Independent's Day

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Marina Zenovich

REVIEWED: 03-23-98

I'd been waiting, subconsciously I suppose, for pretty much this exact documentary to appear for quite a while. With the buzz on "independent film" turning from a murmur to a shout to a downright roar over the last few years, it's been a documentarian's dream project, and Zenovich's absorbing documentary manages to bring almost all of indie film world's top voices together in a series of talking-head interviews that are at once revelatory, humorous, and extremely inspirational. Everyone from Kevin Smith to Steven Soderbergh to John Pierson to Dan Mirvish is included in this glimpse of Sundance/Slamdance '96, and pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about the state of indie today is touched upon. But it's not just the "hows" and "whys" -- one more El Mariachi story is enough to drive anyone crazy -- it's also the "whos" and the "what the fucks." Tom DiCillo emerges as a Wildean cynic, Sundance Festival head Robert Redford manages to explain the event succinctly for once, and Austin's Steve Bilich carries his Ruta Wakening around in a Glad Bag. Irreverent, honest, and enlightening in the extreme, Independent's Day is reflexive indie filmmaking at its best.

--Marc Savlov

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