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Our Most Anticipated Indie Movies of 2020

Jan 9, 2020

A new year starting, and you know what that means. It’s officially awards season, and after that we’re moving on to film festival season.

In other words, it’s the time of year when we can start making a list of all the movies we are looking forward to watching in 2020.

Soundstripe is a company full of creatives. We don’t just sit here curating royalty-free music all day — we’re talking about movies too. So to help get ready for film festival season, we thought we’d share a list of the most anticipated indie movies that we are looking forward to this year.

(And to keep everyone happy about the list, we’ll avoid a ranking system and just make an alphabetical list.)

 

Dinner in America

Dinner in America

Written and directed by Adam Rehmeier

Produced by Ben Stiller, Nicholas Weinstock, David Hunter, Ross Putman, John Covert, and Sam Slater

Starring Kyle Gallner, Emily Skeggs, Pat Healy, Griffin Gluck, Lea Thompson, and Mary Lynn Rajskub

Synopsis: “An on-the-lam punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band go on an unexpected and epic journey together through the decaying suburbs of the American Midwest.”

Why we’re excited: This is director Adam Rehmeier’s first feature in five years.

That might not tell you a lot, since Rehmeier (whose feature work up to this movie has been exclusively in the horror genre) isn’t necessarily a household name. But as a relatively unknown filmmaker, his first foray into drama should be an interesting one. 

And with an indie budget, he’ll also get to work with some on-the-rise talent in front of the camera.

 

Lost Girls

Directed by Liz Garbus

Written by Michael Werwie

Based on the novel Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

Produced by Anne Carey and Kevin McCormick

Starring Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Oona Laurence, Lola Kirke, and Gabriel Byrne

Synopsis: "When Mari Gilbert's daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers.”

Why we’re excited: The Long Island serial killer case is one of the most notorious unsolved mysteries from the past few years. And given that we’re suckers for murder-mystery podcasts, TV shows, and movies, Lost Girls seems is right up our ally.

Besides, this is a dramatic retelling tied to a real-life case. We already know that crime-solving thrillers can work succeed critically and commercially (see Zodiac, Prisoners, and Gone Girl). Hopefully Lost Girls is another great addition to that genre.

 

Kajillionaire

Kajillionaire

Written and directed by Miranda July

Produced by Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, and Youree Henry

Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger, and Gina Rodriguez

Synopsis: "A woman's life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they're planning.”

Why we’re excited: Miranda Wood made a name for herself by writing, directing, and starring in both Me and You and Everyone We Know as well as The Future. While she won’t have an on-screen role in Kajillionaire, the buzz around her latest project has led us to think that this could be another award-winner.

(Besides, who doesn’t love a good heist story?)

 

Nine Days

Written and directed by Edson Oda

Produced by Jason Michael Berman, Mette Marie Kongsved, Matthew Lindner, Laura Tunstall, and Datari Turner

Starring Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Bill Skarsgård, Tony Hale, and David Rysdahl

Synopsis: "In a house distant from the reality we know, a reclusive man interviews prospective candidates — personifications of human souls — for the privilege that he once had: to be born.”

Why we’re excited: This is Edson Odna’s directorial debut, and it promises to be quite the intriguing narrative. If the synopsis doesn't interest you, it also stars Bill Skarsgård (the nightmare-inducing clown from It) and Tony Hale (whom you might recognize from Community, Arrested Development, or Veep).

 

Red Heaven

Red Heaven

Directed by Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe

Synopsis: “Red Heaven tells the story of six people who live in isolation for one year as part of a NASA experiment that simulates the first human mission on Mars.”

Why we’re excited: The conversation about Mars has never been as popular as it is right now. With Red Heaven, the directors are documenting an actual scientific experiment where six strangers spent an entire year living as astronauts.

A documentary on this topic should combine the drama of strangers living together with the scientific takeaways from a legitimate experiment. It’s like The Martian meets reality TV, and really, that’s something we all need in our lives.

Jokes aside, if you can’t wait to learn more about this experiment, we’ve got you covered. Journalist Lynn Levy got NASA’s permission to document the experiment while it happened. And you should check out her podcast, The Habitat.

 

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Palm Springs

Directed by Max Barbakow

Written by Andy Siara

Produced by Andy Samberg, Becky Sloviter, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Dylan Sellers, and Chris Parker

Starring Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons, Meredith Hagner, Camila Mendes, and Peter Gallagher

Synopsis: “When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honor Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated the next morning when they find themselves unable to escape the venue, themselves, or each other.”

Why we’re excited: Palm Springs finds first-time writer/director Max Barbakow behind the camera, which is always an exciting prospect once an indie film starts to generate some buzz around the film festival scene.

And Barbakow has assembled quite an impressive cast for his dramedy, which includes the always-funny Andy Samberg, Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons, and the talented you've-seen-her-everywhere Christin Milioti. That’s a lot of talent in a new director’s debut film.

Names like that say a lot about what we can expect from Palm Springs.

And honestly, the buildup for this movie has been a quiet one. The plot synopsis is vague, but that’s part of what makes it interesting.

So there you have it: the indie movies we're most excited about in 2020. 

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