Back to IndieWire

LA’s Dances With Films Fest Announces Full Slate, Including Ron Davis’ ‘Miss You Can Do It’

LA's Dances With Films Fest Announces Full Slate, Including Ron Davis' 'Miss You Can Do It'

Dances With Films, one of LA’s biggest discovery feasts of emerging filmmakers, today announced the full slate for its 16th year, which will run from May 30-June 9 and include “Powerhouse Industry Panels,” conversations with members of the industry, and a Grand Jury Prize reception.

Many of the films on this year’s lineup are world or west coast premieres, with Ron Davis’ child pageant doc “Miss You Can Do It” set as the opening night film and appearances from Chris Rock, Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Lynch, Christopher Lloyd and many others planned throughout the festival.

The festival previously announced a new Grand Jury Prize for this year’s lineup, awarding the winner with a full distribution deal via Gravitas Ventures.
Since its first festival in 1998, Dances With Films has dedicated itself to the finding of new film talents, citing merit and discoverability as the basis for its yearly lineup, and referring to itself as “the indie heartbeat of Hollywood.”

For more information and ticketing information, visit their official website here. Check out the press release and full lineup on page 2.

Opening Night Film

MISS YOU CAN DO IT / Ron Davis – Director/Producer – WORLD PREMIERE

HBO Documentary Films’ MISS YOU CAN DO IT spotlights Abbey Curran, Miss Iowa USA 2008, the first woman with a disability to compete at the Miss USA Pageant, as well as eight girls and young women from around the country living with special needs, who participate in the Miss You Can Do It Pageant. Created in 2004 by Curran, the pageant offers them and their families a chance to bond and participate in a special event where inner beauty and abilities reign. Debuts exclusively on HBO MONDAY, JUNE 24 (9:00 – 10:15PM ET/PT). 

Preceded by Short Doc:  

MR. TWISTER / Clay Westervelt – Director/Producer  – LOS ANGLES PREMIERE

Competition Features

AUTOMOTIVE / Tom Glynn – Director/Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

Automotive is a modern noir seen through the eyes of an old car, the hero’s 1964 Mercury. From its limited perspective (camera only inside the car) we piece together his criminal plot as it unravels. Is that a body Kansas is putting in the trunk? He buries it in the desert night under headlights while a beautiful woman watches from the backseat. She is Lonely, his lover and accomplice…or is she? When Lonely’s rich husband is murdered Kansas is left to blame. Is he guilty? Or being set up? More important, can he trust the woman he loves? 

CEMENT SUITCASE / Rick Castañeda – Director/Writer/Editor – WORLD PREMIERE

The best wine salesman in the Yakima Valley is headed for a breakdown and only two people can help him.  One just broke into his house.  The other is having an affair with his girlfriend.

CHANNELING – Drew Thomas – Director/Writer/Producer – WEST COAST PREMIERE

In a world where people are broadcasting their own lives, Jonah discovers that his brother Wyatt’s death was no accident.  With Wyatt’s beautiful partner helping him, Jonah assumes Wyatt’s identity in order to draw out those who killed him.  What he doesn’t anticipate is the seductive nature of having the world see itself through his eyes. 

CITY BABY / David F. Morgan – Director/Writer/Editor, Cora Benesh – Writer / Producer – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE

20somethings Cloey and her friends meander through their self-absorbed youth as CITY BABY marinates on themes of class, love, and friendship. Eventually Cloey’s cruise control lifestyle begins to collapse when a troubled relationship with a jealous boyfriend hits the skids, her ambitious best friend wants to move away and daddy’s checkbook threatens to be closed. This is what growing up looks like when you’re already a grown-up.

COYOTE / Joe Eddy – Director/Writer/Producer – WORLD PREMIERE

Brian lives at home. No friends. No life. While working on a house with his eccentric uncle, he soon finds himself in an unlikely friendship with an illegal Mexican laborer of the same age: Manuel. When Manuel finds himself out of options, the two embark on a dangerous adventure to retrieve his mother and sister who are being held captive in Tijuana.  This improbable pairing will have to stay one step ahead of some colorful criminals, the locals and two hardened Border Patrol agents on a quest of their own, if they are going to return home alive.


