It is one of the surprises at the start of this new year: an independent feature film shot far from Hollywood by a first-time female director Courtney Hunt. It is the story of a mother, played by Melissa Leo, whose destiny will take a dramatic turn the day she meets a young native American woman. Leo’s performance has already won her several prizes, notably in Marrakesh and San Sebastien, and “Frozen River” won top prize at last year’s Sundance festival along with a handful of others. It’s just reward for a remarkable debut film, and a remarkable portrayal of a woman on the edge, and with 10 movies in the pipeline we are about to see a lot more of Leo. Hunt’s story is no less remarkable, as she is no film school graduate and has no arts background. Her lawyer husband raised all the finance for this movie. After “Frozen River” was praised to the skies by, among others, Quentin Tarantino, she is unlikely to need his services again. “Frozen River” is out now. Don’t miss it.