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U.S. Indie Film Discussed Abroad; Day 6 From the 48th Karlovy Vary Int. Film Festival

Along with the post-screening Q&A’s and “Carte Blanche” series, Borderline Films’ Josh Mond, Antonio Campos and Sean Durkin (with often collaborator Brady Corbet pitching in) kept on giving, with the fest holding what they call a KVIFF Talks session with the foursome. In the festival video below you can get a timeline for how they got together before they started the creative process, and how they went about producing films such as Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene, and fielded some Q’s from the public.

Though the Karlovy Vary program is indeed filled with a plethora of Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes preemed items, much of my focus was on the Berlin film festival titles (as it’s not part of my film fest flight plan). Before even considering the Golden Bear winner (also showing), the biggie title was Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster. While somewhat thin on fully exploring the legend of the Ip Man, I couldn’t help but marvel at the film’s technical prowess – it not only made me forget about the muddled My Blueberry Nights. Curiously, this is one of the rare occasions where I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel (featuring Bruce Lee) and I wish this despite how long it took for 2046 to materialize.

Having received it’s premiere debut at Tribeca, miraculously less than a year after the natural disaster, among the microscopic indie titles to watch out for in the upcoming year is Sam Fleischner’s Stand Clear of the Closing Doors. A portrait about autism, about a family in crisis and about society’s ineptitude or our inability to look over one’s shoulder, beyond the guerrilla style shooting, and what could be described as a happy accident (Hurricane Sandy occurred during production) that actually helps in describing the disheveled misfortune/journey of our autistic teen protagonist, this drama works on so many levels. It serves as a fine sample on how to grab some unfathomable story from the headlines, and detail a backstory where there isn’t one. Although, I felt the human needle in a haystack journey was weakened every time we’d go back to the mother’s crisis and domestic situation, those break away moments served the much needed purpose of not putting the viewer in a depressive state – this is far from a feel good tale even though there is a compassionate approach from the get-go. The final two shots of the film are golden. In the post-screening Q&A, Fleischner discussed his casting and working process, hurricane Sandy, shooting in New York City’s subway.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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