Richard Gere in Oren Moverman's Time Out Of Mind.

Fourteen films will have their Australian premiere as part of the brand new Essential Independents: American Cinema Now festival at Palace Cinemas in May.

The two-week festival will showcase American independent cinema and feature 32 films, including narrative features and documentaries as well as a retrospective of first films from major filmmakers.

They include Kathryn Bigelow, Joel Coen, Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch and Richard Linklater.

The program is curated by artistic director Richard Sowada, the festival director at Perth's Revelation International Film Festival.

"Each film holds hands with the next and so there’s a real sense of cohesiveness and a feeling of discovery", Sowada said.

"What’s so exciting to watch is the sense of energy, urgency and honesty – even in the older films right back to Shadows from John Cassavetes – there’s no holding back and there’s no compromise,” he said.

“From the feature films that run the gamut of romantic dramas to big-screen blue-sky westerns, and documentaries of the highest cinematic order, to extraordinary hybrid experiments, to rarely seen first films from ground-breaking filmmakers, together they represent a tactile and fascinating journey through this vibrant creative world.”

Oren Moverman’s Time Out Of Mind, starring Richard Gere, will open the festival.

“American independent cinema has constantly responded to changing moods, politics and technology and continues to create some of the most vital, vibrant and influential cinema today”, Sowada said.

“It’s been an enormously enjoyable, and challenging, program to curate. It’s given me the opportunity to utterly immerse myself in the current movements and great traditions of American independent cinema and my hope is that the Essential Independents program is just as personal to audiences around the country.”

Tuesday 17 May to Wednesday 1 June – Sydney

Wednesday 18 May to Wednesday 1 June – Melbourne

Thursday 19 May to Wednesday 1 June – Brisbane and Canberra

Thursday 26 May to Wednesday 8 June – Adelaide 

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