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Here Are the New Indies (Hopefully) Playing In a Theater Near You: ‘Maniac,’ ‘Downloaded,’ ‘Unfinished Song’ and More

Here Are the New Indies (Hopefully) Playing In a Theater Near You: 'Maniac,' 'Downloaded,' 'Unfinished Song' and More

Elijah Wood goes on a killing spree, Gemma Arterton teaches choir, and Alex Winter, aka Bill of Bill & Ted, brings us a documentary about filesharing’s affect on the music industry. Here’s a list of the indies opening this week, with synopses courtesy of the distributors.

A Hijacking
Opening In: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pasadena
Synopsis: The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbour when it is boarded and captured by pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship’s cook Mikkel and the engineer Jan, who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company and the Somali pirates.


“The Attack”

Opening In: New York, Washington D.C. 
Synopsis: An Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv discovers a dark secret about his wife in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.

Opening In: 
New York, Miami (Rolling Out Nationwide)
 In 1998 Shawn Fanning, a teenage hacker and programmer, created the code that would become the basis for all peer-to-peer file sharing. In 1999, Fanning and his business partner, fellow teenager Sean Parker, launched the file-sharing service Napster. And what had begun as a largely unknown underground distribution medium erupted into a full-blown global revolution. “Downloaded” explores this revolution from its genesis to its peak, and explains Napster’s downfall. “It’s about the music and the bands, the fans and the moguls, and the brilliant young minds that ignited the biggest youth revolt since Alan Freed hit the radio,” says director Alex Winter.

“The Lottery of Birth”
Opening In: New York
Synopsis: Do you shape the world or does the world shape you? Is freedom something we are born with or something we must work to attain? Offering a torrent of mind-expanding ideas and information “The Lottery of Birth” is going to make you think again about what it means to be free. Drawing on the best minds in philosophy, history, psychology, physics and economics, it employs decades of evidence to interrogate what we are, where we are and where we want to be. From birth onwards our minds are a battleground of competing forces. The outcome of this battle determines the society we create. This is a film about the cultural, educational, political and commercial forces that shape our identities, often in ways that limit both our personal and political freedom. Whether you’re into philosophy, economics or simply being a better person than you were born to be, you can’t afford to miss this film.

Opening In: New York (Los Angeles June 28)
Synopsis: Shy and withdrawn, Frank (Elijah Wood) keeps to himself, determined to keep his terrifying homicidal thoughts from becoming a brutal reality. His life changes when he meets a young artist who asks him for help with her new exhibition. As their friendship develops, his obsession escalates and it becomes clear that long-repressed compulsions are on the brink of being unleashed.


Opening In:
New York, Los Angeles
Billy and Sarah, two delinquent teenage lovers from the suburbs of Los Angeles, travel to a small southern town to falsely claim a dead friend’s inheritance.


Opening In: New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco
Synopsis: “Somm” takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into a mysterious world — the Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars.Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well-being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now. 

Opening In: New York (June 28 Fort Lauderdale)
Synopsis: In this Sundance Award Winning film, two men each search in their quiet solitude to begin a new life amidst an unspoken need for encouragement and support.

Opening In: New York
Synopsis: Al, a young man from a modest background, is 10 days away from marrying the daughter of his boss, along with succeeding him as the head of the car dealership where Al has been working for most of his life. One night, while coming back drunk from his bachelor party, Al commits a hit-and-run when he hits a man by accident and is urged to leave the scene of the crime by his two childhood friends who are with him in the car. The next day, gnawed by guilt, he decides to go to the hospital to inquire anonymously about his victim. What he does not know is that the entire accident was witnessed from a balcony by a young woman, Juliette, who is going through her own emotional upheavals. Juliette not only called 911, but also helped to contact the victim’s wife, Vara, a Moldavian illegal immigrant whom she decides to help and keep company at the hospital. But when Juliette recognizes Al as the reckless driver in the hospital corridor, for some reason she is unable to denounce him. Gradually they get to know each other better through more frequent meetings and phone calls, and Juliette becomes a mediator between Al and the unsuspecting Vara. However, things get complicated when romantic feelings between Juliette and Al start to arise, and Vara finally finds out about their secret relationship.

“The Undocumented”
Opening In:
New York
Since 1998 more than 2000 dead bodies and skeletal remains of illegal border crossers have been found in the desert in southern Arizona. “The Undocumented” tells the story of Marcos Hernandez, an undocumented Mexican living and working in Chicago. Marcos came to the United States, crossing through the Sonora Desert in southern Arizona. Each month he sends money to his mother in Mexico City for medicine for his brother Gustavo who is in need of a kidney transplant. But Marcos had an even more pressing reason for coming to the United States. He came to search for his father, Francisco, who disappeared in the Sonora Desert trying to enter the United States. Chronicled over the course of Arizona’s deadly summer months, the film weaves Marcos’ search for his father with the efforts of humanitarians and Border Patrol agents who try to prevent migrant deaths; medical investigators and the Mexican Consulate working to identify the remains of deceased border crossers; and Mexicans who struggle to accept the loss of a family member.

“Unfinished Song”
Opening In: New York, Los Angeles
Synopsis: Unfinished Song is a funny and uplifting story about Arthur (Terence Stamp), a curmudgeon old soul perfectly content sticking to his dull daily routine until his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) introduces him to a local spirited singing group led by the youthful and charming Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). This unexpected friendship and his discovery of music reignites Arthur’s passion for new adventures and shows us all life should be celebrated at any age.


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