Slamdance Seizes on Virtual Fest to Spark Wider Love of Indie Film

Slamdance Film Festival president and c0-founder Peter Baxter is effectively conscious of how costly it’s to journey to Park City, Utah, to attend the pageant.

Except this yr.

In the newest MovieMaker podcast, out there on Google or Spotify or above, Baxter and pageant supervisor Adele Han Li speak about how they’ve seized on the digital format of Slamdance this yr to make it extra inclusive than ever earlier than. They hope for a wider embrace of the sort of micro-budget movies that Slamdance has at all times celebrated.

The pageant begins Friday, and you may join a pageant cross for $10 at

“We’re seeing the the online space as a way to really reach a much wider audience. And we hope to make independent film more popular,” Baxter says. “Because I think in some ways, independent film, as odd as this may sound, has been exclusive — it actually hasn’t been an inclusive art form… in terms of having to travel to film festivals.”

He provides: “So here then is a way to open that up and to introduce and bring independent film to a new audience, to a younger audience, to a new generation of viewers. And I think by doing that, we can actually increase the value of independent film overall, because it will make it more popular.”

Also Read: Slamdance Panelists Tell You How to Avoid 8 Film Festival Red Flags

Of course, Slamdance has at all times been good at discovering moviemakers who’re quickly to be fashionable: The pageant has helped launch the careers of Steven Soderbergh, Anthony and Joe Russo, Christopher Nolan, Lena Dunham, and Ari Aster, amongst many extra. In the podcast, Baxter recollects screening Nolan’s 1998 film Following, earlier than the long run blockbuster director was snug selling his personal work.

One upside among the many numerous disadvantages of film festivals logging on is that filmmakers and film lovers with disabilities not have to deal with snow, outdated buildings or other impediments to seeing nice new movies. Slamdance will showcase moviemakers with disabilities this yr with its new “Unstoppable” program, which will characteristic 22 quick movies from up-and-coming disabled filmmakers, characteristic actors with disabilities, or spotlight discussions of disabilities. It is solely programmed by artists with disabilities.

Slamdance’s full lineup this yr — the pageant’s twenty seventh version — additionally consists of 25 options and 107 shorts and episodics. Recent Slamdance success tales embody the upcoming Jamie Foxx Netflix film Day Shift, which was born from Slamdance; Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night, which premiered at Slamdance in 2019 and was launched by Amazon in 2020, and Merawi Gerima’s Residue, which premiered at Slamdance final yr, was picked up by Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY, and is now streaming on Netflix.

Adele Han Li harassed that Slamdance stays contemporary partly as a result of its programming crew evolves and modifications yearly.

“Every year, we invite the new crop of filmmakers to come and join and program with us. And I think because of that, Slamdance has really been able to stay fresh, because we are always inviting new, fresh voices to be the ones who are curating and deciding what is the most exciting to them.”

She says there are not any simply definable high quality that makes a Slamdance film a Slamdance film.

“Our programmers always say, ‘It’s a good film. But is it a Slamdance film? And no one really knows exactly what that means. But everyone kind of has their own idea of what that means to them. And that’s how collectively our programs are formed.”

The Slamdance Film Festival begins Friday and runs by February 25.

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