The year-end crush to deliver timely best-of lists as voters across guilds and other blocs scramble to fill out their own ballots means plenty of films will end up left out or even unseen. That’s especially true of independent films and especially true of indies released way earlier in the year. Indies getting plenty of exposure so far this season include Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” the belle of the ball since premiering at Sundance back in January 2023, Cord Jefferson’s TIFF People’s Choice Award winner “American Fiction,” Todd Haynes’ Netflix premiere “May December,” Ira Sachs’ love triangle “Passages,” and Andrew Haigh’s Christmas release “All of Us Strangers.”

As much as IndieWire loves all these films, plenty more deserve your attention and from under the radar — even the film that won the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2023, “A Thousand and One,” up for Film Independent Spirit Awards but curiously missing from a lot of year-end coverage. Any year where indie films find a means to success is a triumph when up against the onslaught of big-budgeted franchises that themselves crib indie talent to build their worlds in the first place. Getting an indie film off the ground is always a challenge, no matter the circumstances or names or dollars behind it, and any indie director who’s dipped their feet into the studio space and gone independent again would tell you the same thing.

Below, we’ve rounded up 25 great overlooked indies from 2023 you shouldn’t sleep on.

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