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The 7 Indie Films You Must See This December

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 6, 2012 at 1:27PM

Admittedly, December isn't exactly a hotbed for independent film exhibition. Studios break out their best and brightest (or at least what they hope is their best and brightest) in what's typically an unusually high quality month for mainstream fare (just as last month -- which saw "Lincoln," "Flight" and "Skyfall" released to great reviews and great box office).  Par example: Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (technically released by independent distributor Weinstein Company, but its budget and wide release didn't make it feel right to include here), Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables," etc. But there are a few brave and exceptional films that are going to weather the December storm against Hollywood's big guns, and they deserve your attention as much as their bigger budgeted counterparts (though do go see "Zero Dark Thirty," too). So as an extension of our fall movie preview, Indiewire is offering the third of four monthly fall "must-see" lists to help with your cinematic decision-making over the next 31 days.

6. West of Memphis (December 28)

Director: Amy  Berg
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Current Criticwire average: A- (see all grades)

Why is it a "Must See"? "The Hobbit" isn't the only Peter Jackson project in theaters this December. Jackson produced "West of Memphis," Amy Berg's engrossing documentary that follows the case of the West Memphis Three, in which three teenagers were wrongly arrested for the murders of three eight-year old children back in 1993. Its the same story told in Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's three "Paradise Lost" docs, but stands on its own as an admirable contribution to the documentation of this horrifying story.

Watch the trailer below:

7. Any Day Now (December 14)

Director: Travis Fine
Cast: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva
Distributor: Music Box Films
Current Criticwire average: A- (see all grades)

Why is it a "Must See"? Based on a true story, "Any Day Now" follows a gay couple in the 1970s (Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt) who take in a teenager with Down syndrome who was abandoned by his mother.  When they're discovered by the authorities, rampant homophobia in the legal system threatens to take the child away from them. Featuring an uncharacteristic and incredibly moving performance by Cumming, "Any Day Now" resonates in large part because its story could unfortunately still happen, well, any day now.

Watch the trailer below:

This article is related to: Lists, Amour, On The Road, Any Day Now, Promised Land, West Of Memphis

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