‘YANNICK’ (2024) Meta theatre lunacy

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YANNICK

The absurdity of filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (Smoking Causes Coughing) is back in his latest film, YANNICK. During a live performance of a play, a dissatisfied audience member stops the actors, demanding a better story. The actors do not take his criticism well, leading the man to take more drastic measures.

With real-life increases in incidences of unruly theatergoers, Dupieux taps into the lack of civility and the culture of complaint. You see it all over the Internet because anyone can upload to YouTube or TikTok these days “expressing” their faux outrage. From conspiracy theories to rage-baiting clickbait, we have gone mad. YANNICK also directly addresses how quickly words lead to the threat of physical violence.

Yannick still 1Dupieux is a master of providing comedy within social commentary. As Yannick becomes more agitated, he reveals how out of touch he is with general society while simultaneously hurling offensive barbs at his captives. Equal parts hilarious and terrifying, all I could imagine as an actor and theatre patron was how I might escape such a scenario.

Longtime collaborator Raphaël Quenard gives our titular character a fully fleshed-out nuance that startles. His surprisingly levelheaded approach and matter-of-fact delivery create an entirely unsettling fear. All of this is evident within the first twenty minutes of the film. Quenard delivers one hell of a turn. He is fantastic.

Yannick cast still 2The honest laughs come when Dupieux leans fully into the meta satire in new dialogue written by Yannick. Filled with redundancies and mistakes, the audience in the theatre and at home belly laugh at the actors’ forced commitment.

The cast nails the table-read style of acting. It’s such a specific cadence. Fellow performers will eat it up. YANNICK is classic Dupieux. His dialogue drips with sarcasm, saying the quiet part out loud. That is what makes his films deliciously unpredictable.

YANNICK captures the essence of live theatre and life itself. Dupieux continues to thrill with his coordinated chaos. These days, everyone’s a critic.

YANNICK PREMIERES EXCLUSIVELY ON MUBI, APRIL 5

DJ-turned-filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (Smoking Causes CoughingDeerskin) returns with the Locarno-prize-winning comedy YANNICK, an absurdist tale navigating the relationship between artists and audiences. 

On a rare night off, car park guard Yannick attends a production of the play “Le Cocu.” Dissatisfied by the performance, he hijacks the show and demands to be made the playwright in order to get his valuable time back. Despite the ridicule, he is determined to prove even a car park guard can create good entertainment.

Shot in secret in just 6 days, Dupieux serves up his signature slice of satire in this quick-fire meta-comedy reflecting on his own relationship with audiences and critics. 

 

Director’s Biography

Born in Paris in 1974, Quentin Dupieux discovered cinema and bought his first synthesizer at the age of 18. Under the name Mr Oizo, he released his track Flat Beat and albums such as Analog Worms Attack, Moustache (Half a Scissor), and Lambs Anger.

In 2007, Dupieux directed, shot, edited, and composed the music for his first feature film, Steak. He went on to direct the absurdist horror film Rubber (2010) and the comedy Wrong, followed by Wrong Cops (2012), Reality (2014), Keep an Eye Out (2018) with Benoît Poelvoorde and Grégoire Ludig, Deerskin (2019) with Jean Dujardin and Adèle Haenel, Mandibles (2020), with Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais, Incredible but true, selected at Berlinale 2022, and Smoking Makes Coughing, presented in the Midnight Screening section at Cannes Film Festival 2022.

Yannick, his latest feature film stars Raphaël Quenard, Pio Marmaï, Blanche Gardin, and Sébastien Chassagne; and was produced by Hugo Sélignac (Chi-Fou-Mi) and Thomas and Mathieu Verhaegue (Atelier de Production).


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‘WICKED LITTLE LETTERS’ (2024) The Best F*cking Film of the Year

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS

Wicked Little Letters (2023) poster

When Edith Swan becomes the target of untoward, profanity-laced letters, the first suspect is her unfiltered neighbor. Chaos ensues when a police officer thinks they’ve arrested the wrong person.

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Timothy Spall plays Edward Swan, the abusive patriarch actively stifling Edith’s development. His use of religion as a moral and spiritual threat is alarming and infuriating. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is a genuinely outstanding female ensemble. Boasting delightful performances from (a brilliant ) Anjana Vasan, Lolly Adefope, Joanna Scanlan, Eileen Atkins, and Alisha Weir, audiences will flock to the theatre.

