Might Be a Must-See: All eyes will be on "Admission" to see if the film solidifies Tina Fey as a bona fide movie star that can succeed in projects where other people are calling the shots. "American Pie" director Paul Weitz has the reins on this one, and it is the first major film in which Fey will not play to her comfort zones ("Mean Girls," of course, was written by Fey; "Baby Mama" saw her with pal and Golden Globe co-host Amy Poehler; and "Date Night" played the comedy broad and straight). As "30 Rock" ends, we want all the Fey we can get! [Bryce J. Renninger]

"After Tiller"
Directors: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
Distributor: None yet
Release Date: Debuts at this month's Sundance Film Festival
Why It Might Be a Must-SeeOne of the most divisive issues in contemporary American life -- abortion -- has gotten the documentary treatment before. Recently, there was Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's Sundance doc "12th & Delaware," which was tense enough. Here, Shane and Wilson are dealing with a topic even more intense than an abortion clinic across the street from a Christian clinic that tries to convince women to have their babies; "After Tiller" investigates the four American doctors still performing third-trimester abortions in the aftermath of George Tiller's 2009 murder. With unprecedented access, Shane and Wilson may have made one of the most provocative documentaries of the year. [Bryce J. Renninger]

"August: Osage County"
Director: John Wells
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: TBA, but surely in a prime awards season slot late in the year
Why Might It Be a Must See: The Weinstein Company is surely aiming for Oscar with this adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning 2007 play (Letts also adapted his plays "Bug" and "Killer Joe" for the big screen). With a remarkable cast that includes Streep and Roberts (as mother and daughter!), the film -- written by Letts and directed by "The Company Men" helmer Wells -- is a darkly comic family saga set in Oklahoma. Cinematic adaptations of award-winning plays don't always work (see "Carnage," "Proof," "The History Boys"), but with this high-caliber cast it's difficult not to be optimistic. [Peter Knegt]

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24 Comments

  • Bobby Washington | April 15, 2013 2:10 AMReply

    Hot New Indie Film "STEEL CHAMBER" (Suspense/Thriller) You Can Play A Major Role In Its Success!
    Watch Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/SteelChamberMovie
    Get Behind This Indie Film!

  • Mark Jenson | March 23, 2013 11:32 PMReply

    Why don't they have Pursuit: The Series up?! In my opinion that is one of the most promising indie projects. Please help bring it to indiewire's attention.

  • CC | March 13, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    So, where is FREE RIDE, with Anna Pacquin filmed in 2011 in Florida?

  • Mary Strickland | January 13, 2013 1:41 PMReply

    Sorry the correct website for Limbus is www.Limbusmovie.com

  • Mary Strickland | January 13, 2013 1:37 PMReply

    What about 'Limbus"??// www.limbus.com

  • Chelsea Taylor | January 5, 2013 1:17 PMReply

    What about Computer Chess or Melt The Wings? Think outside the box for a second

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  • Ice Age | January 4, 2013 8:13 PMReply

    How come you left out Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer?

  • Jen | January 4, 2013 7:45 PMReply

    I'm surprised JGL's Don Jon's Addiction didn't make it on such a long list.

  • makinstatements | January 4, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    It's really sad that "independent film" has become nothing more than a marketing term. Even "indiewire" is listing movies financed or distributed entirely or in part by studios as "independent. What are all the rest of us - actual "independent filmmakers" - supposed to do now? We need a new term, new film festivals and new distributors.

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  • Doug | January 4, 2013 5:37 PMReply

    Pretty sure "THE PROJECTIONIST" should have made this list if Untitled David O. Russell movies made for $25mil are considered "indie"

  • nikki | January 4, 2013 5:37 PMReply

    The Rover anybody? I liked David Michôd's Animal Kingdom, so I'm looking forward to his next one The Rover with Guy Pierce and Rob Pattinson, which plays in the outback of Australia.

  • Kanerwa | January 6, 2013 2:08 PM

    I'm waiting for The Rover:)

  • Helena Von Weinberg | January 4, 2013 4:00 PMReply

    This is an open letter to Keri Putnam and Jill Miller and is also a petition directed to the Board of Directors at the Sundance Film Institute to discharge both Keri Putnam and Jill Miller of their positions at the Sundance Institute. Both Keri Putnam and Jill Miller have refused to acknowledge the inappropriate conduct of the head of the programming departments, John Cooper whose lack of professional judgement, courtesy, and general management capabilities is appalling; furthermore, I intend to expostulate the current matter until I nullify Sundance Institutes mandatory submission process and it ceases to accept fees from filmmakers who it has been bamboozling from its monotonous antiquated pretenses.


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  • @Nigel | January 4, 2013 2:29 PMReply

    FRANCES HA is not included.

  • @RichardJohnCEO | January 4, 2013 2:03 PMReply

    Pretty huge list Indiewire. Looking forward to seeing most of these films if not all of them for sure though.

    Richard John @ Rymatica

  • Marie-Pier | January 4, 2013 2:01 PMReply

    I don't know if I missed it, but if not ''The East'' by Zal Batmanglij should be there.

  • Thor | January 4, 2013 2:00 PMReply

    Tracy Letts is a man, by the way. Also wrote Killer Joe.

  • randy | January 4, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    this list is way too long, we all know there can't be 50 good films in a year. I wish some day, Indie wire had more demanding tastes...

  • XXXX | January 4, 2013 1:49 PMReply

    What about these?

    - Lowlife by James Gray
    - Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach
    - Mood Indigo by Michel Gondry
    - Her by Spike Jonze
    - Magic Magic by Sebastian Silva
    - The Look of Love by Michael Winterbottom
    - Computer Chess by Andrew Bujalski
    - Wrong Cops by Quentin Dupieux
    - Much Ado About Nothing by Joss Whedon
    - Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine
    - The Double by Richard Ayoade
    - Blood Ties by Guillaume Canet
    - The Two Faces of January by Hossein Amini
    - Can a Song Save Your Life? by John Carney
    - Don Jon`s Addiction by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    - Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer
    - Prince Avalanche by David Gordon Green

  • XXXX | January 4, 2013 4:15 PM

    @Nigel M. Smith
    Yes it is. I didn't notice it, sorry.

    @randy
    Lowlife is not $20M+.

    If Warm Bodies and Admission count as indies, I don't see why these two don't. Anyway, there's no strict definition of an indie movie.

  • Nigel M. Smith | January 4, 2013 2:05 PM

    FRANCES HA is included.

  • randy | January 4, 2013 2:00 PM

    since when over 20 millions pictures are independent? (i.e. blood ties, low life)