Monday, November 30, 2020



Robust program boasts 20 feature film premieres while highlighting diverse voices, accessibility, and encouraging filmmakers to “greenlight themselves”

Festival launches Unstoppable, a showcase for creators with disabilities

November 30, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) - The Slamdance Film Festival announced today its full lineup of 25 features along with 107 shorts and episodics for the 27th edition of the festival, a number that equals previous editions of the festival. This includes a new program titled Unstoppable, a showcase for creators with disabilities. Running February 12-25, 2021, this will also be Slamdance’s most accessible festival ever, with all films, Q&A’s and panels available on, AppleTV, Roku, Firestick, and YouTube. Virtual festival passes for early adopters are available for free until December 31st and $10 per festival pass thereafter until the end of the festival. In addition to a vibrant virtual experience, there will be a two-night drive-in presentation in Joshua Tree open to the public on February 13th and 14th as well as the closing night screening at a Los Angeles drive-in on February 25.

Deepening its mission to be the premiere festival “by filmmakers, for filmmakers,” Slamdance is introducing a number of unique new programs and initiatives this year, including an invite-only Joshua Tree retreat focused on safely bringing the Slamdance community together timed to the opening festival dates and the public drive-in screenings (still subject to ongoing Covid safety protocols and quarantine) as well as providing a screening fee of $350 for each feature filmmaking team.

The festival’s official theme, “Greenlight Yourself,” reflects Slamdance’s ongoing commitment to turning the many obstacles facing filmmakers into opportunities.  “Our theme this year was inspired by the incredible resilience and creativity evidenced by our community and our team over the past few unprecedented months,” said Slamdance President and Co-founder Peter Baxter.  “The shared journey ahead for Slamdance’s filmmakers, alumni community and organization is to ‘Greenlight Yourself’ and triple down on not only who we are, but how we can continue expanding the many ways we support the filmmakers who are the future of independent filmmaking.” 

Slamdance’s wide ranging selection of films this year includes a feature competition lineup boasting 20 premieres, with 15 World, 4 North American, and 1 U.S. debuts. In addition to the United States, films come to Slamdance from countries around the globe, including Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lithuania, Romania, United Kingdom and Taiwan. Competition films in Narrative and Documentary categories are feature-length directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD, and without US distribution, while the Breakouts competition serves directors beyond their first films who maintain distinct visual styles and a unique cinematic voice.  Films were selected by a team of Slamdance alumni via a blind submission process and are programmed democratically. Films in both categories are also eligible for the Audience Award and Spirit of Slamdance Award, the latter of which is voted upon by filmmakers at the festival. Photos of selected films available here.

The opening night film, which will screen at a drive-in in Joshua Tree on February 13, is the world premiere of No Trace (Nulle Trace) from Canadian director and screenwriter Simon Lavoie. Taking place in a near future, the film follows a callous smuggler hardened by life who guides a pious young woman and her child across the border to safety, unaware that their destinies are inescapably linked in an inhospitable land.

The festival will close with the world premiere screening of 18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story at a Los Angeles drive-in on February 25. The feature documentary by Stephen DeBro is the story of L.A. told through the prism of a historic fight palace and Aileen Eaton, the woman who ran it. Featuring the voices of fighters, skaters, and musicians including Roddy Piper, John Doe, James Ellroy and Julio Cesar Chavez, 18th & Grand is a hard-hitting yet bittersweet tale of the conflicts and characters that shaped a city. 

The festival's new program, Unstoppable, will feature 22 short films from up and coming disabled filmmakers, feature actors with disabilities, or highlight the conversation of disabilities in today’s world. Unstoppable is entirely programmed by disabled artists and the program’s mission is to amplify the contributions of the disabled community and advocate for their rightful inclusion in our industry. As an organization known for giving voice to talented creators whose stories otherwise might not be discovered, it’s in Slamdance’s DNA to undertake this new purpose.

“I’m honored to be part of the wonderful Unstoppable team and embrace the idea of creating a safe space for filmmakers with disabilities and take our creativity as seriously as everyone else in this industry. I feel like we are building a bridge for others to cross and I am so proud to be a part of it,“ said Unstoppable programmer Juliet Romeo.

The 2021 shorts lineup will showcase 107 short films in eight categories from 29 countries around the world. The lineup includes 27 World, 13 North American and 8 US Premieres. Shorts in the Narrative, Documentary and Animation sections are eligible for the 2020 Oscar® Qualifying Shorts competition. The short film program will include, for the third year, an Episodes category showcasing episodic work in any style, genre and format intended for broadcast – from comedy and drama to documentaries, social commentary and beyond.

The 2021 festival will see the return of The AGBO Fellowship, presented by AGBO Films in partnership with the festival -- a $25,000 prize launched in 2018 by celebrated festival alumni Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War) to enable a deserving filmmaker the opportunity to continue their journey with mentorship from the filmmaking duo. 

Despite the pandemic, Slamdance has experienced tremendous growth and reinforced its role as an important filmmaker incubator over the past year. Key projects include: the film Day Shift, a project born at and optioned by Slamdance and comprised of alums, starring Jamie Foxx, and currently in pre-production with Netflix; Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night, which premiered at Slamdance in 2019, was released by Amazon in 2020, and has been nominated for numerous awards this season; and Merawi Gerema’s critically acclaimed film Residue, which premiered at Slamdance this year and was picked up by Ava Duvernay’s ARRAY for release on Netflix. 

Slamdance’s incredible supporting alumni, including the Russo Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan, Bong Joon-ho (Parasite, Okja), Sean Baker (​The Florida Project​), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Lena Denhum (Girls, Tiny Furniture) and many others, are all key to the organization's mission of supporting a diverse community of emerging creators.

