Indy Film Fest: The Hoosier Lens in focus 

Reviews of Indiana-related movies at Indy Film Fest

click to enlarge 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green
  • 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green

Every year, the Indy Film Fest gives audiences a taste of local flavor along with slices of cinema from around the globe.

The Hoosier Lens category features narrative and documentary films with strong production ties to Indiana. In order to be eligible, a principal actor or filmmaker must have some roots in the state, or a significant amount of their film must have been shot here.

This year's feature-length lineup boasts an eclectic bunch of films — an homage to classic teen slasher flicks, documentary portraits of housing and healthcare crises, a mystery of war, etc.

"Our Hoosier Lens films get stronger and stronger every festival, and this year is no different," says Craig Mince, the executive director of the festival. "With all the talk about tax incentives and films being made in Indiana, we like to hold up these amazing films and say 'How about we check out the work that is already being done here, and let's support it from within.'"

Here are reviews of the features in the category this year:

70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green
★★★★
July 16, 1 p.m.; July 22, 3:45 p.m.

Shot over the course of 20 years, this documentary tells the troubling story of Cabrini Green — a high-rise neighborhood in Chicago that was demolished in an effort to bring the city's residents closer together through the development of mixed-income housing. However, this social experiment did nothing but hurt the members of Cabrini Green. (The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.) Epic yet intimate, this film touches upon timeless, vital issues.

The Toby Theater (July 16); DeBoest Lecture Hall (July 22)

click to enlarge hoosier_lens_-_the_invisible_patients.jpg

The Invisible Patients

★★★★1/2
July 16, 11 a.m.; July 21, 7 p.m.

An achingly intimate portrait of a growing problem, The Invisible Patients makes you a fly on the wall in the lives of people falling through the cracks of the American healthcare system. It follows nurse practitioner Jessica Macleod on monthly visits to the homes of four patients in Evansville. Like a soft light flickering in the darkness, she guides these people through seemingly impossible challenges, from the maddening maze of health insurance to the end-of-life process and all the pain in between. Director Patrick O'Connor explores these issues as gently as Macleod cares for her patients.

The Toby Theater

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Reparation
★★★★
July 18, 9:15 p.m.; July 21, 12:45 p.m.

Indiana farmer Bob Stevens (Marc Menchaca) finds his world falling apart and repressed memories flooding back when an old friend from the Air Force Police rolls into town. The plot thickens when Bob's daughter starts having nightmares that mirror his experiences in the military. A scary, surreal and strikingly original reflection on post-traumatic stress, Reparation is also a superbly acted ensemble drama. Menchaca anchors the film with his poignant performance while Jon Huertas exudes a strong, menacing presence as Bob's long-lost friend. Behind the camera, co-writer/director Kyle Ham maintains an unsettling atmosphere of palpable tension and dread.

The Toby Theater

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Under the Bridge: The Criminalization of Homelessness
★★★★
July 19, 9:15 p.m.; July 23, 5 p.m.

An eye-opening and infuriating exploration of homelessness in Indianapolis — the only city of the 15 largest in America that doesn't spend state or local public funds on homeless shelters and services. Director Don Sawyer focuses on a homeless camp under the Davidson Street railroad bridge and the unfair adversity that the community faces from city developers as well as local government and law enforcement officials. This is a harrowing, heartfelt documentary with a thirst for change coursing through its veins.

The Toby Theater

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All the Wrong Friends
★★★1/2
July 20, 9:15 p.m.; July 22, 5 p.m.

A classic slasher premise: On the way to a music festival, some rambunctious teens stop at a house in the woods, where they are slowly killed one by one. Slick and fast-paced, this film is a fun little homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and Scream. It doesn't come close to the scare factor of those gems, but it's an endearing love letter to the genre.

The Toby Theater

(Editor's Note: This article was graciously boosted on social media by Indy Film Fest. [indyfilmfest.com]. Indy Film Fest had no input on the content in this article or the decision to create it.)

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