Slamdance Film Festival Rounds Out Its 2016 Lineup

Slamdance Film Festival Rounds Out Its 2016 Lineup
Slamdance Film Festival Rounds Out Its 2016 Lineup

At the end of November, the Slamdance Film Festival unveiled its first wave of titles, and today they’ve revealed the rest. While Sundance will have new films by Whit StillmanKenneth LonerganTodd Solondz, Kelly Reichardt, Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Werner Herzog, and more, Slamdance has the talent that will follow in the footsteps of those filmmakers. And it’s part of what makes the festival a real place for discovery.

There are few recognizable names in front of or behind the camera with many of these movies, which means you often don’t have much to go on aside from a synopsis and maybe a still image. But that’s how you discover a true surprise or an unexpected gem. And lest you think I’m being wide-eyed, it’s worth remembering that Christopher Nolan showed “Following” at Slamdance, which helped get his foot in the industry door and his career on the path that has taken him all the way to “Interstellar.”

The Slamdance Film Festival runs from January 22 to 28, 2016.

Special Screenings Program

“Director’s Cut” — Director: Adam Rifkin; Screenwriter: Penn Jillette
(USA) World Premiere
This ultimate meta-movie is an insane genre-bending cinematic sleight of hand trick about a cineaste stalker who kidnaps his favorite actress and forces her to star in his amateur movie.
Cast: Missi Pyle, Penn Jillette, Harry Hamlin, Hayes MacArthur, Lin Shaye, Gilbert Gottfried, Nestor Carbonell

“Embers” — Director: Claire Carré; Screenwriters: Charles Spano, Claire Carré
(USA, Poland)
After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory.
Cast: Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva, Greta Fernández, Tucker Smallwood, Karl Glusman, Silvan Friedman, Roberto Cots, Dominique Swain

“Let’s Be Evil” — Director & Screenwriter: Martin Owen
(UK) World Premiere
Contained within a secure, underground facility, three chaperones are tasked with supervising an advanced learning program for gifted children, pioneering Augmented Reality Glasses. Events quickly spiral out of control.
Cast: Elizabeth Morris, Elliot James Langridge, Kara Tointon, Isabelle Allen

“Alky Alky” — Director: Axel Ranisch; Screenwriters: Heiko Pinkowski, Axel Ranisch, Peter Trabner
(Germany) North American Premiere
Tobias and DeBottle are classic cases of arrested development — one knows his lifelong relationship with the other is no longer good for him, but it’s already too late in this boozy tale of revelry and reality.
Cast: Heiko Pinkowski, Peter Trabner, Christina Große, Thorsten Merten, Iris Berben, Oliver Korittke

“Excursions” — Director: Daniel Martinico; Screenwriters: Hugo Armstrong, Daniel Martinico
(USA) World Premiere
During an idyllic weekend getaway in the woods, two couples partake in a series of ritualistic purges that unleash their primal selves.
Cast: Jacqueline Wright, Hugo Armstrong, Mandy Freund, Cody Henderson

“How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” — Director & Screenwriter: Jeremy LaLonde
(Canada) US Premiere
When a famous sex columnist attempts to host an orgy with old high-school acquaintances in her conservative hometown, keeping secrets becomes the least of her problems.
Cast: Jewel Staite, Ennis Esmer, Lauren Lee Smith, Katharine Isabelle, Mark O’Brien, Jonas Chernick, Kristian Bruun, Tommie-Amber Pirie

“My Enemies” — Director: Stéphane Géhami; Screenwriters: Stéphane Géhami, Héloïse Masse
(Canada) US Premiere
Furious after losing his girlfriend and his publishing deal, Cédric, a young novelist, is captivated by the piano playing of Isabelle, a much-older alcoholic living in a home full of lost souls.
Cast: Louise Marleau, Frédéric Lemay, Hubert Proulx, Jean-François Casabonne, Étienne Pilon, Maxime Gaudette, Francis La Haye, Maxime Mailloux

