U.S. indies have always had a strong presence at the Munich Film Festival, and while this year is no different, the selections paint such a bleak picture of the U.S. that the fest has termed the showcase “American Apocalypse.”Munich fest topper Diana Iljine says poverty and migration characterize many of this year’s films in both hard-hitting dramas and comedies. “The new heroes are people like the girl from the movie ‘Beast of the Southern Wild,’ a remarkable debut film. These characters endure under challenging economic adversity and do not lose their courage.” Benh Zeitlin’s film, which won the Grand Jury prize in Sundance and the Camera d’Or in Cannes, follows a 6-year-old girl fighting for survival in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. America’s racial divide is touched upon in Poull Brien’s “Charles Bradley: Soul of America” and Keith Miller’s “Welcome to Pine Hill.” Brien’s doc charts the late-in-life rise of 62-year-old soul singer Charles Bradley while “Pine Hill” follows a reformed drug dealer on a journey of self-discovery. Other U.S. screeners include Tim Sutton’s “Pavilion,” about a teen who winds up at the end of the world when he moves to the suburbs of Phoenix, and Mark Johnson’s “Without,” about a young woman who takes a job as a caretaker on a remote island.
• Revamped fest boosts indies