Among this year's best American independent films—on view at Brooklyn's second annual and already influential BAMcinema-FEST, June 9 through 20—Aaron Katz's "Cold Weather," Matt Porterfield's "Putty Hill," and Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture" share little in outward appearance. But whether slacker-mystery, docu-art-cinema, or anti-rom-com, the films take up similar themes (wayward young people) and display a formal inventiveness (merging naturalistic acting with stylized aesthetics) that breathes new life into low-budget cinema.

Read my conversation at the Village Voice with the three filmmakers—who all shot their movies on a shoestring budget, ranging from $20,000 ("Putty Hill") to a few hundred thousand ("Cold Weather"). While the filmmakers and their movies are all very different, talking to the directors all at once, as I did on the phone last week, yields some revealing synchronicities.