Film Programs

American Independent Showcase

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.

Frances Ferguson
USA 2019 74 min.

Longtime fest guest Bob Byington is back with this hilariously cynical, occasionally hopeful comedy about a substitute high-school teacher who finds herself briefly incarcerated after a fling with a student. Turns out the worst thing that ever happens to you can also be the best thing.

Knives and Skin
USA 2019 111 min.

While earning numerous comparisons to Twin Peaks and Heathers, this equally creepy and charming soap opera set in a suburban high school is an oddball delight in its own right—complete with jocks, cheerleaders, misfits, wayward moms, corpses, clowns, and of course an ’80s soundtrack.

Mickey and the Bear
USA 2019 88 min.

Smart, stubborn teenage Mickey must mother and manage the two men in her life: Hank, her volatile ex-Marine father, and Aron, her excruciatingly selfish boyfriend. Her desperate struggle to escape the bleak future they envision for her is the backbone of this moving coming-of-age drama.

Olympic Dreams
USA 2019 85 min.

Shot on location at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, this perceptive and bittersweet not-quite romance stars co-writers Alexi Pappas and Nick Kroll as cross-country skier Penelope and volunteer dentist Ezra, who are brought together—and kept apart—by life’s vicissitudes.

USA 2019 86 min.

This raw, intimate portrait of a young woman confronting the complexities of the adult world over the course of a summer in Harlem is at once timeless and bracingly contemporary. Make note of director Rashaad Ernesto Green and co-writer/lead actress Zora Howard as talents to watch.

Saint Frances
USA 2019 106 min.

Bridget decides that at the age of 34, it’s time to get her life together. But now that she’s dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, taking a new job as a nanny to precocious and difficult 6-year-old Frances isn’t going as she envisioned in this sweet comedy-drama that took home two awards at SXSW.

So Pretty
USA 2019 83 min.

Combining narrative fiction with documentary and 16mm film with cellphone footage, Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Ravinelli captures the daily lives, challenges, dreams, and desires of four trans and queer youth in New York City.

USA 2019 94 min.

In this pungent pyschological thriller, Hunter is a model housewife and mother-to-be. Until, that is, she begins compulsively swallowing things unfit for consumption: a marble here, a thumbtack there. As her condition worsens, so does her family’s determination to control it—and her.

USA 2019 73 min.

This comedic homage to kids who documented their childhoods with camcorders charms with anthology-style snippets of young Ralph’s family life, news bytes, infomercials, and forbidden Skinemax movies. It’s a pitch-perfect pastiche of ’80-era VHS tapes that have been repeatedly recorded over.

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