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Screenwriters Roundtable: Craft to Career

Screenwriters Roundtable: Craft to Career Friday, May 8th 11AM PDT Slamdance alumni Todd Berger (It’s a Disaster) and Sarah Sherman (Thunderbolt in Mine Eye), and screenwriter Leah Rachel (Netflix’s Chambers) joined moderator Phil Galasso, host of Final Draft’s Write On podcast for a webinar on screenwriting. The writers will share their insights into honing your craft, shaping your career, as well as tips for staying focused while self-isolating. If you missed the live event, you can still watch the video above! Todd Berger Todd Berger is a filmmaker hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana who has been making movies since age 11 (Dick Tracy vs. Dr. Bubbles.)  In addition to scripts in development at Dreamworks Animation, Millennium Films, and Netflix, he’s also written and directed several shorts and independent feature films including It’s A Disaster, The Scenesters, and Cover Versions. His first novel Showdown City was recently published by Diversion Books.  He also spent several years as a feature film programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival.  He prefers waffles over pancakes.       Leah Rachel Leah Rachel is a writer/director born and raised in Akron, Ohio.  While she was working as a pizza waitress to make ends meet, Leah sold her first script to HBO with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson producing. She hasn’t looked...

The Producer’s Legal Guide to COVID-19: A Series of Virtual Legal Clinics

The Producer's Legal Guide to Covid-19: A Series of Virtual Legal Clinics on Your Rights & Obligations During the Pandemic. with David Albert Pierce of Pierce Law Group, LLP Entertainment attorney David Albert Pierce answers the pressing legal questions submitted by filmmakers on what you legally can and should do to protect yourself, your production, your for-profit or non-profit company, or your employees in light of these unprecedented circumstances. Are you an independent film producer who's had to postpone or cancel a shoot? Do you run a production company figuring out payroll when there is no longer any income? Are you an event producer who's had to cancel events and wondering what expenses you can recover or what is protected by insurance? Do you wonder what filmmaking and productions will need to look like post-quarantine? If you missed the two livestream Virtual Legal Clinics so far. you can still watch both of them below. Check back soon for updated information on our next session!   https://www.facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival/videos/2517020621735084/ https://www.facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival/videos/244623609964830/ To download the featured powerpoint and access additional helpful resources, please visit Pierce Law Group LLP! David Albert Pierce David Albert Pierce is the Managing Member of Pierce Law Group LLP, a full-service boutique law firm established in 1996 in Beverly Hills, California, serving the creative community and...

Slamdance and Chill | Vol. 4

A list of Slamdance films you can stream at home! Support Slamdance filmmakers and learn, laugh, cry and be entertained at the same time. Feature films are available for rent, purchase or, in some cases, free or available through streaming services you already subscribe to. All short films are free to watch online. Enjoy! Funny Story (2018) Directed by Michael Gallagher, Written by Steve Greene & Michael Gallagher An aging heartthrob crashes his estranged daughter's vacation in Big Sur to make amends, but his efforts cause surprising and tragic results. From director Michael Gallagher comes a hilarious and heartfelt tragicomedy you never saw coming. Funny Story explores the destructive power of narcissism, the healing power of forgiveness, and the dangers of doing karaoke after drinking too much tequila. Watch on Amazon...

Life As a Screenwriter: A Survival Guide

“The worst thing you can do as a writer is to die with a project. Always write something new.”  This is one of the pieces of advice shared by screenwriter and Slamdance alum Daniel Casey (Kin, Fast & Furious 9) during our Polytechnic panel, “Life As a Screenwriter: A Survival Guide.” As we get into the depths of our 2020 Screenplay Competition, it seems like a great time to revisit the insights we gleaned from that discussion in Park City with Slamdance alumni screenwriters at different stages of their careers. Slamdance festival producer and screenwriter Michael Morin moderated the panel with: Daniel Casey, who premiered his debut written and directed feature, The Death of Michael Smith at Slamdance 2006 and has since written on various projects in Hollywood, including 10 Cloverfield Lane, Kin, and the up and coming Fast and Furious entry, F9. Jess Zeidman, a young screenwriter who just wrote and produced her feature debut, Tahara, a Slamdance 2020 world premiere. Here are some of the key points of wisdom from their discussion: Rewrites are a fact of life. Daniel Casey emphasized the inevitability of doing rewrites as a screenwriter working within the Hollywood system. Notes and rewrite requests can come from producers trying to push for a broader, more marketable appeal or from directors...