Always one step ahead of the Feds, Paul Boxer is the most inventive and principled smuggler in the trade, and has never needed to carry a gun. When violent mid-level traffickers coerce him into designing a foolproof plan to bring several kilos of cocaine across the México border, he maneuvers to rid himself of their hold over him once and for all. But when a sharp-witted woman from his past enlists his help to escape this rival outfit, Paul must confront the man that is hunting him down, and choose between his livelihood as a smuggler and his integrity as a man.

EMOTICON ;) / Livia De Paolis – Director/Writer/Producer, Sarah Nerboso – Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

Elena Gallenti (Livia De Paolis) is an anthropology grad student struggling to complete her thesis on ‘modern means of communication”. All that changes when she meets her new boyfriend (Michael Cristofer) teenage kids (Miles Chandler and Diane Guerrero), who are going through their own journeys of self-discovery. Through this relationship and the help of her PHD advisor (Carol Kane) Elena comes to a better understanding of how to navigate love and intimacy in the digital age. Ultimately they develop a bond that strikes a balance between the old wolrd and the new and everyone’s longing to find true emotional sense in both. 

FOREVER’S END / J.C. Schroder – Director/Writer/Producer – WORLD PREMIERE

Six years after an apocalyptic event killed her family and seemingly everyone else on earth, a lone girl on the verge of insanity is forced to question everything she has ever known when a strange man suddenly appears at her door.

HOME / Jono Oliver – Director/Writer – WEST COAST PREMIERE

Jack Hall (Gbenga Akinnagbe) has suffered from mental illness for over a dozen years. He’s had manyrough periods over that time; in the form of countless arrests and hospitalizations. He’s now at a point where he has a steady job, is doing relatively well, and is ready to move on – from the group home where he resides into an apartment of his own – with the dream of reconnecting with his estranged son. But what would be a simple goal for most is not so easy for Jack, with the stakes seemingly no less than life or death. By whatever means necessary, more than anything, Jack needs to find his home.

HOW TO FOLLOW STRANGERS / Chioke Nassor – Director/Writer/Producer – US PREMIERE

There is a true story of a woman who died in her apartment and it took people a year to find her body decomposing in a crisp Chanel suit.  A young man becomes obsessed with this urban tragedy and disappears, wondering if anyone will notice.  A young woman who shares his commuting schedule DOES notice.  So much so, she decides to find out what happened, setting off a chain of events that will bind them together.


Set in the ‘80s like some lost John Hughes film, MURT RAMIREZ WANTS TO KICK MY ASS follows a single day in the life of twelve-year old Billy McConnell, a day which just may be his last.  When his hyper-Hebrew cousin Zach leaves Billy on the hook for a dog poop prank involving the most psychotic bully in all of Brooklyn, Billy realizes his days are numbered as his Atari 2600 game system.  Before long, it’s a race to the end day school bell as Billy and pals contrive a gauntlet of schemes to escape his after-school date with doom. 

MUTUAL FRIENDS / Matthew Watts – Director/Writer – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE

Ten friends, four couples, a stripper and a ninja. Surprise parties rarely go well. A romantic comedy about intertwined New Yorkers trying to sort it all out. Each character written by a different writer.

REACH / Daniel Bonjour – Director/Producer, Ryan James Russell – Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

Based on a true story, Reach is a provocative film centered on a struggling romance between a terminally ill man running out of time, and a woman desperate to breathe life into his final days. As his mother and best friend are faced with accepting the unacceptable, heartfelt issues are raised that will change their lives forever. Reach is a stunning moral parable that will touch your heart with its inspiring message.

THIS THING WITH SARAH / Michael Doneger – Director/Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

This Thing With Sarah is a story about the person one chooses to help them through a difficult time in their life. When a listless writer is dumped by his long time girlfriend, he befriends a woman to help him get over his ex.