Jessie Buckley is flawless as a foul-mouthed immigrant single mother, Rose Gooding. Buckley’s fierce spirit proves perfection for the role. She and Colman share a delicious chemistry, and I beg the industry to pair them together in future projects.

Olivia Colman gives Edith Swan an endearing faux bashfulness, particularly when you understand the trauma behind it. Her comic timing is a thing of the gods. Thriving off the attention of the scandal, Colman is a revelation. The nuance is, as usual, award-worthy.

Wicked Little Letters 2024 Olivia ColmanA massive thank you to screenwriter Jonny Sweet and director Thea Sharrock for gifting audiences with a dazzling story about complex, fearless women. The script is a creative commentary on repression, patriarchal rule, female friendship, and freedom of expression. You’ll be doubled over with laughter at the ceaselessly imaginative insults in the letters. The unadulterated glee in hearing these words feels naughty in a rather freeing and celebratory way. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is the best fucking film of the year.

OPENING IN LA & NY MARCH 29, 

OPENING NATIONWIDE APRIL 5

A 1920s English seaside town bears witness to a farcical and occasionally sinister scandal in this riotous mystery comedy. Based on a stranger than fiction true story, WICKED LITTLE LETTERS follows two neighbours: deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive wicked letters full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. The anonymous letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues. However, as the town’s women — led by Police Officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) — begin to investigate the crime themselves, they suspect that something is amiss, and Rose may not be the culprit after all.

 

DIRECTED BY Thea Sharrock

WRITTEN BY Jonny Sweet

STARRING

Olivia Colman

Jessie Buckley

Timothy Spall

Anjana Vasan

Wicked Little Letters (2023) Olivia Colman

LOS ANGELES OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC CENTURY CITY 15

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA

AMC THE GROVE 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 2000, Los Angeles, CA

NEW YORK OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE 13

1998 Broadway, New York, NY

CINEMA 123 BY ANGELIKA

1001 Third Ave, New York, NY

REGAL UNION SQUARE

850 Broadway, New York, NY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


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‘Can’ & YATCH- ‘My Idea’ (SXSW 2024) one director, mesmerizing vision

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CAN

CAN poster SXSW 2024Filmmaker Kailee McGee shares snapshots of her innermost thoughts on her journey with breast cancer. Tongue in cheek, manic, clever, stream of consciousness, unfiltered, and hilariously meta, CAN feels revelatory. It is celebratory irreverence. McGee makes her situation relatable and palpable. She is raw and funny as hell. I would 1000% watch a feature-length version. It has that “it” factor, and McGee owns every bit of its magic.

Can SXSW 2024 still

Credits

Director:

Kailee McGee

Producer:

JP Bolles, Kailee McGee

Screenwriter:

Kailee McGee

Cinematographer:

Patrick Jones

Editor:

Rich Costales, Kailee McGee

Production Designer:

Rose Curry

Sound Designer:

Travis Prater

Music:

Andrew Orkin

Principal Cast:

Kailee McGee, Mamoudou Athie, Whitmer Thomas, Ellyn Jameson, Greta Titelman, Nori Reed

Additional Credits:

Sound Recordist: Dave McKeever, Art Director: Tahryn Smith, Art Director: Conor Brown, Hair & Makeup: Christina Spina, Additional Editing: Mike Giambra

 

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MY IDEA

MY IDEA poster SXSW 2024

The video features a performer perpetually dressed in a mo-cap suit. It is what my brain imagines Andy Serkis‘ life to be in his nightmares. Alex Karpovsky delivers a charming performance. You can feel the yearning for freedom.

YATCH‘s track is super catchy. Kailee McGee proves, for the 2nd time at this year’s fest, that she possesses unbridled creativity. Reteaming with editor Rich Costales is chef’s kiss. They clearly understand each other’s vision. Give her all the jobs.

