This has been a great year for Independent Filmmakers, who battled budgets, the Pandemic, locations, the Pandemic, availability of actors---and the Pandemic. In spite of it all, quality comes through and here are the Eight Best Independent Films of 2021 I have reviewed. 

Number One—The Night Of the Kings (R)---Opening early in 2021, this film tells the story of a prisoner in an Abidjan prison, who must tell stories to keep his life. Similar to “Scheherazade.” Builds to quite a climax. 

Number Two---The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater (PG 13) ---This film belongs to Lorissa Julianus, who keeps the ball rolling throughout with action, snappy dialogue and  hope for a sequel. Black leather is given new meaning. 

Number Three---In The Crosswind (no rating)---A story of life in a Russian prison camp during winter. Unusual photography gives the audience a chance to live this drama. 

Number Four---Queen Marie (PG 13) ---A true story based on the life of Queen Marie of Romania, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, and Marie’s work after WWI. Good music score and settings. 

Number Five--- The Alpinist (PG 13) ---Documentary on the life of Marc-Andre Leclerc, who would mountain climb without equipment.   Photography is exquisite and audience holds their breath throughout. 

Number Six---Storm Lake (no rating but could be PG) ---Documentary about saving a small-town newspaper in Storm Lake, Iowa. Camera follows reporters, editor, and newspaper dog, who get news from citizens of the town as they go their work. Newspapers are important means of communication. 

Number Seven---The Hidden Life Of trees (no rating but could be G) ---Beautifully done documentary based on a book researching how trees grow, communicate with each other, heal themselves and reproduce. You will not look at your own back yard the same again. 

Number Eight---Joy Womack: White Swan (PG 13) ---Documentary on the life of Joy Womack, who was the first American to attend, and graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet School and receive a contract to dance on a Russian stage. “Swan Lake” is done eloquently here, and the audience sees the bruises dancers suffer as they practice for perfection and those precise moments on a stage.