28 July 2010 | knoxville67
One of the Best Indies This Year
I see a lot of indie films. I go to many film festivals. I happened to catch a screening of NoNAMES at the Newport Beach Film Fest and didn't expect much, I have to admit. I didn't recognize anyone in the cast and there wasn't a long line waiting to get in the screening. I had a few hours before my next film and thought what the heck.
It's moments like these that remind me why I love going to see indie films. NoNAMES completely took me off guard by its authenticity, professionalism and relevance to our world right now. Not the most uplifting films but its honest, a rare bird these days.
I'm used to low production values and mediocre to poor acting in indie films and feel programmed to wince in watching or tolerating amateur production companies put together barely watchable work. But even though my expectations were low, make no mistake that this impressive work by a first time writer/director and producers is on the same level than more of the films I caught at Sundance and Toronto combined this year and many Hollywood films made every year. I don't know why NoNAMES was not on the bigger festival rosters but it looks like a quite a few great regional festivals were smart enough to program it. It deservedly won Best Ensemble Acting, Best Actor for Gillian Jacobs (CJ) and Best Director Kathy Lindboe at the Phoenix Film Festival as well as being nominated in these categories at this year's Method Fest along with James Badge Dale who plays Kevin.
The other reviews are apt in that it may be a few minutes too long but not because the material isn't good enough or that the moments assembled as the final cut are not valid - it just would have made a more perfect film. I really wanted more development in some of the interesting ensemble roles too but appreciated that they were the background to this small town story. It lends itself to a mini-series that HBO or the likes might be smart enough to look at.
Regardless, Gillian Jacobs and James Badge Dale are shining stars and I hope to see them nominated for at the very least, the Independent Spirit Awards this year along with the whole extremely talented new ensemble cast and Kathy Lindboe, a great new writer/director talent that is definitely one to watch.
This film resonated with me long after the credits rolled. I wanted to stay and talk to the cast and filmmakers that attended the screening but was honestly a bit choked up to manage any intelligent thoughts at the time.
I wish I had the power to help distribute this indie gem. I see on their website they have opened in theaters in WI and I bet that strategy will be a sleeper success for them. It should really hit home with Midwest audiences but I think there's a much bigger appeal too.
To the NoNAMES team - congratulations and thank you for making a very moving and unforgettable film. So far this year, it's top on my list of all films to see besides Blue Valentine. Studios, Distributors and Film Festival Programmers, if you are reading this, do not pass this distribution opportunity by. NoNAMES has all of the heart that audiences desire and deserve to see.