Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Discovering new perspectives – “American Independents” at the 17th Mastercard OFF CAMERA

The section is a review of independent content and production, uncompromising and fascinating productions from overseas. “American Independents” and the creators of the films shown here – promote diversity, creativity and inspire the exploration of new perspectives.


A sudden wave of personal misfortunes hits Peter, who lives in New York. After more than three decades of marriage, his wife leaves him and his parents, who have been together for almost twice as long, are also separating. Peter’s adult sons, Nick and Mickey, provide support and comfort. While preparations are underway for one of them’s bachelor party, they end up in a Mexican resort in Tulum, where the entire party is to take place. However, when more and more things seem to go wrong, it becomes increasingly clear that the main character is not the only man going through an existential crisis. Written for three voices, Noah Pritzker’s film captivates with its unpretentiousness and is an interesting voice in the discussion about male weaknesses, shedding new light on the world of divorce, elopement and complicated relationships.

“Mother, Couch!”

Almost everything in Niclas Larsson’s production revolves around the titular characters – the mother and the couch. During a family visit to a furniture store, the heroine sits on a sofa for sale, declaring that she has no intention of getting up from it again. The director confuses the viewer in such a way that they feel almost as surprised as the woman’s adult children, among whom there is a discussion on how to deal with the embarrassing situation. One of the sons, David, especially tries to control it. The negotiations he conducts with the woman become an impulse to trace the complicated, full of mutual grudges relations between mother and son. Larsson’s debut boasts a star cast that is unique for a first feature-length film. The main roles are played by Ewan McGregor, Ellen Burstyn and Rhys Ifans.

“Year of the Fox”

Ivy (a compelling role by Sarah Jeffrey) lives in the idyllic Aspen party reality, full of luxury, glitter and money. One day, however, a serious scratch appears on the pristine picture. The painful divorce of the girl’s adoptive parents causes her to lose ground. The heroine, who feels rejected, is not helped by the patriarchal environment in which money, power and the privileges associated with them become the highest value. Experienced American director Megan Griffiths and screenwriter Eliza Flug talk about the dangerous relationship between privilege and the false sense of impunity, as well as how social position is a kind of cover for predatory behavior aimed at weaker individuals. This is an extremely current story that all that glitters is not gold.

“The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed”

Joanna Arnow’s debut, appreciated at festivals (including Cannes), is an original project of the director, who not only acts on both sides of the camera (directing, scripting, editing and playing the main role), but also bases the story on her own life experiences. Ann found herself at a crossroads in her life. She lives in New York, but she is not particularly interested in her everyday job, she is tired of her relationship routine, and she cannot find a common language with her parents, who try to control her life. The path to discovering yourself and taking responsibility for your life will not be easy. Arnow’s film is a brilliant and ironic portrait of a generation of aging and somewhat frustrated millennials. An honest and funny story about finding yourself in the chaos of the surrounding reality.

“Edge of Everything”

After the death of her mother, fifteen-year-old Abby is forced to live with her father and his younger partner. A lost girl, feeling alienated, stands on the edge of the title. He doesn’t feel comfortable in the new space, and the fact that the man has settled down with a new woman does not have a positive impact on the already complicated father-daughter relationship. The teenager, trying to find herself in a new reality and cope with a severe loss, begins to experiment and look for new experiences. She is accompanied by the rebellious Caroline, with whom Abby establishes a bond. The full-length debut of Pablo Feldman and Sophia Sabella is a bittersweet story about the light and shadow of the borderline moment between childhood and adulthood, an attempt to establish intergenerational dialogue and the importance of friendship. It is a story about an extremely intense and emotional time, accompanied by a feeling of excitement as well as uncertainty and fear.


Anna recently lost her closest friend and roommate. The only trace of Izzy is the cat Booger, which becomes for Anna a symbol of her lost companion. However, when the unruly Booger escapes through the window, the girl sinks deeper into loneliness, with her only goal being to find the animal. In the meantime, however, he begins to experience disturbing physical changes, taking on more and more inhuman characteristics. After short, intriguing productions by American director Mary Dauterman, the time has come for her full-length debut. An unusual genre, “Booger” is a fascinating combination of body horror with elements of black comedy. Dauterman, using genre frameworks, deals with the painful topic of mourning in an unconventional way. Through the film, the director talks about the power of female friendship and the shock that accompanies the unexpected breakdown of a bond, affecting both the body and mind.

The seventeenth edition of the International Festival of Independent Cinema Mastercard OFF CAMERA will take place in Krakow from April 26 to May 5.