By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire December 31, 2011 at 11:29AM
With 2012 just around the corner, this week saw Indiewire cap off 2011 with pieces that reflected back on a stellar year for indie film. We also found time to bring attention to two fantastic indies that opened this week -- "Pariah" and "A Separation." Below see the week that was on Indiewire.
END OF YEAR PICKS
Indie Film Industry
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 Indiewire Team
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 Indiewire staffers and freelancers highlighted a number of other movies large and small (but mostly small) from this year's release calendar. "Melancholia" received plenty of mentions, as did "Drive," but there were plenty of solo votes equally worth reading about below.
Asghar Farhadi, with the help of a translator, caught up with Indiewire to discuss the his journey on the festival circuit with "A Separation" and how Iranian audiences have responded to his family drama.
Interview with "Pariah" Writer/Director Dee Rees
Writer/director Dee Rees came into this year's Sundance Film Festival as a relative unknown and emerged as a filmmaker to contend with. Her feature directorial debut, the moving coming-of-age drama "Pariah," screened on the opening night of the event, garnering a wealth of critical praise upon its unveiling and a rich distribution deal with Focus Features a few days later.
Why 2011 Marked a Change in Cinematography
New York-based filmmaker Jamie Stuart reflects back on how high-definition filmmaking defined the year in film.
40 New Faces of Indie Film
Every week, we've profiled promising indie newcomers in our Futures column. Some made their mark in front of the camera, others behind it and a few did both. With 2011 coming to a close, we've selected the year's best to present you with our picks for the 40 new faces of indie film.
11 Great Movies From 2011 Opening in 2012
The problem with virtually every analysis of the year in film is it takes cues not only from the quality of new movies but also from how they interact with the marketplace. Indiewire's year-end poll is no exception, accounting only for films that received U.S. theatrical releases in 2011. However, there are many, many more movies that may have been lucky enough to land distribution after screening at festivals during the year, but have yet to reach audiences beyond that contained environment.
The Top Moments of Music on Film in 2011
As the music industry is busy writing its own obituary, music on film keeps getting better and better. The year's biggest music-on-film hits were not necessarily original tunes (Wagner probably provided the most memorable aural experience at theaters), the soundtracks of "Drive" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" provided new ear candy.
Top 10 Profiles of 2011
Indiewire profiled some great talents this year. To cap 2011 off, we've combed through every interview we did this year to bring you the 10 most popular profiles of the year. Sometimes the rationale behind why a particular person caught the zietgeist is clear; other times it's not.
Top 10 Filmmaker Toolkit Articles of 2011
Like the name suggests, Indiewire's Filmmaker Toolkit is a collection intended to help filmmakers fix, tune or hack their way to success. And, as the wide-ranging topics of 2011's most popular Toolkit pieces made clear, there's no such thing as a Swiss army knife. The issues filmmakers faced ranged from social media to piracy to the IRS, with a solid dose of Netflix besides.
Top 10 Reviews of 2011
In an age when being first threatens to preclude being best, film criticism struggles like everything else to serve a purpose without pandering to the need to grab eyeballs. The heap of reviews I've written over the last 12 months, often under the extreme deadline pressures of film festivals, aren't impervious to this danger. However, looking back on the most popular reviews from 2011, it's a relief to see that most of them genuinely managed to launch conversations. Whether they delighted or angered readers, the dialogue never started or ended with the grade.
Indiewire Reviews "A Separation"
Modern Iranian cinema tends to reflect the climate that's opposed to its existence. The past year has seen the apex of that trend: Two Cannes Film Festival premieres, Mohammad Rasoulof's "Good Bye" and Jafar Panahi's "This is Not a Film" focused on open-minded Iranians complaining about their oppressive society and seeking an escape. Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" inhabits the same concerns, but its drama -- which unfolds with brilliant naturalism -- culls from universal frustrations.
Top Grossing Indies of 2011
Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" was the overwhelming winner at the specialty box office this year, topping this chart of 2011's top grossers with $56.3 million. That's over $20 million more than the next film on the chart - the still-climbing "Descendants" (it could surpass that total when Oscar season has come and gone) - and the highest gross ever for a Woody Allen film.
5 Reasons Why "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" Isn't Kicking Ass at the Holiday Box Office
No question, Sony isn't happy with the early holiday returns on David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Why did the studio put this violent R-rated counterprogrammer into the holiday window opposite "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"?
Top 10 Limited Debuts of 2011
This chart takes on the best per theater averages of limited debuts in 2011.
Top Grossing Foreign Language Films of 2011
This chart takes on the top performing foreign-language films in the U.S.
Top Grossing Documentaries of 2011
This chart takes on documentaries, which were collectively led by none other than Justin Bieber.