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Remembering Summer Chastant

We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of filmmaker and alumni Summer Chastant. Summer was a committed and passionate member of our community, especially as a programmer and Co-Captain of Episodes. Crucially, Summer gave Slamdance her light to lift other filmmakers and the organization as a whole. It seemed as though Summer was made for Slamdance and Slamdance was made for her. We are greater than the sum of our parts and the devotion she gave us meant Summer was a very big part indeed. We always looked forward to being with her and will miss her greatly. In rest, may she find peace we all seek. Love from everyone at Slamdance....

Announcing the Short Film Lineup for Slamdance 2023

We are excited to announce our mind-bending lineup for our 2023 Animated, Experimental, Unstoppable, Narrative, and Documentary Shorts programs as well as the Digital, Interactive and Gaming (DIG) and Episodes lineup. Dedicated to providing accessible programming both in-person and online, the 2023 hybrid festival will return this year with events in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah from January 20th to 26th and online on the Slamdance Channel from January 23rd to 29th. “Our short filmmakers have always been at the forefront of innovation and experimentation in independent film, while simultaneously giving a voice to filmmaking communities that are traditionally under-represented. This year’s shorts, episodic and DIG lineup is no different, filled with fearless filmmakers who are sure to shape the future of independent storytelling on a global scale,” said Festival Producer Michael Morin. The 2023 festival continues the tradition of pushing the envelope of independent and DIY filmmaking with the addition of 19 Unstoppable Shorts, 11 Animated Shorts, 18 Narrative Shorts, 13 Documentary Shorts, 5 Experimental Shorts, 5 Episodes, and 9 DIG Showcases to the lineup. Exploring themes of grief, religion, cultural roots, memories and more, the films in these programs challenge our current perception of cinema. “The films in this lineup are wildly unique and they each garnered enthusiastic and unanimous support...

Introducing Slamdance 2023 Artwork by Tara Tavi

We congratulate and welcome Tara Tavi as Slamdance's key artist for our 2023 Film Festival. Tara is an artist from Pomona, California whose multimedia work embraces the surreal. In her work for Slamdance Tara has created a collage that takes on a cinematic quality. By juxtaposing competing images from both sides of vintage magazine pages, nuanced narratives are created. The resulting complex imagery peers beneath the veneer of mass media and raises questions about chance and intentionality. You can learn more in Tara's video artist statement below. When you come to Slamdance this year be sure to see Tara's illuminated version of the festival's key art. You can find more of Tara and her work on Instagram. Slamdance 2023 will take place in-person from January 20-26 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah and virtually from January 23-29. Passes are available now. https://youtu.be/JKEWKrRvqu8...

Announcing the Feature Film Lineup for Slamdance 2023

We are delighted to announce the lineup for Narrative Features Competition, Documentary Features Competition, Breakouts, Unstoppable, and Spotlight Screenings for the 29th Slamdance Film Festival. With titles hailing from all over the globe and jam-packed with premieres, the 2023 festival continues our legacy of discovering fresh and influential new voices. Dedicated to providing accessible programming both in-person and online, the 2023 hybrid festival will return this year with events in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah from January 20th to 26th and online on the Slamdance Channel from January 23rd to 29th. “From the streets of Seattle to the psychedelic skies of a unicorn-run dystopia, our filmmakers are transporting audiences to new dimensions with stories that explore the nuance of disability, immigration and gender. This year’s lineup represents a generation of new directors who are breaking boundaries and redefining what filmmaking looks like in 2023,” stated Festival Manager Lily Yasuda. This year’s lineup was chosen from over 7,700 total submissions, 1,522 of which were features. All films selected in the Narrative Features and Documentary Features competition categories are directorial debuts without U.S. distribution, with budgets of less than $1 million USD - a feature that has been unique to Slamdance since its founding in 1995. While Slamdance’s main competition remains exclusive to first-time directors,...

Moby’s PUNK ROCK VEGAN MOVIE Will Open Slamdance 2023

The 2023 Slamdance Film Festival will return to in-person programming with events in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah from January 20th to 26th and online on the Slamdance Channel from January 23rd to 29th. Kicking off the festivities is a screening of the Opening Night film PUNK ROCK VEGAN MOVIE. From the mind of electronic music legend Moby, the project is the musician’s directorial debut and is a passionate and stylistically idiosyncratic look at the ongoing relationship between the worlds of punk rock and animal rights. Including interviews with some of the biggest names in punk history, including Ian Mackaye, HR, Dave Navarro, Ray Cappo, Steve Ignorant, and Captain Sensible, Moby tells the story of how punk rock became such a fertile and surprising breeding ground for vegan activism. In the spirit of punk rock, Moby will be giving the film away for free following the Slamdance premiere. “PUNK ROCK VEGAN MOVIE was created to shine a light on the surprising and inspiring history of punk rock and animal rights, but also to remind people of the importance and desperate urgency of adopting the uncompromising ethics and actions of the original punk rock activist,” said Moby. “After it makes its world premiere at Slamdance, it's yours. It's my goal to give the movie...

The University of Utah To Host First In-Person Unstoppable

The 2023 Slamdance Film Festival will return to in-person programming with events in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah from January 20th to 26th and online on the Slamdance Channel from January 23rd to 29th. This will include the first in-person Unstoppable showcase, which will be presented at the University of Utah from January 23rd to 25th. Slamdance is honored to continue its support of independent filmmaking and unconventional storytelling with the return of the Unstoppable program in partnership with the University of Utah. The University has been a long time supporter of the festival and is the perfect partner to provide the first in-person iteration of the program through their accessible campus, which is free to the public. Launched in 2021 and founded by Juliet Romeo, Asha Chai-Chang, Gabriel Cordell, Chris Furbee, Steve Way, Peter Baxter and Taylor Miller, the Unstoppable program is a showcase of new films by creators with visible and non-visible disabilities. The program has been a key launching point for filmmakers, including 2021 alumni Doug Roland whose short film “Feeling Through” was nominated for an Academy Award. “Unstoppable is excited and grateful for this collaboration with The University of Utah because it allows for a safe space for disabled filmmakers, and an opportunity to bridge the gap between accessibility...

Disability Will Be Televised

https://youtu.be/X-eTy6xjUZI Introduced by Taylor Miller, moderator and Slamdance Unstoppable cofounder Juliet Romeo sits down with actor Lolo Spencer and actor/Slamdance Unstoppable Cofounder Steve Way to discuss disability, accessibility, and activism, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and making it as an actor and filmmaker in an inaccessible industry. This panel was originally presented as part of the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival. Watch the full panel above or check out some highlights below. On navigating the pandemic with a disability. SW: It's been now 23 months since the last time I worked. I would really, really like to make some money soon. Because I can't keep coasting and, you know, I got bills to pay and I got my house. But you know, we live in this weird society that values work and productivity over the health of those workers. So yeah, while I obviously want to work, it's not the best idea not just for me but really anyone. On choosing disabled characters with humanity. LS: What I always desire when it comes to choosing roles is, "What is the humanity of this character?" first, before what you are able to see because I have a visible disability. I think it does start to create a narrative about disability lifestyle that people are not used to...

Hidden Gems: Where To Shoot Your Next Film

By Ryan Broussard Production tax incentives may sound intimidating, but they can be a powerful resource for independent filmmakers. Our partners at Cast & Crew and Media Services have put together a list of five states to consider shooting in and what you need to know about their tax incentives. The world of production tax incentives can be very exciting and even more profitable, given you choose the right jurisdiction for your project’s creative and budgetary needs. Believe it or not, there are currently more than 40 different production incentive programs in place across the United States. While we commonly hear about the most popular or longest-running ones (like those in Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, and now the very busy New Jersey), let’s not overlook the programs in lesser-known areas that may, in fact, be more profitable options for any given project. Here’s a look at five of the U.S.’ hidden gem states for production incentives: Alabama Tax Credit Type: Fully Refundable Credit (file a tax return, get a check back). Percentage: 25—35% Minimum Criteria: $500K Notable Projects: Get Out, Gerald’s Game, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Alabama’s $20 million-funded program is often overlooked, as it runs between two popular southern states in Louisiana and Georgia. But Bama is no slouch! It has one...

