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Indie Film Release Guide: October 16th [An ONTD Original]

ONTD Indie Release Guide Graphic.png

While more and more films have bailed on 2020, the number that are still coming out just keeps rising with each passing week. This weekend, two of the highlights are a couple of filmed versions of recent Broadway shows, both of which will be available to stream from the comfort of your couch. If you enjoyed Stop Making Sense, you might like American Utopia, which has a mix of Talking Heads and David Byrne’s music spanning decades. And if you enjoy learning about the Constitution, Heidi Schreck breaks it down piece by piece in What the Constitution Means to Me.

The films listed are from studios other than the “Big Six” - Paramount, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Columbia/Sony and Disney. All films listed will be available at their respective sources on Friday unless otherwise noted. Check out the posts from the past few weeks for more movies that may have already come to VOD: October 9th, October 2nd, and September 25th.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Writer/Director: Aaron Sorkin
Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
Plot: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
What you should know: When Steven Spielberg was attached to direct, he was planning on meeting with Heath Ledger to discuss the role of Tom Hayden. Ledger passed away the day before he was scheduled to meet with Spielberg. Spielberg also wanted Will Smith to play Bobby Seale.
Where to stream: Netflix

Martin Eden

Stars: Luca Marinelli, Jessica Cressy, Vincenzo Nemolato, Carlo Cecchi
Writer: Maurizio Braucci, Pietro Marcello
Director: Pietro Marcello
Genre: Drama, Romance
Plot: Martin Eden struggles to rise above his destitute, proletarian circumstances through an intense and passionate pursuit of self-education, hoping to achieve a place among the literary elite.
What you should know: Based on the novel by Jack London.
Where to watch: Select theaters and virtual cinemas

American Utopia

Director: Spike Lee
Genre: Documentary, Music, Musical
Plot: Recorded during its run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York City, David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of 11 musicians, singers, and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount.
What you should know: The second Broadway run of the show was supposed to kick off this fall, but COVID-19 has postponed it indefinitely.
Where to stream: HBO Max, available 10/17

BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky

Director: Caroline Suh
Genre: Documentary
Storyline: Offers a personal look at the four members of BLACKPINK, from their years as trainees to their current global success as the most popular K-pop girl group of all time.
What you should know: Director Caroline Suh also directed the food documentary Salt Fat Acid Heat.
Where to stream: Netflix, available now

The Opening Act

Stars: Jimmy O. Yang, Bill Burr, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong
Writer/Director: Steve Byrne
Genre: Comedy
Plot: Will Chu has it all - the job, the girl - but what’s missing is his true passion in life, to become a stand-up comedian. When he gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for, the emcee slot on the road opening for his hero Billy G., the realities of life on the stage come crashing in. Even if he can take the opportunity to learn from his idols and overcome the challenges, Will still needs to decide if he should continue with the life he has, or pursue the one he has always dreamt of – the life of a comedian.
What you should know: This is Steve Byrne’s narrative feature directorial debut.
Where to watch: In theaters and available VOD

The Devil Has a Name

Stars: Kate Bosworth, David Strathairn, Edward James Olmos, Haley Joel Osment, Pablo Schreiber
Writer: Robert McEveety
Director: Edward James Olmos
Genre: Drama
Plot: A psychotic oil matriarch leaves the whole industry exposed when she attempts to outfight a bullish farmer whose water has been poisoned.
What you should know: The last feature film that Edward James Olmos directed prior to this was 2002’s Jack and Marilyn.
Where to watch: In theaters

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting

Stars: Tom Felton, Indya Moore, Oona Laurence, Tamara Smart
Writer: Joe Ballarini
Director: Rachel Talalay
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Plot: A babysitter embarks on a mission to save a child who's been abducted by monsters.
What you should know: Based on the book series by Joe Ballarini, who has adapted his own work for the screen.
Where to stream: Netflix


Stars: Cooper Raiff, Dylan Gelula, Amy Landecker, Logan Miller
Writer/Director: Cooper Raiff
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Plot: A homesick college freshman goes to a party at Shithouse and ends up spending the night with his sophomore RA who's had a shitty day and wants someone to hang out with.
What you should know: Won the Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award at 2020’s (virtual) SXSW.
Where to watch: In theaters, and available VOD


Stars: Sydney Sweeney, Madison Iseman, Jacques Colimon, Ivan Shaw
Writer/Director: Zu Quirke
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Plot: An incredibly gifted pianist makes a Faustian bargain to overtake her older sister at a prestigious institution for classical musicians.
What you should know: This is writer/director Zu Quirke’s first feature film.
Where to stream: Amazon, available now

What the Constitution Means to Me

Stars: Heidi Schreck, Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian
Writer: Heidi Schreck
Director: Marielle Heller
Genre: Drama
Plot:Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human show, Heidi resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives.
What you should know: Premiered off Broadway in 2018 and then on Broadway in 2019. The touring version was cut short due to COVID.
Where to stream: Amazon

More New Releases

Love and Monsters (Trailer)
Love Like Falling Rain (Trailer)
The Perfect Weapon (Trailer)
Evil Eye (Trailer)
Freedia Got a Gun (Trailer)
White Riot (Trailer)

NB: Last week’s new release Time is now available via Amazon Prime; Alex Gibney’s doc Totally Under Control will be featured in next week’s post.

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What have you been watching lately, ONTD?
Tags: actor / actress, adaptations, amazon, asian celebrities, black celebrities, broadway / theatre, comedy / comedian, cpop / jpop / kpop, eddie redmayne, european celebrities, film, film - comedy, film - documentary, film - drama, film - fantasy, film - foreign, film - historical, film - horror, film - musical, film - romance, film trailer / stills / clips, indie film release guide, isla fisher / sacha baron cohen, joseph gordon levitt, kate bosworth, music / musician, netflix, ontd original, tom felton

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