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Rejected By Sundance #1 – Dion Lack’s Psychological Thriller ‘Caught In The Shadows’

Rejected By Sundance #1 - Dion Lack's Psychological Thriller 'Caught In The Shadows'

First here’s a quick recap on what this is all about, for those who missed last week’s announcement:

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival titles have been announced in the various categories, and so we now know who made the cut. But what about those many thousands who submitted their films and didn’t get in? If you’re one of them, here’s a chance for you to let us know who you are.

For the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected, representing 37 countries and 54 first-time filmmakers, including 34 in competition. These films were selected from 12,218 submissions (72 more than for 2013), including 4,057 feature-length films and 8,161 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,014 were from the U.S. and 2,043 were international. 97 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

So really somewhere between 1% and 3% of total submissions were selected. Those are minuscule numbers. So that also means that there are roughly 97% of you remaining, with projects that didn’t get into the festival. And YOU are the folks we want to hear from!

Of interest to those of us on this blog (see the name and tagline of the blog at the top of page if you’re new here) are films by and/or about people of African descent. So, if you or your film fit the bill, we’d love to hear from you!

At the very least, it’ll be great just to know you exist, so that we can become familiar with you and your work, and track from here-on.

So, if you agree, feel free to send me an email to, with all the vitals about you and your film, and we’ll go from there.

We posted the above last week, and since then, I’ve received several emails in response. I’ll begin highlighting those that match the above criteria today, starting with this one, titled Caught In The Shadows, from director Dion Lack, and writer Twilla Amin Tanyi.

I’m especially a fan of psychological thrillers (and other more fantastical genres like sci-fi, horror, fantasy) – genres that seem to have been mostly ignored by black filmmakers (based on what I see on a daily basis – from what’s being released in theaters, on DVD, VOD, etc, to the many emails I receive every week alerting me to upcoming projects); so this one caught my eye right away, if only for that reason, based on what I know of it. I haven’t seen the entire film, so I can’t offer any informed commentary on, or any critique of it. When I do watch it, I’ll update this post with my thoughts.

In the meantime, here are the deets:

“Caught in the Shadows” delves into the life of Roni who at the surface seems to have it all together; a great job, a nice house and great social life. As we follow Roni throughout her day, we see her engaged in her work and socializing with her friends. However, we also notice that someone or something has taken residence in her home or at least we think that Roni is not alone.

Actress Danette Wilson stars as Roni.

The filmmaker tells me that Caught In The Shadows was recently screened at the 20th Annual African Film Marketplace & S.E. Manly Film Showcase in Los Angeles over the weekend. It was the film’s first official screening, and the plan is to continue sending it out to film festivals; so it may come to a film festival near you.

Here’s the trailer:

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It hurts so good, me think, doesn't it?

I am referring to the types of "negative" comments we're seeing in this post and similar posts in which an artist/writer/director, etc, receives less than glowing opinions/feedback/critiques from the readers of S & A. Hey, it's no secret that this crowd is a mighty tough audience who are seldom if ever pleased, but isn't there a silver lining in this seemingly precarious situation?

I mean, I am prone to believe all feedback on one's written article or film is good news. In reference to a film, I can't help but believe there's something to be gained from the opportunity to discuss one's film with those who are "judging" it and paying their money to see it. Granted, the ensuing exchanges may not be pleasant pats on the back, and some may be rather brutal, but cannot something be learned from listening to the opinions on how we can improve our craft? In short, isn't the risk (if there is any) always worth the rewards? That reminds me, what are the pros & cons of having one's artistic expressions discussed in an open forum?

I've seen the rewards (pros) because I've seen the writers and directors ( i.e. Damon Colquhoun – director of Transporter, Tanya Steele – writer, Andre Seewood – writer, Sergio Mims – writer, Ryan C. Khan – director of Minutes To Midnite, Adam Scott Thompson – director of Crumbs In The Bed) engage in discussions with those who have expressed concerns with their work. Each and every time those exchanges produced favorable results for the reader and filmmaker/writer.

On the other hand, a couple of filmmakers, The Robinson Brothers – director of "Shadow of Strangers" and Rhemona Moore, director of Hag of Champagnolle Creek, peeked their heads in the door but decided against walking in. What did they gain or possibly lose by turning around and walking out the door?

In short, wouldn't it be nice to know (see, hear, read) the pros & cons of engaging in discourse with S&A's readers, particularly from those who have actually taken that leap and those who have balked at the opportunity? Okay… Adam, Tanya, Damon, Sergio, Andre, Rhemona, Ryan and a special shout-out to director Dion Lack, and writer Twilla Amin Tanyi (Caught In The Shadows), could y'all share a thought?


This looks very amateurish. I can see why just from the trailer, why it was rejected. It's a no brainer. And the premise looks obvious. I think the previous poster was right in that she's being chased by her past demons… boooo.


I think the tag "Rejected By Sundance" is tacky.

I does nothing to uplift the film or the filmmaker as far as I'm concerned.


If I can take a stab at this, I believe Roni is being stalked by her own demon. That demon is an addiction. And maybe, through that addiction she committed some grievous errors that are now haunting her. Thus, "Her lies come to light" and "Alone with reality" and the Serenity Prayer.


I wish this movie the best and hope it finds an audience but it's clear from the trailer why this didn't make the Sundance cut. To the filmmakers, keep doing what you do though.


I'm here for this series. Definitely amplifying this. I think my sister would love something like this.

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