How CreativeFuture Innovation Award-Winner Hannah Saidiner Animates Her Memories

The Slamdance Film Festival has long partnered with CreativeFuture to offer the CreativeFuture Innovation Award, a recognition of filmmakers whose work and innovative use of technology exemplify the spirit of filmmaking. The 2022 CreativeFuture Innovation Award winner is Hannah Saidiner, whose heartfelt animated documentary "My Parent, Neal" documented her parent's gender transition. CreativeFuture's JC Taylor sat down with Hannah for a discussion on her career and the animation process. Although another Slamdance Film Festival has come and gone, we are always awestruck by all the astonishing talent on display. This year’s short film candidates for the CreativeFuture Innovation Award featured mesmerizing imagery, heartfelt stories, and innovative styles. But what ultimately won our hearts this year was Hannah Saidiner’s My Parent, Neal – an emotional documentation of a parent’s transition to become who they really are. A look at the complex and loving relationship between a parent and their child, My Parent, Neal evokes the innocence of youth with its distinct visual style. For its creativity and incredible heart, it deserved the CreativeFuture Innovation Award. After Slamdance 2022, Saidiner spoke with CreativeFuture about her artistic roots, her creative process, and her plans for the future. JC TAYLOR: What have you been up to since Slamdance? HANNAH SAIDINER: I graduated last year, and right after that, I...

Unstoppable: An Open Dialogue on Captioning

How To Make Your Film Accessible to Audiences With Disabilities Courtesy of the Unstoppable Programming Team Since 2020, Slamdance’s Unstoppable program has showcased cutting-edge films made by and about individuals with disabilities. Slamdance currently requires captions for all Unstoppable submissions and encourages captions for submissions to other categories, which has prompted some questions about why, exactly, captioning is essential. Here, our team answers your questions about captioning and how to create the most inclusive film when submitting to festivals. First things first: What is captioning? Captioning is a text display of the spoken dialogue and other crucial audio information in the film. It is generally used for audiences who are hearing-impaired. It can also be helpful for viewers who speak a different language from the audio track on the production or who simply want to read what is being said while they watch. Why does Slamdance require captioning for Unstoppable submissions? Slamdance requires captioning for all Unstoppable submissions because some of our programmers are deaf or hard of hearing. We want every person with a disability to feel welcomed, included, and represented. Our program's motto is "For disabled filmmakers by disabled filmmakers.” We believe that inclusion of the disability community matters, and this starts with ensuring screeners are fully accessible to every member of the...

How Making a Doc About a Punk Band Taught Me To Be an Indie Filmmaker

Slamdance alum and programmer Chelsea Christer wrote this article about her experience with her film Bleeding Audio, which played as part of our 2021 festival. Originally written for No Film School, they have both been kind enough to allow us to host the article here. The idea for Bleeding Audio had been percolating for me since early 2014, when The Matches informed me of their intention to reunite for a single live performance for the first time in years. I offered to film promotional videos since I was a close friend and filmmaker, and I wanted to support them in any way I could. This band inspired me to pursue a creative living, which I was leading happily, and in my view, this was the least I could do in return. The Matches’ fans are extremely loyal. They had been long deprived of their beloved band and community, and there was no doubt that the vacuum The Matches left behind would be instantly filled. Sure enough, their “one show” sold out in seconds, and that single show turned into a sold-out North American and Australian tour, and I had the basis of what would be a really compelling feature-length music documentary. I pitched a feature-length film to the guys and was met with the same humility that...

When I Was You I Wish I Knew: Stepping Up Your Next Production

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICZXICI1S1k   David Benavente (VP of Independent Sales & Production Incentives at Cast & Crew) and Ryan Broussard (VP of Sales & Production Incentives at Media Services) sat down with Slamdance alumni Chelsea Christer and Jessica Farrell to share their experience and advice for emerging filmmakers, covering an array of production topics including financing, tax incentives and more to help prepare you for your next project. Watch the full panel or check out some highlights below. On who to have on board when you start budgeting JF: I would say always think about how you want to collaborate. The first thing before you even jump to a line producer, production assistant, anything smaller in that realm, think about your above-the-line producer. This person is really going to be your mom. Producers help with budget, help pitch, get distribution. All the way from A to Z. It’s a big commitment so you need to collaborate with the right person and make sure they fit your project. RB: Accept that you don’t know everything and team up with people that know more than you and be OK with that. Our big philosophy is — with independents — small fish become big fish. On the paperwork to have in place as you build your team JF: Start with your...

