What Do the Ross Bros Mean?

On Friday night, Bill and Turner Ross's brilliant and defiant debut feature 45365 won an Independent Spirit Award. The film has played in every possible festival, winning awards (2009 SXSW Best Doc, for example) and acclaim along the way. So who gives a shit if the film won some low-rent "Indie Oscar?"

I guess I give a shit. Bill and Turner are pals of mine and I can't shake the feeling that my buddies have done something pretty important by dressing up and doing interviews and winning an award that looks like a packaged men's shaver. (For the record, Jessica Oreck's masterpiece BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO, shot by my friend/collaborator Sean Price Williams, would have been an equally noteworthy winner.)

Let's get something straight, this win doesn't mean anything, really, except they get some money that they can put toward their new film. That's good enough for me. But in going back over the Ross Boys' improbable journey from obscurity, I can't shake the sense that their arrival and recognition is a sign that a truly independent American Cinema can exist and can find an audience, however small, to roll around in the dirt with.

45365 is grubby movie with rough sound, warts and hiccups, full of tiny bursts of absolute beauty and truth. There is no search for meaning in the images, there are no metaphors or road signs driving you to some predetermined destination. This is a radically present movie, one that brings you somewhere and doesn't hold your hand while you're there. It's funny and alive.

By making their way to the stage on Friday, maybe Turner and Bill forged a path. If you've ever been drinking with the Ross Bros, you know what kind of guys they are: they make the room smaller, they make you feel part of the family. Are these guys the heart and soul of a new movement?

45365 (Bill and Turner Ross) Opens in L.A. March 19, 2010 Click here for details.