Slamdance has announced the full film lineup for its 2022 edition, with a feature film competition that boasts 23 premieres, including 13 world premieres, six North American premieres, and four U.S. debuts.
The independent film festival, known for its “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” mentality, will showcase a total of 28 features, 79 shorts, and seven episodes during its 28th edition. Slamdance will be presented in a hybrid fashion, with a physical festival returning to Park City, Utah, from Jan. 20-23, bridged with an “accessible and robust” program of virtual screenings, running Jan. 20-30.
“We are anti-algorithm. That’s always been true, but it’s more urgent than ever as we continue to celebrate truly unique voices that defy simple classification and transcend analytics,” Peter Baxter, Slamdance president and co-founder, said in a statement announcing this year’s lineup.
“This year our programmers gravitated towards films that embody the true DIY spirit of guerrilla filmmaking and push the boundaries of what’s possible in storytelling,” Baxter continued. “The Slamdance team is honored to introduce everyone of these storytellers, who are changing the media narrative and elevating the art form of independent film.”
Chosen from over 1,124 submissions, this year’s competition lineup are feature-length, directorial debuts without U.S. distribution, with budgets of less than $1 million — a feature that has been unique to Slamdance since its founding in 1995.
Narrative features include:
“Actual People” (USA) North American Premiere
During her final week of college, Riley goes to great lengths to win the affections of a boy from her hometown of Philly, and ends up confronting her escalating anxieties about her love life, family, and future.
Director/Screenwriter: Kit Zauhar; Producers: Kit Zauhar, Andrew Nadkarni, Jason Wang
Cast: Kit Zauhar, Scott Albrecht, Audrey Kang, Vivian Zauhar, Henry Fulton Winship, Isabelle Barbier, Fraser Jones
“Goodafternoon Sweetdream” (South Korea) World Premiere
Following her father’s death, Ye Won hangs out with her friends, but her mind is elsewhere.
Director/Screenwriter: Bang Seung Hyeon
Cast: Son Ye Won, Kim Woo Kyeom, Sung San Hee, Yang Min Ju, Bang Seung Hyeon
“Hannah Ha Ha” (United States) World Premiere
A kind-hearted townie living with her aging father is pulled in different directions by her type-A older brother who returns closer to home and imposes his lifestyle choices on the family.
Directors/Screenwriters: Jordan Tetewsky, Joshua Pikovsky; Producer: Roger Mancusi; Co-producer: Emily Freire
Cast: Hannah Lee Thompson, Roger Mancusi, Avram Tetewsky, Betsey Brown, Charlie Robinson, Jake Stern, Petr Favazza, Peter Cole, and Chuck Fazzio
“Honeycomb” (Canada) World Premiere
Five girls stray from society on the hunt for something more special…. you can find them if you follow the sound.
Director/Producer: Avalon Fast; Screenwriters: Avalon Fast, Emmett Roiko
Cast: Rowan Wales, Sophie Bawks-Smith, Jillian Frank, Destini Stewart, Mari Geraghty, Jaris Wales, Henri Gillespi, Max Graham
“Love Tasting” (Poland) US Premiere
A group of lost (and nowhere near found) high school friends are waiting by the pool for junior prom. After just one week of this utterly horrible phase of human life — the teenage years — nothing will be the same again.
Director/Screenwriters: Dawid Nickel; Producer: Marta Habior
Cast: Sandra Drzymalska, Mikołaj Matczak, Michał Sitnicki, Nel Kaczmarek, Kuba Wróblewski, Agnieszka Żulewska
“Snow White Dies at the End” (North Macedonia, Cyprus) World Premiere
In a society where almost everybody farts backwards, six stubborn, proper-farting citizens pay a harsh price for being resolute to staying true to their own values.
