Back to IndieWire

The Biggest Indie Breakthroughs of 2013, So Far (Part 2)

The Biggest Indie Breakthroughs of 2013, So Far (Part 2)

It’s been just over six months since we said goodbye to 2012 and hello
to 2013, and already we’ve seen a slew of promising indie talent
breakthrough in big ways thanks to the Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca film
festivals (among many others), and theatrical releases that caught on
with the movie-going public. Yesterday we published the first part of our
picks for this year’s biggest indie breakthroughs so far (we still have
half a year to go), with our reasons for why they made the cut and info
on what they’re up to next. Below, find part two.

READ MORE: The Biggest Indie Breakthroughs of 2013, So Far (Part 1)

Lindsay Burdge
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “A Teacher”
Why They’re On Here: In Hannah Fidell’s breakout Sundance entry “A Teacher,” picked up by Oscilloscope out of the fest, Lindsay Burdge appears in
pretty much every frame as an attractive suburban Texas high school
teacher engaged in a heated affair with a male student. The subject
matter alone attracted a lot of attention in Park City prior to the
film’s premiere, and after it screened, Burdge
emerged as one of the breakouts of the festival with a performance The Hollywood Reporter praised as “commandingly internalized.”
What’s Up Next: Burdge recently shot the indie “The Sideways
Light,” a movie she refers to as “another female-driven enterprise.” “A Teacher” opens September 6.

Mickey Sumner
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “Frances Ha”
Why They’re On Here:
Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” is full of big surprises. When it
premiered at Telluride last September it seemed to materialize out of
nowhere, having been shot in secret quite successfully the previous
year. Another welcome surprise of the film is the unheralded arrival of
young British actress Mickey Sumner, who earned praise in her completely
believable and often heartbreaking portrayal of the title character’s
(co-writer Greta Gerwig) best friend. Sumner fits so seamlessly
into Baumbach’s world that it seems incredible that the film is only her
second substantial role in a feature.
What’s Up Next: The New York-based actress portrays punk icon Patti Smith in Randall Miller’s upcoming “CBGB” and appears this summer opposite Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening in “Girl Most Likely.”

Zachary Heinzerling
Profession: Director
Breakout Film: “Cutie and the Boxer”
Why They’re On Here: Zachary Heinzerling came to this year’s Sundance Film Festival as a newbie filmmaker with his debut “Cutie and the Boxer.” He left Park City as a doc filmmaker to reckon with after landing distribution with RADiUS-TWC and the festival’s Documentary Directing Award.
The intimate and artful doc profiles Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, married
Japanese artists living in New York who have been together for 40-plus
years. At the film’s outset, the couple is in the midst of preparing a
joint exhibit. Using the event as a springboard, Heinzerling delves into
their surprising back-story to reveal a piercing look at the sacrifices
Noriko made in order to further Ushio’s career. It opens August 16.
What’s Up Next: “I really want to work on a narrative film,” Heinzerling told Indiewire. “I’ve worked on documentaries pretty much
solely up to now. I’d really like to try my hand at it. With this film I
was trying to basically make a narrative film, but instead of using
actors I used real people.”

Brie Larson
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “Short Term 12”
Why They’re On Here: She’s been slowly building a name for herself with a bunch of small parts in films like “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” and “Greenberg” and a role on “The United States of Tara,” but she took everyone by surprise as the center of the indie drama “Short Term 12,” which took SXSW by storm earlier this year by winning both the Audience and Grand Jury awards. She took on a heavy role as a worker in a youth foster care facility trying to balance supervising underprivileged kids with her own problems as the past comes back to haunt her. She led the film with such heartbreaking gravity that we’re waiting for her next role with bated breath. “Short Term 12” opens August 23.
What’s Up Next: She can be seen in anticipated upcoming indies “The Spectacular Now” and “Don Jon,” which ought to hold us until her next starring role. She is currently billed for upcoming comedy “Relanxious,” about a woman who suffers from anxiety (Olivia Wilde) who falls in love with an agoraphobic guy (Jason Sudeikis). Larson will play Wilde’s best friend. She’ll also star in “Squirrels to the Nuts,” as a prostitute turned actress who gets a career boost from a smitten but married Broadway producer (Owen Wilson). And lastly, it looks like she’ll be starring in a Bollywood musical called “Basmati Blues.” Not many details are available, but her former career as a pop singer surely prepared her for a musical role.

