Let’s face it: we all love summer blockbusters. These are the big films that we’ve been waiting for all year, thanks to an onslaught of marketing. We’re already over a month into the summer movie season, and we’ve seen the likes of web-slinging, a giant lizard, mutants, a classic Disney villain reimagined, and Tom Cruise’s Groundhog Day. In this endless barrage, smaller films of equal or greater quality, but with far less studio support, tend to get lost in the shuffle. This summer, however, four independent filmmakers are changing things up a bit.

They are fellow Austinites Michael Tully and Kat Candler, as well as Megan Griffiths and Gillian Robespierre. These indie darlings have concocted a fun and unique way to inspire moviegoers to seek out their films this summer, which they’ve dubbed the “Summer Indie Movie Challenge.” It’s inspired by David Lowery’s similar undertaking from last summer. Here’s what happens: if you seek out certain films this summer, you will receive prizes from each film. It sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

What are the rules, you ask? Throughout the summer, you must seek out each of these directors’ films: Griffiths’ heartwarming tale of love and music, Lucky Them; Robespierre’s tale of uncertainty in adulthood, Obvious Child, Tully’s throwback 80’s comedy, Ping Pong Summer; and Candler’s dark coming-of-age tale, Hellion. For each film, you must take a picture of your ticket stub/VOD receipt and post it to Facebook/Twitter with the hashtag #summerindiemoviechallenge. Make sure to take a picture of each post. Once you’ve seen them all, send an e-mail with all of the pictures, as well as your mailing address, to summerindiemoviechallenge@gmail.com. If you do this, you will win a small prize pack consisting of gifts from each film, ranging from signed pages of the script and posters to small props and costumes, and anything in-between.

This is a great way to inspire people to seek out these wonderful films. Having seen three of them myself (and having heard nothing but great things about Obvious Child), I can safely say that they are just as good as, if not better than, the mega-budgted studio fare you would normally seek out instead. So, not only will you be receiving material prizes, but you will also be rewarded with pure cinema that will inspire you to seek out more from these filmmakers, as well as more independent fare in the future. More importantly, they will prove to you that, just because these films don’t have the budgets or star power of the studio blockbusters, they have just as much, if not more, heart and soul poured into them.

So where can you see these films in Austin? Unfortunately, Lucky Them doesn’t seem to be headed for a theatrical release down here. Luckily, it’s already on VOD providers such as Amazon, iTunes, and Time Warner, so you can seek it out one one of those platforms. Obvious Child and Ping Pong Summer are both available on VOD. Obvious Child will also open at the Violet Crown Cinema on June 20. Ping Pong Summer has yet to receive an Austin release date. Finally, Hellion will be on VOD on June 13, and will reach the Violet Crown on June 27.

For more info, visit their website: http://summerindiemoviechallenge.tumblr.com/