Ten Films to Look For in 2015

In Clouds of Sils Maria, Kristen Stewart delivers the performance of her career.

By Calum Marsh

As the year in moviegoing draws to a close -- and as critics busy themselves drawing up lists and handing out awards -- it seems time at last to look ahead. Here are the 10 films to get excited about over the year to come.

1. Jauja (Dir. Lisandro Alonso)

Revered Argentine filmmaker Lisandro Alonso returns after 2008's exquisite Liverpool with Jauja, his most astonishing film yet. While no less oblique than its predecessors, Jauja finds Alonso working for the first time with an international star: Viggo Mortensen, an intriguing wrinkle in Alonso's minimalist approach. Mortensen plays a Danish general adrift in the badlands of 19th-century Patagonia, and his wearying travails form the bulk of the action. A cryptic and formidable work, to be sure, but an altogether mesmerizing one.

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The Exiles Brought Rockabilly and a Lost Feature on Native Culture to Fort Lauderdale

Ollie Wareham
(Left to Right) Spencer who starred in The Legacy of Exiled Ndnz, Pamela Peters, and Everett Osceola

Friday night, the Stranahan House Museum was transformed into a 1950s dance fest. At 6 p.m., Rockabilly band Slip and the Spinouts were playing music made for greasers and pre-auxiliary cord cars were displayed out front in all their shiny glory.

The reason for these festivities was not an interactive screening of Grease but rather of the lost movie The Exiles. Created in the late '50s by director Kent MacKenzie, it tells the story of three Native Americans who moved from their reservation to Los Angeles. The movie was created around the time of the Indian Relocation Act, a United States law created to encourage indigenous people to leave their reservations and move to certain cities in the U.S. where they were promised a solid job and good life.

See also: A Gay -- or "Two-Spirit" -- Miccosukee Man Fights for the Everglades

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Planet of the Drums' "Compelling Story" to Be Documented by Local Filmmakers

Photo courtesy of Kevin Kocak
Planet of the Drums documentary creators Ronaldo Bahamon, Kevin Kocak, and Steven Brevig.

A team of South Florida filmmakers are gearing up to shoot an independent documentary on Planet of the Drums, the longest running electronic dance tour headed up by four DJs who, at the millennium, were intent on bringing drum 'n' bass out of the underground into the world.

The four-person film crew will be on-site at Will Call in downtown Miami getting footage this weekend that will be used in the feature-length documentary geared at profiling said DJs: AK1200 (Orlando's Dave Minner), DJ Dara (Darragh Guilfoyle), Dieselboy (Damian Higgins), and MC Messinian (James Fiorella).

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Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum and Historic Stranahan House Museum Present Seminole Cinema Night With The Exiles

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum and the Historic Stranahan House Museum.

1958 wasn't a year known for cultural sensitivity. While Jim Crow laws were still in effect in much of this country, director Kent MacKenzie filmed a movie called The Exiles. MacKenzie gained the trust of three Native Americans as he documented their struggle over whether they should stay on their reservations or make a move to the outside world. They sadly ended up on Los Angeles' Skid Row.

The movie was lost for nearly 50 years in the back of a UCLA vault until it was restored in 2008 and began appearing in festivals. Friday, The Exiles will make its South Florida debut, screening at Seminole Cinema Night at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum and the Historic Stranahan House Museum.

"At the time, Native Americans were portrayed in movies with the derogatory image of 'Me kill the white face!'" explained Everett Osceola, who helped put the night together. "This movie showed them as people."

See also: A Gay -- or "Two-Spirit" -- Miccosukee Man Fights for the Everglades

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Jon Stewart's Rosewater Is a Movie You Need to See

Open Road Films

Last night in South Miami, the preview screening of Jon Stewart's directorial debut Rosewater was attended by me, my parents, three of our friends, and just about a dozen other people. Rushing there after work, I assumed the place would be packed and I'd be sitting on the floor with a bunch of idealistic 20 year old girls with daddy issues, laughing with stars in their eyes at every Stewart-penned joke. The theater is steps from the University of Miami, and you'd think college students would be interested in a film that makes world affairs watchable and even amusing. Even my parents bought their tickets weeks ago.

After the movie, a broadcast of Stewart and the journalist who inspired the film, Maziar Bahari, being interviewed live by Stephen Colbert was shown in that and 250 other US theaters. But again, there were no more than 16 people in the theater. It was confusing and stereotypically disappointing.

