Three Upcoming Independent Films on my Radar

A handful of independent films have recently been brought to my attention. For various reasons, I’m excited about all three. The bad news is that these films are out of the Kickstarter phase, meaning you can no longer contribute to these filmmakers. But the obvious good news is that they’ve attained the funding to bring their visions to life, and you’ll be able to see these films soon. Here are three indies on my radar.

Grow Up, Tony Phillips
If you’ve followed TDYLF for a while, then you know that I’m a fan of Austin-based film critic and movies.com editor Peter S. Hall. Through the years, his reviews and film opinions have never led me astray. A few years ago, he made the jump into film production with My Sucky Teen Romance, which just hit Netflix streaming. His production company has teamed up with My Sucky Teen Romance director Emily Hagins once again for Grow Up, Tony Phillips.

Movieweb explains that the film is “about a Halloween-loving teenager who doesn’t think childhood passions should have an expiration date.” It stars A. J. Bowen, who’s the Sir Laurence Olivier of great, low-budget horror films. And the film’s poster certainly evokes all the fun of Halloween. The Kickstarter campaign is over, but the film is coming soon.

grow-up-tony

The Phoenix Project
I learned about The Phoenix Project when a member of the film’s marketing team reached out to me. Her email describes the film:

It’s about four scientists who move into a house together to try and reanimate deceased organisms, while dealing with the internal balance of ethics, logic, emotion and ingenuity (think Primer, but with biology). It’s a new age frankenstein-esque story with style and thematic structures that echo Godard and French new wave cinema style.

Deco Poster - The Phoenix ProjectShe goes on to say, “Our mission is to create a film that combats the current adaptation and sequel trend in Hollywood, and to prove that unique films can be created, supported, and successful.”

There’s an awful lot to love about that description. And like Grow Up, Tony Phillips, the poster art completely grabbed my attention. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this movie, which has a lot of promise. It will be on the festival circuit throughout this year.

High and Outside
The final film is very personal for me. My friend Bobby, who occasionally does some scouting work for independent minor league baseball teams, forwarded me a youtube clip featuring former professional baseball player and manager Benny Castillo. A long time ago, I worked in professional baseball. On two occasions, I was the Media Relations Director for a team managed by Benny. As a matter of fact, Benny was the manager of the team that earned me a championship ring. I’m eternally grateful for that, let alone the fact that Benny is a hell of a guy.

Ring

The championship ring that I won while working with High and Outside consultant Benny Castillo

As it turns out, Benny consulted on and will appear in a “baseball noir” called High and Outside. In fact, if you go to this Kickstarter news page about the movie, the photo they’ve used was taken the year that Benny and I worked together in Duluth, Minnesota. As a baseball junkie with a personal interest in the film, I can’t wait until it comes out. Here’s the on-set interview with Benny, who describes his passion for the game, and what independent baseball is really like.

 

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Three Upcoming Independent Films on my Radar

  1. Great post. Thanks for the information about these independant films.

  2. The guy who met Kevin Meany

    Good picks! You told me enough stories from your time in independent baseball that High and Outside looks like a really interesting documentary. Also, the Phoenix Project could be intriguing. I feel like there are a couple of Grow Up, Tony Phillips-type indie films a year. However, they are usually really good.

    • I’m just glad to give Benny a little attention. And of course, you know the guy who turned me on to that one. Whatever the quality of that movie, it’s obvious that the people who made it “get” where indie-league ballplayers are coming from.

      The deal for me with “Tony Phillips” is that it has Peter Hall’s name on it. The guy knows horror and he knows what works. The same goes for AJ Bowen. Actually, the next time you’re in the mood for some horror, check out Bowen’s movies. I’ve seen The Signal, A Horrible Way to Die, and House of the Devil, and they’ve all been really good horror movies. He’s also in You’re Next, which is allegedly a great low-budget horror from 2011.

  3. Wow, The Pheonix Project sounds like it could be awesome.

  4. Thanks John, I havent heard of any of these. I will keep an eye out now my friend.

  5. Bob Smith

    A nice looking independent film out of Michigan called “Niner” is currently in the works… seems like it could be a lot of fun. Its at facebook.com/NinertheMovie

  6. Benny Castillo

    Lasssh, u also forgot to mentioned that ur “from the loop & ur proud”:) Good to see ur site & ur work. Proud of u & that a long ways from Lake Superior & our Dukes’ days. Im getting a chance to be part of High & Outside by actually being a real life coach to Phil (protagonist). He came out to a month long camp to train for his part where we became solid friends. 8634408273

  7. Benny Castillo

    Hey :Lash! Just finished shooting my scene back in LA. It was awesome! Tell u all about it when we connect.

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