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by Indiewire
December 29, 2011 10:12 AM
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The Indie Film Industry Shares Their Top 10 Films of 2011

Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" Fox Searchlight

While Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" took the top spot in Indiewire's's recent 2011 poll of over 160 critics, journalists and other tastemakers of the film world, this much smaller grouping of industry folks - from distributors to publiclists to filmmakers themselves - highlighted a number of other movies large and small (but mostly small) from this year's release calendar.

"The Tree of Life" did quite well here as well, as did "Melancholia," "Nostalgia For The Light," "The Interrupters," "Take Shelter" and "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives."

Indiewire thanks those who took part and were brave enough to share their choices. Participants were invited to include films released theatrically this year, but each person devised his or her own criteria.

Please share your Top 10 list for 2011 in the comments section at the end of this article (and don't forget to include your name).

Michael Barker,
Sony Pictures Classics

* - Films made by friends (no Pedro, Terry, Wim, Agniezska, David, or Bennett here) and films released by Sony Pictures Classics are exempt as they would comprise my entire list this year.

1. Histoir(es) du Cinema:   JLG's finest film finally reaches these shores
2. A Brighter Summer Day: Ditto for this masterwork  
3. Mysteries of Lisbon
4. Breaking Bad, Season 4 Episode 11 "Crawl Space": Best American independent
  film of the year
5. Hugo
6. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
7. The Clock: film exhibition seen at the M F A in Boston
8. Army of Phantoms:  Book by J. Hoberman - A seminal work covering the
   blacklist in Hollywood and so much more
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
10. All the battle related scenes
    in War Horse
11. All the scenes with the kids
    in Super 8

Matt Dentler,
Head of Content, FilmBuff/Cinetic Rights Management

1. The Tree of Life
2. We Need To Talk About Kevin
3. Moneyball
4. Drive
5. A Separation
6. The Interrupters
7. Bridesmaids
8. Senna
9. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
10. Shame


"Nostalgia for the Light."
Jeff Deutchman,
IFC Films/Sundance Selects

*- I am excluding our own films this year, which could form a top 10 unto itself!

1. Nostalgia For The Light
2. Take Shelter
3. Meek's Cutoff
4. Melancholia
5. The Tree of Life
6. Margaret
7. A Separation
8. Rebirth
9. Caterpillar
10. The Interrupters


Britta Erickson,
Denver Film Society/Starz Denver Film Festival

1. Martha Marcy May Marlene
2. Melancholia
3. The Descendants
4. Drive
5. We Need To Talk About Kevin
6. Senna
7. Beginners
8. The Artist
9. Moneyball
10. Hanna


Christian Gaines,
Festival Specialist, Withoutabox, a division of IMDb

1. The Artist
2. The Descendants
3. We Need To Talk About Kevin
4. Your Sister's Sister
5. The Lie
6. Albatross
7. Monsieur Lazhar
8. Phase 7
9. Perfect Sense
10. Rise of the Planet of The Apes


Susan Gerhard,
Fandor/SF360

1. Poetry
2. Certified Copy
3. The Arbor
4. Cedar Rapids
5. Into Eternity
6. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
7. Young Adult
8. The Trip
9. The Mill and the Cross
10. Project Nim

Mike Mills' "Beginners"
Howard Gertler,
Producer

1. Beginners
2. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
3. Weekend
4. 3 Backyards
5. Heartbeats
6. Bridesmaids
7. Myth of the American Sleepover
8. Super 8
9. Bellflower
10. Martha Marcy May Marlene


Sophie Gluck,
Sophie Gluck & Associates

The Artist
The Descendants
Hugo
Incendies
J. Edgar
Melancholia
Midnight in Pairs
Mysteries of Lisbon
Of Gods and Men
A Separation


Marie Therese Guirgis,
Producer

1. The Tree of Life
2. Margaret
3. Senna
4. Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy
5. The Skin I Live In
6. Jane Eyre
7. Like Crazy
8. Potiche
9. My Joy
10. House of Pleasures


Chris Horton,
Artist Services, Sundance Institute

1. The Interrupters
2. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
3. The Tree of Life
4. The Skin I Live In
5. Margin Call
6. Senna
7. Moneyball
8. Dragonslayer
9. Armadillo
10. Like Crazy


Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives"
Marcus Hu,
Strand Releasing

1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. The Tree of Life
3. Beginners
4. The Arbor
5. Hugo
6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
7. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
8. Shame
9. The Kid With The Bike
10. The Skin I Live In


Jason Janego,
New Label, The Weinstein Company

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
2. Shame
3. Bill Cunningham New York
4. Drive
5. The Artist
6. Moneyball
7. The Trip
8. Bridesmaids
9. Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
10. Midnight in Paris


Keaton Kail,
IFC Films

1. The Tree of Life
2. Mysteries of Lisbon
3. Melancholia
4. Certified Copy
5. Incendies
6. Weekend
7. The Time That Remains
8. Pina
9. Martha Marcy May Marlene
10. Drive


Adam Kersh,
Brigade Marketing

1. The Muppets
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Weekend
4. Cold Weather
5. The Descendants
6. Le Havre
7. Bridesmaids
8. Bellflower
9. Heartbeats
10. Septien


Michael Lerman,
The Philadelphia Film Society/The Film Sales Company

1. A Separation
2. Incendies
3. The Time That Remains
4. Margaret
5. Certified Copy
6. Le Quattro Volte
7. Leap Year
8. Red State
9. If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle
10. Drive


Jennie Livingston,
Filmmaker

1. Connected
2. Letters from the Big Man
3. Tomboy
4. Meek's Cutoff
5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
6. Putty Hill
7. We Were Here
8. Gun Hill Road
9. Attenberg
10. Into The Abyss


Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter" Sony Pictures Classics
Jared Moshe,
Director of "Dead Man's Burden"; Producer of "Corman's World" and "Silver Tongues"

1. Take Shelter
2. Warrior
3. The Tree of Life
4. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
5. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
6. Hugo
7. The Artist
8. Moneyball
9. Tabloid
10. Drive


Andrew Murphy,
Atlantic Film Festival

1. Melancholia
2. Take Shelter
3. The Artist
4. Weekend
5. Higher Ground
6. Hobo With a Shotgun
7. The Future
8. Le Havre
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
10. The Tree of Life


Susan Norget,
Susan Norget Film Promotion

1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. Melancholia
3. Certified Copy
4. Poetry
5. Mysteries of Lisbon
6. Pina
7. The Future
8. Aurora
9. The Interrupters
10. Cave of Forgotten Dreams


David Nugent,
Hamptons International Film Festival & Perugia International Film Festival

1. Nostalgia For The Light
2. The Artist
3. Drive
4. The Descendants
5. Melancholia
6. Le Quattro Volte
7. The Tree of Life
8. Moneyball
9. Beginners
10. Buck


Jenni Olsen,
Q Movie Blog.com

1. Tomboy
2. Happy Happy
3. Beginners
4. Circumstance
5. Pariah
6. Making the Boys
7. 3
8. We Were Here
9. J. Edgar
10. Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Mark Elijah Rosenberg,
Rooftop Films

1. Septian
2. St. Nick
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. Strongman
5. Bad Posture
6. Cold Weather
7. Battle For Brooklyn
8. The Imperialists Are Still Alive!
9. Where Soldiers Come From
10. Pariah


Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" Fox Searchlight
Rob Scheer,
Brigade Marketing

1. The Tree of Life
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Shame
4. Moneyball
5. Take Shelter
6. Weekend
7. Warrior
8. Rango
9. Melancholia
10. We Need To Talk About Kevin


Richard Sheehan,
HSBC Bank Entertainment & Media Group

1. The Descendants
2. Shame
3. My Week With Marilyn
4. The Artist
5. Moneyball
6. The Skin I Live In
7. Pariah
8. Win Win
9. The Help
10. Hugo


Bryan Stamp,
Outfest

1. The Tree of Life/Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2. Nostalgia For The Light
3. Weekend
4. The Arbor
5. My Perestroika
6. Certified Copy
7. Le Havre
8. Drive
9. Melancholia/Take Shelter
10. The Future


Basil Tsiokos,
Consultant/Programming Associate, Sundance Film Festival

1. The Interrupters
2. Resurrect Dead
3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
4. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
5. The Arbor
6. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
7. Weekend
8. Summer Pasture
9. We Need To Talk About Kevin
10. Melancholia