The 2021 lineup includes:



A Brixton Tale – (UK, Ireland) World Premiere

Directors: Darragh Carey & Bertrand Desrochers - Screenwriters: Rupert Baynham, Darragh Carey, Chi Mai - Producers: Rupert Baynham, Dennis Gyamfi, Beau Rambaut

A voyeuristic, wealthy vlogger finds herself drawn to a handsome, shy youth from the infamous Barrier Block housing project. Their relationship with each other, and with the camera, leads them down a dangerous path.

Cast: Ola Orebiyi, Lily Newmark, Craige Middleburg, Jaime Winstone, Barney Harris, Michael Maloney, Rose Kerr, Dexter Padmore.

A Family – (Ukraine/Australia) North American Premiere

Director: Jayden Stevens - Screenwriters: Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens - Producers: Olga Mykhalets, Clea Frost, Thomas Swinburn, Jayden Stevens

A man living in solitary seeks emotional refuge in the organising and documenting of family moments using low-grade impersonators. When his fake sister becomes inspired to follow his method, their relationship struggles between the forged and genuine.

Cast: Pavlo Lehenkyi, Liudmyla Zamydra 

Dea – (Hong Kong, Switzerland, Indonesia, France) World Premiere

Director: Alberto Gerosa - Producers: Alberto Gerosa, Jocelyne Rouch, Andrea Gerosa

Dea leaves rural Indonesia and her singing dreams to migrate to Hong Kong as a foreign domestic worker. The script is the result of a nine-months acting improv laboratory with a group of Indonesian women migrant domestic workers, who have been victims of domestic violence while working in Hong Kong. The protagonist's story merges their real life experiences into one.

Cast: Dea Panendra, Bruno Zanin, Mas Gentur, Mas Akri, Mega, Mawar, Vincent, Abe and Icy Tsui

Hurrah, we are still alive! – (Poland) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Agnieszka Polska - Producer: Anna Gawlita

An artistic commune of filmmakers awaits the return of the Director, who disappeared without a trace. Despite his absence, the Director seems to control all of the troupe's actions.

Cast: Piotr Polak, Sonia Roszczuk, Marta Ojrzyńska, Arkadiusz Brykalski, Jacek Beler, Joanna Drozda, Marcin Czarnik, Bartosz Bielenia

Isaac – (Lithuania) 

Director: Jurgis Matulevičius - Screenwriters: Saulė Bliuvaitė, Jurgis Matulevičius, Nerijus Milerius - Producer: Stasys Baltakis

A Soviet style film noir about the murder of a Jew that changed the world.

Cast: Aleksas Kazanavičius, Dainius Gavenonis, Severija Janušauskaitė, Martynas Nedzinskas

Taipei Suicide Story – (Taiwan) North American Premiere 

Director / Screenwriter: KEFF - Producer: Amy Ma

A receptionist at a suicide hotel in Taipei forms a fleeting friendship over the course of one night with a guest who can’t decide if she wants to live or die.

Cast: Yuhua Sung (宋芸樺), Tender Huang (黃騰浩)

The Sleeping Negro – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Skinner Myers - Producers: Skinner Myers, Matt Palmieri, John Campbell, Alex McCarthy, Dan Funes

Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.

Cast: Rae Dawn Chong, Tunde Adebimpe, Nican Robinson, David Fumero, Julie McNiven, Skinner Myers

Teenage Emotions – (USA) World Premiere 

Director / Screenwriter: Frederic Da - Producer: Frederic Da, Roxane Mesquida

What happens within the walls of an American High School?

Cast: Jaya Harper, Jayden Capers, Silas Mitchell, Ava Cooper

Man Under Table – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter/ Producer: Noel David Taylor

In an anachronistic dystopian landscape, a beleaguered young man attempts to navigate his way through the indie film scene in LA. 

Cast: Noel David Taylor, Ben Babbit, Danny Lane, Katy Fullen, John Edmund Parcher, Robert Manion, Alisa Torres, Frank Hinterberger



A Tiny Ripple of Hope –  (USA) World Premiere

Director: Jason Polevoi - Producers: Jason Polevoi, Nick Jenkins 

A charismatic activist works to build a better Chicago for the teens in his neglected community even if it comes at the cost of his home, his family, and his safety.

Cast: Jahmal Cole, Dimetriana Chambers, Dominetrius Chambers, Deontae Lewis

Anatomy of Wings – (USA)

Directors / Producers: Nikiea Redmond & Kirsten D'Andrea Hollander

Black and white, young and old, a group of women risk their personal identities to build a second family while creating a documentary-film across the inequities of their Baltimore City neighborhoods.

Cast: Brittany Backmon, Teshavionna “Tazz” Mitchell, Sheila Butler, Marquise Weems, Brienna Brown, Danisha Harris, Cami McCrief, Tywana Reid, Quandra Jones, Quanisha Carmichael 

Bleeding Audio – (USA)

Director: Chelsea Christer - Producers: Erin Persley, Jannette Bivona, Chelsea Christer

From inspiring triumphs to heartbreaking setbacks, Bleeding Audio relives the explosive career of the Matches and what it means to succeed in the digital age of music.

Cast: Shawn Harris, Justin San Souci, Jon Devoto, Matt Whalen, Mark Hoppus, Nick Hexum, Cassadee Pope, Justin Pierre

CODE NAME: Nagasaki – (Norway) World Premiere

Director: Fredrik S. Hana - Screenwriters: Fredrik S. Hana, Marius K. Lunde - Producer: Gunhild Oddsen

"CODE NAME: Nagasaki" tells the story of Marius and Fredrik, two young men who forged their friendship through filmmaking and decided to put their skills to a unique challenge: finding Marius’ long lost Japanese mother.