Louisa Krause
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “King Kelly,” “Bluebird”
Why They’re On Here: Louisa Krause may
have earned her first major recognition for her role in the 2012 SXSW
entry “King Kelly,” but she truly proved herself in this year’s Tribeca
Film Festival entry, “Bluebird.” Though the film’s main focus is on Amy
Morton’s character, Lesley, Krause steals her
fair share of scenes as Marla, a boozing, pot-smoking small town
waitress who gets tangled up in the film’s central tragedy. Critic Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist said, “Krause, [as] the damaged and dysfunctional mother, is outstanding and one to watch,” when he saw the film in April. We have to agree.
What’s Up Next: Krause is slated to appear in a number
of smaller films already in post-production. She has roles in “You Can’t
Win” and “Gabriel,” starring Michael Pitt and Rory Culkin,
respectively. Both films are expected in 2013. “The First” is a slightly
more high profile film for the young actress. Starring Julia Stiles and
David Strathairn, the biopic of silent film star Mary Pickford has yet
to set a release date.Oscar Isaac
Profession: Actor
Breakout Film: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Why They’re On Here: He
stole the show in his first lead role as fictional folk singer Llewyn
Davis in the Coen Brothers’ Cannes entry, navigating the 60s folk scene in New York with charm and appeal.
His performance is already generating a lot of Oscar buzz. He also
arrested our ears with a stellar voice, but no surprise there — it turns
out he’s been singing since he was young, and he even played lead
guitar and sang vocals in his own band.
What’s Up Next: Tons
of things. Isacc’s acting resume is already pretty long, but he’s
playing some big parts in the future. He has a meaty part in the
upcoming adaptation of “Therese,” the Emile Zola novel. Isaac is
thrown in with the likes of Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Mackenzie
Crook, and Jessica Lange in a world of love and sexual repression in
1860s Paris. He co-stars opposite Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen in
“The Two Faces of January” as a Greek local who gets wrapped up in the
suspicious activity of a husband and wife con-artist team. His next
bona-fide lead will be the title role in “The Ballad of Pablo Escobar,”
the true story of a Colombian drug lord. He has several more projects in
development, but details are scant.

Amy Seimetz
Profession: Writer, director, actress
Breakout Film: “Upstream Color,” “Sun Don’t Shine”
Why They’re On Here:
Amy Seimetz is having a moment. The writer-actress-filmmaker has for the
better part of a decade been making a name for herself on the indie
film circuit by working with everyone from Lena Dunham on “Tiny
Furniture” to Joe Swanberg” in “Alexander the Last” to anchoring Megan
Griffith’s acclaimed Sundance character study “The Off Hours.” This year, however, marks Seimetz biggest one yet. First came Shane
Carruth’s “Upstream Color,” in which she co-starred with the
writer-director in one of the most perplexing indies to come along in
ages. And this summer saw the theatrical release of her directorial debut “Sun
Don’t Shine,” a 16mm shot, micro-budget portrait of a couple (Kentucker
Audley and Kate Lyn Sheil) on the run for murder, in addition to her appearing on the small screen in Christopher Guest’s HBO comedy series “Family Tree,” and the surprise third season of AMC’s “The Killing.”
What’s Up Next: In August you can
catch her in Adam Wingard’s acclaimed horror pic “You’re Next,” opposite
Ti West and Swanberg. She also has three features in the can, including West’s upcoming horror “The Sacrament.”

Lake Bell
Profession: Writer, director, producer, actress
Breakout Film: “In a World…”
Why They’re On Here:
Lake Bell, the tall and lanky comedienne best known for her work on
Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital” and HBO’s now-defunct “How To Make It
In America,” proved herself to be a quadruple threat when “In
a World…,” her feature writing-directing debut (which she also
co-produced and stars in), world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a rave response from the packed house at the Library Theater. It was picked up by Roadside Attractions and opens August 9.
What’s Up Next: She’s currently filming the sports drama “Million Dollar Arm” opposite Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton and Alan Arkin, under the direction of “Lars and the Real Girl” helmer Craig Gillespie. Thoma McCarthy (“The Visitor,” “Win Win”) penned the screenplay.

Onata Aprile
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “What Maisie Knew”
Why They’re On Here:
She was only 7 when she made “What Maisie Knew,” but she grabbed our
attention as a young New Yorker caught in the middle of her parents’
custody battle. She garnered praise and affection from her adult costars
and acted with subtle honesty, even though her mom still had to help
her learn her lines. In fact, she dominated the film, and surprised her
co-stars with her process. Co-star Alexander Skarsgard is a fan, saying “She’s so sensitive, and real. I work for months, and I think about my
character, I analyze everything. Then you show up on set, and she’s a
million times better than I am. I’m like, ‘Come on!! This is not fair!'”
What’s Up Next:
No projects yet, but the world seems to be captivated by this little
ball of energy, who doesn’t let her adorable real life personality get
in the way of a serious role. She seems to be heading for great things.

