By Sahil Patel
It’s not just Netflix, Amazon, and Vimeo; SnagFilms also has feature-length films to offer on an exclusive basis.
The free, ad-supported movie streaming site plans to premiere 40 independent films, covering a variety of genres, throughout 2014. Beginning with “Kinyarwanda,” which won the Sundance Audience Award a few years ago, and the counter-culture documentary “Let Fury Have the Hour,” SnagFilms will release a new feature every week.
In some cases, the releases will be tied to holidays and current and special events. For instance, “Let Fury Have the Hour,” which focuses on the counter-culture of 2012, was released last week to complement the Coachella Valley Music Festival.
Upcoming independent movies include “Rabbit Fever,” “Remember Where You Are,” “Magic Camp,” “Rasta: A Soul’s Journey,” “The Carrier,” “Until They Are Home,” “Return from Tarawa,” and “Spilt Milk.” Descriptions of these films, which will roll out through April and May, are below.
“Rabbit Fever” (4/21) — You’ve heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows? Rabbit Fever, director Amy Do’s hare-raising documentary, is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention — an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for “Best in Show” the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community — Rabbit King and Queen!
“Remember Where You Are” (4/28) — Echoing the passion of Once, Remember Where You Are is a documentary of music, determination and human connection. After achieving what many aspiring musicians dream of and signing to a major record label, Catherine Feeny and Sebastian Rogers discovered the harsh realities that come with success and stardom. After they’re abruptly dropped from their labels and their dreams shattered, these two singer-songwriters redefine themselves and their art by taking off on a two-month long, 15,000 mile journey across the United States playing their music in the living rooms of fans, friends and strangers they met along the way.
“Magic Camp” (5/5) — Welcome to the real Hogwarts: to escape the pressures of growing up, magic-obsessed kids congregate at the one place they can be themselves; Tannen’s Magic Camp, the oldest and most prestigious training ground for young magicians. They want to prove their worth on the same stage where superstars like Blaine + Copperfield once performed. But to get there, they need to learn more than sleight of hand and tricks of the trade. They have to find the magic inside in this award-winning documentary from two-time Emmy-nominated director Judd Ehrlich (Run for Your Life, Mayor of the West Side).
“RasTa: A Soul’s Journey” (5/12) — Commemorate the May 11 death-iversary of reggae legend Bob Marley with this enlightening doc which follows one of his granddaughters, Donisha Prendergast, to eight countries — the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Israel, Canada and Jamaica — to explore the roots, evolution and impact of Rastafari. Acting as an irrepressible and charming guide, she educates viewers about a way of life that many know little about beyond the dreadlocks, ganja, and the red, gold, and green. And, along the way she encounters Rastafarian elders, musicians, poets, professors and individuals who share personal stories of the influence of Donisha’s iconic grandfather, Bob Marley.
“The Carrier,” “Until They Are Home,” and “Return from Tarawa” (5/19) — Three films tied to Memorial Day make their free VOD debuts leading up to the national day of remembrance. The Carrier is Steven C. Barber’s behind-the-scenes documentary following the machinations in setting up the first college basketball game abroad the USS Carl Vinson in honor of the military’s dedication.; Until They Are Home, narrated by Kelsey Grammer, which chronicles the efforts of JPAC in searching for the remains of missing marines killed in The Battle of Tarawa in 1943; and, Return to Tarawa, narrated by Ed Harris, follows Tarawa battle vet Leon Cooper back to “Red Beach”in a powerful story of redemption and passion.
“Spilt Milk” (5/27) — In Blake Calhoun’s blackly funny film, Todd Wells (Jake Johnson, “New Girl”) is the disenchanted, disgruntled and disheveled assistant manager at the local grocery store. Once a popular high school standout, an accident changed his life and he now finds himself awkwardly stuck in a dead-end routine, unable to move forward. However, his future is about to change: after arriving late to his night-shift, Todd encounters a robber who takes him and everyone in the store hostage, forcing the motley group to wait-out the timelock on the manager’s safe. And, as personalities are revealed and the past explored, there’s a chuckle at every twist in this accidental comedy.