US / Sam Hancock – Director/Writer, Dan Mayer – Writer, Matthew McKay – Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

Alanna Ubach (Meet the Fockers, Legally Blonde, Waiting) stars in this gritty exploration of a woman battling dangerous impulses while searching for the love that can bring her back to balance. Margaret lives with an intense mental disorder, and while she strives to lead a normal life, at night she surrenders to a cycle of compulsive sex and brutal self-punishment. When she meets Walker, a compassionate man with a deep desire to help, the romance she thought would save her threatens to push her over the edge. Can she reveal her dark secret and still believe in love?

WAKING / Ben Shelton – Director – WORLD PREMIERE

Ben is turning 30 and on his way to what everyone else tells him is a great life. He’s about to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, of 6 years and looks to be in line as the successor to her father’s practice. However, a chance meeting with a mysterious and beautiful woman named Nadia changes everything. Ben and Nadia begin to connect when they fall asleep as they go on journeys within their memories together. As they begin to realize they’ve been meeting in their dreams since they were children, Ben must choose between the perfect life on paper or the girl of his dreams.


Midnight Features 

AMERICAN IDIOTS / Robert Taleghany – Director – WORLD PREMIERE

CHASTITY BITES / John V. Knowles – Director – WORLD PREMIERE 

FEEDING MR. BALDWIN / Will Prescott – Director/Writer – WEST COAST PREMIERE 

LAST CALL / Greg Garthe – Director/Producer – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE


Documentary Features

APOCALYPSE LATER: HAROLD CAMPING VS THE END OF THE WORLD / Zeke Piestrup -Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor – WORLD PREMIERE

GROUNDED / Sean Patrick Crowell – Director – WORLD PREMIERE 


MILE… MILE & A HALF / Jason M. Fitzpatrick – Director/Writer/Producer/Cinematographer, Ric Serena – Director/Producer/Cinematographer – WORLD PREMIERE 

OYLER HOUSE, Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat  / Mike Dorsey – Director/Producer

RIDE REPORT / Matt Kendall – Director, Tiernan Turner – Director – WEST COAST PREMIERE

TUMOR, IT’S IN THE SYSTEM / Valerie McCaffrey – Co-Director/Producer, Cindy Pruitt – Director/Producer – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE




Fusion Features

ADVOCATE, THE  / Tamas Harangi – Director/Writer/Producer – WEST COAST PREMIERE

BET, THE / Finola Hughes – Director – LOS ANGELES PREMIERE

BROKEN GLASS / Daniel R. Chavez – Director/Writer/Producer – WORLD PREMIERE

CALIFORNIA WINTER / Odin Ozdil – Director/Writer/Producer – WORLD PREMIERE

FAVOR / Paul Osborne – Director/Writer – WEST COAST PREMIERE

HALFWAY TO HELL / Richard Friedman – Director/Producer/Editor

HAY DAYS / Lance Lindahl – Director/Writer – WORLD PREMIERE


INSOMNIAC, THE / Monty Miranda – Director – WORLD PREMIERE

PHIN / Patrick Chapman – Director/Producer/Editor

SALVATION / Brett Donowho – Directo /Producer, Bernie Van De Yacht – Director/Writer – WORLD PREMIERE

SHE LOVES ME NOT / Brian Jun – Director/Writer/Producer/Editor, Jack Sanderson – Director/Writer – WORLD PREMIERE