Slamdance ’22 Presents: Blockchain Fairy Tales

Slamdance '22 Presents: Blockchain Fairy Tales: What if  Happily Ever After Is Not Guaranteed? Made by many and in collaboration with Columbia University's School of the Arts' Digital Storytelling Lab Those formerly known as the audience will become architects of the future in this collective storytelling event. We will explore a playful world, contend with magical threats, and face the question: What if Happily Ever After is Not Guaranteed? Together, we will create new myths that come to life on our screens. This experience is made by many co-creators, leveraging Blockchain technology for creative purposes beyond commerce. Blockchain Fairy Tales examines the core of crypto through a speculative lens, subverts the current value system of cryptocurrency and uplifts shared community values. What if our voices could be part of a social system that uses decentralization to challenge the most hierarchical systems we have? Event Information Blockchain Fairy Tales (BFT) will take place over Zoom and Miro (a collaborative whiteboard platform). A Zoom link will be sent to the email you registered with. Feel free to share the event page, but please do not share the Zoom link on social media. 1st Performance Saturday, January 29th 1 p.m. EST 2nd Performance Thursday, February 3rd 1 p.m. EST...

Announcing The Slamdance Channel, Slamdance’s New Anti-Algorithm Streaming Service

Slamdance will debut a new streaming platform for independent films, The Slamdance Channel, which will launch in conjunction with the annual indie-focused Slamdance Film Festival on January 27 and feature new programming on February 7, the day after the fest wraps. The Slamdance Channel expands the organization’s mission of providing creators with maximum opportunities to reach movie audiences. The streaming platform will have a curated selection of content that allows artists to gain more visibility and recognition for their work, as well as monetary compensation for their creative endeavors. Slamdance will actively support filmmakers on the platform by sharing any profits fairly among its contributing artist community. “Slamdance has always looked at ways to overcome industry gatekeepers that block independently made films from being accessible and the Slamdance Channel represents our biggest effort yet,” said Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter. “We are an anti-algorithm, artist-led collective, continually hellbent on sharing original film work with a wider audience. We’re looking forward to seeing how our Channel develops and fits into the bigger picture of a decentralized media future.” Baxter continued, “The future of film, like any art form, depends on truly unique voices that defy simple classification and transcend analytics. We are celebrating these voices on the Channel who push the boundaries of what’s possible...

Introducing Slamdance 2022 Artwork by Jamie Wolfe

Jamie Wolfe is the key artist for the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival. About her new work, she says "the central figure came from making something that embodies the raw, eclectic energy of the festival." Jamie Wolfe is an animator and artist living and working in Los Angeles, California. You can learn more about Jamie and her work on Vimeo, Instagram, or on her website. The 2022 Slamdance Film Festival will stream 100+ independent films from January 27 to February 6 in an accessible, on-demand format. Preorder your $10 virtual pass now.  ...

In Conversation With the Slamdance Screenplay Competition Winners | Joyce Sherrí and Tyler Tice

https://youtu.be/htGviVo6ZoE Joyce Sherrí and Tyler Tice — the 2020 and 2017 winners of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition — came together virtually to discuss their journeys as writers and preparing their scripts for production. Tyler Tice's Day Shift is now in production at Netflix, while Joyce Sherrí plans to direct Sweet Sixteen as her first feature film. You can find more information about this year's Screenplay Competition here. Watch the full panel or check out some highlights below.   Joyce Sherri on her 2020 Slamdance-winning feature screenplay SWEET SIXTEEN. JS: is a coming-of-age story but it has some magical realism elements thrown into it. It's about a 15-year-old girl who discovers that right before her 16th birthday the electricity in her home is cut off. So she sort of goes on a small adventure to try to get the money together, to get the lights on so that she could just have a perfect sweet sixteen. I wanted to tell a story that was about somebody who wanted something very simple, especially coming from the black perspective, because I feel that a lot of times our stories are usually rooted in racism and all these other things. I'm like, yes. That happens. But we also want very simple things like your first kiss, or...

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