Don't ever say that nothing good comes to the theaters here in Los Angeles, because Film Independent's L.A. Film Festival is about to bring a slew of the best new indie films to the city. This is your chance to see every hot movie out there before anyone else does, so don't blow it. To help you navigate the fest, which runs June 14-22, we've collected the films we're most excited about, but do check out the full schedule online — you have no idea how hard it is to narrow this list to just 10.
Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town
Mackenzie Davis could sneeze for 30 minutes and I would be rapt. The actor absolutely owned her role as a woman on the verge of a dangerous mental break in last year's Always Shine and has grown a cult following for her roles in Halt and Catch Fire and Black Mirror's "San Junipero" episode — she'll also be in Blade Runner 2049. In Izzy, director Christian Papierniak pairs her with Lakeith Stanfield, Carrie Coon and Annie Potts for a story about a hungover riot grrrl who manically runs across the city to break up her ex-boyfriend's bougie engagement party.
The premise of this film has shades of Red Road and Blow-Up all over it: An artist photographs strangers, but a "disturbing event" leads her to believe that she's the one being watched. This is director Camille Thoman's narrative feature debut. Until now, she's mostly done reality or documentary programming, so it'll be fascinating to see how she utilizes that voyeur knowledge here. Also, Sam Shepard's in this one, so you know it's gonna be good.
A poor Vietnamese woman awakens a vengeful ghost by falling in love with a French landowner in 1953? Yes, please. Director Derek Nguyen's production stills from the film show an ax-wielding ghost woman draped in black veils, trudging through a grassy field on a windswept, rainy night, so aside from exploring class issues, this one likely will include some spine-chilling scenes.
This doc from Kate Hickey illuminates the 1980s roller-skating craze of Venice Beach, with some profoundly fun footage of some old-school skate masters ruling the pavement. But the story's not all fun and games — Hickey also explores how the influx of wealthy, white folks into the area all but sealed the deal on Venice's gentrified future.
A couple get trapped in a tent with a deadly snake and realize that only one of them can make it out alive. I have no idea how director Amanda Evans will sustain this story for its runtime, but I'm excited to find out.
The Year of Spectacular Men
Lea Thompson is directing now? Thompson's roles have all but dried up, because Hollywood has nowhere to put talented, middle-aged women. But if Thompson can find a home behind the camera, I'll be satisfied. This picture about a 20-something trying to adult while racking up failure after failure stars Thompson's daughters, Madelyn and Zoey Deutch, who've inherited all of their mother's charm and skill.
The work of Native rights activist Wilma Mankiller was introduced to a new generation when her name was tossed around as a possible for the $20 bill — as a politically driven tribal chief, Mankiller was given Ms. Magazine's 1987 woman of the year honor as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Seems like a perfect time for Valerie Red-Horse Mohl's documentary to shed some light on this legendary woman, who was largely responsible for a tripling of Cherokee Nation's citizens.
Skid Row Marathon
I'm a sucker for any media that portrays the residents of Skid Row with humanity. This Mark Hayes doc follows a few of those residents as they begin training for races with a criminal court judge who's organized a running club. I will probably cry.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Director Vashti Anderson seems to have a fascination with noir and has brought the genre to Trinidad & Tobago for this strange film. In it, a young woman visits a coconut plantation and falls in love with a fisherman, but political turmoil and visits from some ancestral ghosts threaten to blow up the affair.
Don't Come Back From the Moon
Bruce Thierry Cheung's possibly speculative Western about a town whose men all suddenly disappear sounds like it'll be the perfect film to explore gender roles and the American obsession of lighting out for the territory. Rashida Jones is in this one, and it's exciting that we might get to see her in a more serious role.