Cast: Marius K. Lunde, Fredrik S. Hana

Everyone wants to be the next Weismann – (Spain) North American Premiere

Director: Alberto Triano - Screenwriters: Alberto Triano and David Cantolla - Producer: David Cantolla

In the art world, there are those who take risks and then, there's Martín Solo.

Holy Frit – (United States) World Premiere 

Director: Justin Monroe - Producers: Justin Monroe, Chris Saito

Tim, a talented, yet unknown LA artist, bluffs his way into winning the commission to create the world's largest stained-glass window of its kind, even though he has no idea how to make it…but he stumbles across someone who might, the famous glass maestro, Narcissus Quagliata.

Cast: Tim Carey, Narcissus Quagliata, David Judson, Adam Hamilton

Me To Play – (USA) World Premiere 

Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Jim Bernfield 

As their bodies give way to Parkinson's disease, two New York actors put their hearts into one final Off-Broadway production of Beckett's "Endgame," the play that posits, "there's nothing funnier than unhappiness.

Cast: Dan Moran, John Christopher Jones, Joe Grifasi, Ruth Kreshka, Marybeth Coudal,  Carolyn McCormick, Byron Jennings 

Workhorse Queen – (USA, Australia) World Premiere 

Director / Screenwriter/ Producer: Angela Washko

After an unlikely casting onto a reality television show, 47-year old suburban telemarketer Ed Popil leaves his job to pursue a full-time entertainment industry career as his drag queen alter ego, 1960’s era housewife Mrs. Kasha Davis. 

Cast: Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), Greg Meyer (Darienne Lake), Tom Smalley (Aggy Dune), Christopher Steckel (Ambrosia Salad), Michael Steck (Pandora Boxx), Steven Levins, Roy Haylock (Bianca Del Rio), Joey Santolini (Tatianna) 


While Slamdance’s main competition remains exclusive to first-time directors, the BREAKOUTS program serves directors beyond their first films who maintain distinct visual styles and a unique cinematic voice. 

A Black Rift Begins to Yawn – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Matthew Wade - Producers: Matthew Wade, Sara Lynch

As two former classmates dig into their deceased professor’s set of cassette tapes, which possibly contain recordings of strange signals from beyond the stars, they begin to feel memories, the chronology of time, and their identities slip into obscurity.

Cast: Sara Lynch, Saratops McDonald, Luke Massengill

After America – (USA) World Premiere 

Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Jake Yuzna

In 2019 a group of criminal justice de-escalation workers in Minneapolis embarked on a collaborative film project that used radical theater workshop techniques to explore their real-life struggles to escape the pressures of the American dream. The result, finished days before the murder of George Floyd, captures a city searching for what lies after America.

Cast: Yvonne Freese, Theresa McConnon, Daniel Nies, Ahmed Yusuf, Dan Fox, Eli Anthony, Robert Dante

Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Susan Stern

“Working-class Latino hood, crossed with crazy artist, crossed with left-wing radical,” so the legendary underground cartoonist Spain Rodriguez is described in this intimate portrait by his wife, Emmy-nominated filmmaker Susan Stern.

Cast: Spain Rodriguez, R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Ed Piskor, Ishmael Reed, Trina Robbins, Susie Bright

End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock – (USA, Finland) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Shannon Kring - Producers: Shannon Kring, Pearl Daniel-Means, Sophia Ehrnrooth

Featuring shocking, never-before-seen law enforcement video surrendered by a disgraced officer, End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock is the incredible story of the indigenous women who establish a peaceful camp in protest of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline construction that desecrated ancient burial and prayer sites and threatens their land, water, and very existence.

Cast: Phyllis Young, Wašté Win Young, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Sky Roosevelt-Morris, Linda Black Elk

Mia Misses Her Revenge (Mia isi rateaza razbunarea) – (Romania) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Bogdan Theodor Olteanu - Producers: Anamaria Antoci, Anda Ionescu

After a violent breakup, Mia is struggling to get revenge on her ex. As her plan kicks off, she finds herself surrounded by a group of friends that give female togetherness a new definition.

Cast: Ioana Bugarin, Maria Popistașu, Ana Maria Guran, Carol Ionescu, Adrian Nicolae, Alexandru Ion, Mădălina Stoica, Ștefania Cîrcu

No Trace (Nulle Trace) – (Canada) World Premiere - Opening Film

Director / Screenwriter: Simon Lavoie - Producer: Marcel Giroux

In a near future, a callous smuggler hardened by life guides a pious young woman and her child across the border to safety, unaware that their destinies are inescapably linked in this inhospitable land.

Cast: Monique Gosselin, Nathalie Doummar, Martin Desgagnés, Victor Andrés Trelles Turgeon


18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story – (USA) World Premiere - Closing Film

Director / Screenwriter: Stephen DeBro - Producers: Stephen DeBro, Robert Benavides, Mayre McAnulty, Tony Peck

A raucous, visceral Los Angeles tale—seen through the story of a 20th Century fight palace and the remarkable woman who ran it-—reveals battles over race, gender and identity that still roil America.

Cast: Roddy Piper, Carlos Palomino, John Doe, Julio César Chávez, James Ellroy, Mamie Van Doren, Gene LeBell, The Destroyer

Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide – (USA, Brazil)

Directors / Screenwriters: Malia Scharf, Max Basch - Producers: David Koh, Malia Scharf, Max Basch

Along with friends Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf grew from a graffiti artist into a major force in the 1980s NYC art scene. Obsessed with garbage, cartoons, and plastic, this playful Peter Pan’s roller coaster career flourished despite the decimation of the AIDS crisis and the fickle tastes of the art world and continues to create colorful, complex work that puts him at the forefront of where popular culture meets fine art. 



