The top 10 indies to look out for in 2016

As independent cinema finds its legs more and more among the masses, these days, it's the place to seek solace from the unrelenting output from the likes of Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros.

The top 10 indies to look out for in 2016

Though none of their upcoming films make this list, Netflix deserves a bit of recognition because of the success their category for Indie Films has had. Having it among the Hollywood elite on its listing pages brought smaller films greater clout.

We have some films that take its makers a step up from the boutique, micro-budget feature, as well as a step down into modesty for some Hollywood alumni. Here are the films that take creative risks and aren't too caught up with the finances.

Hail, Caesar!

Barely qualifying as an indie film, I was dying to give it a place. It boasts a huge stock of Hollywood thoroughfare in its all-star cast like George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Scarlet Johansson, and all-star crew like writer-director-editor duo Joel and Ethan Coen and prolific cinematographer, Roger Deakins. However, Working Title – a studio that technically has an indie remit despite being owned by Universal – makes it. Also, it's a film about Hollywood in the Golden Age. A main actor (Clooney) is kidnapped and the film follows the antics that the spin doctor (Josh Brolin) and director (Ralph Fiennes) of trying to get him back and make the film.

American Honey

Shia LeBeouf stars with Brit, Andrea Arnold as director in this flick, which seems like a cross between fellow indies, Little Miss Sunshine and The Bling Ring. A nonchalant teenager (Sasha Lane) joins a magazine sales team and gets caught up in their hedonistic life of lust, crime, and partying as the band traverse the American mid-west. With Shia LeBeouf making waves in the contemporary performance art world and having been away from the big screen since his excellent turn in 2014's Fury, the film is likely to be successful once it's out. A solid release date is unknown but shooting finished months ago so there shouldn't be too long left.

Trespass Against Us

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in Trespass Against Us. Image: IMDb/Trespass Against Us

Two of Ireland's greatest actors take the helm of a tender crime drama. Michael Fassbender stars as Brendan Gleeson's son in a film where a man tries to turn his back against his criminal family. Along with Rory Kinnear, a ferocious male-centric cast with plenty of star power in Fassbender himself is sure to make waves in the British indie circles. Both Fassbender and Gleeson have indie prowess both fresh off successful productions, Macbeth and Calvary, respectively.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

(L-r) Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, and Steve Martin in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Image:

An achingly good duo in director Ang Lee and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy behind Billy Lynn which will see the long-awaited returns of its director after 2013's Life of Pi and of Steve Martin himself. Simon Beaufoy is famous for penning such modern classics Slumdog Millionaire and The Full Monty. The comedy will follow an infantryman's narration of the time leading up to his and his squad's redeployment to Iraq. A sort of Forrest Gump-Saving Private Ryan mix. Its cast isn't known for its acting prowess but Martin, Kristen Stewart and Vin Diesel are certainly strong performers and offer the latter two the chance to showcase their comedy sides in this indie-Hollywood co-production.


Andrew Scott and Rachel Weisz as Anthony Julius and Deborah Lipstadt in Denial. Image:

Even today this adaptation of real life sounds like a ferociously controversial film. Rachel Weisz stars as Deborah Lipstadt who fought, with the help of Andrew Scott's Anthony Julius, a case of libel filed against her by Holocaust denier, David Irving, played by Tom Wilkinson. Massive British talent in the above three as well as Timothy Spall and introducing Richard Attenborough's grandson, Will, in his first feature. A period drama, World War II, the best of homegrown talent – awards galore I'm sure. To avoid spoilers, don't research the case.


Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Denial. Image: IMDb/Denial

Another awards fodder film here with a tale laced with racial themes. Joel Edgerton returns to true drama as Richard Loving who is sentenced to jail, along with his wife, for an inter-racial marriage in 1950s Virginia. His wife, Mildred Loving, is played by Ethiopian, Ruth Negga, whose career has progressed since appearing in a miniscule role in 2013's 12 Years a Slave. Directed by Jeff Daniels who is responsible for 2012's McConaughey-led drama, Mud, he is likely to bring the best of this story to life. An emotional drama which is likely to be one of those which make us think.

Life On The Road

First look at Ricky Gervais as David Brent in Life On The Road. Image: Radio Times

David Brent from the original The Office, is reprised by Ricky Gervais for his feature debut by the BBC, not Film4, interestingly. Gervais writes, directs, and of course, stars in the character's new outing, which sees him turn his back on his beloved Slough as a touring rockstar. Joining him is comedy newbie, Doc Brown. Few details have been released so it's all up in the air as to whether it's yet another Gervais hit brainchild, or signifies him running out of ideas.

A United Kingdom

Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in A United Kingdom. Image: IMDb/A United Kingdom

Following her astonishing turn in Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike is back in a period, barrier-breaking love story. She plays the unlikely lover of the Prince of Botswana in 1940s London. Also making appearances are real life, inter-racial couple, David and Jessica Oyelowo with David playing the Prince, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport straight from Netflix's Daredevil, and believe it or not, Nicholas Lyndhurst. Directed by Amma Asante whose last project was the award-winning Belle, which catapulted Gugu Mbatha-Raw's career forward. The tale could be truly innovative with a Black female director's perspective. The second film about an inter-racial couple in the list, maybe something is being done to bring current racial issues to life.

Loving Vincent

First look poster for Loving Vincent. Image: IMDb/Loving Vincent

A true innovation is the only animation in this list. It's the world's first fully painted animated feature and rightly so. It's about the miserly life and death of Vincent Van Gogh. It's being voiced by a great cast including Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Chris O'Dowd, and Aidan Turner. It's basically impossible to see whether the painted approach will be pretty or not but its visual team includes famed animation cinematographer, Tristan Oliver, who shot Chicken Run and Fantastic Mr. Fox among many Aardman animations. It's directed and written by Oscar-winning animation director, Hugh Welchmann, so there's relative faith there.

The Limehouse Golem

First promo image for The Limehouse Golem. Image: Handway Films

Here's the game changer. The Limehouse Golem had nothing huge going for it a week or so ago. It finished shooting about a month ago in the North of England and not many people would care despite having Oscar-nominated producers. But now, it's Alan Rickman's last starring role, after dying this week aged 69, based on Peter Ackroyd's best-selling novel. The actor's passing will no doubt send the same supernatural thrill-seekers who flocked to see Harry Potter, to see it. Lucky enough to be alongside him are Douglas Booth and Olivia Cooke. After a spate of local murders, a community suspects a creature, the Golem, to be behind it.

Are there any more you think should be included? Let us know!

Image courtesy of Flickr/Tom Blunt


Bhavesh Jadva

Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team

Former Media Editor on Voice and former Arts Award Editor on AAoV covering film, TV, music and comedy.

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  • Ellen Orange

    On 24 January 2016, 11:45 Ellen Orange Contributor commented:

    The casting for some of these looks amazing! I will definitely be adding them to my 'Must See' list.

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