Credits

Director:

Kailee McGee

Executive Producer:

Adam Lisagor

Producer:

Kailee McGee, Nichole Luna, Rich Costales

Screenwriter:

Kailee McGee

Cinematographer:

Connor Heck

Editor:

Rich Costales

Production Designer:

Tahryn Smith

Sound Designer:

Dave McKeever

Music:

YACHT

Principal Cast:

Alex Karpovsky, Claire L. Evans, Jona Bechtolt, Rob Kieswetter, Kailee McGee

Additional Credits:

Hair & Make-Up: Christina Spina, 1st AD: Jason Lawliss, Choreography: Maritza Navarro, Color by: Beau Leon, VFX: Sandwich Video, MoCap Costume by: Francesca Roth, Set Dresser: Conor Brown, Prop Master: Graham Anderson, TED Talk Script by: Claire L. Evans

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


‘SEW TORN’ (SXSW 2024) is a delightfully quirky caper

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SEW TORN

Sew Torn SXSW 2024

A business on the verge of closure. Unresolved grief. An accident. A briefcase full of money. Welcome to SXSW 2024’s quirky caper, SEW TORN.

SEW TORN delivers a slick opening scene and an incredibly creative title sequence. You are locked in from the very first frame. Filmmaker Freddy Macdonald‘s quick-take editing combined with Jacob Tardien’s mischievous score is pure delight. The script is genius and unpredictable, akin to watching a ping-pong match.

John Lynch plays villainous drug-dealing patriarch Hudson Armitage. He is a powerhouse. K Callan is hilarious in a small-town multi-hyphenate role. Calum Worthy is super intriguing as Joshua, a fearful son under his father’s thumb. Worthy brings an unexpected vulnerability that mirrors Barbara.

Caroline Goodall is magnificent as Barbara’s client and entitled bride-to-be Grace. She is a monstrous anchor in the film and deliciously unforgettable. Eve Connolly owns every second of screen time. SEW TORN has minimal dialogue. Connolly pulls a modern-day Chaplin-meets-MacGyver. Fearless and entirely brilliant, Connolly is a star.

SEW TORN tackles destiny, morality, and the consequences of our life choices. SXSW 2024 audiences are fortunate to experience this delicious tale of crime and craftiness. It is undoubtedly one of the best films of the festival.


Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:45pm12:20am
Mar 16, 2024
9:30pm11:05pm

Credits

Director:

Freddy Macdonald

Executive Producer:

Ronnie Lott, John Zavitsanos, Michael Zilkha, Baird Craft, Tristan Aufiero, Elena Kourkoumelis, John Dillon Powell, Amy Lin, William Lin, Didi Wong, Gary MacDermid, Oliver Keller

Producer:

Fred Macdonald, Barry Navidi, Sebastian Klinger, Diamantis Zavitsanos, Socratis Zavitsanos

Screenwriter:

Freddy Macdonald, Fred Macdonald

Cinematographer:

Sebastian Klinger

Editor:

Freddy Macdonald

Production Designer:

Viviane Rapp

Sound Designer:

Alexander Stratigenas

Music:

Jacob Tardien

Principal Cast:

Eve Connolly, Calum Worthy, John Lynch, K Callan, Ron Cook, Thomas Douglas, Werner Biermeier, Veronika Herren-Wenger, Caroline Goodall

Additional Credits:

Co-Producers: Timothy Ross, Alexander Stratigenas, Casting : Sharon Howard-Field, Nathan Wiley, Costume Designer: Viviane Rapp, Hair & Makeup Designer: Carol Geiger, First Assistant Director: Govind Sharma, Property Master: Seline Imhasly, Gaffer : Elia Quadri, Production Coordinator : Mick Vuillemier, Hair and Makeup Artist : Ximena Fanchini, First Assistant Camera: Janis Wolf

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For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

‘AUDREY’ (SXSW 2024) is dark comic genius

SXSW 2024 color logoAUDREY

Audrey SXSW 2024

Former soap star Ronnie is a delusional narcissist living precariously through her eldest ungrateful daughter. When one of Audrey’s tantrums goes wrong, Ronnie assumes her identity in an exclusive acting class to prove her talent to her family. With Audrey no longer the erratic center of attention, the family realizes the profound effect she has

Josephine Blazier nails the role of Audrey. She is entirely loathsome and vicious. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Ronnie’s youngest daughter is an afterthought, but actress Hannah Diviney is anything but. When Audrey is in a coma, Norah begins living her best life. Diviney possesses brilliant comic timing, and her chemistry with her castmates is magic.

