Independent films were once rare, obscure gems reserved for select theaters in big cities — but, alas, it's 2013 and times have changed! Ahead of this Saturday's Film Independent Spirit Awards, which begins at 10:00 p.m. EST on the IFC channel, catch up on the best feature, best director, and best screenplay nominees on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.
Digital high-definition copies of these artist-driven films can be rented (iTunes users have 30 days and Amazon rentals range from 24 to 72 hours) or bought, and viewed on a computer, tablet, or (if you're really dedicated) smartphone. Take a look at these independent titles that will tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh out loud, and provoke your thoughts, and then tell us your predictions for this year's Spirit Awards.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild — This fantastical bayou tale of a six-year-old girl with a wild imagination will move you. Available on Amazon ($4 to rent, $13 to buy).
- Moonrise Kingdom — The summer of 1965 changed the lives of two outcast twelve-year-olds who, off the coast of New England, run away into the wilderness. Available on iTunes ($5 to rent, $20 to buy) and Amazon ($1 to rent, $15 to buy).
Watch more indie films, including a movie from the directors of Little Miss Sunshine and a story starring one very handsome Gael Garcia Bernal.
- Bernie — Assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black) befriends a wealthy widow named Marjorie Nugent, and continues to manage her affairs until the small town of Carthage, TX discovers that Marjorie has been dead for some time. Available on iTunes ($5 to rent, $20 to buy) and Amazon ($4 to rent, $13 to buy).
- Keep the Lights On — Set in 1998 New York City, the film documents the relationship between two men, Erik and Paul, who meet and fall in love, battling friendship, addiction, dependence, and personal boundaries along the way. Available on iTunes ($5 to rent, $20 to buy) and Amazon ($4 to rent, $15 to buy).
- The Loneliest Planet — A couple engaged to be married sets out on a backpacking trip into the Georgia Caucasus. After one crucial moment, the lovers become estranged from each other and their relationship begins to unravel. Available on iTunes ($5 to rent, $20 to buy).
- Ruby Sparks — From the directors of Little Miss Sunshine comes a story about a struggling writer who creates a fictional character named Ruby, and is completely taken aback when his once imagined leading lady comes to life. Available on Amazon ($4 to rent, $13 to buy).
- Seven Psychopaths — In this film starring Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken, a gangster seeks revenge after his prized Shih Tzu is kidnapped. Available on iTunes ($5 to rent, $18 to buy) and Amazon ($4 to rent, $13 to buy).