Some of the best films each year go under the radar never to he heard of by the mainstream public until they pop-up on Netflix or Hulu. That is why we are here to give you a list of indie films to watch out for in 2016. One of these hidden gems may be your favorite film of the year.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a 2016 New Zealand film written and directed by Taika Waititi, based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump and stars Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. The film premiered In Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival followed up by a screening at SXSW 2016. The film opened New Zealand wide on 31 March 2016, setting box office records for highest-grossing opening weekend and highest-grossing first week for a New Zealand film.
ABOUT THE FILM:
Ricky Baker (Dennsion), a defiant young city kid, is sent by child welfare services to live in the country with foster aunt Bella and cantankerous foster uncle Hec (Neill). When Bella suddenly passes away and child services decide to take Ricky back to a care home, Ricky runs away into the bush with uncle Hec in pursuit. Child services arrive to find the house empty, and come to the conclusion a bereaved and mentally unstable Hec has abducted Ricky. A national manhunt ensues, and the two have to get over their differences to survive.
‘Another Evil’ is ‘Silicon Valley’ writer Carson Mell’s directorial debut. The film original premiered at SXSW 2016. Whoever said you can’t laugh while still getting the pants scared off you? Carson Mell wants to make you believe in this…and ghosts.
ABOUT THE FILM:
After encountering a ghost in their vacation home, Dan (Steve Zissis) and his wife Mary (Jennifer Irwin) consult an exorcist. Unsatisfied with the verdict, Dan goes behind his wife’s back to seek a second opinion, and secretly hires Os (Mark Proksch) who promises to get rid of the beings. Os and Dan spend a week together in the vacation home exorcising the “EFD” (Evil Fully Determined) beings, but Dan soon realizes that ridding the home of evil won’t be as simple as it seems.
‘Don’t Think Twice’ is a dramatic comedy about an improv group who loses the lease on their home theater at the same time that one of their cast members gets chosen for the biggest sketch comedy show on TV. It’s about the bitterness and backstabbing that occur between friends when they realize that maybe not everyone’s gonna make it after all.
It features an all-star comedy cast that includes; Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Chris Gethard. The film made it’s debut at SXSW 2016.
ABOUT THE FILM: For eleven years, an improv group called The Commune has reigned as the big fish in the small pond of their New York improv theater. Commune members Miles, Samantha, Jack, Allison, Bill and Lindsay invent comedy without a script and without a net. They’re ingenious, they’re fast, and they build on each others’ ideas like best friends – which they also are. Night after night they kill onstage and wait for their big break. Day after day day they work menial jobs to support themselves.
Then they get news that their theater is shutting down, and scouts from a hit TV show come to a performance, looking for talent. Only two cast members get the nod, upsetting the dynamic of the group and leaving its future in doubt. Relationships begin to crack as six best friends face the truth that not all of them will make it, and for some, it may be time to give up on the dream and move on.
Funny, insightful and honest, DON’T THINK TWICE looks at a common experience that’s an uncommon subject for a film: failure. As he did in his acclaimed debut about a stand-up comedian, SLEEPWALK WITH ME, writer/director/actor Mike Birbiglia captures universal human experiences that happen in the lives of professionally funny people. With a top-flight ensemble of comic actors including Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher and Birbiglia, DON’T THINK TWICE tells a nuanced story of friendship, aspiration and the pain and promise of change.
THANK YOU DEL: THE STORY OF THE DEL CLOSE MARATHON
Del Close was never a household name, but any comedy enthusiast is aware of his impact. From Bill Murray to Chris Farley to Amy Poehler, many of the most famous comedians consider him their mentor. 18 years after Del Close’s death, thousands of Improv students, comedy fans, actors, and successful comedians gather annually to celebrate the most important person in modern comedy that no one knows. This documentary is brought to us by Matt Besser and Matt Walsh from the UCB Theater and pays tribute to the man that touched so many lives in comedy. Like many films on our list it made its debut at SXSW 2016.
ABOUT THE FILM:
The Del Close Marathon (DCM) is an annual 52 hour Improv Comedy festival held at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. Starting from humble beginnings, DCM has become a beacon for comedians not only in the US, but all over the world. Through the lens of the festival’s 15th iteration, this documentary traces the roots of Long-form Improvisation to the teachings of comedy guru Del Close. The documentary explores how Long-form has spread to become the phenomenon it is today. Close, a man who lived his life virtually unknown by the general public, died in 1999 but his teachings left an enduring legacy of comedians. On his deathbed, Del Close asked his students in the Upright Citizen Brigade (Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh), to carry on his work and “spread the love of Improv.” Through a mix of present day interviews and performances, as well as never before seen archival footage, this film’s narrative traces the spread of Improv from Del. Close was an enigmatic and unique character and the film tracks his impact from the start of his career in the 1960’s, to the rise of the UCB in the 90’s, and into the present day. The film highlights the generations that have been inspired by Del’s work and features appearances by comedians Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser, Adam McKay, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Robin Williams, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, Sasheer Zamata, Mike Birbiglia, and many more.
While many of these films have only been released on the film festival circuit you should keep your eye on them since most should be getting a deal soon for a theatrical or VOD release. Out of all the films I listed today my favorite would have to be ‘Hunt For the Wilderpeople.’ It combined comedy and drama in a very heartfelt way. Let me know which film you are most looking forward to in the comment section below.