Our Five Choice Indie Features of 2023

It’s been an interesting year and we’ve manage to cover a few of the usual film festivals and found some favorites along the way. We were thankfully able to compensate for last year by really digging our heels in to the indie movies and festivals, and we’ve combed over some really talented directors, and writers.

These are five of the best indie feature films that we saw in 2023.

Door Mouse
Directed by: Avan Jogia
Written By: Avan Jogia
Elevation Pictures
Avan Jogia has pretty much made a solid transition from kids actor to character actor, but he shines with his indie neo-noir “Door Mouse.” Part pulpy crime thriller, and part pop punk coming of age picture, Jogia directs what is a down to its roots crime thriller. Fueled by a charismatic performance by Haylew Law, “Door Mouse” is a fun, engaging, and intelligent indie flick filled with style and some bonafide complex heroes and anti-heroes (along with fun appearances by Donal Logue, and Famke Jannsen) that keep us hooked through the very end. 

Fallen Drive
Directed by: Nick Cassidy, David M. Rice
Written By: Nick Cassidy, David M. Rice
studio 92
“Fallen Drive” is easily one of the grim, most anxiety inducing thrillers of the year. It’s one of the best most well put together dramas about old grudges and horrible crimes that remain completely up to interpretation long after the movie has ended. Stars Maryana Dvorska and Phillip Andre Botello really help keep the momentum of “Fallen Drive” as a slow, chaotic car crash that we want to look away from, but we just can’t. We can understand what the motives of their revenge are, but we also can’t help but wonder if they’ll get away with it all. 

Directed by: Katherine Dudas
Written By: Katherine Dudas, Olivia Blue, Madison Lawlor
Showtime Networks
Katherine Dudas’s coming of age drama is a film that should have broken out in to a wider theatrical release. It’s such a mature, touching, and just wonderful character piece that explores the ideas of grief, regret, and a group of people that are dealing with the loss of their best friend. “Juniper” is such a thoughtful and absolutely hypnotizing ensemble piece that Katherine Dudas directs with sheer efficiency, garnering excellent collective performances from her entire cast. In spite of a well worn premise, “Juniper” ends up feeling surprisingly fresh and new. I’m not typically a fan of these kinds of films, but Dudas wins me over.

Moon Garden
Directed by: Ryan Stevens Harris
Written By: Ryan Stevens Harris
Oscilloscope Laboratories
No other fantasy film gripped me this year more than “Moon Garden.” Ryan Stevens Harris’s fantasy horror film is a beautiful, sad, and heartbreaking movie about the perils of parenting and the wounds that children can acquire from the adults in their lives. “Moon Garden” is such an imaginative look in to the human soul exploring a small girl’s desperate journey to get back home after an accident puts her in to a coma. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, “Moon Garden” will leave you weeping and appreciating your children a lot more. 

Star Wars Kid: Rise of the Digital Shadows
Directed by: Mathieu Fournier
Written By: Mathieu Fournier, Jonathan Trudel
Urbania, National Film Board of Canada
Once upon a time there was a high school student named Ghyslain Raza who recorded himself using a steel rod as a lightsaber for a camera test. That footage became one of the most iconic and earliest memes of the internet age. It also destroyed his life. While millions around the world laughed at his misfortune, Raza dealt with bullying, ostracizing, unwanted attention, an emotionally taxing lawsuit and ultimately had to rebuild his life. “Star Wars Kid” is a wonderful exploration of the early years of the digital age and the chaos that can come with exploitation.

Be Sure to Look Back at Our A+ Indies for 2023!