Autoscopy – (United Kingdom) 

Director/ Screenwriter: Claes Nordwall

A displaced ambient musician goes on a disorientating voyage on mushrooms. This takes him deep into the heart of nature and ultimately, deeper into himself.

Cast: Ulrik Munther

Birdland – (Japan)

Director / Screenwriter: Takeshi Kogahara

An old man spends the remainder of his life on his bed with an occasional visit by a caretaker. One night, he sees snow outside the window which awakens memories from his past.

Cast: Shin Furukawa, Natsuko Fuji

Blue – (Turkey) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Ali Şenses

A painter has devoted his life to a search for the inexplicably sublime.

Cast: Hüseyin Canpolat

Comforter – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Cameron Bruce Nelson

A woman gets so stoned she disappears.

Cast: Katya Skakun; Moara Passoni

Delimitation – (Czech Republic) North American Premiere

Director: Tereza Vejvodová - Screenwriter: Tereza Vejvodová

A dancer moves through a city, seeking a space in which to exist.

Cast: Markéta Jandová

Each Other – (Australia) World Premiere

Director/ Screenwriter: Oskar Weimar

Emerging from a dead tree, a human body seeks to understand itself.

Cast: Jack Riley

Every Day's Like This – (Canada)

Director / Screenwriter: Lev Lewis - Producers: Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas

A family tries to schedule the medically assisted death of a loved one.

Cast: Kacey Rohl, Daniel Kash, Francis Melling, Krystina Bojanowski

Exquisite Shorts, Volume 1. – (USA) World Premiere

Directors: Ariel Fish, Ben Kutsko, Winnie Cheung, Travis Stevens, Courtney Andujar, Andrew and Elsbeth Mumm, Matt Boman and Tosca Rivola, Hunter Adams, Sarah Lind, Doug Klinger and Machete Bang Bang, Theresa Desautels, Jessica Calleiro, Ben Fee, Emily Andujar and Manuel Taylor-Alcocer, Bossi Dean Baker, June Zandona, Hillary Andujar, Niles Howard and Kayli Stollak, Kevin Kearney, Mary Florence Brown Screenwriter: Ben Fee

Adapted from the surrealist drawing game “exquisite corpse,” this short of shorts created by 19 filmmakers is stitched together in a stream of consciousness with unique words bridging each of the segments, creating an anthology of diverse visual flavors.

Cast: Ben Fee, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Doug Klinger

In France Michelle is a Man's Name – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Em Weinstein

Michael, a young trans man, returns home to the rural American West after years of estrangement from his parents. In France Michelle is a Man’s Name explores trans identity, masculinity, and the prices we're willing to pay for acceptance.

Cast: Ari Damasco, Jerry Carlton, Olga Sanchez, Neil Green

Inside the Storm – (Israel) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Daniel Bloom

In the middle of the night, after a tough breakup, Nadav goes to visit an old friend he hasn't seen for a long time.

Cast: Ben-Oved Berkovich, Harel Glazer

Instructions to Let Go – (Mexico)

Director / Screenwriter: Gustavo Gamero

Daphne and Mafer meet at a hotel, they quickly become friends and chemistry begins to emerge between them.

Cast: LD Handal, Mafer Marquez

MADA (Mother) – (Jamaica) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Joseph Douglas Elmhirst

In the postcolonial, matriarchal culture of rural Jamaica, a simmering conflict over Luther's nature surfaces and we are offered insight into two mothers, Faith and Ethel's conflicting notions about love and protection, meditating on it's impact on a child who deviates from the norm.

Cast: Asoya Smith, Brenda Farmer, Xavier Alexander-Keating

Night Visions – (England) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: William Glass

Two friends drive to a secluded forest and experiment with hypnotism, which triggers vivid dreams and serpentine hallucinations. 

Cast: Lily Ashley, Hugo Nicholson, Olivier Huband.

Others – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Grace Rex

Others is a collection of surreal vignettes in which people in everyday moments are tethered by an umbilical cord to otherworldly beings.

Cast: Arthur French, Debargo Sanyal, Ann Carr, Sunita Mani 

Post Office – (USA) World Premiere

Director: Courtney Loo & David Karp - Screenwriter: Courtney Loo

When a Chinese-American mother and her children come upon a seemingly abandoned little girl, their attempts to help have unforeseen consequences.

Cast: Julie Zhan, Naomi Shih, Ari Shih, Xiaowan Jin

Progressive Touch – (Austria, Netherlands) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Michael Portnoy

Can you fuck to an irregular beat? Progressive Touch depicts three futuristic, absurdist love scenes in which the goal is to "improve" sex by complicating its rhythm and choreography.

Cast: Tizo All, Juan Felipe Amaya González, Marc Philipp Gabriel, Deva Schubert

Returning – (United Kingdom) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Lucy Bridger

A retired teacher confronts some unexpected emotions as she struggles through the discomfort of a heatwave.

Cast: Niamh Cusack, Simon Shepherd, David Beames

Signs He Made At Home – (USA) World Premiere

Directors: Charlie Cole, Machel Ross - Screenwriters: Micheal Norton, Machel Ross, Charlie Cole

An outsider artist spends a lifetime creating a world bigger than himself.

Cast: Ian Elton, Elianny McDonald, Chasten Harmon

There – (Taiwan) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Wu Yu Fen

In the absence of his children, Grandpa's Indonesian caregiver is forced to mourn him.

Cast: Chen Shally, Yu Fan Zu Mei, Tsai Ming Shiou

Trammel – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Christopher Jason Bell

Dale lives a solitary life in a small town, his only outlet being conversations with the local pharmacist Mohammad.

