News From Nowhere

2020 Award-winning Screenwriters

Grand Prize & 1st Place Feature Sweet Sixteen by Joyce Sherrí Sweet, a 15 year old girl, tries to convince her parents to throw her a big sweet sixteen birthday party, but money and family problems lead Sweet down a destructive path. Virginia native writer-director, Joyce Sherrí, received an MFA in Filmmaking from New York University in 2016 and is a recipient of the Spike Lee Production Fund for her short film “Forever.”  She’s also a fellow of the inaugural WGA Made In New York Writer’s Room. Her most recent works “Beauty” and “Through The Ages” are of the southern gothic-fantasy-horror variety and paved the way for a staff writing position on two upcoming Netflix series.  “Black people are not a monolith. We have experiences in life that don’t always revolve around the fact that we are Black and how difficult that can be...There is more to us than racial trauma. Sometimes we just want something as simple as a first kiss or a sweet sixteenth birthday party.”  “In the South, you don’t talk about grown folks' business with a child which meant that when we were evicted from our home for the umpteenth time and forced to live in a homeless shelter or a motel or my grandparent's garage, no one ever talked to...

Slamdance to Present Its Largest and Most Accessible Festival Yet

Artist Led Festival Sets February 12-25, 2021 Dates with Free Viewing, Desert Experience, Filmmaker Revenue Share and New Program for Creators with Disabilities Slamdance, the festival organization known for the discovery of filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, the Russo Brothers, Lynn Shelton, Lena Dunham, Ari Aster, Andrew Patterson and Merawi Gerima will take a break from Park City in 2021 by moving virtually to slamdance.com, YouTube and physically to Joshua Tree, California.  A two week virtual festival experience brings everything Slamdance has to offer to a global online audience on slamdance.com and YouTube. The online showcase includes short and feature film programs, filmmaker Q&A's, jury and audience awards presentations, workshops and panels with notable alumni and Slamdance's first program for filmmakers with disabilities called Unstoppable. The showcase will provide revenue sharing from sponsor proceeds for filmmakers and free online viewing opportunities for audiences.  The physical festival experience is an invite-only, socially-distanced weekend desert retreat for filmmakers to safely gather and connect with each other and industry guests. Here, Slamdance will present premier outdoor screenings, filmmaker workshops, notable alumni and industry talks and music. The filmmaker retreat will be adjacent to a public drive-in cinema program. In this year of covid and chaos, a sense of community is one of the most potent losses we are feeling...

“Greenlight Yourself” | Director Merawi Gerima on the Making of ‘Residue’

Residue, written and directed by Merawi Gerima, had its world premiere at the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival where it won the Audience Award, Special Jury Mention and Acting Award for lead Obinna Nwachukwu. The film follows aspiring filmmaker Jay (Obinna Nwachukwu) returning to his childhood Washington, DC, neighborhood that has been gentrified beyond recognition. Dealing with alienation from his friends, troubled by the disappearance of his best friend, and unsure of his place in this new community, Jay confronts issues of identity, gentrification and loss. Now streaming on Netflix through Ava DuVernay's distribution company ARRAY, Residue has racked up stellar reviews from The Guardian, The New Yorker and the New York Times, to name a few. Stacey Marbrey, longtime Slamdance programmer and filmmaker, sat down with Merawi to talk in depth about Residue and the inspiring DIY stories behind how the film was made —with limited resources but an abundance of determination, talent, and community support. Check out some highlights below, or watch the full interview here. On the gentrification of DC and the inspiration for making Residue: "I spent a whole year away and I came back to DC with all these emotions kind of swirling. Then I saw that the city that I had not really appreciated, you appreciate it more when it's leaving...

2020 Screenplay Competition Winners

2020 Slamdance Screenplay Awards | October 8th, 11 AM PT/2 PM PT Join Slamdance, the WGA, and host Todd Berger in conversation with past winners and Slamdance alumni screenwriters on building their careers as writers in the Film/TV industry. We will also announce and celebrate the 2021 Slamdance Screenplay Competition Winners in Feature, Short, Horror/Thriller and TV Pilot categories, as well as the 2021 Grand Prize winner for Best Screenplay! Featuring:  Naima Ramos-Chapman (HBO's Betty, Random Acts of Flyness,  Piu Piu), Jessica Sinyard (2018 Grand Prize Winner The Peak),  Tyler Tice (2017 Grand Prize Winner Dayshift), Todd Berger (It's a Disaster, The Happytime Murders)  More Info https://youtu.be/I-6MJhPG-IU  ...

The Vast of Night | Interview with Director Andrew Patterson

The Vast of Night had its World Premiere at Slamdance Film Festival in 2019. At the fest, it won raucous acclaim from critics while also winning the Slamdance Audience Award. The film eventually signed a distribution deal with Amazon Studios and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime. Prior to its release, we invited director Andrew Patterson back to Slamdance in January 2020 to join Slamdance co-conspirator Paul Rachman in a discussion of his journey in making the film and getting it out to the world. Listen to their full talk: Excerpts On returning to Slamdance one year after the world premiere of The Vast of Night: This is weird, this is where we played a year ago. Same room. We didn't know if we were gonna be able to fill this room up 12 months ago. We were literally trying to figure out by counting the number of people on the line outside of the room, if that would be enough to fill the seats. We played on the Friday night, I think 7 o'clock slot, and then here we are a year later. Yeah, and then the next screening was... We did the big room next and that one was the Monday night show, and that was when we thought we might...

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've missed our livestream Legal Clinics so far. you can still watch 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/ The California Department of Public Health announced that film production could re-open as early as June 12, but there’s always a catch… Our friends at Pierce Law Group have been following and compiling the new state-wide, nation-wide, and even worldwide rules and guidelines that film and TV crews must abide by when...

Black Art Matters.

Support Black Slamdance Filmmakers

Slamdance is proud to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. Here are some Black Slamdance filmmakers that we encourage you to follow and support. For more resources and ways to support Black artists check out this list created by Free the Work. Haley Elizabeth Anderson Director/Writer of  Get Out Fast (2017) Filmmaker Website Follow on: Instagram Watch: Selected works on Vimeo     Lyndon Barrois Director/Writer of Prizefighter (2019) Filmmaker Website Follow on: Instagram | Twitter Watch: Selected works on It's a Wrapper     Naima Ramos-Chapman Director of And Nothing Happened (2016) and Piu Piu (2019) Filmmaker Website Follow on: Instagram Watch: Betty and Random Acts of Flyness on HBO     Jomo Fray Cinematographer of Get Out Fast (2017) and Nettles (2019) Filmmaker Website Follow on: Instagram Watch: Selah and the Spades on Amazon     Merawi Gerima Director/Writer of Residue (2020) Film Website Follow on: Instagram | Twitter       Rendah Haj Director of Hayat (2020) Follow on: Instagram         Rickerby Hinds Screenwriter of My Name is Myeisha (2018) Website Follow on: Instagram Watch: My Name is Myeisha on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play or YouTube     Raven Jackson Director/Writer of Nettles (2019) Filmmaker Website Follow on: Instagram Watch: Selected works on Vimeo     Nailah...

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...

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,...

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