Director/Screenwriter: Kristijan Risteski; Producer: Darko Popov
Cast: Natasha Petrovic, Verica Nedeska, Sashko Kocev, Deniz Abdula, Ivica Dimitrijevic, David Janakiev, Valentin Kostadinovski
“The Civil Dead” (USA) World Premiere
A misanthropic, struggling photographer just wants to watch TV and eat candy while his wife is out of town, but when a desperate old pal resurfaces, his plans are thwarted, with spooky consequences.
Director: Clay Tatum; Screenwriters: Clay Tatum, Whitmer Thomas; Producers: Mike Marasco, Kasandra Baruch
Cast: Clay Tatum, Whitmer Thomas, Whitney Weir, Budd Diaz, Robert Longstreet
“Therapy Dogs” (Canada) World Premiere
Two best friends set out to create the ultimate senior video for their graduating class of 2019.
Director: Ethan Eng; Screenwriters: Ethan Eng, Justin Morrice; Producers: shy kids, EP: Matthew Miller, Matt Johnson
Cast: Justin Morrice, Ethan Eng, Kevin Tseng, Kyle Peacock, Mitchell Cidade, Sebastian Neme, Andrew Michalko, Jayden Frost
“Ultrainocencia” (Spain) North American Premiere
Does God exist? Two blessed and rather bold test subjects, Orión and Adán, intend to prove it in a scientific experiment run by a mysterious religious organisation.
Director: Manuel Arija; Screenwriters: Manuel Arija, David Climent, Pablo Molinero; Producer: Alma Prieto
Cast: Sergi Lopez, David Climent, Pablo Molinero
“Yelling Fire In An Empty Theater” (USA)
A young woman moves to New York and becomes entangled in her roommates’ tumultuous relationship.
Director/Screenwriter: Justin Zuckerman; Producer: Ryan Martin Brown
Cast: Isadora Leiva, Kelly Cooper, Michael Patrick Nicholson, Ryan Martin Brown, Colin Burgess, Krista Jensen
The documentary feature selections are:
“Doggy Love” (Iran) US Premiere
Aslan is in love with Yassi. Together, they run an underground dog shelter in Iran.
Director/Screenwriter: Mahmoud Ghaffari; Producers: Mahnaz Jarchi
Cast: Aslan Taheri, Yassaman GhaedPanah
“Ferroequinology” (UK and USA) North American Premiere
Two artists enthralled by the uncanny lure of locomotion set out on journeys across America, capturing slow travel in today’s increasingly fast-paced society.
Director: Alex Nevill; Producers: Keith Haitkin, Alex Nevill
Cast: McNair Evans, Andrew Cross
“Forget Me Not” (USA)
The inclusive revolution starts in the classroom. A family fights to have their son with Down syndrome included in the country’s most segregated school system.
Director: Olivier Bernier; Producers: Olivier Bernier, Tiffany Conklin, Patrick Solomon, Ana Lucia Villela, Estela Renner, Luana Lobo, Marcos Nisti
Cast: Olivier Bernier, Hilda Bernier, Emilio Bernier, Thomas Hehir, Sue Swenson, Sara Jo Soldovieri
“Fury” (Poland) North American Premiere
Aleksandra Rola is a Polish MMA champion with a complicated backstory preparing for the World Championships in Las Vegas.
Director/Screenwriter: Krzysztof Kasior; Producer: Adam Slesicki
Cast: Aleksandra Rola, Konrad Płaza
A professional company of actors with disabilities defies expectations by taking center stage in Chicago the musical.
Directors/Producers: Brian Malone, Regan Linton
Cast: Regan Linton, Megan McQuire, Leonard Barrett Jr., Laurice Quinn, Lucy Roucis, Adam Johnson
“New Jack” (USA) World Premiere
Dealing with the repercussions of an extreme & dangerous career, faded professional wrestler New Jack navigates his way through life after the spotlight.
Director: Danny Lee, Noah Lee; Producer: Grant Hyun
Cast: Jerome Young
“Sylvie of the Sunshine State” (USA) World Premiere
Second grader Sylvie navigates the absurdities and emotional turbulence of her eccentric, multigenerational Jewish matriarchy, a dad who lives far away and life gone virtual, seen through the lens of her filmmaker single mom.
