Smoke, Flicks, and Chill: Indie Award Winners - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Smoke, Flicks, and Chill: Indie Award Winners

Channel your inner indie and press play.

by Kristian Astre

by Kristian Astre

There’s nothing quite like a really good film with an intentional storyline, solid script, strong acting and thoughtful casting to send our imaginations reeling and the award nominations rolling in. This list of critically-acclaimed films purposefully leaves out some of the better known films like The Shining or Training Day and goes for independent award winners that may have gone under the radar.

Pariah (2011)

This dramatic movie focuses on a Brooklyn teenager on the hunt for herself and the freedom to express her sexuality in her deeply religious family. It’s dramatic, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s beautiful to watch as a young woman struggles with the unfolding of her identity. With over 10 awards under its belt, including best independent film, this film is definitely worth watching.

Dope (2015)

Quirky, unique and full of exuberance, this indie film takes a look at the complicated life of Malcolm, a good-intentioned nerd that’s trying to get out of the hood and into Harvard. When a random invitation to a party throws a wrench in his plans, Malcolm has to figure out a way to keep his collegiate dreams from slipping away forever.

Nightcrawler (2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal gives a chilling performance in this gritty crime drama that follows a former thief who begins taking photographs of accidents and other tragic scenes and selling it to local news stations. Things get interesting when he starts tampering with crime scenes and hiding the truth behind his actions from the people who are benefitting from his work.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Like most families, the one in this movie has its share of complexities but things are just slightly more complicated for two teens who are interested in knowing the identity of their biological father. When he tries to become a part of the family, the complications get even bigger and the family has to decide what they can do to move forward with peace.

What Maisie Knew (2012)

Children are observant, perceptive creatures that often understand much more than adults think they do. This film explores the tension between two parents and their six year old daughter, as a custody battle becomes nasty and the people who should care the most about their child forget to consider her in the heat of their deep misunderstanding.

Bernie (2011)

Although Jack Black is usually remembered for his over-the-top comedy and superlative goofiness, he tones it down quite a bit for his role as a meek mortician who befriends a recent widow in a small town. Things take a major twist from the quaint storyline when someone ends up dead and no one knows how it happened.


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Kristian Astre

Kristian Astre is a California native with an infinite appetite for art and music. She fuels her creativity and curiosity with tea, naps and meditation.



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