Ronnie’s emotionally stunted and sexually repressed husband, played by Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, finds inspiration from the oddest place. He rekindles his passion for his wife through the absence of his cruel eldest daughter. Taylor moves from a shell of a man to a stallion. He is a delight.

Jackie van Beek gives Ronnie shameless confidence, owning every second of screen time. Hers is the kind of borderline slapstick comedy that you cannot teach. Jackie van Beek is irresistible, often stealing a scene with little more than a glance. She is perfection. I demand an entire franchise based on AUDREY.

In three distinct acts, the lunacy and lies lead to genuine laugh-out-loud scenes. Lou Sanz‘s script goes in directions impossible to predict. It’s much darker but equally as funny. SXSW 2024 audiences are in for one wacky ride.


Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
2:30pm4:07pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:15pm6:52pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:45pm7:22pm
 
Mar 15, 2024
2:15pm3:52pm

Credits

Director:

Natalie Bailey

Producer:

Michael Wrenn, Dan Lake, Shannon Wilson-McClinton, Diya Eid

Screenwriter:

Lou Sanz

Cinematographer:

Simon Ozolins ACS

Editor:

Katrina Barker

Production Designer:

Helen O’Loan APDG

Music:

Alex Cameron

Principal Cast:

Jackie Van Beek, Josephine Blazier, Hannah Diviney, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor

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For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


 

Now in theaters, ‘SCRAMBLED’ (2024) earns a glowing review

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SCRAMBLED

 

Scrambled (2024) poster

34-year-old single Etsy seller Nellie is getting pressure from all angles to get her shit together, find a life partner, and have a baby before “it’s too late.” Post-breakup and opinion bombardment, she decides to freeze her eggs and revisit previous conquests for connection or clarification. SCRAMBLED is an honest exploration of self and patriarchal structures.

Leah McKendrick in Scrambled. Photo courtesy of LionsgateAuthentically hilarious, audiences get to know Nellie through a series of sexual romps, engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, and pregnancy panic stories. The inundation of opinions and horror stories sounds familiar to me. I got pregnant at 35 and 36, so, naturally, I was deemed a “geriatric.” The combination of rage and fear was no joke. Leah McKendrick nails the ups and downs of that stage of life. It’s an existential crisis that you only truly understand if you’ve experienced it firsthand.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

The witty banter between Jesse and Nellie is laugh-out-loud funny. Clancy Brown (The Mortuary Collection) plays Nelly’s Boomer Dad with snappy comebacks and loveably curmudgeon vibes. He is spectacular. Ego Nwodim plays Sheila with a genuine best friend chemistry. One of the most poignant scenes springs from Nellie and Sheila’s relationship. Nellie finds herself an unwitting participant in a mourning group, leading her to share the most prolific monologue. It is insightful, loving, heartfelt, and candid.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

McKendrick deserves all the accolades as she has skillfully crafted an intimate narrative with equal parts comedy and care. SCRAMBLED is an outstanding film and a surprisingly deep dive into the female psyche.


SYNOPSIS:

Quintessential eternal bridesmaid Nellie Robinson (Leah McKendrick) constantly finds herself between weddings, baby showers, and bad dates. When she begins to feel like the clock is ticking and is faced with bleak romantic prospects, Nellie decides to freeze her eggs — setting her on an empowering journey to a brave new world where she ultimately discovers “the one” she’s looking for might be herself.


RELEASE DATE:                               February 2, 2024 (In Theaters)

RUNNING TIME:                               100 minutes

RATING:                                             R for sexual content, nudity, language throughout
and some drug use

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY:     Leah McKendrick

PRODUCED BY:                                Gillian Bohrer, Jonathan Levine, Brett Haley, Amanda Mortimer

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY:   Julia Swain

PRODUCTION DESIGNER:             Charlie Textor

EDITED BY:                                       Sandra Torres Granovsky

COSTUME DESIGNER:                    Kerry Hennessy

MUSIC SUPERVISOR:                      Ricki Askin

MUSIC BY:                                        Brittany Allen

CASTING BY:                                    Lisa Zagoria

CAST:                                                  Leah McKendrick, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Santino,
Adam 
Rodriguez, Laura Cerón, and Clancy Brown



