TIFF 2014: Safdie Bros Borrow From Life on NY Streets in "Heaven Knows What"

Josh and Benny Safdie, and actor Arielle Holmes, talk the morning after "Heaven Knows What" premieres at TIFF.

"Heaven Knows What" is based on Arielle Holmes' life while addicted to heroin.

Heroin addiction and life on the New York streets take center stage in Josh and Benny Safdie's latest, Heaven Knows What. The morning after their North American premiere at TIFF, they riff on the why and what of it all with the film's star and inspirational scribe, Arielle Holmes.

In the Q&A after the North American premiere of Josh and Benny Safdie’s Heaven Knows What at the Toronto International Film Festival, star Arielle Holmes remarked on the surreal nature of her first film experience.

Sundance 2014: The Independent’s Top 10 Moments for Women

Billie's mom decides to transition to male in "52 Tuesdays."

From creepy to awesome, women made their mark on and off screen at Sundance 2014. The moments were many but we've opted to share 10 of our favorites with you. Enjoy!

Park City, UTAH -- Sundance inspires—it is full of creative and passionate people. This year the amount of outstanding and exciting work by female filmmakers brought a distinctly different tone to the festival, certainly more representational, and even more cutting edge than in past years.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2014 - Critic's Choices

Kurt Brokaw picks his top choices from the 23rd New York Jewish Film Festival.

In "Ida," a Polish nun discovers that she's Jewish.

Of his NYJFF critic's picks, Kurt Brokaw writes that Ida "was the most closely watched film of this fest even before it opened," and The Jewish Cardinal "is a film any NYJFF devotee will find worthy of the closest attention." He's also added Regina and GentleDog to his list. The fest runs January 8-23, 2014.

How inspiring that The Film Society of Lincoln Center has partnered with The Jewish Museum for more than two decades in presenting world, US, and New York premieres of films from around the globe.

An Indie Film Odyssey: Making (and Screening) “Homer and Penelope”

Catherine Epstein tracks the ups and downs of Danny Powell's first feature film.

The making of "Homer and Penelope" was its own odyssey. Photo courtesy Cinema With Cinema.

Hang in there with Danny Powell, as his journey into making his first feature, Homer and Penelope (which streams free December 11-15), will ring true to anyone who has been crazy enough to try likewise. Notice that with Odysseus as a guide, one can find joy long after all that has been "wrought and endured."

Partway through Homer’s The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus is advised, in the midst of epic challenges, “Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.” The line is grandiose and majestic, but it somehow feels relevant to young filmmaker Danny Powell, whose first feature, Homer and Penelope, endur

TIFF 2013: President of the Club of Romantics

At 65, Patrice Leconte makes his first English-language film, the quietly romantic "A Promise."

Director Patrice Leconte works with English actors for the first time in "A Promise."

Veteran French filmmaker Patrice Leconte makes his North American and English-language debut at TIFF 2013 with A Promise. He told The Independent, "I realize that my life, day after day, is totally turned to focus on movies and I'm not sure whether it's good or not that I let myself be invaded to that point." And yet, romance like what's in this film is what helps him feel most alive.

A Promise is a romantic drama filled with silent glances, small gestures, and hidden emotions. It is set in Germany, just before WWI, and revolves around a married woman (Rebecca Hall) who falls in love with her husband's (Alan Rickman) protégé (Richard Madden).

‘Tis the Summer of Women Falling Apart in Films

Senior critic Kurt Brokaw dismisses a trio of summer films and recommends one.

Golshifteh Farahani (L) and Hamid Djavadan (R) in "The Patience Stone."

Kurt Brokaw on Blue Jasmine: "This is Woody Allen in 2013, and even Cate Blanchett can barely climb over all the furniture stacked in her way." On Lindsay Lohan: "You’re watching an aging process not seen since the jazz trumpet virtuoso Chet Baker lost his dream-boy looks by turning into a ravaged heroin addict." There's more. Just open and read these reviews, you'll enjoy yourself. Promise.

First let’s briefly summarize three films you may be aware of, all themed around women in various states of acute mental and emotional collapse. Stay with us as we trudge a path toward the single picture worth your wait.

All Indie Family

Third generation Trosts, siblings Jason and Sarah, combine hyphens and skills for an indie trifecta.

On location in Thailand for #wetandreckless.

You can't dump siblings and they don't blow smoke up your $#@... Rebecca Reynolds talks to siblings Jason and Sarah Trost about their collaboration on three indie projects, The FP, All Superheroes Must Die, and Wet and Reckless.

In the land of Hollywood hyphens, the Trost family shares more than titles and a familiar last name. Together, they have enough skills to staff their own projects.

Tribeca 2013: From Novel to Screen in "A Single Shot"

Katherine Brodsky meets up with cast and crew of "A Single Shot" on set in Vancouver.

William H. Macy in "A Single Shot."

You've been working on your movie for how long? Take heart, A Single Shot clocks in around 15 years, probably longer if you factor in how long Matthew F. Jones worked on the novel he later adapted. Katherine Brodsky talks with star Sam Rockwell, the director, producer and others while on set in Vancouver.

As indie filmmakers know, making a film is a long process that requires a passion that burns deeper than the holes is your pocket. There's a certain dedication that goes into bringing a story alive that is borderline obsessive compulsive. But without that commitment, most films will never make it onto celluloid, let alone into movie theatres.


Rebecca Reynolds asks the "Missed Connections" team how they pulled off their festival-favorite comedy on a shoestring budget.

The "Missed Connections" team L-R: Rudin, Stevenson, Davies, and Kissack.

On and off-screen partners Kenny Stevenson and Dorien Davies teamed up with producer Lisa Rudin and director Eric Kissack on the indie festival comedy hit Missed Connections, which makes its international debut later this month. Rebecca Reynolds inquires about casting, budgeting, and the recipe for "comedy chops."

Writer/actor Kenny Stevenson and his wife, actress Dorien Davies, joined forces with producer Lisa Rudin and director Eric Kissack to make the award-winning indie comedy, http://mi

Laura Colella's Seminal Summer

Laura Colella's third narrative feature, a summer story about neighborly, multi-generation relationships, stars Colella's real-life housemates and has its world premiere this week.

"Breakfast With Curtis" stars Colella's neighbors Theo Green (foreground) and Jonah Parker.

"I think everyone has a particular summer when your life took a real shift," says Laura Colella to The Independent's David Pierotti within days of her third narrative feature debut. Colella calls Breakfast With Curtis a no-budget feature. It takes place in her real-life backyard starring her real-life neighbors... and marks at least one character's seminal summer.

Providence, Rhode Island, director Laura Colella was gearing up for the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this week. Her third narrative feature, Breakfast With Curtis, will get its world premiere screening before an audience on June 14th.

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