The annual Slamdance Film Festival is going virtual this year.
The festival is a showcase for features, shorts, and episodic entries created by individuals with disabilities and has been a mainstay for 26 years. The 2021 event will run from February 12th-25th, 2021 and be available online, with tickets free until December 31st, 2020 and $10 afterwards until festival’s end.
There will also be a two-night drive-in event on February 13th and 14th in Joshua Tree, California and a closing night screening at a currently undisclosed LA drive-in on February 25th, 2021. Via press release, the full listing of films is:
NARRATIVE FEATURES AT SLAMDANCE
A Brixton Tale (UK, Ireland) World Premiere
Directors: Darragh Carey & Bertrand Desrochers – Screenwriters: Rupert Baynham, Darragh Carey, Chi Mai – Producers: Rupert Baynham, Dennis Gyamfi, Beau Rambaut
A voyeuristic, wealthy vlogger finds herself drawn to a handsome, shy youth from the infamous Barrier Block housing project. Their relationship with each other, and with the camera, leads them down a dangerous path.
Cast: Ola Orebiyi, Lily Newmark, Craige Middleburg, Jaime Winstone, Barney Harris, Michael Maloney, Rose Kerr, Dexter Padmore.
A Family (Ukraine/Australia) North American Premiere
Director: Jayden Stevens – Screenwriters: Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens – Producers: Olga Mykhalets, Clea Frost, Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens
A man living in solitary seeks emotional refuge in the organising and documenting of family moments using low-grade impersonators. When his fake sister becomes inspired to follow his method, their relationship struggles between the forged and genuine.
Cast: Pavlo Lehenkyi, Liudmyla Zamydra
Dea (Hong Kong, Switzerland, Indonesia, France) World Premiere
Director: Alberto Gerosa – Producers: Alberto Gerosa, Jocelyne Rouch, Andrea Gerosa
Dea leaves rural Indonesia and her singing dreams to migrate to Hong Kong as a foreign domestic worker. The script is the result of a nine-months acting improv laboratory with a group of Indonesian women migrant domestic workers, who have been victims of domestic violence while working in Hong Kong. The protagonist’s story merges their real life experiences into one.
Cast: Dea Panendra, Bruno Zanin, Mas Gentur, Mas Akri, Mega, Mawar, Vincent, Abe and Icy Tsui
Hurrah, we are still alive! – (Poland) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Agnieszka Polska – Producer: Anna Gawlita
An artistic commune of filmmakers awaits the return of the Director, who disappeared without a trace. Despite his absence, the Director seems to control all of the troupe’s actions.
Cast: Piotr Polak, Sonia Roszczuk, Marta Ojrzyńska, Arkadiusz Brykalski, Jacek Beler, Joanna Drozda, Marcin Czarnik, Bartosz Bielenia
Director: Jurgis Matulevičius – Screenwriters: Saulė Bliuvaitė, Jurgis Matulevičius, Nerijus Milerius – Producer: Stasys Baltakis
A Soviet style film noir about the murder of a Jew that changed the world.
Cast: Aleksas Kazanavičius, Dainius Gavenonis, Severija Janušauskaitė, Martynas Nedzinskas
Taipei Suicide Story (Taiwan) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: KEFF – Producer: Amy Ma
A receptionist at a suicide hotel in Taipei forms a fleeting friendship over the course of one night with a guest who can’t decide if she wants to live or die.
Cast: Yuhua Sung (宋芸樺), Tender Huang (黃騰浩）
The Sleeping Negro (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Skinner Myers – Producers: Skinner Myers, Matt Palmieri, John Campbell, Alex McCarthy, Dan Funes
Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.
Cast: Rae Dawn Chong, Tunde Adebimpe, Nican Robinson, David Fumero, Julie McNiven, Skinner Myers
Teenage Emotions (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Frederic Da – Producer: Frederic Da, Roxane Mesquida
What happens within the walls of an American High School?
Cast: Jaya Harper, Jayden Capers, Silas Mitchell, Ava Cooper
Man Under Table (USA)
Director / Screenwriter/ Producer: Noel David Taylor
In an anachronistic dystopian landscape, a beleaguered young man attempts to navigate his way through the indie film scene in LA.