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Slamdance 2024: Peter Oh’s ‘LOVE AND WORK’ – a parallel what-if of haunting hilarity

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LOVE AND WORK

Love And Work Slamdance 2024

Writer-director-editor-producer-cinematographer and obvious showoff Pete Ohs brings his latest genre buster, LOVE AND WORK, to Slamdance 2024. Reteaming with Will Madden and Stephanie Hunt from festival darling Jethica, this new film leans further into the absurd. Once again, gifting us with striking black-and-white cinematography, a voiceover hands us the immensely intriguing, near-future plot where AI has taken all the jobs and those seeking employment are outlaws.

Diane and Fox seek advice from a trusted local elder as he regales them with tales from his grandfather and the elusive concept of a weekend. Those who dare go against the grain find hobbies forced upon them as punishment. The backward nature of the plot sneaks up on you. It may not be so backward after all.

Stephanie Hunt plays Diane with an earned “cool girl” attitude that is infectious. Will Madden as Fox is a beautiful mix of awkward and charming. Their chemistry is electric.

Charles Watson‘s original songs are folksy bangers. There is a dry whimsy that I can only equate to British humor. A tongue-in-cheek look at societal norms and how humanity fumbles through the search for purpose and personal connection, LOVE AND WORK is a hilarious what-if and one terrifying step from reality.

  • Director: Pete Ohs
  • Screenwriter: Stephanie Hunt, Will Madden, Pete Ohs
  • Producer: Pete Ohs
  • Cast: Stephanie Hunt, Will Madden, Frank Mosley, Alexi Pappas, John S. Davies
  • Year: 2024
  • Runtime: 74 minutes
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Premiere: World Premiere
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Subtitle Language: English
Click for all our past Slamdance coverage
 
For all things Slamdance 2024 head here

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‘THE PRIVATE EYE’ (2024)- A neo- noir Matt Rife

THE PRIVATE EYE

THE PRIVATE EYE

A convoluted plot finds a down-on-his-luck detective becoming infatuated with his desperate new client. Jack Cook‘s THE PRIVATE EYE takes us on a twisty, often head-scratching ride through neo-noir weirdness.

(L-R) Denzel Whittaker and Matt Rife in Illusion Islands' THE PRIVATE EYE photo courtesy - Illusion IslandsMort and Michelle’s dynamic feels incredibly forced. The dialogue is a bizarre mix of awkward bad jokes and deeply personal romantic words. It is a baffling mix. The story is a mess, and there are innumerable superfluous scenes. The pace is glacial. At an hour and fifty-six minutes, this could have been eighty minutes at the most. 

Michelle’s character has no consistency, and by the end of the film, the casting choice feels entirely out of place That is not Clare Grant’s fault by any means. Matt Rife (Don’t Suck) does his best, actually giving audiences a taste of his surprising flair for the dramatic. If the right people see this film, it could open the door for more serious roles.
Matt Rife and Clare Grant in Illusion Islands' THE PRIVATE EYE photo courtesy - Illusion IslandsThe most successful aspect of the film is Eric Roberts‘ soothing narration, but there are too many inconsistencies for the final twist to go down smoothly. This is one of those times where a flashback montage of all the clues would greatly benefit the film.


THE PRIVATE EYE will be In Theaters Nationwide on Friday, February 9, 2024

Starring MATT RIFE, CLARE GRANT, ELLIOT, DENZEL WHITAKER, ERIK GRIFFIN, LEXY PANTERRA, JAY REEVES, ELIJAH BOOTHE, EUGENIA KUZMINA, ALEX KAGIANARIS, PETRI HAWKINS BYRD, ERIC ROBERTS, JOSIAH JACK KALIAN, JT PALMER, and CORY KIRK 

 

Directed by JACK COOK

Written by JACK COOK, PATRICK ROE, HOPE AYIYI, and ROSALINDA BOOKS

Produced by HOPE AYIYI, STREAM GARDNER, and ALEX KAGIANARIS

Co-Produced by RAAJ RAHHI and ELIJAH BOOTHE

Associate Produced by JAMES FRIEDHOFF

Executive Produced by JOE HEBELER, JOHN HEBELER, MARK DOC BERRY, STAN PARIS, JEFF SCHOENLING, TIM DOUGHERTY, CHIP TURNER, and BILL MCCLOY

Edited by WAYAN PALMIERI

 

Mystery/Romance/Comedy | 114 Minutes

 Rated R for language, sexual content, and brief violence.

