15 Upcoming Indie Films to Keep on Your Radar

While Interstellar, Into the Woods, Wild, and several more big pictures are likely to command most of your attention this season, there are a handful of forthcoming indie flicks that are just as (perhaps more) worthy of your time. Without the big studios behind them, divisive documentaries and cheeky foreign flicks are often overlooked by the masses, never given the chance to educate, entertain, and enthrall (as so many of them do). On this list, you'll find some of the best films that the Hollywood system has neglected to inform you about: upcoming indies that you really need to keep on your radar.

As The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game duke it out for Best Picture favoritism, some much smaller, far stranger movies sneak in and out of theaters, and those lucky enough to catch them get to see the real hotbed of imagination. I'm talking comedies about avalanches, introspective dramas about European house music, sadomasochistic romances involving butterflies, and movies wherein Kristen Stewart is actually good. You'll see some strange things on this list, people, but it's all very much worth your time and attention. So check out this list of the indie films to look out for this season... and in the indeterminate future (hey, them's the breaks with indie films).

Image: Magnolia Pictures


What Is It? A pressing documentary about the Edward Snowden/NSA story, both a sociopolitical majesty and a thrilling film in its own right.

Who’s Involved? Political documentarian Laura Poitras helms the film, with Snowden himself taking center stage (though not usurping focus from the issues at play).

Image: Radius-TWC


What Is It? A winning black comedy about a husband who abandons his wife and children at the threat of an avalanche, and suffers the consequences during a very tense vacation thereafter.

Who’s Involved? Swedish writer, editor, director, and YouTube aficionado Ruben Östlund, and blossoming Swedish actors Johannes Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli.

Image: Magnolia Pictures


What Is It? Married women, single men, dogs, and the world itself all endure existential journeys in this sweeping story.

Who’s Involved? Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century and pioneers of the New Wave.

Image: Kino Lorber


What Is It? A noir deep dive into the gritty world of crime journalism, and not another X-Men movie.

Who’s Involved? Jake Gyllenhaal and Renee Russo star in the film, which is written and directed by Dan Gilroy, the screenwriter behind ‘Reel Steel’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy.’

Image: Open Road Films


What Is It? A romance/vampire flick/social allegory hybrid, set before the backdrop of a nearly deserted Iranian village.

Who’s Involved? England-born wunderkind Ana Lily Amirpour writes and directs her first feature.

Image: Kino Lorber

'THE BABADOOK' (NOV. 28, ltd.)

What Is It? A horror movie that is actually about something, and one with ample tension throughout.

Who’s Involved? Debut writer/director Jennifer Kent. (Not too shabby for a first feature!)

Image: IFC Midnight

'TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT' (DEC. 24, ltd.)

What Is It? A drama about a young woman tasked with convincing her coworkers not to “vote her out” of the company in favor of a communal pay raise.

Who’s Involved? The prolific Dardenne brothers write and direct, and the very familiar Marion Cotillard stars.

Image: Sundance Selects


What Is It? A dreamy, intimidating story about the psychology of growing old, specifically in the context of show business (but set in the beautiful Swiss Alps).

Who’s Involved: Olivier Assayas directs a classy-as-usual Juliet Binoche, and a fantastic Kristen Stewart (believe it!).

Image: IFC Films


What Is It? A documentary exploring our culture’s questionable construct of “the gay voice.”

Who’s Involved? Filmmaker David Thorpe interviews celebrities like George Takei, Tim Gunn, Dave Sedaris, Margaret Cho, and more.

Image: ThinkThorpe


What Is It? An exploration of a chaotic sexual relationship between a wealthy woman and her housekeeper, with plenty of butterflies involved.

Who’s Involved? Director Peter Strickland, who also helmed this year’s Bjork: Biophilia Live.

Image: IFC Films


What Is It? A dramatic chronicling of the dawn of the “French touch” music movement, riding the wave alongside its pioneer DJ.

Who’s Involved? French director Mia Hansen-Løve leads newcomer Felix de Givry in her fourth feature.

Image: Ad Vitam Distribution


What Is It? A follow-up to last year’s tremendously moving documentary The Act of Killing, engaging with the survivors of genocide in Indonesia to illustrate the experience of living among their assailants.

Who’s Involved? Joshua Oppenheimer, director of (and one of the few credited parties on) The Act of Killing.

Image: Dogwoof Pictures


What Is It? The third chapter of director Roy Andersson’s bonkers existential parable that is equal parts probing philosophical spectacle and outlandish comedy.

Who’s Involved? Andersson, capping off Songs from the Second Floor and You, the Living to complete his wacko trilogy.

Image: Magnolia Pictures


What Is It? A generation clash between stilted Gen X-ers and flighty Millennials all trying to find some semblance of happiness and meaning.

Who’s Involved? Noah Baumbach, the writer/director behind ‘Kicking and Screaming,’ ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ and ‘Frances Ha,’ teams with Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried, and Adam Driver.

Image: FilmNation

A Bonus: 'THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA' (Out now, ltd.)

What Is It? The wonderfully vast, terrifically sad, and consistently charming story of a young girl who sprouted from a bamboo plant and grew up to be a princess, much to her chagrin.

Who’s Involved: The latest (and possibly last) film from Studio Ghibli is written and directed by Isao Takahata, who also helmed Grave of the Fireflies.

Image: Toho