While this summer has been thoroughly epic with the release of Jurassic World, Magic Mike: XXL and Mad Max: Fury Road, let us not forget our humble independent cinema either going straight to VOD or perhaps gracing arthouse cinemas this summer. It’s a strong season for independent film, with new releases from indie champs James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour) and Noah Baumbach (Mistress America) as well as a few directing debuts by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Sarah Adina Smith (Midnight Swim). Get your fill of indie cinema below with a gateway guide.
Release Date: June 5th
Girls star Adam Driver takes on a serious role as a new father in the psychological drama Hungry Hearts. As his wife, played by Alba Rohrwacher, adopts strange, unnatural child-raising practices, a thrilling, emotional struggle between the young parents ensue.
Release Date: June 19th
Mark Duplass plays a creepy dude with just the right balance of incongruous happiness and about-to-bubble-over insanity. Director and star Patrick Brice presents a found footage blend of horror and comedy in this “unsettling” story of a guy who replies to an online ad for a film gig. [Review here]
Release Date: June 19th
With low-key gems like Joe and Prince Avalanche in his repertoire, it’s become clear that David Gordon Green has a penchant for offbeat characters and understated character studies. Manglehorn, starring Al Pacino, follows a despondent key maker as he rehashes his questionable past.
The Midnight Swim
Release Date: June 26th
Three sisters reunite at their childhood home to settle their mother’s affairs after she goes missing, and some creepy stuff happens. Portrayed through a found footage angle, The Midnight Swim addresses the psyches of sisters.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Release Date: June 24th
Featuring rare concert footage, diary entries and letters, this documentary by Liz Garbus is an intimate glimpse into the personal life of blues singer Nina Simone. With her song lyrics as the narrative, What Happened, Miss Simone? navigates through her career as a musician and civil rights activist as well as her struggle with bipolar disorder and troubled home life.
Release Date: July 10th
Backed by the Duplass Brothers, Sean Baker’s Tangerine follows a couple transgender prostitutes living and working in L.A. The story, although violent, is told comically and with certain light-heartedness that makes for an entertaining balance. Also, serious props to Baker for making this film with an iPhone 5s!
The End of the Tour
Release Date: July 31st
James Ponsoldt, who most recently gave us The Spectacular Now, presents us with the story of the five-day interview between David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace following the release of “Infinite Jest“ in 1996. [Review here]
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Release Date: August 7th
Themes of adolescent sexuality run strong in this film debut by Marielle Heller, as Minnie, played by Bel Powley, confesses to her tape recorder personal insights into transitioning from naïve virgin to a messed up adult woman.
Release Date: August 14th
Mumblecore champ Greta Gerwig and writer/director Noah Baumbach reunite for another comedy in which Baumbach, very Woody Allen-esquely, tells the tale of dysfunctional existence in New York through the eyes of eccentric, oddball and lonely characters. [Review here]