Slamdance and Chill | Vol. 3

A list of Slamdance films you can stream at home! Support Slamdance filmmakers and learn, laugh, and be entertained at the same time. Feature films are available for rent, purchase or, in some cases, through streaming services you already subscribe to. All short films are free to watch online. We've created some suggested pairings to help guide you through but feel free to create your own viewing adventure. Enjoy! Beware of Dog (2020) Written & Directed by Nadia Bedzhanova Alienated in politically-ambiguous Moscow, a young woman deals with severe OCD, while her cousin in Berlin tries to build a romantic relationship ignoring her own condition. Meanwhile in New York City, a heartbroken boxer fights addiction and lack of self-worth in the aftermath of a break-up. Watch on Vimeo...

By Filmmakers For Filmmakers: Residue

By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers Follow Residue director Merawi Gerima and his Resicrew as they take over Park City and connect with new audiences and fellow filmmakers at the Slamdance Film Festival. Directed by Slamdance alum Jai Love. Credits Directed by Jai Love Featuring Team Residue: Merawi Gerima, Obinna Nwachukwu, Mark Jeevaratnam, Shani Crowe, Joshua Parks, Enanu Gerima, Dennis Lindsey. Edited by Eduardo Ayres Sound by Connor Rickman Sound Mix by Cody Troyer Shot on Blackmagic Design Pocket 4K Additional Footage by Joshua Parks Footage from “Residue” courtesy of Merawi Gerima...

Slamdance and Chill | Vol. 2

Volume 2 of a series of Slamdance films you can stream at home! Support Slamdance filmmakers and learn, laugh, and be entertained at the same time. Feature films are available for rent, purchase or, in some cases, through streaming services you already subscribe to. All short films are free to watch online. We've created some suggested pairings to help guide you through but feel free to create your own viewing adventure. Enjoy! My Name is Myeisha (2018) Directed by Gus Krieger, Written by Rickerby Hinds, Gus Krieger Inspired by the 1998 police shooting of California teen Tyisha Miller and adapted from the internationally acclaimed play, Dreamscape. At the moment of Myeisha's death at the hands of police, she guides us inside her mind and muses over the life she will be leaving behind, told through hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and dance. Watch on: Youtube | Amazon | Google Play | iTunes   See it with the short film... Get Out Fast (2017) Written & Directed by Haley Elizabeth Anderson Alex's best friend, Coyote Boy, is missing and he doesn't know why. Watch on Vimeo     Beats (2019) Directed by Brian Welsh, Written by Kieran Hurley, Brian Welsh During a pro basketball lockout, a sports agent pitches a rookie basketball client on an intriguing and controversial...

Slamdance and Chill

A weekly-updated list of Slamdance films you can stream at home! Support Slamdance filmmakers and learn, laugh, and be entertained at the same time. Feature films are available for rent, purchase or, in some cases, through streaming services you already subscribe to. All short films are free to watch online. We've created some suggested pairings to help guide you through but feel free to create your own viewing adventure. Enjoy! Lost Holiday (2019) Written and Directed by Michael Kerry Matthews & Thomas Matthews After Margaret meets her ex-boyfriend's fiancé, she goes on an adventure with Henry and Sam, her least mature friends. What starts as a search for LSD quickly puts them at the center of an heiress's disappearance that she is determined to solve. Watch on: Youtube | Amazon | Google Play | Vudu   Pairs well with the short film Get Up Pierrot(2019) Directed by Gurleen Rai, F. Anthony Shepherd An existential pastry made by folding layers of identity upon itself with equal parts tears and smiles. Watch on Vimeo       High Flying Bird (2019) Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney During a pro basketball lockout, a sports agent pitches a rookie basketball client on an intriguing and controversial business proposition. Watch on Netflix   Watch it with......

An Important Update on Emergence LA and Slamdance Miami

Dear Slamdance Community, It is with great sadness that we announce the postponement of Slamdance’s LA Emergence event (March 26-29) and the cancellation of Slamdance Miami (May 28-31). Given the rapidly changing situation regarding the spread of COVID-19, and recommendations from State and Local government officials against large public gatherings, we feel this is the best decision for the health and safety of our filmmakers and our communities in Los Angeles and Miami. Ticket holders for any Emergence screenings can obtain a full refund for their reservations through ArcLight Cinemas. You can find instructions here on how to cancel your tickets. Pass holders can contact us directly at submissionsslamdance.com for refunds. Emergence LA will be held at a later date this year, so if you’d like to wait on canceling your pass, it will automatically be valid for the new dates. We will continue to monitor the situation closely with the ArcLight in the coming weeks and months as we look towards future dates for Emergence. Submitters to Slamdance Miami will receive a refund of their submission fees in the next few weeks. We appreciate your patience and understanding in the time it will take to do this. Slamdance has always been first and foremost about community. We have navigated through the terrain of independent...

Announcing Emergence: Los Angeles March 26-29

February 26, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) - ArcLight Cinemas and Slamdance today announced the lineup for their inaugural Emergence Film Festival, taking place March 26th - 29th at ArcLight Cinemas’ Hollywood location. The lineup includes both premieres and Slamdance Park City festival favorites and will showcase Features, Shorts, and Episodics along with Slamdance’s signature categories Anarchy and DIG. This new partnership is an extension of the two organizations’ successful Slamdance Cinema Club screening series. Tickets and passes are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased online and at the theater. Passes can be purchased in advance through the Slamdance website here. The lineup is comprised overwhelmingly of local filmmakers, with a Los Angeles connection for 90% of the features, further supporting the local independent film community. There will be eight features with a mix between documentaries and narratives, nineteen shorts and episodes, 11 Anarchy shorts and four DIG experiences. All feature films are directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD and without US distribution. Films were selected by a team of Slamdance alumni and are programmed democratically. Feature Films and Shorts will be eligible for an audience award and ArcLight Cinemas will award the Shorts winner with distribution across its chain. Photos of selected films available here. “With the launch of Emergence,...

The Cinema That Refused to Close

By Noel Lawrence Last month, I flew to Rotterdam to premiere my new film Sammy-Gate​ ​at their storied and sprawling film festival. Much as I enjoyed my stay in the glorious lair of the IFFR Tiger, a filmmaker should never forget where he or she came from. And for the better part of 20 years, that place has been in the bowels of the underground: screening in squats, sleeping on couches, and struggling to achieve one’s cinematic visions in an economy of scarcity. As a filmworker in Hollywood, I forget my roots at times. I make no pretense of bohemian sainthood. But I am nonetheless delighted to see young people taking up the arms that I have laid down. And that brings me to the story of ​La Clef​, a small cinema in the Latin Quarter of Paris. During the festival, a small delegation of theatre volunteers blanketed Rotterdam with pamphlets about their cause. Without going into detail, the owners of the building that housed the cinema planned to sell it. And, more likely than not, the theatre would be replaced by a supermarket or a bank. If this happened somewhere in America, the closure probably would provoke a brief flurry of angry and sad emoji on Facebook. And, after that flurry, the cinema would...

Official Selection of Slamdance 2020

Presenting the Film Programs of Slamdance 2020: NARRATIVE FEATURES 1986 (Germany, Belarus) North American Premiere Director/ Screenwriter: Lothar Herzog While Elena repeatedly has to drive into the 'forbidden zone' of Chernobyl in order to make deals for her father, her life seems more and more contaminated by a destructive force... Cast: Daria Mureeva, Evgeni Sangadzhiev, Vitali Kotovitski, Alexei Filimonov, Helga Filippova, Alexei Kravchenko &nbsp A Dog's Death (Uruguay, France, Argentina) North American Premiere Director: Matías Ganz Veterinarian Mario and his wife Silvia enjoy a bourgeois life in Montevideo but two events will disturb their tranquility. A dog surgery goes wrong for Mario and Silvia discovers retirement. They will be dragged from paranoia to violence and from violence to nonsense. Cast: Guillermo Arengo, Pelusa Vidal, Soledad Gilmet, Lalo Rotaveria, Ruth Sandoval, Ana Katz Beware of Dog (USA, Russia, Germany) World Premiere Director/ Screenwriter: Nadia Bedzhanova Three young adults experience parallel struggles with mental health and identity. In Moscow a woman struggles with severe OCD, while her cousin in Berlin tries to build a romantic relationship ignoring her own mental condition. Meanwhile in New York City, a heartbroken boxer faces addiction and lack of self worth in the aftermath of a break-up. Cast: Marina Vasileva, Buddy Duress, Paula Knüpling, Marina Prados, Kevin Iso, Pavel Tabakov Murmur (Canada)...

sLGBTdance: A Programmer’s Trip Down Queer Indie Lane

By Paul Sbrizzi Let's take a stroll down the crooked old memory lane of SLGBTdance, shall we? And peek in on some of the randy rainbow fare served up over the years by many-gendered alt-queers in the Slamdance trattoria. Lady of the Lake (2003) 2003 was my first year traveling to Park City as a Slamdance programmer. The entire festival staff was shacked up at the sprawling Empire House, where the youngsters would stay up partying until 4AM as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. It was a great time, though. My friend Gianna was the festival director that year, and it's not like we had favorites, but we just adored Michael Lucid. He was the friendliest, most unassuming guy, and his short puppet movie Lady of the Lake was so gorgeous, heartfelt and funny—a wordless parable of a young gay dreamer who comes to the big city and discovers all its many pleasures and perils. At the Filmmaker Happy Hour, Michael mentioned he also had a web series called Pretty Thingsss, so we put it up on the monitor and it was something completely different: a surreal, ahead-of-its-time comedy with Michael and his friend Amanda playing all the characters. Lady of the Lake didn't win any awards, so the staff got together...

Do I need a website…?

By Sandra Bertalanffy Do I need a website for my feature, short, episodic and myself? As you are preparing to hit the festivals you may be considering whether to print new cards or flyers, invest in a designer, print stickers, t-shirts, come up with a costume or just really any other way to stand out, bring awareness to your film or do anything else slightly resembling marketing activity. That’s all yay. Go for it and go for it good. BUT do consider step 2!  What’s step 2? Well, imagine this scenario: Someone compliments your film (or outfit) and you successfully hand over your printed marketing material (which btw also likes to get lost). Next, your Potentially Interested New Audience Member (“PINAM”) says: “Cool, do you have a website?” URGH. Punch in the lower region. Your body freezes, you mumble something embarrassing somewhat related to “short film,” “budget” or “first project” and PINAM smiles, nods, maybe gives you a another “Cool.” and then walks away. FOREVER! Noooooo!!!! And it could have been such an amazing mutual relationship! That’s why you want to consider step 2.  Step 2, also known as “make its easy for PINAM to find out more about you and give the option to stay connected easily.” So back to “Cool, do you have...

Meet the Artist: Allegra Jones

 Slamdance: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into art? Allegra: I’m a half African American, half Italian artist from the Bay Area. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember & playing music since I was six. When I was young, I frequently felt a little overwhelmed with the world around me. Drawing from life became a way to ease my mind & satisfy an urge to make sense of what was right in front of me. Drawing and music always guided me where I needed to go & were my largest sources of joy/peace. I decided to combine the two by studying Experimental Animation at CalArts. I currently live in LA with my beloved accordion, saxophone, clarinet, organ, & two bunny rabbits. Slamdance: For the first time, our Festival Artist has the exciting task of creating a visual identity for all of Slamdance 2020, since as an organization, Slamdance is expanding into new territory with more events like our Miami festival in May, 2020.  This butterfly portrait is just the first one we’ve unveiled so far for our January festival in Park City. Can you talk a little about this piece and the others you’ve created for us? What inspired them and how do...

The 2019 Award-winning Screenwriters

  Grand Prize & 1st Place Feature The Fall by Michael Lipoma & Tamra Teig East Berlin 1989 - A single mother is forced to become a spy to save her son when he’s framed for murder, and her act of revenge, woven into historic events, leads to the fall of the Berlin Wall. "Our producing partner's uncle was accused of being a KGB agent, and died under suspicious circumstances when he tried to extricate himself to protect his family. We used that as the inspiration and chose another time in history that was filled with espionage--the Cold War world behind the Berlin Wall. As we researched the idea of a mother who's forced to become a spy to save her son, we discovered the real cause of the fall of the Berlin Wall--a communication error. We wove real stories of East Berliners' struggles to free themselves from their oppressive regime into historic events and imagined how these events could have unfolded, through the eyes of single mother trying to keep her children safe behind the Iron Curtain."...

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