“The Successor” — Director & Screenwriter: Mattia Epifani, Francesco Lefons
(Italy) North American Premiere
A former arms manufacturer travels to Bosnia to reflect upon the legacy of the land-mine business he inherited from his father and pay penance for the destruction it caused.
Cast: Vito Alfieri Fontana, Nijaz Memic, Senaid Abdihodeic, Rarija Besic

Narrative Shorts Program

“And Nothing Happened” — Director & Screenwriter: Naima Ramos-Chapman
(USA) World Premiere
A young woman juggles between the mundane and the extraordinary in an attempt to leave her NYC apartment.
Cast: Naima Ramos-Chapman, Jamilya Ramos-Chapman, Angela Silverio, Carl Rube

“The Beast” — Director & Screenwriter: Daina Oniunas Pusic
A hundred-year-old woman and her 75-year-old daughter have a tense but familiar relationship. A bat flies in to their home and the equilibrium will be forever changed.
Cast: Marija Kohn, Doris Šaric Kukuljica

“Black Swell” — Director: Jake Honig; Screenwriter: David Rysdahl
(USA) World Premiere
A man tries to kill himself in a motel room.
Cast: Richard Kind, David Rysdahl

“Darkest Moon”  — Director: Kasper Skovsbøl; Screenwriters: Amalie Næsby, Kasper Skovsbøl
(Denmark) World Premiere
Anna must decide whether she wants to protect her daughter and risk being ostracized, or believe in the accusations of her being a witch and sentence her own child to death.
Cast: Karen-Lise Mynster, May Simón Lifschitz, Anders Hove, Peter Plaugborg

“De Smet” — Directors & Screenwriters: Thomas Baerten, Wim Geudens
The brothers ‘De Smet’ have created a system to live their lives as singles in the most comfortable way possible.
Cast: Tom Audenaert, Sven De Ridder, Stefaan Degand, Jessica Zeylmaker

“Deep Gold” — Director & Screenwriter: Julian Rosefeldt
(Germany) North American Premiere
An exuberant and voluptuous homage to Luis Buñuel’s surrealist (and back-then-scandalous) masterpiece “L’Age d’Or,” relocated to the roaring Berlin ’20s.
Cast: Franz Hartwig, Janaina Pessoa, Suse Wächter, Ronni Maciel

“Discontinuity” — Director & Screenwriter: Lori Felker
(USA) World Premiere
A short film about losing things in the edits of life.
Cast: Ben Johnson, Sam Howard, Henry Comerford
“Family Trip” — Director & Screenwriter: Oscar Oldershaw 
A purgatory on Wheels! 
Cast: Ian Gain, Vita Oldershaw

“GANG” — Director & Screenwriter: Clayton Vomero

Three young people in Staten Island, New York, search for meaning and identity over the length of a single day.
Cast: Mela Murder, Infinite Coles, Denasia Moore

“Goodnight Birdy” — Director: Zara Zerny; Screenwriters: Morten Pape, Zara Zerny
(Denmark) North American Premiere
When Greta’s husband dies, she is convinced she will die from sorrow. But the heart has its ways of surviving.
Cast: Elsebeth Steentoft

“Lewis” — Director & Screenwriter: Fantavious Fritz
(Canada) US Premiere
A missing cat witnesses the intersections of human life in a neighborhood and meets an elderly widow living in solitude.
Cast: Aldona Zalnieriunas, Jean Luc Piccard (the cat), Kyle Andrews

“NASTY” — Director: Prano Bailey-Bond; Screenwriter: Anthony Fletcher
A boy uncovers the nasty truth about his family after finding a VHS tape.
Cast: Albie Marber, Madeleine Hutchins, James Cutler, Kimberley Adams

“The Panty Symphonic” — Director: Zach Strum; Screenwriters: Zach Strum, Micah Vassau
(USA) World Premiere
When Arnold dies before finishing his will, a rat race ensues for his most prized possession — a pair of panties.
Cast: Steven Jones, Sydney Shepherd

“Red Folder” — Director & Screenwriter: Ben Kallam
(USA) World Premiere
Fourteen-year-old Joseph sets out to find his teacher’s elusive red folder, only to discover the unsettling implications of his task.
Cast: Gregory Barnes, Pepper Binkley, Phil Bernadin, Chris Jarell