 

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Film Website: https://www.illusionislands.com/

Sundance 2024: ‘SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE’ is perfect

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SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE

Say Hi After You Die Sundance 2024

Sundance 2024 short film SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE is a laugh-out-loud look at grief, mental health, and forever friendship. Following the unexpected passing of her best friend, Gloria finds herself talking to a porta-potty. It’s easy to see why the film won the Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction. It is that wonderful. 

Writers Ruby Caster (who hilariously portrays Ruby in the film, and Kate Jean Hollowell, who also stars and directs the film, nail the Gen Z/ Millennial cusp banter and fashion. They are a fierce team of creatives.
Say_Hi_After_You_Die-Kate Jean HollowellGeorge Basil plays Dave, the construction foreman, with a life-affirming kindness. One of his lines perfectly sums up the film’s heart, hitting you square in the chest, “We’re just friends walking each other home.” Hollowell is outstanding as Gloria. Her comic timing is the stuff of the gods, but she also delivers authentic depth. She is a star.

SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE has a smirk-inducing musical sequence. The choreography from Kat Burns is inarguably spectacular. For a 17-minute film, Sundance audiences will laugh, dance, and tear up. This is one of the year’s best.

Sundance Screening Times
Screening as part of Short Film Program 4

World Premiere – January 21st, 12:15PM MST (Prospector Square Theatre)
Public Screening #2 – January 22nd, 5:30PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #3 – January 25th, 12:00PM MST (Redstone Cinemas)
Public Screening #4 – January 27th, 4:00PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #5 – January 28th, 1:30PM MST (Holiday Village Cinemas)

Kate Jean HollowellKate Jean Hollowell is a multi-hyphenate director, comedian and musician, who honed her humor, storytelling and visual style by making her own music videos, showcased at SXSW in 2022 and 2023, as well as her short film Are They Smiling?, which premiered at the 2020 Portland Film Festival and won several awards. Taking on narrative, Kate has managed to find a unique voice that balances humor and heart through all her work. Finding ways to insert unexpected musical numbers in everything she does is a trademark all her own.


Director: Kate Jean Hollowell
Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster
Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil
Producer: Miranda Kahn
Executive Producers: Mindy Goldberg, Jacki Calliero, Melissa Culligan
Production Designer: Jenna Tooley
Choreography: Kathryn Burns
Cinematography: Jordan Black
Costume Design: Jordy Scheinberg
Edited by: Talia Pasqua
VFX Artist: Alex Thomas

Year: 2023
Category: Short
Country: US
Language: English
TRT: 17 min

Sundance 2024’s full lineup can be found here!

 

Don’t forget to check out all our Sundance coverage throughout the years

Sundance Color logo 2023

Slamdance 2024 review: Yes, the hilarious pilot episode of ‘RESTORAGE’ fixes everything.

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RESTORAGE
Episodes-TV Web Pilot- Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Restorage at Slamdance 2024


SYNOPSIS: RESTORAGE is about a fractured group of siblings each
receiving a portion of their inheritance. Robert receives the business
legacy, Lisa is given the family estate and a priceless family heirloom, and
Chase, receives an old storage unit filled with junk. Chase and Robert
quarrel and he inadvertently breaks the vase causing a greater rift in the
family. Chase goes to the storage unit and discovers that it can repair
anything that has been broken that has been placed inside. Chase takes his
siblings to the storage unit in an attempt to fix the broken vase but
everything goes mysteriously sideways


Slamdance 2024 episodic pilot RESTORAGE is a knockout. It’s laugh-out-loud funny with a brilliant cast. Even the ancillary cast members deliver memorable and equally comedic performances. Jacob Daniels plays Robert with the self-righteous overachiever vibe to a tea. Olivia Clari Nice gives Lisa a motherly energy that grounds the trio. 

