6 Great Indie Films of Yesteryear

Indie

Since I started writing for this blog, I’ve done Top Ten lists for the best indie films of 2013 and 2014.  Today I figured I’d shine a spotlight on some of my favorite indie films from the previous years.  I would say 2010-11 was the era that I really started going to festivals and discovering some high quality work.  So here are all my favorite indie films that I haven’t written about yet.

6. FEED A (dir. Clarke Mayer)

Okay, I actually did do a whole article on this one once, but I thought deserved a new shout-out now that it’s finally available online.  FEED A is creepy, atmospheric, makes its practical effects looks seamless, and is probably my favorite “found footage” movie ever made.

5. The collected works of Jack Feldstein

I first met Jack at a film festival where he mentioned he had a film playing that was a “neon animation.”  I had no idea what that meant, and so as I sat through the block of short films featuring his work.  Every time an animated film came on, I wondered if this was the “neon animation.”  Then, finally, when his film started, I had zero doubt in my mind that this was it.  You could not mistake the neon look!  The film was THE ECSTASY OF GARY GREEN, which tells a story about a young man who finds himself in the world.  The visuals of the film consisted of pre-existing bits of animation that had been manipulated and “diluted” to have a neon-sign look, and been put together to form a new narrative, narrated to us by a Woody Allen-esque stream-of-conscious voice (Jack himself) that gives the whole film a “free-flowing” feel.  I interpreted the film as being a celebration of life, but underneath all that, a celebration of animation.  Since then, I have seen several of Jack’s films and I recommend them to everyone.

Of the ones that are narrated by Jack himself, these are the essentials:
THE ECSTASY OF GARY GREEN
A WONDROUS FILM ABOUT EMMA BROOKS
THE LOSER WHO WON
RESCUING OEDIPUS REX
THE FANTASTICAL WORLD OF SCRIPTWRITING

4. ANDREW: STORY OF A CLOSET MONSTER (dir. Elliot Lobell)

This charming fairytale is the film that made me first realize how the most cinematic films are always the ones with the least dialog.

3. SOMETHING LEFT, SOMETHING TAKEN (produced by Tiny Inventions)

I’ve watched this one a thousand times and I still marvel at the detail in it.  The two main characters are caricatures of the two co-directors.  In my opinion, this animated film could stand next to any of the classic shorts of Chuck Jones.

2. BECAUSE THE ORIGAMI (dir. Ben Jacobson)

Then there’s my favorite fan music video.  Made for the pre-existing song BECAUSE THE ORIGAMI by 8in8, the director chose to dramatize the song, starring his own daughter.  The visuals in this video nearly bring me to tears.

1. LIKE SUGAR ON THE TIP OF MY LIPS (dir. Minji Kang)

Last but not least though, is one of my all-time favorite short films and probably the first great indie film I ever saw, now available online in its entirety.  Watch the whole thing below.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

This film is so melancholic, so haunting.  Of course it’s easy to praise Erin Wilhelmi‘s performance as the blind sister, but watching it again recently, I found it to be more about Alexandra Roxo‘s character and her co-dependence on her sibling.  I’ve never seen a film quite this intimate/heartfelt/creepy/lovely.  LIKE SUGAR ON THE TIP OF MY LIPS is one of the films that makes me want to blog about indie film and how powerful it can be.  Hopefully, sharing these treasures with you may give you something to think about.

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