Cast: Dale Smith, Mohammad Dagman


The Ultimate (By Lou Fescano) – (USA)

Director: Daniel Jaffe - Screenwriter: Daniel Jaffe & Michelle Uranowitz

After the death of her childhood friend Lou, filmmaker Nicole Friedman returns home to find he's left behind a mediocre script that his family wants her to make in his honor.

Cast: Michelle Uranowitz, Clare McNulty, Lisa Haas, Jonathan Marballi

Vision Of Wonder (Undersyn) – (Norway) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Aleksander Johan Andreassen

Aleksander Johan Andreassen presents a fictional and subjective portrait of his father who is struggling with a visual deficit. 

Cast: Rune Andreassen

Young Forever – (United States) World Premiere

Director: Stevie Szerlip - Screenwriters: Stevie Szerlip, Young Lee    

A Korean entrepreneur living in Los Angeles is entangled in a pyramid scheme that goes far beyond beauty product endorsement in an elliptical thriller about risk, survival and loss.      

Cast: Young Lee, Sorel Carradine, Dana Boulos, Joseph Lopez


A Family That Steals Dogs – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: John C. Kelley

Strange experiences and realizations lead a grieving artist to reconsider his identity and beliefs in this meditation on loss, family and mental illness.

About A Home – (USA) World Premiere

Directors / Screenwriters: Daniel Chein, Elizabeth Lo

Precious Sarria and her family experienced housing insecurity for over two years. After transitioning into housing, they documented their lives to raise awareness for the rising homelessness in regions surrounding Silicon Valley.

Cast: Precious Sarria

Ain't No Time For Women – (Canada) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Sarra El Abed   Producer: Isabelle Grignon-Francke

Tunis, November 2019. On the eve of the presidential election, a group of women is gathered at Saïda’s hair salon, which is transformed into a town square, mirroring the internal turmoil of the country. In this female sanctuary, we get an intimate look at the country’s teenage democracy.

Faraway – (Canada) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Aziz Zoromba

After being estranged from his family for his homosexuality, we observe a young Arab man over four seasons from far away as he navigates his solitude – all the while attempting to reconnect with his mother.

Field Resistance – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Emily Drummer

Charging scenes of the present with dystopian speculation, Field Resistance blurs the boundaries between documentary filmmaking and science fiction to investigate overlooked environmental devastation in the state of Iowa.

I think it's enough, isn't it? – (Israel)

Director / Screenwriter: Emily Shir Segal

Reconstructing one last encounter with Dad.

Ms Curvy – (UK)

Director / Producer: Ghada Eldemellawy

A Ugandan mother tries to navigate her past traumas through participating in the country's first beauty pageant for plus-size women.

Sleeping with the Devil – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Alisa Yang

Based on a recorded Skype exorcism and found footage, the filmmaker confronts her religious trauma growing up in the Evangelical prophetic and deliverance ministry.

Cast: Alisa Yang, Bob Larson

The Length of Day – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Laura Conway

The Length of Day is a collaged essay film that tells an emotional history of socialism in the United States. Filmmaker Laura Conway enacts a cinematic seance using archival documents to communicate with her departed communist grandparents and ask them questions about the end of capitalism. An account of the dreams, struggles, and losses of revolutionaries in the United States.

Unforgivable – (El Salvador)

Director: Marlén Viñayo - Screenwriters: Carlos Martínez, Marlén Viñayo

A ruthless hitman for the18th Street gang serves his sentence in an isolation cell in El Salvador. But in prison, Geovanny is not just guilty of his crimes, but of an unforgivable sin under God and gang: being gay.



Bad Mood – (Italy) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Loris Giuseppe Nese   

The mother cares for seniors in their homes, where the ticking clock counts down the working day, between the frightening sounds of the heavy breathing that increase the fear of emptiness...

Cast: Rossella De Martino, Patrizia Scannapiecoro

Friend of a Friend – (France) North American Premiere

Director/ Screenwriter: Zachary Zezima

A young man is sexually assaulted and subdues, punishes, then befriends his own attacker while confronting his past and the ambiguities of sexuality.

Cast: Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Isaac Kessler, Shawn Stoner 

Knife Hanging From A Tree – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Jihee Nam

Sour grapes.

Lizard Ladder – (USA)

Director: Ted Wiggin

Three animals caught between planes of existence, and an egg.

Molly Dane – (USA)

Director/ Screenwriter: Ida Lasic

Experience the ritz and glamour of a death at the Dane's fundraiser.

Opera – (South Korea)

Director / Screenwriter: Erick Oh

Opera is a massive 8K size animation installation project which portrays our society and history, filled with beauty and absurdity. 

Papa Sun – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Noah Gallagher

A visual and audio mixtape that celebrates the sun, the moon, water, and the beach.

Cast: Noah Gallagher, Nick Knezevich, Em Jiang, Chelsea Garvey

Poise – (Portugal) North American Premiere

Director: Luís Soares / Screenwriters: Luís Soares, Cátia Salgueiro

A man is unable to make a choice and the world comes to a halt. Is the tension of indecision stronger than the fear of mistake?

Return to the Peach Blossom Wonderland – (China, USA) North American Premiere

Directors: Haomin Peng, Yue Huang, Yuchao Luo Screenwriter: Yue Huang

Looking at a China modernized, are we back in such a wonderland described in an ancient fable, The Peach Blossom Spring, or is this high-speed train impelling us to somewhere else?

Something to Treasure – (USA, Canada) 

Director: Annapurna Kumar

Warm showers make me see stars.

The Land of Whim – (Poland) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Betina Bozek

The film is an image of a land ruled by a whim. Everything that exists on the planet is unobvious, chaotic, and changes its shapes and properties.

Urges –  (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Angela Stempel

Unleash your urges! Let them take care of you.

White Horse – (UK, China)

Director / Screenwriter: Yujie Xu

The bystander leaves after whispering, they say an accordion could never talk to a white horse.



Desert Air – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: ANDiLAND

A dark journey down the rabbit hole of a turbulent female adolescence.

Letter From Your Far-Off Country – (USA/India) 

Director / Screenwriter: Suneil Sanzgiri

Drawing upon a rich repository of images – from digital renderings of Kashmir’s mountains to the textured materiality of 16mm hand-processing and direct animation techniques – 'Letter From Your Far-off Country' maps a hidden vein of shared political commitment and diasporic creative expression, linking a poem by the Kashmiri American writer Agha Shahid Ali with interviews with the filmmaker’s father and a letter addressed to Communist Party leader Prabhakar Sanzgiri, who is also the filmmaker’s distant relative.

Mountain Lodge – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Jordan Wong

The candle, the myth, the legend. Mountain Lodge.

Morning Sickness in the USA – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Cristine Brache

The director's grandmother shares the story of being committed to a mental hospital in 1961 after seeing a doctor for inexplicable nausea. 

Cast: Juliana Brache, Cristine Brache

Passage – (Germany) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Ann Oren

A foley artist creates sounds for a film featuring a dressage horse and dissolves into his own imitation. Shot on 16mm film, PASSAGE is contemporary and sensual homage to the origin of cinema, with a thrilling performance from queer artist and performer Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau.

Cast: Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau

Piz Regolith – (Switzerland) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Yannick Mosimann

A postmodern swiss-tyrolean ensemble ventures into remote mountainous regions, embracing the sonorous variety of local vernaculars. A poetic road movie with stunning shots and an emphatic approach to a new alpine aesthetics.

Cast: Thomas Burger, Gloria Grams, Helmuth Gufler, Ruedi Hählen

Rumi and His Roses – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Navid Sinaki

Using love letters tucked in bootleg DVD menus, a gay Iranian recounts his first relationship and its end.

Cast: Navid Sinaki

Something To Touch That Is Not Corruption Or Ashes Or Dust – (United States)

Director / Screenwriter: Mike Stoltz

Fences, zooms, blastbeats and oscillators search for possibility or perforation as the walls close in.

the gospel according to them – (UK) World Premiere

Director: Bury Leod

the gospel according to them, is an experimental film that explores the phenomenology of faith and its relationship to the Black body.

The Wind – (United States)

Director: Miranda Javid

The rigidity of a historical fact rolls by like clouds, or maybe like cloud-computing. Digital landscapes like desktops, trash cans, and cursors flatten the sensation of what tangibly remains: the invisible pleasure of wind on skin.


Wild Heart 1981 / 2020 – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Zach Dorn   

While browsing YouTube at the start of the 2020 COVID pandemic, a narrator grabs a camcorder and shares their thoughts about the video platform. The narrator lingers on a video of Stevie Nicks singing "Wild Heart" in the studio of Annie Liebovitz in 1981.


Blackwater – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Boise Esquerra

A Native American country music star finally hits rock bottom and is court-ordered into wellness therapy with an offbeat group of misfits on her hometown reservation.

Cast: Kyla Garcia, Branscombe Richmond, Gary Farmer, Carolina Hoyos

Black Kung fu Chick – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Rae Shaw

A feisty young girl from South LA struggles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor with the help of her high school science teacher, a martial arts master.

Cast: Taylor Polidore, Peter Boon Koh, PJ Hubbard, Terrance Ellis

Chef Giants – (USA) 

Director / Creator / Screenwriter: Troy DeWinne

Two goblins behold and scold the great chef giants.

Cast: Troy DeWinne and Ethan Dirks

Dead End – (Israel)

Director / Creator: Nir Berger - Screenwriters: Ofir Sasson, Nir Berger

In a post-nuclear-war Jerusalem, two teenage bickering siblings travel what's left of the city in search of their little brother whom they lost in the bombing.

Cast: Ofir Sasson, Gaya Beer Gurevich, Yotam Perel, Guy Shahaf

Early To Rise – (USA)

Director: Alec Cohen / Screenwriters / Creators: Alec Cohen, Mike Cabellon, Adrien Pellerin, Katie Sicking

On the way to a distant planet, three less-than-qualified astronauts are awoken from stasis 90 years too early and trapped inside their hibernation pods. Alone in the endless void, they can't kill themselves, and they can't kill each other, so they'll just have to kill time.

Cast: Mike Cabellon, Adrien Pellerin, Katie Sicking

Hustle: Episode 4 – (USA) World Premiere

Director: Matt Strickland / Creator - Screenwriter: Rekha Shankar

Two gamer best friends battle the everyday Big Bosses of "unequal opportunity" and "crappy day jobs." In this episode, Nina's first writing credit may spell "game over" when she realizes the publication isn't all it's cracked up to be, while Paige battles her own self-doubt (the biggest baddie of all).

Cast: Rachel Pegram, Bowen Yang, Jordan Myrick, Morgan Phillips

Like in Movies – (Japan)

Director / Creator / Screenwriter: Yoh Komaya

Life is full of twists and letdowns. Live it like a movie.

Cast: Takeo Ito, Eri Mori, Ryota Taniguchi, Hisayasu Fujii

Now is Not the Best Time – (United States) World Premiere

Director: Jacqueline Dow - Screenwriter: Seth Birkan

Alisa gets a chance to win $50,000 by making a half-court shot at a Knicks game but her anxiety quickly derails her when she learns the contest is going to be on TV.

