Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

The SXSW All-Stars: A New Ultra-Indie Movement

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik March 13, 2007 at 1:31AM

The SXSW All-Stars: A New Ultra-Indie Movement
5

Here, at the Austin film fest, now in its waning days, I am on the documentary jury. So it's probably unfair to write about the majority of the films I've seen. Outside of the docs, however, it's clear that SXSW has found its narrative niche: as a launchpad for the new lo-fi truly American indie, embodied by the likes of Joe Swanberg, Andrew Bujalski and the Duplass brothers -- all of whom are represented in one way or another at the fest. They are the hippest filmmaking posse in town.

When Greta Gerwig, the star of Swanberg's latest no-budget slacker romp "Hannah Takes the Stairs" was seen walking up Congress Ave. on Monday with big orange sunglasses, me and my friends gawked as if we had just caught a glimpse of Julia Roberts. She is the next indie princess, star of the Dupass' upcoming "Baghead," and the cute, adorably awkward, emotionally confused core of the likeable "Hannah." Watching the movie is like hanging out with a bunch of your friends -- that is, if your friends are all smart, white self-conscious 20-somethings. Which pretty much seems to define much of the SXSW crowd.

By all accounts, "Hannah" is Swanberg's most mature work, and it's easy to see why. Featuring an ensemble cast made up of Gerwig, who is also a playwright, and filmmakers Bujalski (Mutual Appreciation), Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair), Kent Osborne (Dropping Out), Ry Russo-Young (Orphans), and Todd Rohal (The Guatemelan Handshake), the film has a relaxed and intimate atmosphere that evolves naturally out of this likeminded creative group. The gang can also be seen in the wry festival trailers that precede all of SXSW's films -- sharp comic bits that reverberate nicely with "Hannah."

I haven't seen all of the films, but Ronald Bronstein's "Frownland" and "Dance Party USA" director Aaron Katz’s latest "Quiet City" also appear to fit into this new genre of Amer-indie, composed of refreshingly unpretentious portraits of lost young Americans on anti-depressants. Sundance has largely bypassed this movement, one that is far closer to the origins of '70s and '80s American indie cinema than just about anything in Park City's Dramatic Competition. The movies are ragged, honest, and completely unconcerned with commercial viability. It all almost makes you think you're 25 again.

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Aminath Shaneez : Prosecutor General has repeatedly said that he and his famiky is under threat. All judges are under threat at the same time. As I hear the…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 10:22pm

By Niccolo Ungaro: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 11:10am

By Niccolo Ungarp: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 11:10am

By Abdul Majid: President Nasheed is our only hope for democracy in my country. This country cannot go forward with him in jail. Please help secure his…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 7:46am

By imran: As a maldivian myself I call upon the international community to fight against the fabricated accusations Against president nasheed.the real…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 5:12am

By Ahmed Aslam: I support president Nasheed! He has been jailed and tortured several times over the last 25 years fighting for democracy and human rights

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 4:38am

By Ahmed Iyaz: President Mohamed Nasheed is the only President who gave Maldivians freedom of expression. I'm totally against of unlawful arrest of him and…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 3:58am

By Eugene Jarecki: I lend my voice passionately to this cause. It is of the utmost importance.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 3:03am

By Ahmed: Former President Nasheeds regime was a disaster to Maldives. A real dictator. Forcefuly arrested the Chief Judge at midnight while sleeping…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 2:06am

By Mohamed Salih Hassan: Former President Mohamed Nasheed should get fair trial. Call current govt of Maldives to hear majority of people's voice.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 6th, 2015 2:01am