Indie Roundup is your weekly guide to what's new and upcoming in the world of independent film. Pictured above, clockwise from upper left: Kaboom, Rubber, Poetry.
Deals. A flurry of deals were sealed at Cannes, according to indieWIRE. Topping the list, by dint of its Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival, is Lee Chang-dong's Poetry; Kino International made the acquisition. The Korean-language drama follows a 60-something grandmother as she takes a writing course to help her deal with the onset of senility, according to a review by Eric Kohn.
At the opposite side of the artistic spectrum lies Quentin Dupieux's Rubber, which has been picked up by Magnet Releasing. The film "stars" a tire named Robert. "For those who thrive on the willfully absurd, Dupieux's creation will be an instant hit," wrote Todd Brown at Twitch." For those whose tolerance is lower, however, the joke will likely run thin will before the run time comes to an end." Our own Joe Utichi clearly 'thrives on the willfully absurd,' writing: "It all comes together to deliver a film brimming with comic brilliance and manic originality."
On the more "traditional" front, if indie icon Gregg Araki can ever be described as "traditional," his latest film, Kaboom, starring Thomas Dekker, has been acquired by IFC Films. Once again, we turn to our man in Cannes, Joe Utichi, who noted: "Funny, sexy and mad, Kaboom may not be vintage Araki, but it's more than worth watching "
Other acquisitions include Xavier Beauvois' monks and Muslims drama Of Gods and Men, grabbed by Sony Pictures Classics.
After the jump: the state of Asian film festivals in the United States. Plus, SilverDocs announces its lineup.
Festival Scene. Asian-themed film festivals are breaking out all over. A little earlier this month, the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival wrapped up, and a little before that, the venerable San Francisco International Asian American Festival. Peter Hall has already reported on the New York Asian Film Festival, which will dominate Gotham in June, and now the Asian Film Festival of Dallas (AFFD) has announced its first four titles.
The Dallas fest is close to my heart, ever since I did volunteer work for the first edition in 2002. Crystal Decker-Norwood, director of programming, has settled nicely into her role, and the first four titles display a good variety. Ip Man 2 (pictured in the poster, right) is the sequel to last year's sincere and smashingly entertaining bio-pic of a legendary figure in martial arts, played again by Donnie Yen. Simon Yam and Sammo Hung share top billing under the direction of Wilson Yip. Arvin Chen's Au Revoir Taipei has already received a warm welcome at other fests; it follows a brokenhearted man over the course of a single night as he tries to deliver a mysterious package and cope with a "sweet but lonely girl from the local bookstore."
Mechanized mayhem reigns supreme in Robogeisha; nothing like two Japanese sisters transformed into cyborg assassins to liven up your day! Meanwhile, wildly prolific director Wong Jing may have made a quality flick -- he does that occasionally -- with I Corrupt All Cops. The title has greater meaning in its native land, as the abbreviation ICAC also applies to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, established to clean up the Hong Kong police force. The film, starring Eason Chan, Tony Leung, and the ever-reliable Anthony Wong, spans the 60s and 70s.
AFFD will expand to two venues this year and expects to screen more than 50 films from July 23-29. More information is available at their website.
On the documentary side of things, Silverdocs announced its full slate of films. More than 100 docs will screen in Silver Springs, Maryland, from June 21-27. Freakonomics, made by a tag team of filmmakers, opens the festival -- our own Christopher Campbell wrote more about it -- while the closing night presentation will be The Tillman Story, about the professional football player turned war hero Pat Tillman. Cinematical's Eric D. Snider included the latter as one of The 10 Sundance Films You Need to Watch For, noting: "I didn't talk to anyone who saw it who didn't love it."
Other highlights include a free outdoor screening of nature doc Microcosmos -- giant insect alert! -- as well as a tribute to the legendary Frederick Wiseman. Details are available at the fest website.