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Jason Alexander and Pamela Shaw Talk Lucky Stiff at FLIFF (Video)

The Cast of Lucky Stiff at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

If you grew up in a household where required viewing included the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies and Auntie Mame, then you'll be glued to the screen and giggling with delight watching Lucky Stiff.

Director Christopher Ashley, a veteran of the stage, decided to get cinematic with this quirky, goofy musical, complete catchy tunes and adorable illustrations. He created the comedic flick with a cast that starred the strong voices of Dominic Marsh and Nikki M. James and included the hilarious and outrageous hijinks of Jason Alexander and Pamela Shaw.

Lucky Stiff was the first musical to ever screen at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and last Friday was the movie's Florida premiere. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Ashley, Shaw, and Alexander and speak about what it really means to be a comedic actor and what the three are up to next.

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FLIFF: Sylvie Rokab Talks Love Thy Nature

Categories: Film Fanatic

Tamra Raven
Sylvie Rokab checks a shot for 'Love Thy Nature' in Malibu

Filmmaker Sylvie Rokab grew up in the jungles outside Rio de Janeiro, where she was born and raised. She speaks four languages, and is most definitely a woman of the world. She spent much of her adult life in Miami and worked as a cinematographer for the Discovery Channel and Nat Geo, among other networks.

Speaking via phone from her current home in Los Angeles, she says she credits her parents, who are French and Italian and were both born in Egypt, for instilling a love of nature at an early age. "I had parents that were nature lovers," she admits. She recalls many visits to various forests of Brazil and feeling a profound sadness to watch their infamous destruction by unregulated deforestation. She regularly visits family there and shot many scenes of her new movie, Love Thy Nature, in Visconde de Maua, which lies at the intersection of Rio, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais.

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Halloween Horror Nights 24: The Scares Are There, but Go For the Novelty (Video)

Sneak Peak of Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Orlando from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

The sun had set and the sky was indigo. As you walked passed the revolving globe and up to the arches, the eerie music coming from the loudspeakers and musky, earthy smell of the lingering rainfall set the scene perfectly.

Though Universal Studios Orlando can't control the weather (and they likely wouldn't want it raining on their parade as often as it does), the trickling mist after the afternoon downpour made the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights 24 (HHN) feel as if you were transported into a classic horror movie.

And after walking through the gates and encountering any scare-actors roaming the streets with chainsaws, yeah, you totally felt like Laura Strode.

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The Guest Cast Talks Dark Humor and '80s Nostalgia (Video)

Categories: Film Fanatic

Cast and Crew of The Guest on '80s Nostalgia from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

There's no sense denying it: The 1980s was the heyday for horror movies -- the decade even had its very own scream queen (Jamie Lee Curtis, for you '90s babies). Present day thrillers are arguably lagging behind; that is, unless someone brilliantly concocts a film that fits right in with both modern cinema and the original Friday the 13th and Halloween. (Yes, both those films have been shamefully remade in the last decade, so the originality must be noted).

Enter the filmmaking team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett: one directs and the other writes. Their latest collaboration stars Downton Abbey alum, Dan Stevens, as the world's worst (and creepiest) houseguest in the appropriately titled The Guest.

The film centers on Stevens' character, David, who returns home from war and goes to visit the family of a fellow soldier. What follows is plenty of violence, some mysterious deaths, and a whole lotta '80s music. Everything from the soundtrack, to the close-up shots, to the font used evokes the yearning for that decade.

The starting point for Wingard was essentially a back-to-basics, nostalgic inspiration: "I wanted to do a film that encapsulated sort of why I became a filmmaker to begin with."

See also: Young Stars of The Maze Runner Bring Dystopian Tale to Life

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Jason Fitzroy Jeffers on His Film Papa Machete and the Art of Machete Fencing


Jason Fitzroy Jeffers has been a Renaissance man of sorts in South Florida. A musician and journalist, he recently changed his focus to filmmaking and his first official production, the short documentary Papa Machete has been steadily picking up momentum. This week it was officially selected for the Toronto International Film Festival's (TIFF) inaugural section of short international works, Short Cuts.

Concentrating on the life of farmer Alfred Avril, the movie explores his status as the last remaining master of tire machétt, a martial art created by slaves when combating Napoleon's armies, there is a poesy of protection and pragmatism as "the machete, which is both a weapon and a farmer's key to survival," transcends symbolism and hyperbole.

We spoke with Fitzroy about his experience with Third Horizon working on the film with the Borscht Corporation, Haiti and his latest musical endeavors.

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