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Billy Gil graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked for People and Daily Variety. He is the editor of the Pipeline section and IndieFile, both of which highlight independent films on DVD. For IndieFile tips and inquiries, email bgil@questex.com. For inclusion on IndieFile's Feedroom channel, contact Renee Rosado (rrosado@questex.com). Follow IndieFile on Twitter, at Twitter.com/IndieFile.

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14 Sep, 2010

IFC Midnight Films to Hit VOD Day-and-Date With Fantastic Fest Premieres

IFC Films’ genre label IFC Midnight has partnered with Austin’s Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States, taking place Sept. 23-30. The movies will screen at the festival and will simultaneously be available through the movies-on-demand platform of cable systems such as those from Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House, hitting about 40 million homes.

Films acquired through the deal include Philip Ridley's devilish thriller Heartless, starring Jim Sturgess; Abel Ferry's High Lane, about a mountain-climbing trick gone wrong; Josh Reed’s Australian horror film Primal, about a girl who becomes feral after bathing in a watering hole in the outback; and Simon Rumley’s Red, White & Blue, about a nyphomaniac girl whose past conquest comes back to haunt her. They join previously announced Fantastic Fest 2009 acquisitions for the initial IFC Midnight offering, including The Human Centipede, The Good the Bad and the Weird and Doghouse.

“Following our successful day-and-date on demand partnerships with SXSW and Sundance, which have included several genre films, a partnership with Fantastic Fest is the next logical step,” said Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Entertainment. “Tim League (CEO of Alamo Drafthouse and co-founder of Fantastic Fest) has cultivated some of the genre's most enthusiastic fans, and Fantastic Fest is an ideal festival with which to launch these four amazing films nationwide.”

By: Billy Gil

8 Sep, 2010

IFTA Picks 30 ‘Most Significant Independent Films’

Yea, lists! The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary by picking the 30 most significant independent films from the past three decades.

The films were picked by IFTA’s 27-member board of directors, considering films that were independently financed and that introduced new styles of cinema, achieved international acclaim, launched notable careers or stood out in some other way.

Fun factoid: IFTA members have produced and distributed 18 of the past 30 films that won best picture at the Academy Awards.

“From Oscar winners to controversial and visionary game changers, independent films have shaped and defined the film industry and popular culture over the last 30 years,” said IFTA chairman Lloyd Kaufman.

Without further ado, the list:

The most significant independent films from each of the past three decades are:
1980s: Amadeus; Blue Velvet; Dances With Wolves; Das Boot (The Boat); Gandhi; My Left Foot; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Platoon; Sex, Lies and Videotape; The Terminator.
(Honorary mentions: The Killing Fields; The Last Emperor; The Toxic Avenger)

1990s: Braveheart; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Fargo; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Life Is Beautiful; Pulp Fiction; Reservoir Dogs; The Silence of the Lambs; The Usual Suspects; Where the Day Takes You.
(Honorary mentions: Basic Instinct, Good Will Hunting; Trainspotting)
2000s: Brokeback Mountain; Crash; The Hurt Locker; Inglourious Basterds; Juno; Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring; Million Dollar Baby; Monster; The Pianist; Slumdog Millionaire.
(Honorary mentions: Bowling for Columbine; Memento; Twilight)
All of the films should be available on DVD.

IFTA also has partnered with American Cinematheque for the screening series “30 Most Significant Independent Films,” starting Sept. 29 at American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., with a reception and screening of 1989 Irish film My Left Foot (starring Daniel Day-Lewis), followed by a Q&A with director Jim Sheridan. The screening schedule is yet to be announced, with the series alternating between the Egyptian and Aero Theatres in Santa Monica, Calif.

By: Billy Gil

8 Sep, 2010

Harmony Korine Teams With Rotterdam Fest

Harmony Korine
Harmony Korine

Acclaimed director Harmony Korine (Gummo, Mister Lonely) has teamed with the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) for a new project for the fest’s Cinema Reloaded digital film production and online fundraising platform.  

Korine will collect finances for his next film entirely through Cinema Reloaded and will premiere the film at the IFFR in January 2011, alongside two previously announced projects from Ho Yuhang (15Malyasia) and Alexis Dos Santos (Unmade Beds). Korine introduced the project today with a video message on www.cinemareloaded.com.

