2019 Slamdance Film Festival Spotlight

Spiral Farm, Director Alec Tibaldi

Up a dirt road, nestled in the hills of Southern California lies Spiral Farm, a vibrant and colorful intentional community inspired by the communes of the late 60’s. Its eclectic inhabitants look out for each other, as they work side by side on this completely self sustaining permaculture farm. 17 year-old Anahita (Piper De Palma), has lived on Spiral Farm for as long as she can remember and dreams of one day leaving the safety of Spiral and pursuing a career as a dancer. However, whenever she makes these plans she is always deterred by the thought of leaving Ocean, her eight year old nephew who she cares for and shares a deep bond with. Stifled by her responsibilities to her family and the commune, Anahita has developed what her mother (Amanda Plummer) calls a “bashfulness” when it comes to sexuality. When her mother’s old flame, Maurizio (Cosimo Fusco) arrives for an unexpected visit, he brings along his teenage son, Theo (Teo Halm). Anahita is immediately drawn to him, confused by her newfound feelings. When Theo discovers her passion for dance he encourages her to journey into the city for an audition. Away from the confines of the communes, Anahita discovers that although she lacks the technical skills to be a professional dancer, she may still be able to leave Spiral by going to college in the city changing the course of her life. But will Anahita, who has been so dedicated to others chose to live for herself? Director and writer Alex Tibaldi joins us to talk about his feature film debut and his intimate, moving character study of women in transition, searching for meaningful connections.

Letterboxd.com/film/spiral-farm

Behind the Bullet, Director Heidi Yewman

BEHIND THE BULLET is the directorial debut from author and activist, Heidi Yewman. When her former basketball coach and teacher, Dave Sanders was killed in the Columbine High School massacre along with 12 students, she began profiling the lives of those altered by the impact of gun violence. She is a tireless advocate for gun safety, sitting on the boards of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Women Donors Network, Stop our Shootings, and Trauma Intervention Program of Portland, OR. In BEHIND THE BULLET will make it’s world debut as a documentary competition selection at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, Yewman chronicles an in-depth look at four individuals who have pulled the trigger and the profound impact it’s had on their lives. Every year, almost 40,000 people are shot and killed in America. Each shooting devastates and forever changes the victim’s family and friends. BEHIND THE BULLET explores a side of gun violence that’s rarely talked about – the impact a shooting has on the shooter. Four individuals share how the pull of a trigger, changed them emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. They describe the conflicting emotions and moral injury that comes after a self-defense, accidental, or unintentional shooting, offering a new and unbiased perspective on gun violence. Director Heidi Yewman joins us to talk about the devastating impacts that guns and the profound impact they have had on four people’s lives.

 

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For news and updates go to: behindthebulletfilm.com

“BEHIND THE BULLET is a captivating and honest look at what is going on in our country when it comes to gun control.  It looks at all sides of the issue that sometimes the media does not discuss or cover.  This is a must see film in our current climate.”   — Peter Hammond, Deadline

“Behind The Bullet is just WOW – an amazing insight into what we are dealing with in the U.S.  It’s a refreshing insight and a story that needs to be told.”  — Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter

This Teacher, Actor Kevin Kane (Director Mark Jackson)

THIS TEACHER follows a French Muslim woman (Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi) as she travels to New York City to visit her childhood best friend from the rough neighborhoods outside of Paris. When the reunion proves disastrous, Hafsia steals her friend’s credit card and identity, and disappears to a remote cabin upstate. Deep in the woods and alone for the first time in her life, she experiences a divine revelation of an existence without borders. But when she discovers that she’s not alone on the property, Hafsia’s sojourn in nature gradually descends into a terrifying study of the intolerance and suspicion she encounters and reflects back to an Islamophobic America. Written and directed by Mark Jackson featuring a score composed from the Grammy nominated Dave Eggar, the film stars: Cesar-winner Hafsia Herzi  (The Secret of the  Grain)  Sarah Kazemy (Circumstance)  Lucy Walters (Power), Kevin Kane (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lev Gorn (The Americans). Jackson’s previous films have won 17 awards including an Independent Spirit Award and a Gotham Nomination.  Jackson is also a Sundance, Cinereach and Skywalker Sound Fellow. Actor Kevin Kane joins us for a conversation on THIS TEACHER’S closing night screening at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, intolerance and not being afraid to love.