Cast: Betsy Kenney, Kenneth Kimmins, Dan Erickson, Kenneth Kyle Martinez

Quarantine Quarrels: Connecting in Quarantine – (USA)

Creator / Director/ Screenwriter: Sophia Stephens

A woman struggles to maintain her sanity during the 2020 quarantine lockdown.

Cast: Sophia Stephens

Sixteen Thousand Dollars – (USA) 

Director: Symone Baptiste - Screenwriters: Brodie Reed & Ellington Wells  

A struggling Black college grad wakes up to find that reparations have finally been paid to descendants of slaves in America. 

Cast: Brodie Reed, Ellington Wells, Alice Wetterlund, Punkie Johnson

The Anxious Taxidermist - Pilot – (USA)

Director: Jeff Dickamore / Creators / Screenwriters: Jeff Dickamore, Aurora Florence

The story of Marie, a young woman who uses her secret passion for rogue taxidermy to cope with debilitating anxiety.

Cast: Aurora Florence, Shaun Harmon Thompson, Rachael Winegar, Alex Diaz

The Little Broomstick Rider – (Italy) World Premiere

Creator / Director / Screenwriter: Matteo Bernardini

When a nine-year-old boy in 1620s Bavaria goes on trial for witchcraft, a flabbergasted court must decide the child’s fate.



A$$ Level – (USA)

Director: Alison Becker / Screenwriter: Santina Muha

A$$ Level is a comedic music video that celebrates life with a disability while paying homage to 90s dance videos.

Cast: Santina Muha, Lydia Hearst, Travis Coles, Amy Hessler

Best Friend – (United States) 

Director / Screenwriter: Cory Reeder 

After moving cross-country, a young girl with Down syndrome struggles to fit into her new surroundings.

Cast: Gitane Neil, Kim Kendall, Robert Buscemi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan

Committed – (United States)

Directors: Rachel Handler and Crystal Arnette - Screenwriters: Kara Moulter, Rachel Handler, Melanie Waldman

When Calvin announces that he's proposing to Leesa...and then they're moving to the suburbs, Rebecca enlists Dennis's help to sabotage the proposal and keep their friends around for good.

Cast: Rachel Handler, Jaleesa Graham, Colin Buckingham, Damond McFarland 

ENDOMIC – (Canada, US) World Premiere

Directors / Screenwriters / Producers: Camille Hollett-French, Ipek Ensari

An exhaustive meta-analytic review documenting a mysterious “women's” issue, otherwise known as endometriosis1 (1term used to describe a clinical etiology that thus far has only been identified in primates with a female reproductive system, an anatomical structure of decidedly lower importance in comparison to those of the male primate.)

Cast: AJ Simmons, Ipek Ensari, Rhiannon Collett, Natasha Richards

Feeling Through – (USA)

Director / Screenwriter: Doug Roland   

A teen-in-need's reluctant act of kindness toward a DeafBlind man becomes a night-long journey, creating a bond between them that gives the teen hope for the future.

Cast: Steven Prescod, Robert Tarango

Flying Eggs – (United States)

Director: Sheldon Chau - Screenwriter: Antonio Garcia Jr.

A teenage boy in a Brooklyn apartment interrupts a man on his morning run by throwing eggs out the window.

Cast: Antonio Garcia Jr., Christopher M. Lopes

Full Picture – (USA) World Premiere

Director: Jacob Reed - Screenwriters: Santina Muha, Jacob Reed, Elizabeth Reichelt, Stephen Sanow

Santina has been in a wheelchair since she was six years old. With meetings, hangouts, and classes happening virtually due to the Coronavirus quarantine, she's experiencing something new: Choosing when (or if) to disclose her disability.

Cast: Santina Muha

Human Helper – (United States) 

Director / Screenwriter: Shaina Ghuraya

Human Helper is a sci-fi comedy short about a doctor's mission to make artificially intelligent human-like helpers not ableist.

Cast: Nicole Evans, Alora Kinley, Anthony Golden Jr., Shauna Turnmire

How Much Am I Worth? – (United States)

Directors: Rachel Handler and Catriona Rubenis-Stevens

This stirring documentary explores the failures of the U.S. health system through the lens of four disabled women. 

Cast: Rachel Handler, Andrea Dalzell, Jaleesa Graham, Denise Castelli 

I Wish I Never – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Shaina Ghuraya

This music video tackles the reality of women with disabilities in abusive relationships.

Cast: Angela Rockwood, Lucas Maschi 

My Layers – (Canada) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter / Producer: Susanne Serres

A dance & art short film about psychosis - from mental illness to full recovery.

Cast: Kym Dominique-Ferguson

On The Outs – (USA)

Director: Jordan Melograna - Producers: Mark Stroh, David Carlson, Anna Guy, Jordan Melograna, Tina Pinedo

On The Outs follows three people with various disabilities, including vision impairment, brain injury, and mental illness, as they reenter the community from Washington State prisons.

Cast: Eldorado Fleetwood Cadillac Brown, Tyrone Gatherings, Kara Moser

Road to Zion – (USA) 

Director: Andrew Reid - Screenwriters: Andrew Reid, Jeremy Palmer

A Jamaican immigrant finds his life in LA shaken by forces outside his control as he struggles to understand how far he is willing to go to protect his family.

Safety Net – (Australia) North American Premiere

Director: Anthea Williams / Screenwriter: Julian Larnach

Thirteen-year-old Terry is in emergency care with guardians after his mother’s arrest. Cheeky and living with a disability, he outwits one guardian while finding exactly the connection he needs from the other.  

Cast: William Best, Nikki Shiels, Steve Rodgers

Single – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Ashley Eakin

A girl born with one arm gets set-up on a blind date with a guy who has one hand, and she is pissed! 