Elizabeth Debicki
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “The Great Gatsby”
Why They’re On Here: While Baz Luhrmann’s Cannes opening night entry, “The Great Gatsby,” earned mixed
reviews, most
agree on one thing: That Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki stood
out among the starry cast, despite only appearing in a handful of
scenes. As the golfing, long limbed beauty Jordan Baker, Debicki
radiated a cool confidence — no small feat considering she landed the
role mere months after leaving the Victorian College of the Arts, and
had to act opposite a heavyweight like Leonardo DiCaprio, under the
direction of one of her country’s most revered filmmakers.
What’s Up Next: She’s currently performing in a production of “The Maids” for Sydney Theater Company with Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert in Australia.Josephine de la Baume
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “Kiss of the Damned”
Why They’re On Here:
French beauty Josephine de La Baume makes for one hell of a fiery blood
sucker in the indie vampire tale “Kiss of the Damned,” written and
directed by Xan Cassevetes, daughter to John and Gena Rowlands (it opened this summer). The role of Djuna marks La Baume’s most high profile one yet following
supporting parts in “The Princess of Montpensier” and “One Day” — and she kills it.
What’s Up Next: Her
popularity will surely only continue to rise once audiences catch her in
Ron Howard’s anticipated Formula One drama “Rush,” out in theaters
during the heat of awards season on September 20.

Randy Moore
Profession: Director
Breakout Film: “Escape From Tomorrow”
Why They’re On Here: Moore shot his debut film “Escape from Tomorrow
on location at Disney World without obtaining any kind of permission.
He simply bought his cast and crew season passes and returned over and
over again to complete the project. The daring guerrilla production was
one of the most talked about films at Sundance this year and was chosen
by Roger Ebert to screen at this year’s EbertFest just before the famed
critic’s death. But Moore doesn’t have any grandiose commentary on
Disney itself. “I don’t want to be like a personality like someone who’s
out there trying to make a spectacle of trying to bring down
corporations,” he told Indiewire back in January. “I just wanted to tell
a story.”
What’s Up Next: So far, Disney hasn’t taken any legal action against “Escape from Tomorrow,” but the film sill doesn’t have official distribution. During the month long binge wherein Moore wrote “Escape from Tomorrow,”
he also penned two other scripts: one a horror film set on a boat, and
another about an actress who gets involved with a cult. Might we suggest
guerrilla style on a big name cruise ship or within the inner workings
of Scientology?

Danai Gurira
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film: “Mother of George”
Why They’re On Here: Most people know Danai Gurira as the Samurai sword-wielding Michonne on “The
Walking Dead.” But Gurira is also an award winning stage actor, an Obie
Award winning writer, and co-founder of a Zimbabwean arts education
non-profit. This year at Sundance, Gurira wowed critics with her
stunning performance in Andrew Dosunmu’s “Mother of George” as a
Nigerian newlywed struggling to conceive.
What’s Up Next: In April, Gurira told South African news site The Independent that she’s been approached to write her own TV series.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Profession: Director
Breakout Film:
“The Kings of Summer
Why They’re On Here:
Vogt-Roberts caused a stir at Sundance this year with his coming of age
comedy “The Kings of Summer,” but the Detroit-born director and writer
has been making waves in the comedy world for the past couple years. He
got his start setting up the website Blerds.com, an outlet for his
stand-up comedian friends. Vogt-Roberts went on to direct various web
series and shorts, including the short film “Successful Alcoholics”
starring T.J. Miller and Lizzy Caplan, which premiered at Sundance in
2010 and has since been played at over thirty festivals. Vogt-Roberts’
ascension continued as he went on to direct some episodes of the HBO
series “Funny or Die Presents” and create the Comedy Central stand-up
series “Mash Up” in 2012. That year his feature directorial debut went
into production. Originally titled “Toy’s House,” “The Kings of Summer”
stars relative unknowns Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias,
as well as star players Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Megan Mullaly.
The film follows three teens who eschew their parents’ rigid lifestyles
and run away to live in the woods– sort of Thoreau meets “Superbad.”
The film met positive reviews upon its premiere and its May 31st release date, cementing Vogt-Roberts’ name as a fresh figure in comedy to look out for.

What’s Up Next: While
he has so solidified plans as of yet, Vogt-Roberts has intimated that
he has some ideas he is trying to get off of the ground and has some
scripts that have been sent his way. He is also figuring out plans for a
second season of his show “Mash Up.”

Alice Englert
Profession: Actress
Breakout Film:
“Ginger & Rosa
Why They’re On Here:
Englert grew up in cinema. As the daughter of Oscar-winning director
Jane Campion (“The Piano”) and filmmaker Colin Englert, she spent her
childhood on airplanes and in editing rooms. Lately, the teen actress
has proven more than capable at commanding attention in front of the
camera. This became evident in her breakout performance this year in
Sally Potter’s period drama “Ginger & Rosa.” The film follows the
relationship of two teenage girls, Englert and Elle Fanning, in London
in 1962. As political and social tumult takes the world by storm, it has
an equally threatening effect on the girls’ friendship. 2013 also saw
Englert starring in the mystical and gothic fantasy film “Beautiful
What’s Up Next:
has some other projects set for release this year. The time-travel
adventure film “Singularity” starring Josh Hartnett is currently in
post-production. Also coming soon is “In Fear,” a dark thriller that
premiered at Sundance. It hits theaters in the U.K. in November, with no
word on a  U.S. release date.

[Nigel M. Smith, Ben Travers, Casey Cipriani, Julia Selinger, Madeline Raynor and Clint Holloway contributed to this article.]

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox