2024 Festival Submissions Are Now Open
Welcome to Slamdance!
Slamdance is a community, an experience and a statement. Established by a wild bunch of filmmakers who wanted to showcase the unfiltered voice of independent artists, Slamdance is an ongoing experiment that has proven, year after year, when it comes to recognizing talent and launching careers, the independent and grassroots film communities can do it themselves.
Slamdance 2024 will take place in-person from January 19-25 and virtually from January 22-28.
2024 Festival Submissions Are Now Open
The Slamdance Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We spotlight low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion.
The festival program is selected entirely from our blind submissions pool and no films are given special treatment based on who made them or who they know. Over 200 Slamdance alumni filmmakers are responsible for the programming and organization of the festival. Comprised of a variety of backgrounds, interests, and talents, but with no individual filmmaker’s vote valued more than any other, Slamdance committees have been able to stay close to its original DIY spirit and continue to champion the bleeding-edge of contemporary filmmaking.
Friday, May 5, 2023
Friday, June 30, 2023
Features $65 Shorts $45
Friday, August 11, 2023
Features $85 Shorts $60
Friday, September 8, 2023
Features $110 Shorts $70
Friday, September 29, 2023
Features $120 Shorts $80
In-Person: January 19-25, 2024
Online: January 22-28, 2024
Over 40 minutes. Not previously or currently being released in the US by a third-party distributor. Not distributed online. Participation in online film festivals is allowed. Budget under $1 million USD.
Directed by first-time Narrative Feature director(s)
Directed by first-time Documentary Feature director(s)
Narrative and documentary features directed by NON-first-time feature director(s).
Over 40 minutes. Not previously or currently being released in the US by a third-party distributor. Not distributed online. Participation in online film festivals is allowed. No budget restriction.
What We Are Looking For
Since 1995, Slamdance has been recognized as the premiere festival for discovering visionary first-time directors: Christopher Nolan (Following), Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back), Bong Joon Ho (Barking Dogs Never Bite), Sean Baker (Take Out), Lena Dunham (Dealing), Behn Zeitlin (The Origins of Electricity), Ana Lily Amirpour (Six and A Half), and many more.
While Slamdance’s main competition remains exclusive to first-time directors, the BREAKOUTS program (is designed to) serves directors beyond their first films who maintain distinct visual styles and a unique cinematic voice. At Slamdance, we’ve recognized an inherent need for a viable platform for these fiercely independent filmmakers who might not have the connections to get coveted spots in industry labs and financing along the more traditional development roads. Rather, they continue to make films “their” way, beyond the more star-driven Hollywood and festival elite's radar. BREAKOUTS is where we want the next Nolan with his second film, Memento, Shelton with Humpday, and Zeitlin with Beasts of the Southern Wild to take off. We want these types of distinct voices to be recognized by distributors, agents, and producers who can help drive them forward with distribution and long-lasting, commercially viable careers.
Spotlight is a curated program that is for narrative and documentary feature premieres made by established directors who continue to take creative risks in their storytelling. They come to the festival not only to showcase their new work but to support the Slamdance community at large. Previous participants include Jonathan Demme, Lynne Sachs and alumni Dana Nachman and Steven Soderbergh.
Please contact the Slamdance office if you are interested in submitting to Spotlight.
Under 40 minutes. No distribution restrictions. Narrative, Documentary and Animation categories are Academy Award® and BAFTA qualifying. Shorts that blur the lines between categories will be shared and considered by all appropriate programming committees.
All fiction genres, subjects and forms welcome
All non-fiction genres, subjects and forms welcome
All mediums, genres, styles, and subjects welcome. Significant portion of film must be made in frame-by-frame manner (live-action footage of puppets is not animation)
Non-narrative films that may be conceptual, abstract, graphic, didactic, or otherwise unclassifiable. Films that challenge the definition of what film can be.
Pilots and single episodes of any length, genre, and style: narrative, doc, experimental, anthology, vlog, talk show, reality show, etc.
Works should be completed in 2019 or later. No run time restrictions. Works can be available online prior to the festival. Works produced or commissioned by major streaming platforms are ineligible.
You may submit one (1) episode of any length, or multiple shorter episodes up to a total runtime of 10 minutes. For formats longer than 10 minutes, each submission should include only one episode. If multiple long format episodes are included, programmers reserve the right to watch only the first episode in the submission.
For narrative works, we highly recommend submitting the pilot episode to best introduce viewers to your characters.
DIG: Digital | Interactive | Gaming
DIG is a showcase of innovative digital, interactive, and gaming artwork presented at Slamdance events and virtual spaces throughout the year. DIG provides a platform for independent artists who create outside of traditional media and bring their ideas to life in novel and uncompromising ways without the support of major studios or technology companies. Creative works presented at past showcases include experimental theater, virtual and augmented reality, arcade gaming, projection mapping, and more.
Submitting to Slamdance DIG is free and will be only accepted through the dedicated DIG submission form, not through FilmFreeway or Festhome.
The Slamdance UNSTOPPABLE program is made by and/or about creators with visible and nonvisible disabilities. Any films submitted to other categories, regardless of genre or runtime, can be additionally considered by our programmers for Unstoppable.
If you are eligible for this program, you can submit directly to Unstoppable through FilmFreeway, or select Unstoppable as an additional category when you submit via the Slamdance Direct Form.
Rules & Guidelines
By entering the Slamdance Film Festival, you certify that you have read and agree to the following Rules & Guidelines.
- We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
- We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
- We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
- We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
- Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
- Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
- Only directors' debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
- Only independently produced episodes completed in 2020 or later are accepted to the Episodes category.
- There's no additional eligibility criteria for short film categories. All shorts are eligible!
- Films made by or about people with disabilities of any genre/format/runtime are also additionally eligible for the Slamdance Unstoppable Program. Filmmakers should select Unstoppable as an additional category to submit to if interested and eligible.
- Films of any genre, format, and runtime made by or about people with disabilities are eligible for the Slamdance Unstoppable program.
- All submission prompts must be fully completed to avoid disqualification.
- Any disabled role(s) must be portrayed by disabled actors. Films that feature able-bodied actors portraying disabled people will NOT be eligible for Unstoppable.
- All Unstoppable submissions must have captioning.
- Any questions or concerns regarding Unstoppable eligibility should be sent to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We strongly recommend that ALL submitted films regardless of category include English subtitles (whether the film is in English or another language) so that they may be accessible to all of our Programmers. Films in a language other than English MUST include English Subtitles or they will not be considered.
- All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
- Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
- We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
- We don't provide refunds for festival entries.
- Entrants can update their screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time for consideration.
- Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting. Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival selections are made outside of this process.
- Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
- We generally don't share programming feedback with entrants.
- The Slamdance programmers' decisions are final.
- Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up. (Heads up: we will be reaching out to some of you over Thanksgiving, but you can't use the holidays as an excuse to delay your confirmation).
- Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Slamdance.
- If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
- All accepted films must have Closed Captioning in English ready in time for their festival screening. We highly recommend you work on this while you wait for your festival acceptance since it will make your film more accessible to audiences wherever it may be shown.
- If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
- If accepted to both Sundance and Slamdance, filmmakers can not screen at both. We notify filmmakers around the same time, so you will have a chance to make an informed decision and commit to one festival.
- We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses.
- We don't cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
- We don't provide screening fees.
- Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature
- Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature
- Grand Jury Award for Breakouts
- Grand Jury Award for Episodes
- Grand Jury Award for Unstoppable
- Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short
- Grand Jury Award for Documentary Short
- Grand Jury Award for Animation Short
- Grand Jury Award for Experimental Short
- Audience Award for Narrative Feature
- Audience Award for Documentary Feature
- Audience Award for Unstoppable
- The AGBO Fellowship
- Slamdance Acting Award
- George Starks Spirit of Slamdance Award
The AGBO Fellowship, Presented by Joe and Anthony Russo
Established in 2018 by Slamdance alums and critically acclaimed directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame), the AGBO Fellowship is designed to foster and support young filmmakers while creating a platform for new and emerging talent.
The Russos and their production company, AGBO, will select one filmmaker to receive a $25,000 prize and access to office at their new Los Angeles based studio and mentorship from Anthony and Joe.
Slamdance Unstoppable is a showcase of films made by filmmakers with visible and non-visible disabilities. Programmed exclusively by disabled artists, Slamdance Unstoppable aims to eliminate the prejudices and gate-keeping that have historically kept disabled filmmakers from being represented in the entertainment industry.
Slamdance Unstoppable began with a letter to Slamdance Co-Founder Peter Baxter from filmmaker and disability awareness advocate Juliet Romeo. She said that a program for and by disabled filmmakers at Slamdance was not only important, but necessary.
She was right.
Slamdance Unstoppable is the result of that letter. In a relatively short time, films selected through Slamdance Unstoppable have become an integral part of Slamdance’s festival DNA. Beginning with a showcase of short films at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival, the program has since grown to include feature films. And after two years of virtual screenings, we’re delighted to finally present the first in-person Unstoppable showcase at the University of Utah as part of the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival!
And that’s only the beginning. As Newton said, an object in motion stays in motion... and Slamdance Unstoppable isn’t stopping anytime soon.
If you would like to donate in support of Slamdance, click here.
Unfortunately due to the high number of films we receive, our programmers are unable to provide written feedback on every submission they judge
Accepted filmmakers will be notified sometime late November.
All submissions that are eligible for consideration for more than one category (for example, an animated documentary) will be shared amongst all compatible programming teams internally. You do not have to pay an entry fee for each category. If you are eligible and would like your film to be considered for Unstoppable, please be sure to indicate that with your submission and answer the required eligibility questions.
The 2023 Slamdance Film Festival received more than 7,800 submissions.
We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
Yes. Our programmers watch each submitted film in its entirety.
You can submit works in progress to our competition. If you wish to update your film later on, please do so through uploading a new video file to the same link used to submit. Do not change your password or try to upload a new link.
You can submit to both festivals. However, if your film is accepted to both Sundance and Slamdance, you can not screen at both. There is limited real estate and screen time in Park City during the festival, and it would benefit the filmmaker to put their full focus into promoting their film at one festival. Plus, we would like to give the opportunity to support another film to screen in front of Park City audiences. We notify filmmakers around the same time, so you will have a chance to make an informed decision and commit to one festival.
You can update your screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link and password must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced, programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time for consideration.