For news and updates go to: visitfilms.com/This Teacher

Slamdance Film Festival Co-founder Peter Baxter

It all began when a group of cheerful, subversive filmmakers weren’t accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. Unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they instead started their own event – Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah. 24 years later, Slamdance has become a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers. The organization now consists of the Film Festival, Screenplay Competition and Slamdance Studios. Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter are the founding forefathers who, along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman, fought for truly independent filmmakers by giving them a voice in 1995 at the very first Slamdance Film Festival. Since then, the festival takes place every January in the breathtakingly stunning, snow-capped mountains of Park City, Utah at the exact same time as the Sundance Film Festival, toprovide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking.  Up-and-coming writers, directors and producers, alongside seasoned veterans and film lovers, converge for the weeklong celebration of independent cinema, realizing that Slamdance is a great place to find those next, great, visionary films.  Slamdance lives and bleeds by its mantra By Filmmakers For Filmmakers. No other film festival in the world is entirely run and organized by the creative force that can only be found in filmmakers. Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and exists to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for – a chance to show their work and a platform to launch their careers. The festival has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Co-founder and President Peter Baxter joins us to talk about this year’s Slamdance, the groundbreaking films and the innovative new distribution being launched by Slamdance.

 

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For news and updates go to: slamdance.com

Check out the film schedule at slamdance 2019 schedule

Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah

Social Media:

facebook.com/SlamdanceFilmFestival

twitter.com/Slamdance

instagram.com/slamogram

Carrie Lozano, Director IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund

The International Documentary Association (IDA) is dedicated to building and serving the needs of a thriving documentary culture. Through its programs, the IDA provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists. IDA is the only group advocating specifically for the documentary filmmaking community. In many ways, this makes IDA’s advocacy work the most important and relevant work we do. Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world. The Enterprise Documentary Fund is one of the many logistical and financial programs offered by IDA.

About the Enterprise Documentary Fund: 

In the face of an all-out assault on the press, IDA is committed to standing behind the independent storytellers and watchdogs that make up our community—in large part, through the newly created Enterprise Documentary Fund. Made possible by a generous grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the fund will disburse $1 million per year for the next four years, in the form of production grants up to $100,000 and development grants up to $15,000. The fund is intended to support primarily mid-career filmmakers producing feature-length, in-depth explorations of original, contemporary stories with a journalistic foundation or that incorporate journalistic practice into the filmmaking process. The mission of the Enterprise Documentary Fund is admittedly ambitious: It seeks to provide valuable resources and support systems (not unlike those in newsrooms) for filmmakers taking on the critical stories of our time. Originally sparked by the findings in “Dangerous Documentaries,” the fund is a response to pleas from filmmakers themselves. In interviews recently conducted by Toni Bell, IDA’s Filmmaker Services Manager, filmmakers reiterated the major findings in “Dangerous Docs”: They want access to information about digital and physical security, research databases, legal and other experts, public relations strategists and mentors. Exercising our rights to free speech and freedom of the press are critical for a healthy democracy. As I write this, these rights are clearly under assault, and we owe it to ourselves and to the public to staunchly call ourselves journalists and artists—they are not mutually exclusive.”Carrie Lozano, Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund

 

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For news and updates go to: documentary.org

For updates on funding resources go to: documentary.org/funding

Bernard and Huey, Director Dan Mirvish

Directed by Slamdance Film Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish (BETWEEN US) from a long-lost script by Oscar/Pulitzer-winning cartoonist and screenwriter Jules Feiffer (Mike Nichols’ CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, Robert Altman’s POPEYE) based on characters that date back to 1957, BERNARD AND HUEY is the story of roguish Huey (David Koechner, ANCHORMAN) and nebbishy Bernard (Oscar-winner Jim Rash, THE WAY WAY BACK), who are unlikely collegiate friends in late 1980s New York. Years later, a bedraggled Huey crashes at Bernard’s upscale bachelor pad. As the two reconnect, Bernard falls in love with Huey’s estranged daughter Zelda (Mae Whitman, GOOD GIRLS), an aspiring graphic novelist who’s got a seductive new creative partner, Conrad (Eka Darville, JESSICA JONES). Huey slowly gets his mojo back and tries to seduce the various women in Bernard’s life, including his off-again girlfriend Roz (Sasha Alexander, RIZZOLI & ISLES) and colleague, Mona (Nancy Travis, SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER), while reconnecting with his ex-wife  (Bellamy Young, SCANDAL) and brother (Richard Kind, ARGO).  As Bernard and Huey return to their old ways, at least one of them finds himself in danger of marrying a woman old enough to be his wife. An award-winning film that’s screened at over 25 festivals in 5 continents, BERNARD AND HUEY is a particularly timely story of two men behaving badly, and the smart women who rein them in. Director Dan Mirvish joins us for a conversation on getting older, acknowledging that we get older, love, romanced the genius of Jules Feiffer.