Cast: Noel David Taylor, Ben Babbit, Danny Lane, Katy Fullen, John Edmund Parcher, Robert Manion, Alisa Torres, Frank Hinterberger
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES AT SLAMDANCE
A Tiny Ripple of Hope (USA) World Premiere
Director: Jason Polevoi – Producers: Jason Polevoi, Nick Jenkins
A charismatic activist works to build a better Chicago for the teens in his neglected community even if it comes at the cost of his home, his family, and his safety.
Cast: Jahmal Cole, Dimetriana Chambers, Dominetrius Chambers, Deontae Lewis
Anatomy of Wings (USA)
Directors / Producers: Nikiea Redmond & Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander
Black and white, young and old, a group of women risk their personal identities to build a second family while creating a documentary-film across the inequities of their Baltimore City neighborhoods.
Cast: Brittany Backmon, Teshavionna “Tazz” Mitchell, Sheila Butler, Marquise Weems, Brienna Brown, Danisha Harris, Cami McCrief, Tywana Reid, Quandra Jones, Quanisha Carmichael
Bleeding Audio (USA)
Director: Chelsea Christer – Producers: Erin Persley, Jannette Bivona, Chelsea Christer
From inspiring triumphs to heartbreaking setbacks, Bleeding Audio relives the explosive career of the Matches and what it means to succeed in the digital age of music.
Cast: Shawn Harris, Justin San Souci, Jon Devoto, Matt Whalen, Mark Hoppus, Nick Hexum, Cassadee Pope, Justin Pierre
CODE NAME: Nagasaki (Norway) World Premiere
Director: Fredrik S. Hana – Screenwriters: Fredrik S. Hana, Marius K. Lunde – Producer: Gunhild Oddsen
“CODE NAME: Nagasaki” tells the story of Marius and Fredrik, two young men who forged their friendship through filmmaking and decided to put their skills to a unique challenge: finding Marius’ long lost Japanese mother.
Cast: Marius K. Lunde, Fredrik S. Hana
Everyone wants to be the next Weismann (Spain) North American Premiere
Director: Alberto Triano – Screenwriters: Alberto Triano and David Cantolla – Producer: David Cantolla
In the art world, there are those who take risks and then, there’s Martín Solo.
Holy Frit (United States) World Premiere
Director: Justin Monroe – Producers: Justin Monroe, Chris Saito
Tim, a talented, yet unknown LA artist, bluffs his way into winning the commission to create the world’s largest stained-glass window of its kind, even though he has no idea how to make it…but he stumbles across someone who might, the famous glass maestro, Narcissus Quagliata.
Cast: Tim Carey, Narcissus Quagliata, David Judson, Adam Hamilton
Me To Play (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Jim Bernfield
As their bodies give way to Parkinson’s disease, two New York actors put their hearts into one final Off-Broadway production of Beckett’s “Endgame,” the play that posits, “there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness.
Cast: Dan Moran, John Christopher Jones, Joe Grifasi, Ruth Kreshka, Marybeth Coudal, Carolyn McCormick, Byron Jennings
Workhorse Queen (USA, Australia) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter/ Producer: Angela Washko
After an unlikely casting onto a reality television show, 47-year old suburban telemarketer Ed Popil leaves his job to pursue a full-time entertainment industry career as his drag queen alter ego, 1960’s era housewife Mrs. Kasha Davis.
Cast: Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), Greg Meyer (Darienne Lake), Tom Smalley (Aggy Dune), Christopher Steckel (Ambrosia Salad), Michael Steck (Pandora Boxx), Steven Levins, Roy Haylock (Bianca Del Rio), Joey Santolini (Tatianna)
BREAKOUTS FROM SLAMDANCE
While Slamdance’s main competition remains exclusive to first-time directors, the BREAKOUTS program serves directors beyond their first films who maintain distinct visual styles and a unique cinematic voice.
A Black Rift Begins to Yawn (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Matthew Wade – Producers: Matthew Wade, Sara Lynch
As two former classmates dig into their deceased professor’s set of cassette tapes, which possibly contain recordings of strange signals from beyond the stars, they begin to feel memories, the chronology of time, and their identities slip into obscurity.