Competion Shorts

BARBIE BOY / Nick Corporon – Director / Writer / Producer

CHASSEUR / Christopher Soren Kelly – Director / Writer

CHECK OUT / Bobby Marinelli – Director / Writer

COOTIE CONTAGION / Josh Smooha – Director / Writer

CROSSING THE RIVER / Emilie McDonald – Director / Writer / Producer

DOUBLE AGENT / Jason Sotolongo – Director / Writer

FIRECRACKER / Adam Zielinski – Director / Co-Writer

FITTED / Auriel Rudnick – Director / Writer

GOLDEN / Kjell Kvanbeck – Director / Writer

INTERROGATION, THE / Drew Mylrea – Director

INNOVATOR, THE / Sean McCarthy – Director / Writer

INTELLIGENCE / Phil Kaufmann – Director

ISN’T / Alice Carter – Director / Writer / Producer

JUARITOS / .F. Crum – Director / Writer / Editor

KAREN RETURNS SOMETHING TO SCOTT / John Salcido – Director / Producer

KINGDOM OF DOUG, THE / Victoria Thaine – Director / Writer

LITTLE MAN OF STEEL / Larry Ziegelman – Director / Writer

OF WATCHING KILLER WHALES COMPASSION / Raphe Wolfgang – Director / Producer

ON-RAMP / Skye Kelly – Director / Writer

OPHILIA / Matteo Ribaudo – Director / Writer (writer) / Producer / Editor

PINK BALLOONS / Rebecca Rocheford Davies – Director / Writer

RECALCULATING / Peter J. Bean – Director / Writer / Editor

RWANDA BLEND, THE / Sam Zvibleman – Director / Co-Writer

SAFETY / Rory Uphold – Writer (writer) / Producer

SCHNIPPLES / Shane Connor – Director/Writer

SHADOWPLAY / Natasia de Wolf – Director/Cinematographer/Editor, Gabby Hernandez – Director, Kevin Langer – Director/Editor, Darren Russell – Director / Writer / Cinematographer / Editor, Joey Willis – Director

SPOSINI (NEWLYWEDS) / Nick van Devender – Director/Writer

TUMBLERS / Vince Duvall – Director/Writer

VARMINT / Joel Knoernschild – Director/Producer

WHOLEHEARTED / Christopher Leps – Director/Writer/Editor


Fusion Shorts 





















Music Videos







ALUMNI: A festival known for championing the unknowns, DWF Alumni filmmakers include:  Dan Harris (X2, SUPERMAN RETURNS writer),  Mark Olsen & Will Scheffer (BIG LOVE creators and the new HBO show GETTING ON), Hilton Smith (HBO’s HUNG and DEADWOOD producer), Lauren Meows (CABIN FEVER producer), Donovan Cook (Disney TV and Feature Animation director) and Aaron Downing (HESHER co-producer).  

And for “discovering tomorrow’s stars today”, DWF’s Alumni actors include: Jesse Eisenberg (THE SOCIAL NETWORK), Melissa Leo (2010 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in THE FIGHER), John Hawkes (2x Oscar Nominee for WINTER’S BONE and SESSIONS), Ellen Pompeo (GREY’S ANATOMY), Bryan Cranston (3x Emmy Winner for BREAKING BAD), Kathryn Morris (CBS’s Cold Case), Alexander Skarsgard (TRUE BLOOD), Dianna Agron (GLEE) and Margo Martindale (2011Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in JUSTIFIED).

SPONSORS: Dances With Films would like to welcome its newest sponsor Movietickets.com, Gravitas Ventures, Breakdown Services, Ease Entertainment Services as well as the Loews Hollywood Hotel.  Returning sponsors include: CAA, ICM, The Lot, SagIndie, Final Draft, Movie Magic, VER, Showbiz Software, Southern Wine & Spirits and Audio Rents.

MISSION: With over 8000+ festival attendees plus 2.5 million impressions per month on www.danceswithfilms.comDances With Films started humbly in 1998, designed as a film festival dedicated to finding tomorrow’s talent today. By choosing films based solely on merit and discoverability, DWF remains the most devoted champion of fresh and creative voices.  For the past sixteen years, DWF has proudly provided access and opportunity to the hundreds, if not thousands, of films and filmmakers – from Hoboken, NJ to Xiang, China – that fight year after year to see their dreams realized. Giving these warriors the exposure that their talent, drive, and sacrifice deserve is what DANCES WITH FILMS has always been about and our belief in our filmmakers is rewarded year after year. DWF remains the indie heartbeat of Hollywood.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Festivals and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox