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We Stole a Movie

By Max Wilde Like probably all of you, my life is plagued with older professionals who tell me to “grow up,” “be realistic,” and “always have a dream,” but “understand that a realistic career comes first,” etc etc. Don't listen to them. Fuck dreams. We don't dream of making movies. We find ways to make them now, with the help of friends with empty couches, food stamps, and broken laws. I’m here to argue for the possibility of film outside its industry form, not only as an accessible and immediately doable alternative (for people who hate being an employee as much as I do), but more importantly as a form that has specific and crucial advantages over the financed, professionally staffed, and strictly standardized film producing technique. I think it's important you know that approximately one and a half food service jobs were quit to make A Great Lamp. A Great Lamp is a DIY movie made by 7 friends with no budget or resources. If you want to check it out, shoot me an email at maxkazaam@protonmail.com and I’ll give you a link. Having said that, you don’t need to watch it to read this piece and understand what is being said here. Seeing the film being referenced is mostly useful for the reader who...

Why Come to Slamdance?

Slamdance Alumni share their experiences and tips for visiting Park City Ah…Park City in late January. It’s freezing cold, it’s the middle of Utah, and everything’s super expensive. But for just a couple of weeks, the town swells with filmmakers, film lovers, press, industry folks and celebrities. The potential for opportunities when you have a group of people like this gathered together in a small, freezing cold ski town… are endless. If your film is selected to screen at Slamdance, there are a million reasons to brave the cold, start another crowdfund, book an international flight and do whatever it takes to get yourself to Park City. Here are some first hand insights and advice on why you should come and how to navigate the experience, from Slamdance alumni who’ve done it before. Because it’s worth the effort. Icy outside, warm inside. As a foreign (French here) filmmaker, the idea to go to Park City was a bit daunting. It’s far; it’s cold; distances and accessibility seemed somewhat uncertain… but having attended, I must say that the result was worth the effort. By far one of the most communal, immersive and genuinely cinephilic festivals I’ve experienced. As a filmmaker going to Park City, you get the very nuanced impression that you don’t merely attend Slamdance but that you...

What the heck does it take to get my film into Slamdance?

Tips and Insights from Slamdance Festival Programmers We know the festival submission process can seem pretty mysterious and we want to make submitting to Slamdance a little more transparent. As our motto proclaims, we are filmmakers here to help fellow filmmakers. Most of us are alumni of the festival who have been in your shoes—confused and nervous about navigating the festival circuit with our first films. Somehow, through some combination of grit and magic, we are now on the other side as Slamdance programmers! We’ve been there, and we’ve been here, and we want to help. How programming works at Slamdance We’re all filmmakers and we’re all volunteers. Almost all of us have screened films at Slamdance. Every film submitted is watched in its entirety by at least two different programmers. We have around 150 programmers from throughout the US and around the world. They are watching your online screeners at their convenience from wherever they are in the world. Every programmer has an equal voice. We don’t have lower tier screeners acting as gatekeepers. 100% of films selected come from our submissions pool. We don’t make promises to friends or celebrities. They have to submit just like everybody else. After every film is watched and scored at least twice, our programming teams meet in...

dekker dreyer collage of media works

The Revolution in Media is Already Here

An Experiential Artist Manifesto by Dekker Dreyer The traditional media world demands that we reduce our artistic output to a short string of adjectives that fit neatly on a 3.5 inch business card. Everything that artists like myself do throws this notion into chaos. I see an email I missed from earlier. It confirms that NASA is going to participate in a panel I’m planning at Slamdance DIG (digital, interactive, and gaming) — this year I’m an organizer. It’s 4am and I’m looking out across Hollywood excited for the possibilities. I’m one of a new wave of creators that’s merging interactivity, virtual reality, filmmaking, and live events into a hard-to-explain jumble of an art scene. It feels like I’m working twenty or more hours a day and I feel alive. This week I’m launching an interactive animated film called Joy Ride with BroomX, a company in Europe that outfits spaces like hotels with 360 degree immersive projectors. Audiences will experience Joy Ride exclusively in this full room projection format at partner locations like Catalonia Hotels. I’ve never worked in this format before because it didn’t exist until a little over a year ago. This kind of shoot first, ask questions later approach is indicative of not just the kind of work that I produce, but the landscape of how...

Creatures of War and a Father’s Love

A Veteran Battles for His Daughters through Filmmaking by John Charter The making of our short creature art film, Remission, is full of disastrous filmmaking war stories — and it all began with an actual war. More on that later. Remission is foremost an “art film,” meant to be interpreted like you would a poem or a painting, with the creature costumes serving as moving art pieces. The concept centers around an unknown soldier in a state of living paralysis or a purgatory loop. Three creatures emerge as outer-body extensions of his war trauma and the ensuing nihilism that he struggles to overcome. Visions of an estranged daughter haunt the man and lead the creatures on a vast, lonely pilgrimage in hopes of restoring their once sacred connection. The symbolism of the film is inspired by the true story of Remission’s co-creator, artist Paul Kaiser. Paul served in the US Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and was held hostage in Iraq for a possible sale to Al Qaeda. The loss of control from this event brought on a deep plunge into an existential crisis and the life he knew fell apart. The film is a reflection of his current mission to emerge from the loop and reconnect with his children. Veteran artist Paul Kaiser performs in his...

Then and Now: 100 Years of Independent Animated Documentary

By Melissa Ferrari July 20th, 2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first animated documentary, Winsor McCay’s The Sinking of the Lusitania in 1918. In celebration of 100 years of this genre, we take a look back at McCay’s masterpiece and celebrate some of the fantastic independent animated documentaries that have since been featured at the Slamdance Film Festival. While the question of veracity remains a point of contention for nonfiction animators even today, the genre pioneered by Winsor McCay still allows for vast creative potential. Practically, animation is a particularly invaluable tool for independent and DIY makers. While the conventional live-action documentary might turn to archival imaging or the daunting task of creating a tasteful live action re-enactment, animated documentarians can single-handedly depict any time, person, or place in the past, present, or future with just a pencil and paper. The use of animation has a variety of advantages: animations can convey what can’t be captured photographically while still providing compelling, emotional imagery. Filmmakers can depict events that aren’t physically visible to the eye, historical events that weren’t captured on film, vulnerable documentary subjects that need to maintain anonymity, events that take place in the mind (such as emotions or dreams), or even speculative futures. As an independent animated documentary, The Sinking of...

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