My Top Picks of 2013—The Best Festival Indies of the Year (So Far)

The year isn’t even half over yet so it’s certainly not time for a midyear fest faves list, let alone a Best of 2013. But having already seen about 100 films at festivals in just the first four months, from January through April, I thought it might not be a bad idea to take stock of where things stand at this point and post “My Top Picks of 2013 – So Far.”    

Major festivals I attended included my eighth trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, also for the eighth time, and my first Palm Beach International Film Festival here in South Florida, for which I was on the Programming Board and had the privilege of helping select the films. There were smaller fests, as well, and I viewed dozens of films on DVD or online which didn't make it into the festivals I attended. I'm not including those.

I’ve attended 97 screenings so far this year. Along with some shorts programs, special events, and repeat viewings, I’ve seen 60 new narratives and 30 documentaries, mostly World Premieres. From that list of 90 films I’ve singled out 19 narrative features and 11 docs as the "Best of the Year" at the one-third mark.

The same rules apply as with my year-end tally. My world revolves around independent films and festivals so this list includes only indies which I saw at festivals for the first time in 2013. I specify "first time" because there are several which I saw in 2012 but watched again. Obviously I don't count those even though they may still have been among the best I saw at those particular 2013 fests.

This isn’t meant to be any sort of comprehensive wrapup with incisive commentary or trend analysis…I will do that in December. This is just a look back on 2013 so far and what stands out in my mind. Many of these films have already gone on to win awards and get picked up for distribution, including some that are already in theaters and can be seen right now.

Titles link to their respective reviews, and I’ve included links to the various associated Q&A, red carpet, and other screening-related photos and interviews, where available. There are a couple I've seen recently for which reviews have yet to be written. Others have "capsule" reviews which I'll flesh out into longer ones later on. In addition, several docs are technically "shorts" as they run under 60 minutes in length. But they were programmed as full-length features so I've included them here.  

 

TOP 19 NARRATIVES (in alphabetical order with countries of origin -- click title or links for reviews and photos where available):

Before Midnight (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Coldwater (USA) -- See my full-length review  Q&A photos Video interviews with director & stars

Don Jon's Addiction (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A  

Evil Dead (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Imagine (Poland, France, UK) -- See my review

The Kings of Summer (formerly Toy's House) (USA)

Lonely Boy (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Red Carpet & Awards Presentation

Lost on Purpose (USA) --  See my review and photos of the Opening Night Red Carpet, Afterparty, & post-screening

Milkshake (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Mud (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Plus One (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Snap (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

The Spectacular Now (USA)See my review and photos of the Q&A  

A Teacher (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Tilt (Bulgaria, Germany)

Two Mothers (Australia, France) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

V/H/S/2 (USA, Canada) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A  

The Way, Way Back (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

When Angels Sing (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

 

TOP 11 DOCUMENTARIES (in alphabetical order with countries of origin -- click title or links for reviews and photos where available):

07-07-07 Amorita's Unlucky Day (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Red Carpet

Artifact (USA) -- See my review

Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors (USA) -- See my review and photos of post-screenings, Closing Night Red Carpet, & Awards Presentation

Broadway Idiot (USA) -- See my review and photos of the intro and Q&A

Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Opening Night Red Carpet, Q&A, Silver Screen Splash Awards Presentation, and Closing Night Red Carpet & Awards Presentation

Do Not Duplicate (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Red Carpet

Downloaded (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Lost Boy Home (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Opening Night Red Carpet and post-screening

Medora (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Red Carpet and Q&A

Miss You Can Do It (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Opening Night Red Carpet and post-screening

Sound City (USA) -- See my review and photos of the Q&A

Twenty Feet from Stardom (USA) -- See my review



Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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