“Savasana” — Director & Screenwriter: Brandon Daley
(USA) World Premiere
A man in the midst of a midlife crisis attempts to sooth his existential concerns by practicing the age old art of yoga.
Cast: Paul Gordon, Amy Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Bernie Rybarczyk

“The Sea Within” — Director: Wong Wai Nap; Screenwriters: Wong Wai Nap, Ho Tze Ki
(Hong Kong) US Premiere
A poetic and quiet look into the lives and relationship of a Fishermen couple.
Cast: Wong Kam Shing, Ng Mei Wah

“Shitty Drum!” — Director & Screenwriter: Pascal Plante
(Canada) US Premiere
An aging punk rock band has an existential crisis.
Cast: Jason Roy-Léveillée, Jérôme Bédard, Joseph Martin

“SKANK” — Director & Screenwriter: Sophie Francesca
(New Zealand, UK) US Premiere
In a cheap living room in small-town New Zealand a children’s birthday party is in full swing. While the kids are caught up in the ecstasy of the party, young mum Hayley is entangled in more “adult” affairs.
Cast: William Alexander, Bella Baughan, Vincent Andrew-Scammell, Sophie Francesca

“Tampoon” — Director: Jeanne Jo; Screenwriters: Jeanne Jo, Nick Musurca
When Miranda makes bad decisions about her love life, a possessed TAMPON enters to take care of business.
Cast: Alexandra August, JJ Dunlap

“Tisure” — Director: Adrian Geyer; Screenwriter: Proyecto JFS
(Venezuela) North American Premiere
In the lonely mountains of Venezuela, a couple’s problems are both diminished and brought to the surface by the vastness of their surroundings.
Cast: Alcione Guerrero, Daniel Isaac

“Under the Sun” — Director & Screenwriter: QIU Yang
(China, Australia)
An incident occurs, two families become entangled. There’s nothing new under the sun.
Cast: ZHU Ping, SUN Zhongwei, BAI Lihong, GONG Weiming

“Video” — Director & Screenwriter: Randy Yang
A woman’s racist remark is captured on video by two teenage black girls.
Cast: Mars Williams, Reilly Brooke Stith, Alyson Schacherer, Ron Scott

“Winter Hymns” — Director & Screenwriter: Dusty Mancinelli
(Canada) US Premiere
Ten-year-old Joshua’s dull afternoon is shattered when his volatile older brother shepherds him through the countryside in search of adventure.
Cast: Sam Ashe Arnold, Kyle Peacock

Documentary Shorts Program

“Becoming Blair” — Director: Bri Barsalou
(USA) World Premiere
Blair is a transgender young adult living in Texas and transitioning with mixed reactions from his conservative parents.
Cast: Blair Hanner, Sue Hanner, Karl Hanner

“The Bullet” — Director: Jordan Bahat
(USA) World Premiere
A portrait of David “The Bullet” Smith Jr., the world’s greatest human cannonball.
Cast: David “The Bullet” Smith Jr.

“Heavy Fog Tonight” — Director: Nathan Reich
Conrad Milster is an 80-year-old chief engineer at New York’s oldest running steam power plant, preserving an era long forgotten while adjusting to the digital world around him.
Cast: Conrad Milster

“If Mama Ain’t Happy, Nobody’s Happy” — Director: Mea de Jong
“If you want to make a film about independent women, shouldn’t you make a film about our family?” And so mother and daughter embark on a journey together to make a portrait about the four generations who all managed without a man.

“In Crystal Skin” — Director: Michaela O’Brien
(USA) World Premiere
Conflict arises between mother and daughter when a young girl with a rare disease in Bogotá, Colombia, refuses to attend school.
Cast: Maria Alejandra Peña Giraldo, Jackeline Giraldo Hurtado, Angel Gustavo Peña Sanchez, Carlos Andrés Peña Giraldo

“A Passion of Gold and Fire” — Director & Screenwriter: Sébastien Pins
A beekeeper in Belgium worries about the future of his apiary school.
Cast: Fontignie André

“Repoman” — Director: Giacomo Gex; Screenwriters: Giacomo Gex, Bruno Gex
A day in the life of a repoman in Los Angeles, USA.
Cast: Andrew De Palma

“Rotatio” — Director: Ian McClerin
(USA) World Premiere
A young woman transforms her experience of trauma into a powerfully poetic meditation, challenging her transgressions and the purpose of art.
Cast: Shannon May Mackenzie

“Stems” — Director & Screenwriter: Ainslie Henderson
(UK) US Premiere
For a brief moment, stop motion puppets crafted from found objects make beautiful music and then as quickly as they came to life, return to being inanimate objects.  

