Indie Films on Netflix Instant Streaming

By Mel DeCandia on April 28, 2013

The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival kicked off last week in New York City, running April 17 to April 28, celebrating independent filmmaking for its 12th consecutive year. According to tribecafilm.com, the festival featured a diverse array of international films, featuring over 1,400 films from more than 80 countries since 2002, and “supports emerging and established directors.” While the Tribeca isn’t accessible for most college students, you can still celebrate in a small way by checking out these independent flicks currently streaming on Netflix:

1) Janie Jones

Based on aspects of Director David M. Rosenthal’s life, Janie Jones follows 13-year-old Janie (Abigail Breslin) as she escapes life with her meth addict mother to find her estranged, has-been rock star father (Alessandro Nivola), now an alcoholic. The film centers on the relationship Janie and her father build through their mutual love of music—both actors sing and perform themselves—and features an original soundtrack, now available on iTunes. Janie Jones was featured at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

2) Grave Encounters

In the spirit of other independent thrillers like the infamous The Blair Witch Project, Grave Encounters is a mockumentary film that pokes fun at paranormal reality shows like Ghost Hunters. The film follows the cast and crew of fictional television show ‘Grave Encounters’ as they jokingly investigate the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital only to find it haunted by former patients with no way out. Despite a low budget, The Vicious Brothers directing team bring real scares in this 2011 Tribeca Film, spurring a sequel released last year.

3) Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine gained mainstream traction after star Michelle Williams was Academy Award nominated for her role, but the film has independent roots. The film, which premiered in 2010 at the 26th Sundance Film Festival, follows unhappily married couple Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), and uses flashbacks to tell of how the two fell in and out of love throughout the years. Grittier than the typical Hollywood romantic drama, Blue Valentine depicts the darker side of young, reckless love.

4) The Yellow Handkerchief

Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Eddie Redmayne (Les Misérables) star in 2008 indie ‘coming of age’ film The Yellow Handkerchief as dysfunctional teenagers Martine and Gordy who, on a road trip, pick up hitchhiking ex-convict Brett (William Hurt); on the road, the three bond over their shared experience as misfits. The film, which features now big-name stars and directed by well-known documentarian Arthur Cohn, premiered at the 24th Sundance Film Festival and is loosely based on a short story by writer Pete Hamill.

5) The Poker House

Before Winter’s Bone, the independent film that catapulted Jennifer Lawrence into the spotlight after Academy Award recognition, the newest member of young Hollywood starred in the 2008 drama The Poker House. Lawrence plays 14-year-old Agnes, the eldest of three sisters who struggle as a result of their single mother’s inability to properly care for them. The film, which generated an overall positive response from critics, deals with the controversial topics of substance abuse, pedophilia and prostitution.

University of Maryland, Merrill College of Journalism '16. Terp, show-tune enthusiast and part-time Belieber. Sometimes I write things.

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