My Top Five Indie Films

The film blogs are back!

This blog was originally made at university to discuss films, the industry and everything cinematic, it took a turn with me traveling to Hong Kong, Berlin and Paris (and those travel related posts will continue!) yet film is where the passion is at,

So lets begin with my top ten indie film picks (I feel the need to say that these are just from my pick, not a rule that these are the only good ones… and they are not in order either!)

  1. THE KINGS OF SUMMER (2013) Jordan Vogt-Roberts

I discovered this film back when I was 15 and it has since been engraved into my family as one of our favorites. Not only did I really relate to this film as a 15 year old grumpy teenager, I thought it was fantastic in its witty comedy and perfectly well timed script. The Story follows three teenage boys as they trek out into the forest to build a new life on their own. They find scraps from all over the place and build (a rather impressive) extended garden shed. The film stars, Nick Robbinson, Moises Arias and Gabriel Basso as the three runaway teens and Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally, as the ‘concerned’ parents. One of the best parts I took from this film was the amazing weird parts to the script the character of Biaggio has some amazing one liners. They are simply too good to put into words so here is video that can do it waaaay better:

All in all, this film is a golden find. I absolutely love it, every time I watch it I am reminded of my childhood running around the country side where I grew up, so if you watch one film from this list please watch this one! I don’t think it has nearly enough love out there in the cinematic world! but if you are still unsure, here are some reviews and the trailer itself:

the kings of summer

2. THE WAY WAY BACK (2013) Nat Faxton & Jim Rash

This film really struck me, its a perfect example of a somewhat lighthearted dark comedy that focuses on the reality of the teenage years. It stars Steve Carell (Trent) Sam Rockwell (Owen) Toni Colette (Pam) Liam James (Duncan) Allison Janney (Betty) and Maya Rudolf (Caitlin). I mean what a cast?!

in all seriousness these actors have an amazing on screen chemistry (many of them have worked together lots) I won’t give away the plot in too much detail, but it follows Duncan with his mum, mothers boyfriend and his daughter as they travel to the east coast for a week away. Only for Duncan to find a water park and *cough bad line coming* his voice. (yup). Not only is this film an honest portrayal of an awkward teenage boy on holiday, it is also held up by its fantastic soundtrack which you can find here:

Like I said, I don’t want to spoil any of the films on here! so here’s the trailer if you should choose to watch it before the film, and some good o’l reviews:


3. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (2017) Luca Guadagnino

where to begin with this film! I LOVE IT! I first saw this film when I attended the Berlin Film Festival in February 2017, and quite simply I can happily say it was the best film of the festival for me. It has since become a symbol of gay pride in cinema, and for a reason, it showcases a beautiful young love story and all the rawness that it comes with. The film stars wonderful actors Armie Hammer (Oliver) and Timothee Chalamet (Elio) they are beyond amazing in this film, their performance felt about as honest as a film could get.

The film was based on the book on the same name by Andre Aciman, which also gained critical praise. What I find special about the book and more importantly, the film, is the essence of youth that is captured by the cinematography shot by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. There are some downright beautiful shots of Italy in the summer of the 80’s that really make it seem as if it could have been shot in the decade.                        Moreover, Call Me by Your Name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2017, where it played to a huge applause, much like the screening I was at in Berlin ale.

All in all, this film is so important for independent cinema, it shows that with a small budget (at least smaller than most films!) you can create something truly amazing and respected, again here is the trailer and some reviews!:


4. SUBMARINE (2010) Richard Ayoade

This is one of the films that was shown on my University course in first year and I generally thought it was going to be ‘okay’  but it was AMAZING! I have been telling everyone to watch it, I basically forced my sister to watch it (along with every other film on this list, I need someone to talk to about them) but… Submarine has a special quirky quality about it, for starters its set in South Wales, with a fantastic cast of Craig Roberts (Oliver) Sally Hawkins (Jill) Yasmin Page (Jordana) and Noah Taylor (Lloyd). 

It follows the story of Oliver through his bizarre awkward teen life, and his parents marriage struggle, along with his bully turned girlfriend Jordana. (Sounds strange I know) give this film a chance though, because it is truly iconic in its one liners, cinematography and witty script. The film premiered at the 35th Toronto Film Festival in September 2010, and carried on to be played at Sundance, The London Film Festival and Berlinale.

The film was also comedian Richard Ayoade’s first directional debut, for that reason I love it. It is such a strong film for a first time, with a lot of evident cinematic inspiration. funnily enough, this film always seems to pop up on Airplane ‘in flight entertainment’ so take a gamble and watch it, I promise you will not be disappointed!


5. MOONRISE KINGDOM (2012) Wes Anderson 

I simply could not write an indie film list without having the king of indie films himself on the list. For anyone that hasn’t seen a Wes Anderson film, let it be known, they are enchanting in their weirdly wonderful story lines. so a little bit of background to Moonrise Kingdom, the film is set on a north american small island, where a scout group looses a young ‘ranger’ from where the said young boy has run away to be with a girl. Que then a quirky and odd hunt for the two lovebirds as they camp out on the tiny island. The film stars young protagonists Jared Gilmon (sam) and Kara Hayward as Suzy. Moreover we have Bill Murry, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Jason Schwartzman. (yes a film can totally have a cast list THAT good).

Moonrise Kingdom gained massive critical reviews, they loved it. It premiered as an opening of the Cannes Film Festival in 2012, it has a score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and further it was nominated for an academy award for best screenplay.

The reason I love Wes Anderson films so much, is down to the fact that I find them extremely sophisticated and relaxed pieces of art. Many of his sets are models of towns or houses, then the scenes with the actors in are placed in and around these. Its a concept done as early as George Melies in 1903, but Anderson has moved this practice into a modern day era, and in doing so has created a buzz around all his films.



And so… I have come to the end of this post, this actually took pretty long to write because I could’t pick just five films, I could easily give you fifty. I hope you found this useful and I even more hope that you watch some! until next time,

Heather Jayne Dodson



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