Brea Grant's Favorite Indie Genre Films from Festivals

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I love what’s happening in indie genre filmmaking. I love the creativity, the genre-cross-breeding and the attempts to try something new in a world where we’ve seen it all. My favorite types of movies take ideas we already know and turn them upside-down. No one is going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to filmmaking so I love when filmmakers come in with an awareness of their audience and build from there. This is what I thought about a lot when writing LUCKY. Most people have an awareness of slashers and I knew our core audience would probably have more than just a cursory knowledge. I built on that and tried to surprise people with a new take. 

Check out Brea Grant's Favorite Indie Genre Films from Festivals list here

These are just a few movies that really surprised me in the last years. Some because of their emotional resonance (as in the case of Blue My Mind, Swallow or Sweetheart). Some because I had never seen anything like them before (like Raw or Starfish). And some because I felt like they were doing something entirely new with a genre I knew all too well (Anna and the Apocalypse or my buddies who made The Battery). 

Making this list brought up a lot for me about the last year. I didn’t get to go to the festivals I enjoy attending where I get to see films like this. I probably wouldn’t have seen many of these at all if not for the world of film festivals. I remember watching Victoria before noon at Fantastic Fest a few years ago. I questioned if I wanted to get up, fight my hangover, and all for a movie that sounded like a gimmick when pitched to me. All in one night in one shot? But I was so happy I did because it’s a movie I think about all the time. 

I missed that experience last year. Not just for myself and the films that I wrote that weren’t able to premiere at SXSW and Tribeca, but I missed it for my education on filmmaking in watching what was being done within the genre I love. Genre filmmaking gives us so much to play in and we have been blessed with so many festival programmers who take chances on those films that might never make it to a broader set of eyes. I didn’t go to film school. Festivals have been the place where I educated myself on filmmaking. 

So while this is my love letter to these films, it’s also my love letter to festivals that showed me these films, took chances on weirdness/horror/science fiction, and gave me a reason to get up in the morning. And here’s hoping they get to come back. 

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Filmmaker and actress Brea Grant is best known for her roles in the hit series Friday Night Lights, Heroes, and Dexter, while also writing and starring in the critically acclaimed feminist thriller LUCKY (originally in selection at SXSW 2020 and now out on Shudder) and in the same year directing and writing the darkly humorous caper 12 HOUR SHIFT, starring Angela Bettis and David Arquette, which premiered at Tribeca and was released by Magnet in October 2020. 12 HOUR SHIFT went on to win Best Screenplay at Fantasia and garnered a Critics Choice Super Award nomination for Bettis, while Grant has seen herself nominated for a Chainsaw Award for her co-starring role in the indie darling, AFTER MIDNIGHT, now out on Shudder. 

Grant co-hosts the popular literary podcast Reading Glasses and has written and directed for the Emmy-nominated show EastSiders and most recently the CW's Pandora. She has also written a number of graphic novels including her most recent, MARY.

Follow Brea Grant on Instagram or visit her website at BreaGrant.com.