“Superunit” — Director & Screenwriter: Teresa Czepiec
A peek inside a few doors in a Polish “housing machine” comprised of 15 floors and 762 stories where emotions throb, expectations build and desires come true…or not.

“Temporary Color” — Director: John Wilson
(USA) World Premiere
A filmmaker hired to follow David Byrne on tour finds a capable and better-equipped documentary crew already in place and decides to take a more whimsical behind-the-scenes look while musing about the escaped convicts potentially looming nearby in upstate New York and Canada.
Cast: David Byrne, Bill Ross, Turner Ross

“The Tricks List” — Director: Brian Bolster
A gay man’s journey to memorialize and document every sexual encounter he has ever had.

“Water Ghost* — Director & Screenwriter: Wen Li
(USA) North American Premiere
A stranger jumps off a bridge, committing suicide, setting off a journey to find the men who fish bodies out of the Yuanjiang River and the meaning of death, loss and life.

“The Wear of Agony” — Director: Mariano Rentería Garnica
(Mexico) US Premiere
A visual waltz through the spaces, people and objects of the working class in Mexico, where reality and dreams dance in dialogue.

Animation Shorts

“Bottom Feeders” — Director & Screenwriter: Matt Reynolds
Two fictional species try to make it through the day in this bleak parody of the natural world.

“Flaws” — Director: Josh Shaffner
An autobiographical, surreal rant about years spent in the service industry.

“Heila Ormur” — Director: Rose Stark
(Iceland, USA)
The slow savoring of horrible flavors in the body of a love gone bad.  
Cast: Andi Kristins

“Here There” — Director & Screenwriter: Alexander Stewart
(Croatia, USA) US Premiere
A graphic form to memory’s malleable, straying lines.

“Lazy Daze” — Director: Brian Smee
(USA)  World Premiere
Dog in the land where the good life takes you.

“Leftover” — Directors & Screenwriters: Tibor Banoczki, Sarolta Szabo
(France) US Premiere
Remains of food, remains of human relationships.
Cast: Jerry di Giacomo, Odile Cohen, Matthieu Saccucci, Marie-Sohna Conde

“Life is Rugged” — Director & Screenwriter: Simon Schnellmann
Five short sequences of line-drawing life are linked together by a black point.

“Mirror in Mind” — Director: SeungHee Kim
(South Korea)
A woman looks into her mind, chasing her ideals on a tightrope.

“My Dad” — Director: Marcus Armitage
(UK) US Premiere
A boy’s vividly-colored memories of learning everything from his dad, including racially-motivated violence.
Cast: Divian Ladwa

“Pangs” — Director: Wendy Cong Zhao
(USA) World Premiere
Wading through bodily and emotional pangs.

“The Past Inside the Present” — Director & Screenwriter: James Siewert
(USA) World Premiere
An allegorical tale of a couple who attempt to renew their dying relationship by plugging directly into recordings of their memories.
Cast: Schuyler Helford, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte

“Ripple” — Director: Conner Griffith
(USA) North American Premiere
The shapes we make. An advertisement for planet earth.

“Still Life” — Director: Kevin Eskew
(USA) North American Premiere
Et tu doggy? Synchronicity strikes in the suburban Midwest.

