It's an interesting summer for science-fiction, and we're going to see a lot of younger filmmakers wearing their inspirations on their sleeves this year, even as we see guys who are jumping to the next level, taking on massive scale projects for the first time. One of the guys who is working somewhere between the two extremes is Will Eubank, director of "The Signal."
Eubank's previous film was "LOVE," a hand-made science-fiction that he shot on his own property. It's a beautiful, odd, unique movie that would never have happened at a studio. Likewise, "The Signal" is a film that unfolds in its own particular way. It's not like any other science-fiction movie you're going to see this year, and that's to its credit.
While science-fiction is normally the domain of the giant budget, especially since "Star Wars" landed on the mainstream in 1977, some of the most provocative and interesting science-fiction films of all time are independent films that had to happen outside the system. We picked ten that we particularly admire because of the way they work first as great stories, but also because of what they say about using the genre the right way.
Science fiction can tackle any idea, any concern, any type of character study. It is an incredibly rich genre, but it's often used to just tell simple good-bad power fantasies. We wanted to spotlight some films that have dared to do something truly different and that made permanent impact on the genre.
The thing is, we started with a list of at least 40 titles that could have easily been part of this list. It's actually pretty encouraging to look at that many films that have dared to redefine what science-fiction is. I believe we will always have people who dare to dream big on a very small budget, and that we are better for it.
Check out 14 must-see independent Sci-Fi films in the embedded gallery below. Did we miss a favorite? Let us know in the comments section.
2014 | Documentary | NRSummary: Over seven decades, actor and activist George Takei journeyed from a World War II internment camp to the helm of the Starship Enterprise, and then to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Join George and his husband, Brad, on a wacky and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.Director: Jennifer M. Kroot
Cast: George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols
1975 | Comedy | TV-14Summary: Since 1975 the NBC variety show has highlighted the best new comic talent in the US, along with every variety of musical performance and consistently hilarious characters and sketch comedy concepts.Director: Lorne Michaels (creator)
Cast: Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Hader, Phil Hartman, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig
2014 | Comedy | RSummary: Anna Kendrick is a woman whose relationship ends just before the holidays, but her attempt to get her life back on track is derailed by her own self-destructive tendencies.Director: Joe Swanberg
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber
1998 | Animation | GSummary: A tomboyish girl disguises herself as a young man so she can fight with the Imperial Chinese Army against the invading Huns. With help from wise-cracking dragon Mushu, Mulan just might save her country -- and win the heart of handsome Captain Li Shang.Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
Cast: Ming-Na Wen, Lea Salonga, June Foray, Soon-Tek Oh
2010 | Drama | NRSummary: The Fat Boy Chronicles is a motion picture about Jimmy Winterpock, an obese high-school student who deals with bullying and trying to lose weight. The film is inspired by a true story and was released in 2010 as a major motion picture.Director: Jason Winn
Cast: Christopher Rivera, Kelly Washington, Chris Bert, Cole Carson
2012 | Animation | GSummary: Trained in the skills of sea power, Pi the fish can fight a shark, sink a squid or batter any random predator that ever threatens his friends and neighbors on the reef. Unfortunately, being the only hero in town can take its toll, especially when a group of sharks declares that the end of the ree...Director: Mark A.Z. Dippé, Taedong Park
Cast: Drake Bell, Andy Dick, Busy Philipps, Jamie Kennedy
1994 | Drama | PGSummary: With their father away as a chaplain in the Civil War, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy grow up with their mother in somewhat reduced circumstances. They are a close family who inevitably have their squabbles and tragedies. But the bond holds even when, later, male friends start to become a part of the hous...Director: Gillian Armstrong
Cast: Winona Ryder, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis
2007 | Comedy | NRSummary: Wacky animated kids’ show about a "catbearrabbit" named Chowder (don’t think too hard about that one), a would-be chef with a big problem: he can’t resist food.Director: C.H. Greenblatt (creator)
Cast: Nicky Jones, Dwight Schultz, John DiMaggio
2001 | Drama | NRSummary: Grieving after the death of her young son Joseph, novelist Betty Fisher enters a dark depression. Hoping to bring her out of it, her mother Margot arranges to kidnap another child, Jose, to replace the son Betty lost. Although she knows it's wrong, Betty accepts Jose as her new son. Meanwhile, Jo...Director: Claude Miller
Cast: Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner, Luck Mervil
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