John Von Thaden,
Magnolia Pictures

1. Melancholia
2. Certified Copy
3. Take Shelter
4. Margaret
5. Mysteries of Lisbon
6. Nostalgia For The Light
7. Drive
8. Moneyball
9. A Separation
10. House of Pleasures
 

TAGS: Reviews, Lists

37 Comments

  • Natasha | May 22, 2012 1:16 AMReply

    1. We Need To Talk About Kevin
    2. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    3. Shame
    4. The Woman in Black
    5. 50/50
    6. A Dangerous Method
    7. Melancholia
    8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
    9. My Week With Marilyn
    10. One Day

    I'm sure The Tree of Life and The Artist should be on here, but I haven't seen them yet.

  • Danielle | December 30, 2011 11:47 AMReply

    1. The Future 2. The Descendants 3. Weekend 4. Pariah 5. Another Earth 6. Meek's Cutoff 7.the Muppets 8. Bridesmaids 9. Jane Eyre 10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  • San | December 30, 2011 11:03 AMReply

    Nobody mentioned "Another Earth"? I thought it was great!

  • Roric Brown | December 30, 2011 10:35 AMReply

    1. The Tree of Life 2. The Interrupters 3. Drive 4. Another Earth 5. Take Shelter 6. The Skin I Live In 7. A Separation 8. Win Win 9. Midnight in Paris 10. The Future

  • Marco Túlio de Urzêda Freitas | December 30, 2011 9:35 AMReply

    1. Certified Copy
    2. Black Swan
    3. The Skin I Live In
    4. Biutiful
    5. Melancholia
    6. Midnight in Paris
    7. Shame
    8. The Tree of Life
    9. Moneyball
    10. House of Pleasures

  • light | December 30, 2011 5:15 AMReply

    most of them aren't fair .Pina and Declaration of War(French) are great and deserve to Oscar.

  • David | December 30, 2011 3:15 AMReply

    After reading this I can safely say that "We Need To Talk To Kevin" is one of the most overrated movies of the year, I'm not going to say the movie is horrible but I personally hated it and other than Tilda Swinton the acting was horrible

  • nicholas | December 30, 2011 2:47 AMReply

    1.A SEPARATION 2.the tree of life 3.the artist 4. a dangerous method 5.the girl with the dragon tattoo 6 .HUGO 7.the skin i live in 8.take shelter 9.drive 10.midnight in paris

  • PeeLee | December 30, 2011 1:52 AMReply

    What a f***ing joke. NONE of these films are Independent, you f***ing morons.

  • bob hawk | December 31, 2011 1:03 AM

    Whoa!!!!! To PEELEE. WATCHIT & JIMMY B: Your sweeping generalizations about the above lists in no way acknowledge the EXTREMELY diverse range of films represented -- from no/low budget "truly" indie films to high budget studio films. Technically (although this is IndieWIRE) these are just these people's top films of the year (nothing was mentioned about top independent films). And, to me, budget is not the ultimate yardstick of independence -- it's more about authorship. Did the filmmaker have final cut -- and the creative freedom to not compromise his/her vision by having to answer to anyone else (especially bean counters)? Any dollar-amount line drawn in the sand is so arbitrary and really beside the point. (Just like the varying age-of-consent laws between countries, and even within our united states. There are some 17 year olds who have more maturity as to sexual matters than some 4o year olds -- as is obvious from just the example of some of our politicians.) I've seen more than my share of under $50,000 movies that are just wannabe Judd Apatow or Christopher Guest rip offs (99% of which are terrible) -- and yet the $32 million TREE OF LIFE is an independent film as far as I'm concerned (as is Ken Jacobs' SEEKING THE MONKEY KING). This year has presented maybe the ultimate example of a compromised, hybrid or "semi-independent": Lonergan's MARGARET. Contractually obligated to Fox Searchlight to bring in a cut that was no longer than 150 minutes, Lonergan couldn't bear to cut it from an approx. 3-hour cut, so Martin Scorcese and Thelma Shoonmaker did the final edit. Even so -- and even though I'd much prefer to see the longer cut (which I've heard is awesome), it's definitely in my ten top film list -- because it seared my consciousness and has haunted me from the day I saw it. I could say the same for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (as to the hauntedness factor). Those two films are on my top ten list SO FAR. I still have some films to see, so some of the other eight might change, but for now they are (in no particular order): TREE OF LIFE, A SEPARATION, MELANCHOLIA, WEEKEND, LE QUATTRE VOLTE, THE INTERRUPTERS, SHAME and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (the most brilliantly edited film of the year). MARGARET also had an astoundingly kick-ass ensemble in a year with a number of outstanding ensemble casts.

