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2012 Indie Cinema Preview

This year, in preparation for the assault of great new American independent cinema that will be premiering in Park City in almost exactly two months, I thought it would be nice to compile a list of films that I am very excited to see and am confident will be making a splash in 2012 (whenever and wherever they officially land). While I’ve seen some of these films in various stages of edit, I’ve seen others in their all-the-way finished form. As for many others, I am completely in the dark (as in, I haven’t read the script or seen one frame of footage). Because of this, I’m not going to play the ranking game or write any editorial content. Instead, an alphabetical list will suffice. If you happen to be a programmer—or film lover in general—please make sure that the following films are on your radar:



Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin)
Black Rock (Katie Duplass)
Compliance (Craig Zobel)
Congratulations! (Mike Brune)
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon (Duplass Brothers)
For Ellen (So Yong Kim)
Gayby (Jonathan Lisecki)
Hot And Cold Times in the Phenomenal City (Brent Chesanek)
I Used To Be Darker (Matthew Porterfield)
Jack and Diane (Bradley Rust Gray)
Keep The Lights On (Ira Sachs)
Last Kind Words (Kevin Barker)
Nobody Walks (Ry Russo-Young)
Redlegs (Brandon Harris)
Revenge of the Mekons (Joe Angio)
Richard’s Wedding (Onur Tukel)
Scoutmasters [working title] (Todd Rohal)
See Girl Run (Nate Meyer)
Simon Killer (Antonio Campos)
Smashed (James Ponsoldt)
Sparrows Dance (Noah Buschel)
Starlet (Sean Baker)
Sun Don’t Shine (Amy Seimetz)
Tchoupitoulas (Ross Brothers)
Toad Road (Jason Banker)
When The World’s On Fire (James Clauer)


Bad Penny (Ricky Camilleri)
Benny to Benny (George Manatos)
Mother’s Day (Jesse Klein)
To The Dirt (Drew Bourdet)

[NOTE: This is obviously a subjective, incomplete list. In the comments section below, we would love it if you were to mention any other films that you are confident will be making a mark on the indiefilmosphere in 2012. However, we ask that you show some tact and refrain from listing your own. Sorry.]

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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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  • jp

    I want to see When the World’s on fire, can someone help? I know the main actor on this film. No luck through search ingines : (

    November 8, 2013
  • tully

    All I know is that When The World’s On Fire is a DOPE MOVIE. I don’t have any more practical insight beyond that at the moment. I hope for everybody’s sake that the world will get to see it sooner than later, though!

    November 11, 2013
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