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Independent Movies

May 23, 2008
Independent filmmakers Mark and Michael Polish have formed their own production company, Prohibition Pictures, and will be making two films back to back at Melody Ranch Studios in Santa Clarita, starting Tuesday. "Manure," a comedy about manure salesmen, will star Billy Bob Thornton, Tea Leoni and Kyle MacLachlan. "Stay Cool," another comedy, will star Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Chevy Chase. Both scripts were written by the Polish brothers and will be directed by Michael, with Mark taking acting roles in each.
February 17, 2008 | Dennis Lim, Special to The Times
British director Alex Cox made his name in the 1980s with two cult hits, the nihilist fantasy "Repo Man" (1984) and the punk valentine "Sid & Nancy" (1986). His third feature, "Walker" (1987), finally arriving on DVD this week (Criterion, $39.95), was the last film he made in Hollywood.
November 28, 2007 | Susan King, Times Staff Writer
"I'm Not There," Todd Haynes' quirky biopic on Bob Dylan, may have puzzled mainstream critics and audiences with its surrealistic vision of casting several actors and actresses as the famed troubadour -- a deep knowledge of Dylan and an open mind are recommended -- but the indie world has embraced the film, as evidenced Tuesday by its domination of the first major award nominations of the season.
November 19, 2007 | Gina Piccalo, Times Staff Writer
The new indie film "What Just Happened?" is already generating some healthy buzz among distributors, a sure sign that the film-buying season is near. But as the writers strike drags on, the heat surrounding this Barry Levinson comedy and a handful of other coveted indies entering next year's festival market just might reach nuclear levels. At least, that's the optimistic view among filmmakers.
November 6, 2007 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
If you were looking for a die-hard art-house moviegoer, you couldn't find a more reliable patron than Michael Barker. On almost any Friday night, the co-head of Sony Pictures Classics is out seeing a smart, thought-provoking film, usually a picture made by one of the studio specialty film divisions that have supplied adult moviegoers, not to mention Oscar voters, with most of their favorite attractions in recent years. But something has gone horribly wrong in the specialty film business.
October 25, 2007 | Rachel Abramowitz, Times Staff Writer
Hear the screaming? That's the cri de coeur coming out of Indiewood this fall as multiple films emerge to good critical reviews only to find scant audiences waiting for them. After years of scooping up awards and having micro-budgeted films go on to mainstream success, the specialty divisions en masse are having a down cycle. So far, 2007 has not borne any breakouts like "Little Miss Sunshine," "Brokeback Mountain" or "The Queen." "We're all suffering.
July 29, 2007 | KENNETH TURAN
"ONCE," the little picture that could, has been one of this summer's great art house successes, and no one is happier about that than I am. And no one is sadder about it either. On the one hand, that success, both critically and financially, has been as gratifying as it's been widespread for this hard-to-resist Irish musical romance, written and directed by John Carney and starring the Frames' Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as Dublin street musicians who make emotional music together.
July 29, 2007 | John Horn, Times Staff Writer
JUST hours after "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" had its debut screening at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, the movie's makers were sitting on top of the independent film mountain. In an all-night negotiating session following "Mandy Lane's" first showing, Harvey Weinstein purchased the low-budget teen thriller for $3.5 million, promising to release it on at least 800 screens. But like the underage victims in the film, "Mandy Lane" immediately went missing.
July 8, 2007 | Dennis Lim, Special to The Times
EACH year the Sundance Film Festival seems to bring increasingly frantic bidding wars among buyers eager to find breakout successes and increasingly dire assertions (usually from critics) that American independent cinema is not what it used to be. Often lost amid the laments, though, is a clear idea of what preceded the go-go years inaugurated by Miramax with Steven Soderbergh's "sex, lies and videotape" in 1989.
June 28, 2007 | Josh Friedman, Times Staff Writer
The money keeps flowing into Hollywood. Independent film executives Mark Gill and Neil Sacker said Wednesday that they raised $200 million to form the Film Department, a production company for modestly budgeted movies. "There's a perfect storm of favorable conditions for our new business," said Gill, former president of Warner Independent Pictures and Miramax Film.
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