Any list of the most breakthrough independent films of the 21st century is bound to include some, if not all, of the following titles: “Boyhood,” “The Babadook,” “Frances Ha,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” The connection between these releases is IFC Films, the indie distributor now celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020. IFC Films has become one of the definitive indie film studios over its first two decades by supporting visions from the world’s most beloved auteurs, including Richard Linklater, Jennifer Kent, Noah Baumbach, Olivier Assayas, Steve McQueen, the Safdie brothers, Lars von Trier, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Andrea Arnold, and Alfonso Cuarón.
IFC Films started its historic run with the December 2000 release of “Spring Forward,” the Tom Gilroy drama starring Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber as two parks department workers in New England who forge a friendship over a year working together. The early movies of IFC Films were similarly modest in design and performance, from the Dogme 95 entry “The King Is Alive” to the Marisa Tomei-Vincent D’Onofrio romance “Happy Accidents” and documentaries such as “Keep the River on Your Right” and “Go Tigers!” Then came 2002, an explosive year that put IFC Films on the map thanks to an out-of-nowhere rom-com blockbuster and a Mexican road film that dominated the international film circuit.
Explore the history of IFC Films with IndieWire’s list of 20 films that define the first 20 years of the studio. Films are presented in chronological order below.