Cinema Reloaded launched earlier this year and allows filmmakers to garner funding online from film fans globally. Korine, Yuhang and Dos Santos will keep contributors updated through video messages on the platform’s site. 

A pretty exciting new way of funding independent films, no? Perhaps they’ll screen the films online too, exclusively to contributors?

Read an interview I did a while back with Korine here.

By: Billy Gil

7 Sep, 2010

New Indie Titles: 'Sex and Lucia,' 'Human Centipede'

human centipede
human centipede

Title: Sex and Lucia
Genre: Foreign/Drama
Studio: Palm Pictures
Street Date: 10/12
Price/Format: $29.98 Blu-ray
Reserve for purchase

This highly erotic film won Paz Vega a Goya and international acclaim. I haven’t seen Sex and Lucia yet, but its description has always reminded me of that “Seinfeld” episode with the sexy foreign film Rochelle, Rochelle — “A young girl’s strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk.” The Blu-ray includes behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, a photo gallery, a soundtrack excerpt and more.

Title: The Human Centipede
Genre: Horror
Studio: MPI/IFC
Street date: 10/5
Prebook: 8/30
Price/Format: $24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Reserve for
Reserve on Netflix

Possibly the grossest movie ever is coming to DVD and Blu-ray — a mad surgeon creates a creature of sorts by attaching people to one another via their gastric systems. It’s nominated for a Reaper Award (check out the nominations here). Bonus features include deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, an interview with Tom Six, a documentary with Six, a casting featurette and more.

By: Billy Gil

23 Aug, 2010

‘Troll 2’ Comes to Blu-ray

troll 2
troll 2

Oh no they didn’t: Troll 2 is coming to Blu-ray Oct. 5 (prebook Sept. 8) from Fox/MGM (BD/DVD combo pack $19.99, DVD $14.99).

Generally considered one of the worst movies ever made (No. 64 on IMDb’s bottom 100 movies), generating its own documentary (Best Worst Movie, directed by its own star, Michael Stephenson), it is nonetheless beloved for such lines as “they’re eating her…then they’re gonna eat me…oh my god!” (see below). The plot follows some nonsense about a family vacation to the land of Nilbog (which spells “goblin” backwards) where young Joshua (Stephenson) must save his family from man-eating goblins (don’t ask what happened to the trolls; also, this movie has nothing to do with, and is unconnected to, the original Troll).

More fun facts, courtesy of Wikipedia: The movie’s bad goblin costumes were designed by cult erotic actress Laura Gemser, and after a screening of Troll 2 in Morgan, Utah, where the movie was filmed, the director was presented with a key to the city. Celebrate 20 years of this trash classic and preorder it today, along with Best Worst Movie, which streets Nov. 16 from New Video ($19.95).


By: Billy Gil

19 Aug, 2010

Image Gets Rights to ‘Damned By Dawn’

Image Entertainment has gotten rights to horror film Damned By Dawn, which is said to pay homage to the “Evil Dead” franchise and Hammer Horror films.

Damned By Dawn is full of fright and fun,” said Mark Ward, VP of acquisitions for Image Entertainment. “The film is sure to become a cult classic and we’re proud to be adding it to the Image Entertainment lineup for 2010.”

From Australian director Brett Anstey (The Amazing Krypto Bros.), the film follows a girl who, after receiving a mysterious gift from her dying grandmother, takes her new boyfriend to visit her family in an isolated home, where they are haunted by the Screaming Banshee and her army of undead. The horror-fest darling is an official selection at Fright Fest and A Night of Horror International Film Festival, and was shown at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival. There’s no word yet on a DVD release date.

By: Billy Gil

19 Aug, 2010

Factory 25 Slates ‘Wah Do Dem’

Norah Jones
Norah Jones

Title: Wah Do Dem
Genre: Drama
Studio: Factory 25
Street Date: 10/26
Price/Format: $24.95 DVD
Reserve for
Reserve on

This Los Angeles Film Festival winner follows Brooklyn musician Max (Sean Bones) as his girlfriend (Norah Jones) dumps him just before they are to embark upon on a Caribbean cruise. Max instead sets upon a philosophical journey alone, in Jamaica. The reggae-tinged film features appearances by music artists MGMT, Santigold, Sean Bones, The Congos and Yeasayer.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.vimeo.com/4500571

By: Billy Gil

18 Aug, 2010

Film Movement Gets Award Winner ‘If I Want to Whistle’

film movement
film movement

Film Movement has acquired If I Want to Whistle, a Romanian-language thriller from newcomer Florin Serban. The film will hit theaters in New York City Jan. 5th, 2011, followed by a Cable VOD and DVD release later in 2011. The film follows a young man who is nearly out of a juvenile detention center when he is conflicted by the return of his long-absent mother, who returns to take away the brother he raised as a son, as well as by feeling for a beautiful social worker. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, among other accolades.

By: Billy Gil

4 Aug, 2010

‘Multiple Sarcasms’ Marks Former Entertainment Exec’s First Film

Multiple Sarcasms DVD
Multiple Sarcasms DVD

Image Entertainment’s Aug. 10 release of Multiple Sarcasms (DVD $27.98, BD $29.98) sees former Paramount executive Brooks Branch make his screenwriting and directorial debut.

The former licensing executive managed to corral a cast of celebrated actors for his first film. Multiple Sarcasms stars Oscar winners Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) and Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) alongside Emmy winner Dana Delany, India Ennenga, Mario Van Peebles and Stockard Channing.

“It’s such a character study that I knew the cast … had to be able to pull of that nuance and intimacy,” Branch said. “With the group that I ended up getting, the script spoke to them.”

The film concerns a middle-aged architect (Hutton) who, unhappy with his life, decides to write a play about it, examining the relationships in his life, with his wife (Delany), daughter (Ennenga) and best friend (Sorvino).

Branch said despite the 20 years he spent in the entertainment industry, he’s grown up an artist his whole life — first as a painter, then a graphic designer, then a creative director. He was never really a “suit,” he said.

“When a filmmaker was working on a film, I was always the one at the studio who could speak the language of the directors,” he said.

Branch said he grew up a student of film and a writer, and would direct in his career when there wasn’t a budget to hire a director. As he wrote Multiple Sarcasms, Branch said he felt like he should direct it as well.

The film is an homage to the quirky dramatic comedies of the 1970s (during which this film is set), using films by such directors as Woody Allen and Hal Ashby as inspiration. Strangely enough, the star of one of the films (Ordinary People) that inspired Multiple Sarcasms came to star in it.

“It didn’t really occur to me to think of him,” Branch said. “It was brought up as an idea early on and just sort of sat with me. It felt like an idea that was really right.”

Despites his history as a licensing executive, for the DVD and Blu-ray release of his film, Branch said he didn’t want to get too gimmicky.

“I didn’t want to over-merchandise this thing,” he said.

The low-frills releases include a making-of featurette with cast and crew interviews that Branch said are more low-key and real than ones typically seen on home video. The discs also have deleted scenes that include more comedic scenes than those included in the film.

“It’s a drama, but there are a lot of quirky, funny parts,” he said. “In the edit room, we really focused on the drama.”

The film saw a limited theatrical release, and screenings and events will be announced in the coming weeks to promote the home video release.

By: Billy Gil

2 Aug, 2010

SXSW 2011 Open for Submissions

It seems like the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival just passed us, but it’s already time for filmmakers to submit and register for the 2011 SXSW, taking place March 11-19, 2011, in Austin, Texas.

New features, short films and title will be accepted. Last year’s festival saw 267 features and shorts, including 64 world premiere features such as Kick-Ass, MacGruber, Tiny Furniture, Cold Weather, Marwencol, Monsters and Thunder Soul.

“Across the board, the films screened at SXSW 2010 were so exciting, innovative and entertaining that we can't wait to see what 2011 will bring,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW Film Conference and Festival producer. “Look for our complete lineup and conference schedule in early February 2011.”

Submissions can be entered at http://sxsw.com/film. The early submission period runs through Nov. 4, with feature submission fees at $40, shorts at $25 and title sequence design at $10. Submission fees go up after that, so sign up early, filmmakers.

By: Billy Gil