2015_postersLooking at this list of posters, I’m pretty happy with how diverse they are. There are a lot of techniques at play, whether it’s illustration, photoshop montages or slick photography, but more importantly, great ideas behind each piece, taking to account the need for easy accessibility and working around that idea to to meld art and message. These posters, which mostly come from indie films, prove that the medium can be artful yet concise without discounting the intelligence of its intended audience. As we enter 2016, its easy to see that the traditional movie poster is far from dead. Here are my favorite official film posters from 2015 (in no particular order).

lost_river_posterLost River / Jay Shaw: Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut isn’t for everyone, but its an admirable first attempt that manages to be one of the year’s more original films. As a uniquely modern American fairy tale, Shaw’s poster takes the film’s dreamlike tone and translates it into what feels like a disorienting journey into the abyss of the unknown.

baskin_posterBaskin / Ghoulish Gary Pullin: I got to check out Can Evrenol’s Baskin at AFI this year, and it’s a really cool, moody descent into psychological hell. This poster, from Ghoulish Gary Pullin, strips the film down to its most iconic elements, utilizing a deft control of atmosphere and mystery to show how true, limitless horror comes from the mind.

the-tribe-posterThe Tribe / The Boland Design Company: Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s film is as ambitious and ballsy as it gets. By telling his story completely with untranslated sign language, he’s dissected the very vocabulary of film, showing how emotion and human expression are understandable without words. This poster is a haunting representation of his brutal story, evoking mystery and the film’s singular narrative technique in a simple, yet eloquent image.

XX_posterXX / artist unknown: This first poster comes from a film yet to be released, but boy does it get the job done right. An anthology film created by four female directors, it’s looking to be the fresh perspective needed in the genre, and without giving anything away, this poster is striking and gets that idea across in the best way. We’ve seen tons of skull imagery before, but not like this one, hot pink and in the form of a kiss, which is the perfect evocation of how this film won’t discount femininity or bite.

the_boy_sam_wolfe_connellyThe Boy / Sam Wolfe Connelly: Craig McNeill’s The Boy is unsettling to the core. As a serial killer origin story, it goes to some pretty dark places but still remains to be painfully subdued despite its shocking amount of psychological violence. Connelly’s poster gets that, shrouding the titular character in shadows and surrounding him in fire to mirror his mindset, while also visually calling out to one of the film’s most memorable scenes.

The_Lobster_postersThe Lobster / artist unknown: Even if I have’t seen this film yet, the poster is strong on its own, a depiction of the eternal struggle to end loneliness and find the affection that most of us seek. It’s smart simplicity with huge thematic implications and the best use of negative space I’ve seen all year. It’s in that empty space, that we see the most important parts of the poster, both conceptually and aesthetically.

RiverofGrass_ZacharyBaldusRiver of Grass / Zachary Baldus: After a successful campaign, Kelly Reichardt’s debut film has been restored and will see the light of day through theaters and festivals next year. I can’t comment much on the film as I haven’t seen it, but Zachary Baldus’ poster is beautiful nevertheless. The faint, subdued colors and brush strokes, the simple imagery and detail within the characters just stop you in your tracks. Despite not being a photograph, it’s candidly captured two people that you instantly want to know more about.

crimson_peak_posterCrimson Peak / Concept Arts: One of the few major studio posters on this list, I loved this one the first time I saw it. It’s simple and stark, but striking and electric. The colors just pop off of the background and that ghastly image of Mia Wasikowska instantly takes hold. It’s a nice counterpart to del Toro’s gothic romance, not merely providing a visual imitation, but a companion to the film’s lavish aesthetic and tone.

PrintFaults / Enrique Corominas: Faults is another one of those immensely taut films, one that takes place almost exclusively in a single setting to offer its characters and viewers no escape. Through it all, you’re trying to figure out the two characters at its center, as the power between them shifts and your allegiance to one or the other gets infinitely hard to pin down. Corominas does a good job of showing the power play at hand, even going as far as giving the composition an imperfect framing, which, like the film really messes with our need for visual resolution and control.

FELT_posterFelt / artist unknown: This one really speaks on its own. We all get it, it’s smart and instantly calls out the film’s exploration of rape culture and sexual perception in a way that’s shocking, but still weirdly subdued rather than crass.

Cop_Car_posterCop Car / artist unknown: Jon Watts’ film couldn’t have a better poster with this one. Minimal and sparse, it’s a smart way to hint at the film’s coming of age story, balancing danger and excitement with how the film’s juvenile characters thematically have the road torn out from underneath them.

end_of_the_tour_posterThe End of the Tour / P+A: This one’s again, simple, but effective. It’s a nice play on the recorded conversation from which the film came from, illustrating how the words and ideas that we leave behind are the closest we’ll ever get to knowing one another, or in this case, David Foster Wallace.

sicario_posterSicario / LA: What I like about this poster, is it proves that there’s an aesthetically pleasing way to do floating heads and photoshop collage. The composition is well done, there’s a balance to it and every single element fits into place and makes sense both visually and aesthetically. Nothing very deep in terms of concept, but a classic technique done right.

hunger_games_mockingjay_part_twoThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 / LA: Posters like this are another reason to miss the Hunger Games franchise. I really loved that the posters felt like legit wartime propaganda, sporting slick photography and incendiary emotion to get us amped for Katniss’ journey year after year. This final poster is no exception, with a beheaded President Snow that offers a fierce and cathartic image, even if the film was lacking a bit of fire.

knight-of-cups_midnight-marauderKnight of Cups / Midnight Marauder: As we await the release of Terrence Malick’s latest, artist Midnight Marauder’s given us something stunning to look at. The tarot-esque imagery and converging symbols hint at Malick’s trademark exploration of fate and destiny in the best way, elegantly stacked and centered to pull our eye up and down the composition. I love that this is the image preceding the star-studded film, adding a bit of gravitas to what’s sure to be a film of emotional epic proportions.