With the new year in full swing, eager popcorn-munchers are awaiting the surefire blockbusters and big-deal sequels, namely Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Hangover Part III. Year in and year out, Hollywood's major studios push out as many foolproof moneymakers as humanly possible, and every year audiences show up to fill seats.

But those pricey productions don't speak to the cinephiles of the world, the people who constantly refresh their Internet browsers on their favorite cinema websites to read the latest reviews pouring out of Sundance Film Festival. These are the same people—and count Complex Pop Culture among them—who knew all about current Academy Award darling Beasts of the Southern Wild as far back as a year ago.

Let's even the playing field for everyone: If you're interested in staying up on cinema's hottest low-budget, DIY efforts before they're up for Oscars, get familiar with these 25 Independent Movies You Should Be Excited About in 2013.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)