  • WATCHIT | December 30, 2011 3:09 PM

    They should call this the "co-dependent" top 10 films of 2011. These aren't real independent films. We've lost our way people. I think the requirement should be for a budget at least under 1 million if not 500,000. Throw these in with the standard Hollywood films and show me some true indies.

  • Jimmy B | December 30, 2011 8:44 AM

    I have to agree, not a lot of 'em are really independent. I mean... Thor???

  • soytim | December 30, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    1. The Artist (Wow!)
    2. Super 8 (Elle Fanning!)
    3. We Were Here (Truly heartrending.)
    4. Certified Copy (Whoa!)
    5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Wha...?)
    6. Jane Eyre (I was blown away by this)
    7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Featuring best performance by a chimpanzee)
    8. World on a Wire (First time(?) shown theatrically in US, I believe? One of Fassbinder's wierdest)
    9. The Tree of Life (hypnotic, meditative, beautiful)
    10. The Tacqwacores (Doesn't anyone else know/care about this movie?)

  • Mark | December 29, 2011 7:30 PMReply

    I still need to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; Melancholia; We Need to Talk About Kevin; Meek's Cutoff; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Young Adult; Another Earth; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; The Adventures of Tin Tin; A Dangerous Method; Martha Marcy May Marlene; The Help; The Artist; Shame; A Separation. But other than all of those, here's my top 10.
    1. Archie's Final Project
    2. Bellflower
    3. Like Crazy
    4. 50/50
    5. The Way
    6. Super 8
    7. Win Win
    8. Midnight in Paris
    9. The Descendants
    10. Submarine

  • Matt Johnson | December 29, 2011 6:45 PMReply

    No love for Another Earth? Easily most underrated movie of the year. On my top 10 list.

  • Brian Carlson | December 29, 2011 5:44 PMReply

    1. The Tree of Life
    2. Drive
    3. The Guard
    4. Submarine
    5. Take Shelter
    6. Win Win
    7. A Dangerous Method
    8. Rubber
    9. Warrior
    10. The Descendants

  • Chris | December 29, 2011 5:43 PMReply

    I still need to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Melancholia, and We Need To Talk About Kevin. I'm quite expecting most if not all three will make it onto my top ten list. As it is, here is what I have so far:
    1. The Tree Of Life (the only true masterpiece of the year)
    2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    3. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    4. Hanna
    5. Drive
    6. Bridesmaids
    7. Midnight In Paris
    8. The Descendants
    9. Contagion
    10. Hugo

  • BobJohnstone | December 29, 2011 4:42 PMReply

    Although I found it overtly funny but forced, does Bridesmaids really belong with movies with tremendous depth other than to fill a comedic void?

  • OrrinK | December 29, 2011 4:34 PMReply

    I've seen about 8 I really like
    and plan on seeing Moneyball,
    1. Tree of Life
    2. Young Adult
    3. Descendants
    4. Beginners
    5. Hugo
    6. Brides Maids
    7. Cowboys and Aliens
    8. Drive

  • Matt | December 29, 2011 4:29 PMReply

    1) Melancholia 2) The Artist 3) Martha Marcy May Marlene 4) The Skin I Live In 5) Certified Copy 6) Take Shelter 7) Midnight In Paris 8) Shame 9) Le Havre 10) We Were Here

  • Akbar | December 29, 2011 4:17 PMReply

    1)A Separation 2)Drive 3)shame 4)take shelter 5)The Tree of Life 6)The Artist 7)We Need To Talk About Kevin 8)Melancholia 9)Hugo 10)The Help