Cast: Jordan Wiseley, Delaney Feener 

Stilts – (United Kingdom) North American Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Dylan Holmes Williams

A young man tries to escape a surreal dystopia where everyone wears ginormous metal stilts.

Cast: Tom Glynn-Carney, Con O'Neill, Hebe Beardsall, Amanda Hale

The Bin – (Philippines) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Jocelyn Tamayao

A father struggles to connect with his son, who grows to love a language not native to his tongue.

Cast: Patrick Silver Padao, Brian Arda, Zernice Mae Cruz, and Juner N. Quiambao   

The Butterfly Circus – (USA) 

Director: Joshua Weigel - Screenwriters: Joshua Weigel, Rebekah Weigel

The story of a renowned circus troupe traveling through the devastated American landscape at the height of the Great Depression, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs in a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman, he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.

Cast: Nick Vujicic, Eduardo Verastegui, Dou Jones

The Co-Op – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Cameron S. Mitchell

A robber's plan goes horribly awry when he realizes the store he has targeted is full of disabled people.

Cast: Josh Matthews, Emilie Krause, Emma Mitchell, David Mitchell

Union – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Julia Neill

A young Civil War surgeon in the Union army visits home with an unexpected companion: a soldier whose arm she amputated.

Cast: Scott Barton, Amanda Forstrom, Zack Rukavina, Evan Casey, Barbara Zablocky

Unspoken – (USA)

Directors / Screenwriters: Emma Zurcher-Long, Julia Ngeow & Geneva Peschka

A groundbreaking point-of-view documentary exploring a non-fluent speaker's world. 14-year-old Emma challenges societal judgment surrounding keystroke at a time.

Cast: Emma Zurcher-Long

Verisimilitude – (United Kingdom) 

Director: David Proud / Screenwriter: Justin Edgar

A struggling disabled actress gets a job advising a film star how to be disabled for his latest role.

Cast: Ruth Madeley, Esther Smith, Laurie Davidson, Alice Lowe



ASMR for White Liberals – (USA) 

Director: John Connor Hammond - Screenwriter: Randall Otis

Liberal? White? Guilty as hell? Let me help you get through your tough, tough times with ASMR for White Liberals. 

Cast: Randall Otis

Bare Bones – (United States) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Meryem Lahlou

Who are we when we all share the same face?

Beyond Noh – (USA/Japan)

Director: Patrick Smith - Screenwriter: Kaori Ishida

Thousands of masks from around the world, at 24 masks per second, brings us along a journey through culture, utility, and deviance. 

Catastrophe Anthem – (USA) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Christopher Hewitt

The END OF THE WORLD isn't going to be an apocalyptic explosion. It's going to be our minds, descending into chaos.

Cast: Tuesday Thomas

Urban Sphinx (Esfinge urbana) – (Spain)

Director / Screenwriter: María Lorenzo 

The eye that you see is not an eye because you see it; it’s an eye because he sees you. A tribute to all Street Artists from Valencia.

Everything You Need To Know About Pierogi – (USA) 

Director / Screenwriter: Jon Phillips 

Everything you need to know about pierogi, and more!

Just a Guy – (Germany) 

Director: Shoko Hara - Screenwriter: Simon Thummet

Three women contemplate their relationship with convicted serial killer Richard Ramirez.

Life – (Iran) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Mohammad Mohammadian

Life is an experimental super short film about time of life. The duration of this film is only 4 seconds (not minutes) because life is very short and very fast.

Peter the Penguin – (UK)

Director / Screenwriter: Andrew Rutter

Nigel is on his way to meet his partner's daughter Emily for the first time, and while he hopes to make a big impression, the impression she'll leave on him is far more permanent. 

Cast: Chris Butler, Alex Kapila, Mia Hemerling, Peter Terry

Run That Shit! – (USA) World Premiere

Director: Tristan Kim - Screenwriters: Tristan Kim, Will Allyn Robinson

A Satanic cult lures a no-name rapper into stealing an enchanted chamber pot from his estranged friend and now superstar rapper, Big Tobacco. 

Cast: Jerome Beazer, Shaune May, Michael Rendeiro, Jimmie Cummings

The Danger in Front – (Canada) US Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Alexis Chartrand

While observing life outside his shop, a barber thinks he sees someone who is after his life and his family. Confronted with imminent danger, the barber decides to react.

Cast: Bruno Marcil, Guillaume Cyr, Guillaume Lambert 

Wild Bill Horsecock – (USA) 

Director: Oliver Shahery

Hayes Johnson is a Prius-driving, red-light-running vegan, who sings country, shoots DIY porn...and unfortunately, a lot more. Wild Bill Horsecock dives headfirst.

Cast: Hayes Johnson

DIG (DIGITAL, INTERACTIVE, AND GAMING) 24,483 DREAMS OF DEATH – (United States) World Premiere

Director: Chris Peters - Screenwriter: GPT-2 A.I.

An artificial intelligence (A.I.) computer watched the Mario Bava classic “La Maschera del Demonio” for six straight days, then it made its own disturbing movie.

Cast: Naomi Petit

Homage to Airway – (Denmark)

Director / Screenwriter: Sophia Ioannou Gjerding

While ‘airway’ can be a reference to air travel and human respiration alike, in this context ‘Airway’ is the name of a dog. 

Cast: Aoife Slevin

Inside and Outside the Wall – (China) World Premiere

Director / Screenwriter: Yihan Lin

During the 14-day mandatory quarantine in a hotel room after I went back to China, I "raised" some virtual animals in my phone. Somehow, we look very alike.

To Die in the Valley I've Loved – (USA) 

Directors: Koryn Wicks & Willing Kompany   

A dance performance exploring horror movies, why we love them, and the things they reveal about our culture. 

Cast: Koryn Wicks



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