Halfway through Film Independent's LA Film Fest, we've sampled a spectrum of films, among them a gala premiere ("Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"), an indie debut ("Pincus"), already-discovered indie gems ("Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Gimme the Loot"), foreign stunner ("Sister") and powerful documentaries ("The Invisible War," "Birth Story"). Below are reviews for seven films plus exclusive clips and interviews.

Ursula Meier's "Sister"

Original content is a novelty these days; when it works it's exhilarating. Ursula Meier's Swiss "Sister" (which won the Silver Bear at Berlin) is a knockout, skillfully crafted and moving. It features Lea Seydoux's best-yet performance and a star-making turn from Kacey Mottey Klein as a professional 12-year old ski-resort thief. The story is best discovered in the theater as it unfolds. Fans of the Dardenne brothers' work, especially last year's "The Kid with the Bike," will likely fall for this one as well.

At the LA Swiss Consulate reception for the film on Saturday before the film's Monday bow at LAFF, I interviewed Meier and Klein (watch the video below, aided by a French translator), who has the talent and smile to become a movie star. Adopt Films' Jeff Lipsky plans to release the film in October, complete with an Oscar campaign for supporting actor, screenplay, director and cinematography (Agnes Godard; a female DP has never been nominated). They'd be justified to push Seydoux for supporting actress as well.

"Sister" is Meier's second feature. Her first, "Home," was nominated for three Cesars and participated in Cannes' L'Atelier du Festival (works in progress program) in 2006. Watch an exclusive clip of "Sister" and our interview below, in which she addresses the no-women-directors-in-competition-at-Cannes controversy: