Indie Roundup

Let's start this week's Indie Roundup by noting Eugene Novikov's fine article on seven indies that deserve a little love in the next few months. Beyond his picks, my indie summer begins with Jim Jarmusch's The Limits of Control. Jarmusch is an idiosyncratic director who continues to riff on some of the same themes that have occupied his subtle, haunting, and beautiful films since the 1980s. His latest, photographed by Christopher Doyle, follows a mysterious loner (Isaach De Bankolé) who journeys across Spain. It opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday before expanding in the following weeks.

Deals. Zheng Wei's drama Fish Eyes, which is screening this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, has been picked up by Benten/Watchmaker Films. Shot on a tiny budget with non-professional actors, and set during the period between the Sichuan earthquake and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the film revolves around a father, his son, and a mysterious woman who enters their lives. Fish Eyes is the debut of director Zheng, and also represents the debut plunge into theatrical waters for Benten. The company acquired all North American, UK, and European rights for the film.

Box Office. Playing on one screen, Nursery University resided at the top of the indie charts last weekend, according to Box Office Mojo, grossing $11,307. Directed by Marc H. Simon and Matthew Makar, the documentary aims to provide "a good-humored look at the oddly competitive environment of nursery school admissions," where the annual tuition is upwards of $20,000. James Toback's doc Tyson opened on seven screens and enjoyed decent returns (7,731 per-screen average), with Paolo Sorrentino's biopic Il Divo close behind ($6,934 each at two screens).

After the jump: LAAPFF!



Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2009Fests. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) opens tomorrow night with Tze Chun's multi-award winning Children of Invention. The film navigates carefully through turbulent waters as it presents the story of a family in crisis: a mother running out of money and means to provide for her two young children, who she tries to protect from the harsh realities she is facing. Highly recommended, and a great way to start the festival.

LAAPFF features a multitude of short films, which are incredibly popular -- some of those screenings have already sold out -- along with a raft of narratives and documentaries. Among those that have caught my eye are Chris Martinez's 100, said to be a life-celebrating Filipino comedy/drama about a woman facing death; Alexander Lee's The Real Shaolin, which follows four kung fu students in China; Hashiguchi Ryosuke's Japanese relationship drama All Around Us, detailing a long-term marriage; and Noh Young-seok's Korean road trip flick Daytime Drinking.

The festival concludes on May 7 with Yojiro Takita's Academy Award-winning Departures. Check the web site for more information.