“Worm” — Director: Becky James
(USA) North American Premiere
Wrapped in chains, a worm languishes in prison.
Cast: Amanda Salane, Holden Miller

Experimental Shorts

“After Muybridge” — Director: Spencer Holden
(USA) World Premiere
A Non-Cinema performance after Muybridge.
Cast: Spencer Holden

“Cup of Stars” — Directors: Ryan Betschart, Tyler Betschart
(USA) US Premiere
A vivid tableau of tenderness finds two brothers under a cool night sky fishing for stars and supernovas.
Cast: Ryan Betschart, Tyler Betschart

“Gray Hairs” — Director: Annapurna Kumar
In 2013, the Apache helicopter’s targeting systems were updated from standard-definition black-and-white to high-resolution color video, touted as a boost to pilot safety and US military dominance.

“Infrastructures” — Director: Aurèle Ferrier
A journey through infrastructures that are common to an everyday reality of routine, but presented as completely deserted.

“JUS SOLI” — Director: Somebody Nobody Collective
(UK) North American Premiere
This film opens up a discourse on the Black British experience, interrupting the emotional transition between generations and questioning what it means to be British.
Cast: Nicholas Pinnock

“The Neutral Zone” — Director: LJ Frezza
(USA) World Premiere
A historical survey of the utopias described in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994). This catalog of doorways, walls, and rooms might define our understanding of possible futures.

“Notes from the Interior” — Director: Benjamin Balcom
How do you describe the complexities of being a body? A wandering through the self, an associative search for secrets.

“Novaciéries” — Directors: (LA)HORDE Collective, Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer, Arthur Harel
(France) North American Premiere
A combination of cinema, performance, and home video that transcends dance films and presents a choreographed and metaphysical portrait of the post-industrial world by reinterpreting post-internet dance.
Cast: Eve Coquart, Ylva Falk, Kevin Martinelli, Edgar Scassa

“Pudding” — Director & Screenwriter: Ryan Betschart
Pudding describes through auditory and visual wonder two children exploring their body curiosity through the telling of false memories regarding 1970s pop icons.
Cast: Aiden Griner Riley as Boy, Evee Griner Riley as Girl

Anarchy Shorts

“The Bulb” — Director & Screenwriter: Calvin Reeder
(USA) World Premiere
Strangers meet in a motel room and observe a peculiar television broadcast.
Cast: Frank Mosley, Linas Phillips

“Carnal Orient” — Directors & Screenwriters: Mila Zuo, Angela Seo
(USA) World Premiere
A dark and strangely surreal snapshot of sexual desire aimed at the exotic.
Cast: Akemi Look, West Liang, Joey Halter, Peter Lucas, Stephan Smith Collins

“Ceiling Finger” — Director: Sean Kelley; Screenwriter: Dalton Price
A family of four lives in a suburban household with a giant finger called Ceiling Finger.
Cast: Jesse Price, Jen Greenfield, David Parrish, Eleanor Greenfield

“Disco Inferno” — Director & Screenwriter: Alice Waddington
A weary hell minion is on a mission to rescue her boss. But the Devil is not willing to return to her daily routine.
Cast: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Ana Rujas, Olivia Baglivi

“Double-Blind No.1” — Director: The Double-Blind Experiments
Five VFX artists set out to test the theory that a fine-art technique relying on chance could be applied to a motion piece.
Cast: Samantha Roy, Zenon Kohler, Ricky Marks

“Gwilliam” — Director: Brian Lonano; Screenwriters: Brian Lonano, Victoria Cook, Kevin Lonano
A recently released criminal can forget his sins, but he can never forget…Gwilliam.
Cast: William Tokarsky, Paul Painter, Wanda Morganstern

“Hi How Are You Daniel Johnston?” — Director: Gabriel Sunday; Screenwriters: Daniel Johnston, Gabriel Sunday, David Lee Miller
Iconic musician/artist Daniel Johnston stars in this psychedelic short film about an aging artist coming to terms with the dreams of yesteryear.
Cast: Daniel Johnston, Gabriel Sunday, Soko

“Something About Silence” — Director & Screenwriter: Patrick Buhr
(Germany) North American Premiere
You are here because you are boring
Cast: Vanja Smiljanic, Sina Seifee

“The Wayward Carnality” — Director & Screenwriter: Joanna Maria Wójcik
(Poland) North American Premiere
Grandma visits her teenage grandson and discovers a change of his interests.
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