Cast: Sara Lynch, Saratops McDonald, Luke Massengill
After America (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Jake Yuzna
In 2019 a group of criminal justice de-escalation workers in Minneapolis embarked on a collaborative film project that used radical theater workshop techniques to explore their real-life struggles to escape the pressures of the American dream. The result, finished days before the murder of George Floyd, captures a city searching for what lies after America.
Cast: Yvonne Freese, Theresa McConnon, Daniel Nies, Ahmed Yusuf, Dan Fox, Eli Anthony, Robert Dante
Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Susan Stern
“Working-class Latino hood, crossed with crazy artist, crossed with left-wing radical,” so the legendary underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez is described in this intimate portrait by his wife, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Susan Stern.
Cast: Spain Rodriguez, R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Ed Piskor, Ishmael Reed, Trina Robbins, Susie Bright
End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock (USA, Finland) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Shannon Kring – Producers: Shannon Kring, Pearl Daniel-Means, Sophia Ehrnrooth
Featuring shocking, never-before-seen law enforcement video surrendered by a disgraced officer, End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock is the incredible story of the indigenous women who establish a peaceful camp in protest of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline construction that desecrated ancient burial and prayer sites and threatens their land, water, and very existence.
Cast: Phyllis Young, Wašté Win Young, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Sky Roosevelt-Morris, Linda Black Elk
Mia Misses Her Revenge (Mia isi rateaza razbunarea) (Romania) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Bogdan Theodor Olteanu – Producers: Anamaria Antoci, Anda Ionescu
After a violent breakup, Mia is struggling to get revenge on her ex. As her plan kicks off, she finds herself surrounded by a group of friends that give female togetherness a new definition.
Cast: Ioana Bugarin, Maria Popistașu, Ana Maria Guran, Carol Ionescu, Adrian Nicolae, Alexandru Ion, Mădălina Stoica, Ștefania Cîrcu
No Trace (Nulle Trace) (Canada) World Premiere – Opening Film
Director / Screenwriter: Simon Lavoie – Producer: Marcel Giroux
In a near future, a callous smuggler hardened by life guides a pious young woman and her child across the border to safety, unaware that their destinies are inescapably linked in this inhospitable land.
Cast: Monique Gosselin, Nathalie Doummar, Martin Desgagnés, Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon
SPOTLIGHT SCREENINGS FROM SLAMDANCE
18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story (USA) World Premiere – Closing Film
Director / Screenwriter: Stephen DeBro – Producers: Stephen DeBro, Robert Benavides, Mayre McAnulty, Tony Peck
A raucous, visceral Los Angeles tale—seen through the story of a 20th Century fight palace and the remarkable woman who ran it-—reveals battles over race, gender and identity that still roil America.
Cast: Roddy Piper, Carlos Palomino, John Doe, Julio César Chávez, James Ellroy, Mamie Van Doren, Gene LeBell, The Destroyer
Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide (USA, Brazil)
Directors / Screenwriters: Malia Scharf, Max Basch – Producers: David Koh, Malia Scharf, Max Basch
Along with friends Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf grew from a graffiti artist into a major force in the 1980s NYC art scene. Obsessed with garbage, cartoons, and plastic, this playful Peter Pan’s roller coaster career flourished despite the decimation of the AIDS crisis and the fickle tastes of the art world and continues to create colorful, complex work that puts him at the forefront of where popular culture meets fine art.
NARRATIVE SHORTS AT SLAMDANCE
Autoscopy (United Kingdom)
Director/ Screenwriter: Claes Nordwall
A displaced ambient musician goes on a disorientating voyage on mushrooms. This takes him deep into the heart of nature and ultimately, deeper into himself.
Cast: Ulrik Munther
Director / Screenwriter: Takeshi Kogahara
An old man spends the remainder of his life on his bed with an occasional visit by a caretaker. One night, he sees snow outside the window which awakens memories from his past.
Cast: Shin Furukawa, Natsuko Fuji
Blue (Turkey) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Ali Şenses
A painter has devoted his life to a search for the inexplicably sublime.
Cast: Hüseyin Canpolat
Comforter (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Cameron Bruce Nelson
A woman gets so stoned she disappears.
Cast: Katya Skakun; Moara Passoni
Delimitation (Czech Republic) North American Premiere
Director: Tereza Vejvodová – Screenwriter: Tereza Vejvodová
A dancer moves through a city, seeking a space in which to exist.
