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  • Don’s Favorite Undistributed Films of 2013 | Part One

    Best of 2013

    By | December 22, 2013

    It seems as though every year we have been presented with an increased quantity (and quality) of independent films. So many of these films end up having strong festival runs, then disappear into cinematic limbo; but as more boutique distributors pop up, more of these films are ending up getting some sort of a theatrical and/or VOD release. With this year coming to a close, I want to highlight some of the best films that I saw in 2013 that — to the best of my knowledge — have yet to announce a U.S. distribution deal. I say that, however, with total confidence that they will be distributed one way or another in the next 18 months.

    Rather than ranking these films, this is an alphabetical list that has been broken up into three posts: Part One, Part Two & Part Three.


    9 Full Moons

    While the quiet subtleties of Lev’s stoicism is handled quite adroitly by Bret Roberts, Frankie’s frenetic personality changes allow for Amy Seimetz to showcase her astounding range as an actor. Within the same scene, Seimetz is able to turn on a dime from ecstatically happy to devastatingly depressed, from angelically peaceful to devilishly destructive. Most importantly, every emotional twist and turn, no matter how sharp or subtle, always plays as convincingly realistic. (Check out my full review of 9 Full Moons.)


    Baby Blues (Bejbi blues)

    Armed with the blunt sledgehammer of realism, Katarzyna Roslaniec’s film is a dour look — albeit through a candy-colored lens — at the negative influences of consumer culture on modern Polish teens. The image-centric blinders on Natalia’s head are born of the inherent selfishness of Capitalism. The ugly and brutal world of Baby Blues is one in which everyone only cares about their own self-interests; there is no communal spirit, no love or support for fellow humans. (Check out my full review of Baby Blues.)


    Before You Know It

    Everyone will be able to discover their own favorite, because PJ Raval — with the assistance of the masterful editing of Kyle Henry — does such a tremendous job at balancing the three stories. Patience is the true virtue of the editing structure, as we spend an admirable amount of time with each subject before cutting to the next. (Check out my full review of Before You Know It.)


    Be Good

    Be Good does an excellent job of openly and honestly reflecting upon the existential struggle of parenting. As Mary and Paul quickly discover, babies can bring about an unexpected maturation process and quickly change one’s priorities in life. One important lesson to be learned from Be Good is to maintain a healthy balance in your life. (Check out my full review of Be Good.)


    Bending Steel

    Being that Dave Carroll’s documentary follows the age-old narrative trajectory of an against-all-odds sports movie, I would have never expected that Bending Steel could actually bring tears to my eyes; but Bending Steel burrowed its way into my emotional core with an unanticipated emotional intimacy. (Check out my full review of Bending Steel.)



    Bluebird is an impressive directorial debut by Edmands, who gets incredibly naturalistic performances from his very capable actors. Edmands ties his characters to the nature that surrounds them; the trees and snow both factoring directly into the emotional struggle of the characters. (Check out my full review of Bluebird.)


    The Bounceback

    The Bounceback is a story that Hollywood assumes audiences do not want to see. This is a film made by someone who shares with me a strong disdain for the Hollywood rom-com genre, so Bryan Poyser has reinvented it with a more palatable and artful approach. I find it quite admirable that Poyser didn’t take the lazy way out and just make a satire, instead he seeks to make the once respectable genre respectable again. (Check out my video interview with Bryan Poyser and the cast of The Bounceback.)



    This is truly a film of great performances, especially by James C. Burns, Chris Petrovski and Octavius J. Johnson. In the end, though, this is P.J. Boudousqué’s film. A cinematic debut that is sure to attract the attention of casting agents aplenty, Boudousqué handles the emotionally dark subject matter with an eerie sense of quietness. (Check out my full review of Coldwater.)


    The Discoverers

    Writer-director Justin Schwarz’s The Discoverers features an incredibly intelligent script that forces its characters to confront their own theories of history, both personal and national… It is the smartness of the writing that escalates The Discoverers above the recent barrage of familial reconciliation stories that have appeared in the wake of Little Miss Sunshine. (Check out my full review of The Discoverers.)


    Far Marfa

    Oblique clues play like Oblique Strategies, sending Carter along on a surrealist string of events tied together by random coincidences and blind fate. Its sort of like Slacker-meets-The Long Goodbye in a small world surrounded by the sprawling landscapes of West Texas and populated with artists, musicians and bohemian philosophers — in other words, Marfa, Texas. (Check out my full review of Far Marfa.)


    Continue to Part Two

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