Tis the Season for Critical Darlings

It's moving into that time of the year when people start voting for their favorite Independent film or filmmaker.... highlighting those films that for whatever reason, were able to go from dream to reality.

The Independent Spirit Awards will announce their nominees in a few days, Criticwire has announced their favorites.  It appears there's a wonderful batch of films out there in the world - and many of the filmmakers are moving from independent films to Hollywood films, and back again.  We at the DIY Film Festival are happy to tout and highlight those who pursue filmmaking with a passion, whatever their budget.

But just as an incentive;

Jennifer Lawrence of "Catching Fire" was only 3 years ago, and independent darling in the indie film "Winter's Bone." Budget was 2 million.

David O Russell, director of "Three King's" and "Silver Lining's Playbook"'s first film "Spanking the Monkey" was made for $200K.

Richard Linklater, director of "Before Midnight" first film "Slackers" was shot for 23K.

The point is - you've finished your first film, or your second film, and you've found the right genre for your work, whether it's comedy, drama, horror, thriller, etc.  And you've made your short film and gotten rave reviews and great audience reaction for it.  It's your best calling card for your career.  Take a similar screenplay or book around with your short film and submit it to an agent or producer through an attorney or agent if possible.  The worst they can do is say "yes" and then you'll have to make the film.  But barring that, let people know you're going to make the film with or without them - and offer them the chance to make it with you.

We're getting in some amazing films from filmmakers across the globe - from as far away as New Zealand, on topics from the future of the planet, to the future of a relationship.  Excellent work filmmakers!  "And may the odds ever be in your favor!"

Criticwire Members' List of Highest Ranked 2013 Indie Movies Adds 'Nebraska' and 'The Great Beauty'

According to the nearly 500 critics listed in Indiewire's Criticwire Network, there are over 70 indie films that have been released in theaters or on digital platforms this year worth checking out. Of course, 2013 still has a few more months to go. The following list, updated on a weekly basis, contains all films released in 2013 that currently hold a B+ average or higher on Criticwire as long as they have been graded by at least 15 critics. 
You can also browse a list of the top-rated documentaries released in 2013 here
Cannes can be a tough crowd. Just ask the two films that join the ranks of Best Reviewed Indies of 2013 this week.
Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" both made their debuts in France back in May, both receiving tepid acclaim. Reviews and overall response were somewhat underwhelming against the backdrop of "Blue is the Warmest Color," "Behind the Candelabra" and "Inside Llewyn Davis." In fact, neither film was able to crack the Best Feature top 10 in our festival-end poll
Fast forward to the New York Film Festival last month, where "Nebraska" experienced an influx of support from stateside audiences. Along with Sorrentino's latest, other advanced screenings have netted them both a "B+" average, good enough to put them alongside some of the best from around the world in 2013. 
Payne's latest is drawing specific attention for its contemplative sense of humor, anchored by two strong performances from Bruce Dern and June Squibb. Meanwhile, the Playlist's review of "The Great Beauty" compared the lavish excess of its many party scenes to the work of another Italian director, Federico Fellini. Both films are now available for viewing in limited release, with expansions planned as the month of November progresses.
Because critics can grade films at their leisure, all averages are subject to change; this list will grow or shrink on a regular basis to reflect fluctuating averages and new releases. The list is ordered in terms of letter grades first, followed by the number of grades a film has received. Duplicate numbers reflect ties in volume of grades and totals in italics reflect changes from the last update.

Head to a film page to browse reviews and other information pertaining to each film. For more rankings, check out the top documentaries of 2013 and the top foreign language films of 2013.

1. Before Midnight (Film Page), directed by Richard Linklater (2013 Sundance Film Festival; June 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A (108 grades)
2. The Act of Killing (Film Page), directed by Joshua Oppenheimer (2012 Telluride Film Festival; July 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: (48 grades)
3. Upstream Color (Film Page), directed by Shane Carruth (2013 Sundance Film Festival; April 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (93 grades)
4. Frances Ha (Film Page), directed by Noah Baumbach (2012 Toronto International Film Festival; May 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (89 grades)
5. Stories We Tell (Film Page), directed by Sarah Polley (2012 Venice Film Festival; May 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (64 grades)
6. 12 Years a Slave (Film Page), directed by Steve McQueen (2013 Telluride Film Festival; October 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (61 grades)
7. No (Film Page), directed by Pablo LarraĆ­n (2012 Cannes Film Festival; February 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (60 grades)
8. Blue Is the Warmest Color (Film Page), directed by Abdellatif Kechiche (2013 Cannes Film Festival; October 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (56 grades)
9. Fruitvale Station (Film Page), directed by Ryan Coogler (2013 Sundance Film Festival; July 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (55 grades)
10. Blue Jasmine (Film Page), directed by Woody Allen (June 2013 theatrical release)
Average Criticwire Rating: A- (52 grades)

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