Featuring established and up-and-coming voices in the American indie-filmmaking community, these narrative features boldly step outside the studio system to offer unique stories in an unconstrained spirit.
Wendy McColm directs and stars in this poignant dark comedy about six misfits in desperate search of connection, including a would-be Instagram star, a stand-up with stage fright, a struggling self-help guru, and a Russian pseudo-cowboy obsessed with Jeff Goldblum.
The Elephant Man meets The Player in this exhilaratingly strange yet moving meta-satire about two actors—one a starlet, the other a gentle soul with a severe facial deformity—exploring their roles and their lives together on the creepy hospital set of an exploitation-horror film.
Elderly Diane (Mary Kay Place) is aggressively selfless—she spends most of her time serving meals to the homeless and checking in on ill friends and family—but her exhausting routine is slowly revealed to be her penance for a long-ago transgression in this exquisitely solemn character study.
Tye Sheridan delivers a strong performance as an 18-year-old orphan who emerges from a group home ill-prepared for the world. Living in a dump and working nights in a construction yard, he stumbles on plenty of trouble—and a little love—in this gritty drama from writer/director A.J. Edwards.
The American Dream has been outsourced to Shenzhen, China, and a washed-up tech entrepreneur is there to live it, by hook or by crook—probably both—in this mesmerizingly off-kilter slice of cinéma vérité from John Maringouin (Running Stumbled, DFF29; Big River Man, DFF32).
Regular fest guest Nathan Silver’s trademark knack for erasing the seams between life and art, truth and delusion is on wicked display here as in Actor Martinez (DFF39), as an autobiographical play becomes a stage for the key players' own romantic drama in five darkly funny acts.
In what he calls a “deliberately simple story,” Sam Boyd’s debut rom-com examines 20-something love over the course of a Los Angeles summer, as two couples experience all the angst, insecurity, humor, and frustration of being in a relationship. Emma Roberts and Dree Hemingway co-star.
In this Lord of the Flies–inspired thriller, a birthday party devolves into chaos when a mysterious earthquake traps eight the teenage guests in the house. As paranoia takes hold and a survival-of-the-fittest mentality sets in, the girls face the limits of their friendship and their sanity.
For years, Ollie has helped the residents of Little Woods, North Dakota, gain illegal access to Canadian medication. When she’s caught and put on probation, she decides to go straight—only to face the ways in which her own family needs her illicit support in this haunting, hard-knocks drama.
Being an outsider is awkward at best, scary at worst. Tyler isn’t new to the game, but his discomfort upon realizing that he’s the only black man at a weekend getaway of white guys (where being called by the wrong name is just the beginning) becomes ever more oppressive in this unsettling drama.