 

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For news and updates go to: bernardandhueymovie.com

76% on Rotten Tomatoes

“Devoted Feifferites, not to mention fans of Mr. Rash and Mr. Koechner, who get to flex their muscles nicely here, will be well sated.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Mirvish has stylishly blended the past and present for a comfortable vibe that makes the film fun and cool despite the ridiculous relationship chaos swirling around.” – Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

“As you might hope for a film with a script from the great Jules Feiffer, Dan Mirvish’s Bernard and Huey bristles with anxious, circuitous, hilarious talk.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“Feiffer’s distinctive writing resonates even decades later.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Human Affairs, Director Charlie Birns

Friday, January 19, 2018 – Human Affairs, Director Charlie Birns

HUMAN AFFAIRS is a compassionate drama about a young, successful theatre couple in New York City who meet their surrogate mother for the first time, and embark on a startling and intimate weekend of surprises and emotional revelations. Featuring powerful performances from Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Dominic Fusuma (13 Hours, Focus) and a standout portrayal by young French actress Julie Sokolowski (star of Bruno Dumont’s   Hadewijch) as Genevieve, the film also features David Harbour (Stranger Things). Writer / director / actor Charlie Birns has crafted a nuanced debut feature drama  about embarking on the precarious closeness of surrogacy while bravely searching for a connection.  Featuring exquisite cinematography by Sean Price Williams,  Good Time and Heaven Knows What and with the Safdie Brothers,  Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth with Alex Ross Perry, the HUMAN AFFAIRS experiments with new modes of cinematic storytelling, employing raw performance, unexpected sound design, editing, narration and the use of still photography to dazzling effect. Director Charlie Burns joins us for a conversation on the challenges and rewards of directing his first feature film and the film’s debut at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

 

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http://human-affairs.com/

A clip from Human Affairs: vimeo.com/250217517

Quest, Director Santiago Rizzo

Slamdance Film Festival narrative featureQuest,” starring: Dash Mihok (“Ray Donovan,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and “Romeo + Juliet”),  and Lou Diamond Phillips (“La Bamba,” “Courage Under Fire,” and “Young Guns”) is included in the Slamdance 2018 Special Screening section. “Quest,” a beloved audience award winner that debuted at the Mill Valley Film Festival this fall, and has continued to win award after award throughout it’s festival journey. Quest’s will debut on Monday, January 22nd, 2018, at the Slamdance Film Festival. This powerful film addresses the brutality of child abuse in a way we haven’t seen before, winning praise from the foster child community, among others who see the plight of this epidemic firsthand. Quest is a story that speaks to the power of love, and it’s ability to reach us even through the darkness and pain that surround us. Based on a true story, the film follows an uncertain friendship between a 12-year-old graffiti addict “ Mills” (Greg Kasyan, in his debut role), who faces abuse from his stepfather (Lou Diamond Phillips), and a devoted teacher & coach named Tim Moellering (Dash Mihok), who believes there is no such thing as a bad kid – only a bad situation. Based on the stories of their lives in the Bay Area of California, the first draft of Quest was written together by first time director Santiago Rizzo, and his mentor & teacher Tim Moellering (whom has sadly since passed away from Pancreatic Cancer before he could see the film made). Director, producer and writer joins us for a conversation on his debut film.

For news and updates go to: quest.film

For more on Director Santiago Rizzo’s story go to: quest.film/filmmaker

 

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SLAMDANCE SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Monday, January 22, 6:30 PM
Wednesday, January 24, 12:30 PM

Treasure Mountain Inn — Ballroom

Awards:

Berkeley Video & Film Festival

Won, Grand Festival Award for Best Film

Mill Valley Film Festival

Won, Audience Award for U.S. Cinema Indie

Napa Valley Film Festival

Won, Audience Award for Favorite Narrative Feature

Won, Audience Award for Favorite Actor

Won, Jury Award for Best Lounge Feature

Oldenburg Film Festival

Won, Seymour Cassel Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor

Nominated, German Independence Award – Audience Award for Best Film

Roll With Me, Director Lisa France

introducing us to the charismatic Gabriel Cordell. After hitting rock-bottom, this newly sober paraplegic attempts to save his gang-banger (and barely out of rehab) nephew’s life by bringing him along on a record breaking 3,100-mile wheelchair trek across the United States. This intense trip will challenge Gabriel physically and emotionally as he becomes a vision of hope for countless strangers along his journey. Gabriel’s support crew is an unlikely team, that become a family. All of them are from very different backgrounds and each dealing with their own issues – PTSD, homelessness, unemployment, family estrangement and sobriety struggles. What started out as a challenge to push an unmodified wheelchair from California to New York, morphs into a most transcendent journey that fills your heart for long after the movie ends and the screen grows dark. In an age divided, Roll With Me ignites our common humanity and urges us to find our inner hero or heroine. We can be heroes…every single day that we reach outside of ourselves. Director Lisa France joins us to talk about her own journey and the challenges involved with a cross-country trek with 9 people in a small SUV and no film making experience.

For news and updates go to: rollwithmethemovie.com

 

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“Roll With Me” Slamdance Film Festival Premiere & Red Carpet:

Monday, January 22nd 

3:30pm— Red Carpet

4:00pm— Festival Premiere Screening 

5:40pm — Q&A to follow with cast & filmmakers.

*Select tickets for screening still available upon request.

Location: The Ballroom at Treasure Mountain Inn

Awards:

Virginia Film Festival

 Won, Audience Award for Documentary Feature

Woodstock Film Festival

Won, Carpe Diem Andretta Award

Runner Up, Audience Award