Welcome back to Alt Weekly, a column in which we shine a spotlight on the independent films brave enough to open opposite Hollywood's behemoth blockbusters before rolling out in wider release.
Filmmaker Cred: Travis Fine previously directed the 2011 drama "The Space Between."
Star Power: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Frances Fisher.
Festival/Awards Buzz: This gay rights drama premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last April. The majority of reviews since have been positive.
Release Details: Opens in about a dozen markets this Friday.
See This If... You're open to seeing a real-life custody battle treated with sensitive direction and some strong performances.
Filmmaker Cred: This is writer/director David Riker's first film since 1998's "La Ciudad (The City)."
Star Power: Abbie Cornish, Will Patton.
Festival/Awards Buzz: A fellow Tribeca alum, this immigration drama has earned some modest praise for Cornish's headstrong performance.
Release Details: NY and LA for a one-week qualifying run before releasing wider next year.
See This If... You're keen to check out a single-mom drama set on the Tex-Mex border, a la "Frozen River."
Filmmaker Cred: Director Michael Mohan's last feature was 2010's "One Too Many Mornings."
Star Power: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend.
Festival/Awards Buzz: We enjoyed the film at Sundance, albeit with some caveats.
Release Details: Currently available on demand, this opens the 14th in NY/LA.
See This If... You're not yet fed up with the relationship problems of white twentysomethings.
'STAND UP GUYS'
Filmmaker Cred: This marks the latest directorial effort by actor Fisher Stevens.
Star Power: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin.
Festival/Awards Buzz: This dark crime comedy made a quiet debut at the Chicago International Film Festival in October, and, as our review indicates, that may have been for good reason.
Release Details: Strictly NY/LA this week to qualify for 2012 awards, due for a wide release come February 1st.
See This If... You're a die-hard fan of Viagra jokes and nostalgia among crooks.