Cast: Markéta Jandová
Each Other (Australia) World Premiere
Director/ Screenwriter: Oskar Weimar
Emerging from a dead tree, a human body seeks to understand itself.
Cast: Jack Riley
Every Day’s Like This (Canada)
Director / Screenwriter: Lev Lewis – Producers: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas
A family tries to schedule the medically assisted death of a loved one.
Cast: Kacey Rohl, Daniel Kash, Francis Melling, Krystina Bojanowski
Exquisite Shorts, Volume 1. (USA) World Premiere
Directors: Ariel Fish, Ben Kutsko, Winnie Cheung, Travis Stevens, Courtney Andujar, Andrew and Elsbeth Mumm, Matt Boman and Tosca Rivola, Hunter Adams, Sarah Lind, Doug Klinger and Machete Bang Bang, Theresa Desautels, Jessica Calleiro, Ben Fee, Emily Andujar and Manuel Taylor-Alcocer, Bossi Dean Baker, June Zandona, Hillary Andujar, Niles Howard and Kayli Stollak, Kevin Kearney, Mary Florence Brown Screenwriter: Ben Fee
Adapted from the surrealist drawing game “exquisite corpse,” this short of shorts created by 19 filmmakers is stitched together in a stream of consciousness with unique words bridging each of the segments, creating an anthology of diverse visual flavors.
Cast: Ben Fee, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Doug Klinger
In France Michelle is a Man’s Name (USA)
Director / Screenwriter: Em Weinstein
Michael, a young trans man, returns home to the rural American West after years of estrangement from his parents. In France Michelle is a Man’s Name explores trans identity, masculinity, and the prices we’re willing to pay for acceptance.
Cast: Ari Damasco, Jerry Carlton, Olga Sanchez, Neil Green
Inside the Storm (Israel) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Daniel Bloom
In the middle of the night, after a tough breakup, Nadav goes to visit an old friend he hasn’t seen for a long time.
Cast: Ben-Oved Berkovich, Harel Glazer
Instructions to Let Go (Mexico)
Director / Screenwriter: Gustavo Gamero
Daphne and Mafer meet at a hotel, they quickly become friends and chemistry begins to emerge between them.
Cast: LD Handal, Mafer Marquez
MADA (Mother) (Jamaica) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Joseph Douglas Elmhirst
In the postcolonial, matriarchal culture of rural Jamaica, a simmering conflict over Luther’s nature surfaces and we are offered insight into two mothers, Faith and Ethel’s conflicting notions about love and protection, meditating on it’s impact on a child who deviates from the norm.
Cast: Asoya Smith, Brenda Farmer, Xavier Alexander-Keating
Night Visions (England) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: William Glass
Two friends drive to a secluded forest and experiment with hypnotism, which triggers vivid dreams and serpentine hallucinations.
Cast: Lily Ashley, Hugo Nicholson, Olivier Huband.
Director / Screenwriter: Grace Rex
Others is a collection of surreal vignettes in which people in everyday moments are tethered by an umbilical cord to otherworldly beings.
Cast: Arthur French, Debargo Sanyal, Ann Carr, Sunita Mani
Post Office (USA) World Premiere
Director: Courtney Loo & David Karp – Screenwriter: Courtney Loo
When a Chinese-American mother and her children come upon a seemingly abandoned little girl, their attempts to help have unforeseen consequences.
Cast: Julie Zhan, Naomi Shih, Ari Shih, Xiaowan Jin
Progressive Touch (Austria, Netherlands) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Michael Portnoy
Can you fuck to an irregular beat? Progressive Touch depicts three futuristic, absurdist love scenes in which the goal is to “improve” sex by complicating its rhythm and choreography.
Cast: Tizo All, Juan Felipe Amaya González, Marc Philipp Gabriel, Deva Schubert
Returning (United Kingdom) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Lucy Bridger
A retired teacher confronts some unexpected emotions as she struggles through the discomfort of a heatwave.
Cast: Niamh Cusack, Simon Shepherd, David Beames
Signs He Made At Home (USA) World Premiere
Directors: Charlie Cole, Machel Ross – Screenwriters: Micheal Norton, Machel Ross, Charlie Cole
An outsider artist spends a lifetime creating a world bigger than himself.
