Twelve years into its existence, New York City's annual Tribeca Film Festival has truly come into its own.

For evidence, look no further than the stark contrast between this year's opening and closing films as compared to last year's book-ends. This Wednesday night marks the premiere of the documentary Mistaken for Strangers, an intimate look at the Brooklyn indie rock band The National that's considerably smaller in scope than the fest's 2012 opener, The Five Year Engagement, a Judd Apatow-produced studio comedy. And on Saturday, April 27, Tribeca will close the year out with a special restoration screening of co-founder Robert De Niro's beloved 1983 dark comedy The King of Comedy, directed by Martin Scorsese—a significant programming departure from last year's closing-night spectacle, Marvel's The Avengers.

Festivals like Tribeca don't need glitzy productions like The Avengers to prove their worth—at their core, film festivals are meant to showcase rising indie talents and their self-made, passionately pushed movies that won't otherwise receive such prominent stages.

Scanning through Tribeca's 2013 lineup, several of the most eye-grabbing selections are devoid of notable stars or award-winning directors. Complex's Pop Culture channel will be all over the festival, catching as many films as humanly possible and reviewing them in order to keep our dedicated readers abreast of what's hot, who's next, and where we're headed in the realm of independent cinema. And, truth be told, it feels good to know that overblown CGI productions and major studio tentpoles will be non-existent.

Start getting excited about the future of DIY moviemaking with our 15 most anticipated movies at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

To purchase tickets for all Tribeca Film Festival selections, visit the official film guide.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)