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.
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.
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.
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.