Welcome to The (Mostly) Indie Film Calendar, a weekly look at what's happening beyond the multiplexes all around North America. If you know of something indie-related happening near you -- a local festival, a series of classic restored films, lectures, workshops, etc. -- send the info to me at Eric.Snider(at)weblogsinc(dot)com and I'll add it to the list. (Please put "Cinematical" somewhere in the subject line so I can easily separate you from the spam.)

There's a bounty of independent films hitting theaters this weekend, some of them in more than just New York and L.A. Let's start there, shall we?
  • Music Within tells the true story of Richard Pimentel, a Portland man who promoted the Americans with Disabilities Act and was instrumental in reforming the country's laws concerning the handicapped. Ron Livingston stars. After having played at several smaller film festivals over the last several months, it opens today in New York, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Boston, and Boise.
  • Rails & Ties, opening today in New York and L.A., is notable for two reasons. One, it continues the trend of movies about the aftermath of tragedies (see also: Things We Lost in the Fire, Reservation Road). Two, it's the directorial debut of Alison Eastwood, daughter of a certain famous Eastwood. The film stars Marcia Gay Harden and Kevin Bacon and has already played at the Telluride, Toronto, and New York Film Festivals. (Cinematical's Kim Voynar gave it a mixed-to-positive review.)
  • Jonathan Demme's documentary Jimmy Carter Man from Plains hits theaters in L.A. and New York after winning awards at the Venice Film Festival and playing at Toronto. Demme's concert films are superb (Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense, Neil Young: Heart of Gold); we'll see how he does following a former president around on a book tour.
  • Bella, an uplifting film about an unexpected pregnancy, took the top prize at the Heartland Film Festival last weekend and opens on about 150 screens nationwide today. It won the audience award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, too, so it must be doing something right.
After the jump, more indie releases hitting theaters today, plus festivals and events happening all over the country ....
categories Features, Cinematical