Essential Independents has been an enormously enjoyable program to curate.

It’s given me the opportunity to utterly immerse myself in the current movements and great traditions of American independent cinema. I’ve been able to revisit some of my personal favourites but on a deeper level really look at the way American independent cinema has so many interconnecting influences and inspirations - it’s quite fascinating.

Each film holds hands with the next and so there’s a real sense of cohesion and balance throughout. From the feature films that run the gamut of romantic dramas to big-screen blue-sky Westerns, to documentaries of the highest cinematic order, to extraordinary hybrid experiments, to rarely seen first films from ground-breaking filmmakers, together they represent a tactile and fascinating journey through this vibrant creative world.

What’s so exciting to watch is the sense of energy, urgency and honesty - even in the older films right back to Cassavetes’ Shadows…there’s no holding back and there’s no compromise. There’s a real feeling of discovery and you can almost sense yourself next to the filmmaker on set yelling “Action!”

My hope is that the Essential Independents program is just as personal and enjoyable for you to traverse and discover as it has been for me to program.