With a striving independent film industry, practically anyone can get in on the game. It’s easier to make a film today than it was 20 years ago. Getting your hands on high tech digital cameras and equipment is a lot more accessible to the common user than getting your hands on a 35mm film camera. However, not everyone can and will make a successful film. It takes a lot more than financing to create a breath taking film that audiences can appreciate and will remember for a long time. It takes intelligence and a great storyteller.

At the end of each year we can select at least five great films for that year, thanks to Award Season for the reminder. But at the end of the decade, chances are, not all those films will make “The List”, whatever the list may be. Unfortunately, Paranormal Activity wouldn’t make the list except for “Bringing in the Money”. Not because it wasn’t good. It definitely was, however it’s not real filmmaking. My top ten are based on a combination of time period, budget, creativity, originality and most importantly relevancy to real filmmaking.  I asked myself and other knowledgably film lovers “what impact did these films have and how did they change and/or improve storytelling for it’s time period and today?”  With those answers I’ve accumulated The Top 10.

Here are the Top 10 Independent Films of this century in order:

10.  Lost In Translation (2003) Directed by Sofia Coppola

Lost in Translation, a drama, tells the story of  “A movie star with a sense of emptiness, and a neglected newlywed meet up as strangers in Tokyo, Japan and form an unlikely bond.” Starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.


9.   Monsoon Wedding (2001) Directed by Mira Nair

“A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.”  Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey and Shefali Shetty


8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Directed by Michel Gondry

“A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.” Starring Jim Carey and Kate Winslet


7.  Maria Full of Grace (2004), directed by Joshua Marston

“A pregnant Colombian teenager becomes a drug mule to make some desperately needed money for her family.” Starring Catalina Sandino Moreno and Guilied Lopez

Movie Highlight:  Maria’s Bravery throughout the whole film.


6. City of God (2002) Directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund

“Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. “  Starring Alexandre Rodrigues and Matheaus Nachtergaele.


5. Amores Perros (2000) Directed by  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

“A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life’s harsh realities, all in the name of love.”  Starring Emilio Echevarria, Gael Garcia Barnal and Goya Toledo


4.  Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Directed by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan

“A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.”  Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Saurabh Shukla


3. Requiem For a Dream (2000), Directed by Darren Aronofsky

“The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island individuals are shattered when their addictions become stronger.”  Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly

Movie Highlight: Ellen Burstyn


2. Memento (2000) Directed by Christopher Nolan

“A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.”  Starring Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss

Movie Highlight:  Carrie- Anne Moss


1. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) Directed by Alfonso Cuaron

“In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.” Starring Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal and Ana Lopez Mercado

Movie Highlight: The build up to the climax and thy end.