Director: Sasha Levinson; Screenwriters: Jonathan Sanford, Sasha Levinson; Producers: Katie White, Jonathan Sanford, Chris Brown
Cast: Sylviana Bellanca, Sasha Levinson, Aimeee Sherman, Jon Sherman, Phyllis Fratkin
The curiously optimistic tale of Doug Butler—a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer who risks losing the only home he’s ever known to chase his dreams of dog mushing in Alaska.
Director: Tommy Hyde; Producers: Aaron Woolf, Kyra Schaefer
Cast: Doug Butler
Features in the breakouts section are:
“Be Right Back” (Germany) World Premiere
With the appearance of a mysterious stranger, the absurd everyday life of four people living in an abandoned vacation resort in the woods comes apart at the seams.
Director: Frauke Havemann; Screenwriters: Frauke Havemann, Peter Stamer, Matthias Wittekindt; Producers: Frauke Havemann, Eric Schefter
Cast: Iris Boss, Inga Dietrich, Effi Rabsilber, Jack Rath, Poul Storm
“Facing Monsters” (Australia) US Premiere
Facing Monsters is a feature length documentary that digs deep into the psyche of West Australian ‘slab wave’ surfer Kerby Brown, a man whose connection with the ocean runs as deep as his love for his family
Director/Screenwriter: Bentley Dean; Producers: Frank Chidiac, Susanne Morrison, Chris Veerhuis, Sonya Rifici
Cast: Kerby Brown, Cortney Brown
“Killing the Eunuch KHAN” (Iran) North American Premiere
A serial killer uses his victims to kill more victims.
Director/Screenwriter: Abed Abest; Producer: Shahrzad Seifi
Cast: Ebarhim Azizi, Vahid Rad, Misagh Zare, Iman Basim
“Paris is in Harlem” (USA) World Premiere
On the eve of New York City’s controversial “No Dancing” Law getting repealed, the lives of several strangers are forever changed by a shooting at a historic jazz bar in Harlem.
Director/Screenwriter: Christina Kallas; Producers: Christina Kallas, Josh Mandel
Cast: Vandit Bhatt, Leon Addison Brown, Ellie Foumbi, Laura Pruden, Lauren Sowa, Souleymane Sy Savane, Steve Vause, Chris Veteri
“Retrograde” (Canada) World Premiere
A minor traffic citation spirals into an all-consuming obsession for a neurotic young woman.
Director/Screenwriter: Adrian Murray; Producers: Adrian Murray, Sennah Yee, Priscilla Galvez
Cast: Molly Reisman, Sofia Banzhaf, Bessie Cheng, Meelad Moaphi, Dean Tardioli, Erik Anderson
“We Are Living Things” (USA, China, Italy) North American Premiere
Two immigrants living on the fringes of American society hit the road in search of the truth about a shared UFO abduction.
Director: Antonio Tibaldi; Screenwriters: Alex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi; Producers: Fan He, Andrew K. Li, Alex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi
Cast: Jorge Antonio Guerrero, Xingchen Lyu, Zao Wang, O-Lan Jones, Paul Cooper, Manuel René Del Carmen Ordaz, Alfonso Rey, Allison Tibaldi
Episodes programming includes:
“Devonte” (USA) World Premiere
After signing a 145 million dollar contract, controversial superstar-quarterback Devonte Mitchell confronts the overwhelming demands and internal demons that come along with playing professional football in his hometown of Chicago.
Director/Screenwriter: Josh Kahn; Producers: Josh Kahn, Charlie Fritschner, Aron Phillips
Cast: Julian Parker, Tyrone Phillips, John Leen, Nick Friedell, Jeff Mangurten, Nolis Anderson, Tommy Westbrook
“Hidden Kingdom” (US, Colombia, Dominican Republic) World Premiere
An unconventional and intimate documentary web series that explores the lives of 5 different New York dancers.
