4 Newport Beach Film Festival Hits: I Wish, Servitude, H2indO, Memorial Day

Categories: Film
There's a line from I Wish, Monday night's heartwarming Pacific Rim Spotlight film from Japan that showed at Big Newport, that will resonate with independent filmmakers.

A boy looking at a CD cover of his father's rock band asks his younger brother what "indie" means.

The kid answers, "I think it means you have to work harder."

The hard work paid off for many indie filmmakers whose projects have screened during the 2012 NBFF. But some worthy pictures have been one-and-done, meaning that unlike others that have repeat viewings you can still catch, you'll have to look in the future for the following recommended titles in theaters, on demand or through online services.

Writer-director Hirokazu Koreeda's I Wish is a fascinating look into the lives and minds of Japanese schoolchildren. But what audiences around the world will really relate to are the difficulties families have dealing with divorce and abandonment issues.

Koichi, the older brother, lives with his mother and her parents in Kagoshima. His brother Ryunosuke, or "Ryu," lives with his dad in Fukuoka. Koichi gets it in his head that by making a wish at the moment two bullet trains pass one another, he can cause a volcano to erupt and wipe out Kagoshima, forcing the family to reunify.

Cinematographer Yutaka Yamasaki's camera drinks up the boys and their classmates as they embark on a journey to make their wishes, Koichi's included, come true. As with any road picture--or road trip for that matter--the journey is the payoff, not the destination.

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