2021 Festival Panels

2021 Festival Panels

Our 2021 panels will presented by and feature industry partners such as Hulu, ARRAY, IndieWire, and Google. The release dates for each panel are listed below!

All panels will be viewable within our virtual film festival so please make sure you have your festival pass to access our panels.

Ou panels all have ASL, Closed Captioning, and visual description introductions to support our full community. Thank you to our partners at Helen Keller Services and University of Utah for supporting our accessibility efforts for all our panels.


Greenlight Yourself

Date: Saturday, Feb. 13th at 9am PST
Moderator: Tilane Jones, President of ARRAY
Panelists: Lisa France, Merawi Gerima

This year’s festival theme, “Greenlight Yourself,” reflects Slamdance’s ongoing commitment to helping filmmakers turn obstacles into opportunities, especially in these unprecedented times. Thanks to our partners, alumni, and filmmaking community around the world, we’ve been able to continue and strengthen our efforts in supporting independent artists. One of those key partners is ARRAY, who has helped greenlight and distribute many of our alumni’s work. Join this discussion lead by Tilane Jones, President of ARRAY, and two of our filmmaking alumni, Lisa France, director of Roll with Me, and Merawi Gerima, director of Residue, as they discuss their amazing journeys with Slamdance and ARRAY to support their growing careers. Be sure to watch to the very end for a surprise guest and special presentation!


Real Love to Reel Love: Humanizing Romantic Relationships on Screen.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 14th at 9am PST
Moderator: Kristen Lopez, Head TV Editor at IndieWire
Panelists:  Asha Chai-Chang, Gabriel Cordell, Juliet Romeo, Steve Way

What does love and dating look like in the disabled community? Our programmers would like to continue the discussion of what dating looks like in life and on screen for someone who is disabled. Films rarely, if ever show successful relationships in which one partner is disabled and the other is not. Media has created a barrier for disabled love that doesn’t exist, yet exists in society just the same.


You Don’t Look Disabled: Representation of Non-Visible & Visible Disabilities in Filmmaking & Advertisements.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 16th at 9am PST
Moderator: KR Liu, Head of Brand Accessibility at Google, Brand Studio
Panelists: Asha Chai-Chang, Gabriel Cordell,  Juliet Romeo, Steve Way

Three of our five Unstoppable Programmers live with a non-visible disability. You Don’t Look Disabled originated from our programmers desire to share their own experiences on this unsettling description, and viewpoints on how to improve the well being of artists with non-visible disabilities working in the entertainment industry. An estimated half a billion people live with a disability we cannot see serving as a reminder of the importance of breaking down barriers for people living with both visible and non-visible disabilities.


Directing with a Disability from Shorts to Features

Date: Thursday, Feb. 18th at 9am PST
Moderator: Jason DaSilva, President and Founder, AXS Lab & AXS FUND
Panelists: Juliet Romeo

What are the challenges that come with directing a film with a disability? How is it possible to direct a documentary when you are a subject yourself? What are the accessibility challenges that need to be considered in production and post-production? What kind of crew do you need to create your film? How do you access resources and give back to your community?


Fright Club: Female Directors of Horror

Date: Friday, Feb. 19th at 9am PST
Moderator: Heidi Honeycutt, Director of Programming, Etheria Film Festival
Panelists: Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Shana Betz, Brea Grant, Terrie Samundra,

Despite or because of the bleak year that was 2020, horror filmmakers told exceptional stories to help us escape from reality and into their extraordinary visions. 2020 was also a big year for women filmmakers, with more women helming horror films than any other time in history. What stories did these filmmakers tell, and why? How did their films resonate with us as an audience, and why are these filmmakers drawn to horror? Our panelists give us insight into their visionary horror creations and the fascinating world of women making horror. Presented by The Chimaera Project.


Final Draft to First Shot: Preparing Your Script for Production

Date: Saturday, Feb. 20th at 9am PST
Moderator: Phil Galasso, Host of Final Draft’s “Write On” Podcast
Panelists: Joyce Sherrí, Tyler Tice

A great screenplay is only the first step towards making a great film. You’ve spent months, years (decades?!) writing and polishing your screenplay, but how do you know it’s ready to get made and when you do, where do you start? Slamdance’s 2020 Screenplay Competition Grand Prize Winner, Joyce Sherrí and 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Tyler Tice join moderator Phil Galasso, host of Final Draft’s Write On podcast to share their insights into finishing a script, finding collaborators and preparing for production. Presented by Final Draft.


Race & Ableism: The Unspoken Intersectionality of Diversity in Film

Date: Sunday, Feb. 21st at 9am PST
Moderator: Crystal Emery, Executive Director of URU, The Right To Be, Inc.
Panelists: Asha Chai-Chang, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Juliet Romeo

Our programmers have discussed how they have to get by in an industry that is predominantly male, white and able, and the pressure that comes from being a creator outside of these norms. We want to deconstruct the idea that you cannot work in film and be disabled and that diversity and disability are not separate, but “mutually inclusive.” For example, in the BIPOC community we have been speaking about and accepting that our disabled community is not a weakness, but a strength. How do we normalize being differently abled while being a person of color?


STOP! Collaborate & Listen: Bridging the Misrepresentation Gaps in Film via Collaboration

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 23rd at 9am PST
Moderator: Lauren Ridloff
Panelists: Marlee Matlin, Steven Prescod,Doug Roland, Sue Ruzekinski, Robert Tarango

Turning the tide of years of lack of representation/misrepresentation of the disability community in storytelling takes teamwork. In this conversation, Lauren Ridloff (Walking Dead, Eternals) leads a conversation with the team behind Feeling Through, using the making and exhibition of the film as a case study exemplifying the art of collaboration between the non-disabled and disabled communities to create inclusive and authentic films. We have to help each other create and have our intention be anchored in the authenticity of collaboration instead of competition.