Directors: Sunny Lee, Jacqueline Davis; Producers: Emily Backerman
Cast: Karon “Robin” White, Smarlin Fabian, Yamini Kalluri, Kouadio Davis, Régine Bellinger
“Inappropriate Jokes Well Told Presents: ‘A Priest Walking Through The Woods At Night'” (USA) World Premiere
A short, cinematic interpretation of the jokes we shouldn’t tell.
Director: Mario Garza; Screenwriter: Mario Garza, Hugo Bierschenk, Dean Woodhouse; Producers: Julia Elaine Mills
Cast: Ned Record, William Knight
“Space Wizards Must Die” (USA) World Premiere
A Space Wizard must fulfill an age-old prophecy to defeat an evil entity before it destroys the galaxy. It’d be a shame if his wizard squire were to #%$! it all up.
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Grier Dill
Cast: Eric Yearwood, Alex Meyers, Brett Glass
“The Ember Knight Show: ‘Getting Mad'” (USA)
When today’s guest suddenly cancels, host Ember Knight falls backwards into a claymation F%$! You City
Director: Bobby McCoy; Screenwriter: Ember Knight, Bobby McCoy; Producers: Ember Knight, Bobby McCoy, Mikey Santos, Clara Murray, Dino Stamatopoulos
Cast: Ember Knight, Haley Dahl
“Wipe Me Away” (Canada)
In Montreal, neglected children Mélissa, Eddy and Karine live in the same building and have to deal with a crushing environment of debauchery, violence and stealing to survive.
Director: Eric Picolli; Screenwriters: Florence Lafond, Eric Piccolli; Producers: Philippe Allard, Marco Frascarelli, Mathieu Paiement, Eric Piccolli
Cast: Charlee-Ann Paul, Malik Gervais-Aubourg, Sarah-Maxine Racicot, Julie Perreault, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Schelby Jean-Baptiste, Anglesh Major, Roberto Mei
In this mockumentary, witch Michelle has to skip lunch with her sister Maya so she can deal with the aftermath of using her magic on her mortal boyfriend Jeremiah.
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Charla Lauriston
Cast: Jemima Lauriston, Sasha Compere, Jerah Milligan
Narrative features, documentary features and episodes sections are eligible for the Audience Award, while all films and projects are eligible for the George Sparks Spirit of Slamdance Award (which is voted upon by filmmakers at the festival) and the AGBO Fellowship (which provides a $25,000 cash prize and mentorship by Slamdance alumni Anthony and Joe Russo and their AGBO team). The 2021 AGBO fellowship was awarded to Agnieszka Polska for her debut feature “Hurrah, We Are Still Alive!”
Slamdance’s shorts program will showcase more than 79 films, where selections in the narrative, documentary and animation sections are eligible for the 2022 Oscar-qualifying shorts competition.
In its second year, Slamdance’s Unstoppable program has expanded to showcase both shorts and feature length films by and about creators with visible and non-visible disabilities (Unstoppable launched last year with only short films included). The lineup is also programmed exclusively by alumni who themselves have visible and non-visible disabilities.
New to the Slamdance festival is the storytelling program Blockchain Fairy Tales (BFT), brings the cryptocurrency space to the film festival. Presented by Columbia University’s Digital Storytelling Lab and by leveraging Blockchain Technology from the eco-conscious Tezos platform, this two-hour project “subverts the current value system of cryptocurrency and uplifts shared community values, collectively questioning: what if happily ever after is not guaranteed?” BFT is available both online and in-person in Park City, with participants able to see their collective ideas come to life on the silver screen and become part of a real blockchain ledger.
For the full lineup of Slamdance offerings and more information on the 2022 festival, visit Slamdance.com.
Pictured above (clockwise from left): scenes from “Poppy,” “Forget Me Not” and “Snow White Dies at the End.”