  • Ozge Von | December 29, 2011 4:16 PMReply

    1. A seperation
    2. Le gamin au velo (the kid with a bike)
    3. Bir zamanlar Anadolu'da (Once upon a time in Anatolia)
    4. Le havre
    5. Submarine
    6. Weekend
    7. Beginners
    8. Hugo
    9. Tomboy
    10. Life in a day

  • Ben Marshall | December 29, 2011 4:14 PMReply

    1) Senna 2) Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3) Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4) Elite Squad 5) Win Win

    Films I am still dieing to see: The Interrupters, J. Edgar, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ides of March

  • RICARDO | December 29, 2011 4:05 PMReply

    1: Melancholia

    2: The Tree of Life

    3: The Skin I Live In

    4: Shame

    5: Drive

  • Marty McFly | December 29, 2011 3:51 PMReply

    10/ Pina
    9/ The Artist
    8/ J. Edgar
    7/ The Skin I Live In
    6/ Melancholia
    5/ House of Pleasures
    4/ Like Crazy
    3/ War Horse
    2/ Tyrannosaur
    1/ Bellflower

  • Ken Dosch | December 29, 2011 3:47 PMReply

    1) The Skin I Live In 2) We Need To Talk About Kevin 3) Martha Marcy May Marlene 4) The Future 5) Drive 6) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives 7) The Ides of March 8) Super 9) Red State 10) Rubber/Midnight In Paris/Albert Nobbs/A Serbian Film

  • Harper | December 29, 2011 3:46 PMReply

    1. The Tree of Life 2. Bridesmaids 3. Young Adult 4. Harry Potter DH2 5. Drive 6. Miss Bala 7. A Separation 8. Martha Marcy May Marlene 9. The Muppet's 10. Like Crazy

  • yizhack jacobs | December 29, 2011 2:50 PMReply

    my fevorits this year
    1. Bellflower
    2. Septien
    3. The Scenesters
    4. Higher Ground
    5. Higher Ground

  • Hamed | December 29, 2011 2:42 PMReply

    There is no doubt. The Oscar goes to A Separation!

  • Ibad Shah | December 29, 2011 2:06 PMReply

    1. A Separation
    2. The Tree of Life
    3. Bal (Honey)
    4. We Need To Talk About Kevin
    5. Weekend
    6. This Is Not a Film
    7. Drive
    8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'
    9. Tyrannosaur
    10. Senna

  • Hotton Machado | December 29, 2011 2:02 PMReply

    1. The Tree of Life
    2. Beginners
    3. Melancholia
    4. We Need to Talk about Kevin
    5. Elite Squad 2
    6. The Guard
    7. Tomboy
    8. Drive
    9. Ides of March
    10. The Skin I Live In

  • AndréMC | December 29, 2011 1:42 PMReply

    1. The Tree of Life
    2. Essential Killing
    3. Melancholia
    4. A Separation
    5. Black Swan
    6. Another Year
    7. Carlos
    8. Midnight in Paris
    9. Super 8
    10. The Skin I Live In

  • Arslan Baig | December 29, 2011 1:41 PMReply

    My Top 16 Films of 2011:

    1. Drive
    2. The Ides Of March
    3. The Artist
    4. The Descendants
    5. Take Shelter
    6. The Tree Of Life
    7. Melancholia
    8. Shame
    9. Moneyball
    10. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    11. Martha Marcy May Marlene
    12. A Separation (Iran)
    13. J. Edgar
    14. We Need To Talk About Kevin
    15. The Help
    16. Insidious

  • Mehran | December 29, 2011 1:37 PMReply

    The Oscar of the Best foreign language movie goes to A Separation!

  • amin | December 29, 2011 1:31 PMReply

    just "A SEPARATION"

  • Barak Epstein | December 29, 2011 1:18 PMReply

    1. Hugo
    2. The Last Circus
    3. Drive
    4. Tree of Life
    5. Melancholia
    6. General Orders No. 9
    7. Carnage
    8. Shame
    9. Dogtooth
    10. Bellflower

    Honorable Mentions: Norwegian Ninja, Super

    Didn't see: Take Shelter

    Best movie seen in 2011, coming out in 2012: Kill List

  • jimbo | December 29, 2011 10:37 AMReply

    i respect spc and ifc for not allowing their own films to infiltrate the lists. the same standard should've been volunteered by all.