Cast: Ian Elton, Elianny McDonald, Chasten Harmon
There (Taiwan) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Wu Yu Fen
In the absence of his children, Grandpa’s Indonesian caregiver is forced to mourn him.
Cast: Chen Shally, Yu Fan Zu Mei, Tsai Ming Shiou
Director / Screenwriter: Christopher Jason Bell
Dale lives a solitary life in a small town, his only outlet being conversations with the local pharmacist Mohammad.
Cast: Dale Smith, Mohammad Dagman
The Ultimate (By Lou Fescano) (USA)
Director: Daniel Jaffe – Screenwriter: Daniel Jaffe & Michelle Uranowitz
After the death of her childhood friend Lou, filmmaker Nicole Friedman returns home to find he’s left behind a mediocre script that his family wants her to make in his honor.
Cast: Michelle Uranowitz, Clare McNulty, Lisa Haas, Jonathan Marballi
Vision Of Wonder (Undersyn) (Norway) North American Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Aleksander Johan Andreassen
Aleksander Johan Andreassen presents a fictional and subjective portrait of his father who is struggling with a visual deficit.
Cast: Rune Andreassen
Young Forever (United States) World Premiere
Director: Stevie Szerlip – Screenwriters: Stevie Szerlip, Young Lee
A Korean entrepreneur living in Los Angeles is entangled in a pyramid scheme that goes far beyond beauty product endorsement in an elliptical thriller about risk, survival and loss.
Cast: Young Lee, Sorel Carradine, Dana Boulos, Joseph Lopez
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS AT SLAMDANCE
A Family That Steals Dogs (USA)
Director / Screenwriter: John C. Kelley
Strange experiences and realizations lead a grieving artist to reconsider his identity and beliefs in this meditation on loss, family and mental illness.
About A Home (USA) World Premiere
Directors / Screenwriters: Daniel Chein, Elizabeth Lo
Precious Sarria and her family experienced housing insecurity for over two years. After transitioning into housing, they documented their lives to raise awareness for the rising homelessness in regions surrounding Silicon Valley.
Cast: Precious Sarria
Ain’t No Time For Women (Canada) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Sarra El Abed Producer: Isabelle Grignon-Francke
Tunis, November 2019. On the eve of the presidential election, a group of women is gathered at Saïda’s hair salon, which is transformed into a town square, mirroring the internal turmoil of the country. In this female sanctuary, we get an intimate look at the country’s teenage democracy.
Faraway (Canada) US Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Aziz Zoromba
After being estranged from his family for his homosexuality, we observe a young Arab man over four seasons from far away as he navigates his solitude – all the while attempting to reconnect with his mother.
Field Resistance (USA)
Director / Screenwriter: Emily Drummer
Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation, Field Resistance blurs the boundaries between documentary filmmaking and science fiction to investigate overlooked environmental devastation in the state of Iowa.
I think it’s enough, isn’t it? (Israel)
Director / Screenwriter: Emily Shir Segal
Reconstructing one last encounter with Dad.
Ms Curvy (UK)
Director / Producer: Ghada Eldemellawy
A Ugandan mother tries to navigate her past traumas through participating in the country’s first beauty pageant for plus-size women.
Sleeping with the Devil (USA)
Director / Screenwriter: Alisa Yang
Based on a recorded Skype exorcism and found footage, the filmmaker confronts her religious trauma growing up in the Evangelical prophetic and deliverance ministry.
Cast: Alisa Yang, Bob Larson
The Length of Day (USA) World Premiere
Director / Screenwriter: Laura Conway
The Length of Day is a collaged essay film that tells an emotional history of socialism in the United States. Filmmaker Laura Conway enacts a cinematic seance using archival documents to communicate with her departed communist grandparents and ask them questions about the end of capitalism. An account of the dreams, struggles, and losses of revolutionaries in the United States.
Unforgivable (El Salvador)
Director: Marlén Viñayo – Screenwriters: Carlos Martínez, Marlén Viñayo
A ruthless hitman for the18th Street gang serves his sentence in an isolation cell in El Salvador. But in prison, Geovanny is not just guilty of his crimes, but of an unforgivable sin under God and gang: being gay.