Connor Boyd in Restorage

Connor Boyd in Restorage

Outcast brother Chad lives in squalor. Everything in his trailer home is broken and filthy. He is the black sheep of the family. Connor Boyd is so compelling, with the confidence of Zach Galifianakis and the energy of Jack Black. He is a goddamn star.

Once we know the sci-fi plot, the mind races with theories. Screenwriters E’an Verdugo and Caleb Davis drop enough clues in the dialogue to infer deep injury between the siblings. You will be begging for more the moment the screen goes black! RESTORAGE is a damn treat that deserves a green light asap. I’m looking at you, Hulu, Netflix, and Prime! 


  • Director:
    E’an Verdugo
  • Screenwriter:
    Caleb Davis, E’an Verdugo
  • Producer:
    Caleb Davis, Alana Rood
  • Cast:
    Connor Boyd, Olivia Clari Nice, Jacob Daniels, Joan Deschamps, Stephen Miller, Francis Juarez
  • Year:
    2023
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
    USA
  • Genre:
    Drama, Comedy, Sci Fi
  • Subtitle Language:
    English

 

For more information on Slamdance 2024, click here!
 
To read more of our Slamdance coverage on Reel News Daily and over at Unseen Films!

 

Sundance 2024 preview: A film for everyone at the festival’s 40th Edition.

Sundance Film Festival 2024 Color Logo
The Sundance Film Festival has launched the careers of indie film directors, writers, and actors now for 40 years. Back with in-person and online screening opportunities, this year’s iteration boasts new and bold storytelling from every genre. Here are a handful of films we’ll track in 2024.

 

For more information and tickets to Sundance 2024, click here! Be on the lookout for shared coverage with our good friend, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films. To see all of his reviews and what he’s looking forward to this year, head over to his home base.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
SUJO

S till from the Sundance film SUJO
When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.

A movie about time and trauma, this beautifully acted and hauntingly written film from the directors of Identifying Features will be sure to captivate audiences. 

This film contains strobe effects.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


40th Edition Celebration Screenings And Events

DIG! XX

DIG! XX tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols, and dissects their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers, and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business, they stage a self-proclaimed revolution in the music industry.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from footage shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi and David Timoner.

*Digitally enhanced and featuring new footage


(Premieres)

And So It Begins

Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Eternal You

Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product.

“I wanted to see if he was okay,” explains Christi, one of the users of Project December. With this innovative software, users can communicate with a virtual version of the deceased through a chatbot that simulates the dead person’s conversation patterns. Hers was an attempt to check on her first love. Others may simply miss someone, seek permission to move on, or want to rid themselves of guilt.

At this point, I think we’ve all seen the app that turns photos into moving images. The idea feels equally sentimental and disturbing. Eternal You takes this tech further, begging the question, “How far are we willing to go to feel connected to those we’ve lost, and how might that affect our brains?” 

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


World Cinema Documentary Competition

A New Kind of Wilderness

In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society.

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen mixes home movies and a carefully intimate approach to the Payne family, whose isolated existence gets shaken up quite suddenly. This beautiful portrait of connection and resilience in the face of grief will touch your heart.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(NEXT)

REALM OF SATAN

An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the every day and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy.

Filmmaker Scott Cummings is no stranger to Sundance, having edited many highly acclaimed festival premieres over the past decade, including Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Monsters and Men, and Wendy.

When I tell you that you aren’t ready for this doc, I mean it in the best way possible. Created to ruffle feathers and dispel right-wing hypocrisy, Scott Cummings titillates with gorgeous framing and a touch of tongue-in-cheek magical realism. 

This film contains graphic sexual content. Audiences must be 18 or older.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(Premieres)

My Old Ass

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in Sundance film MY OLD ASS

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in the Sundance film MY OLD ASS

The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home.

The concept alone should get your butt into a seat, but filmmaker Megan Park casting Aubrey Plaza is chef’s kiss in indie cinema.


(Midnight)

I Saw the TV Glow

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine  in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021 Sundance Film Festival) gave us one of the coolest genre-bending films with a breakout performance from star Anna Cobb. I cannot wait to see how this one twists my sanity and senses. 

This film contains violence and gore.

This film contains strobe effects.


Sundace Film Festival 2024 Black and White logoTo find out more information on all things Sundance 2024, head to https://festival.sundance.org/

 

Review: ‘MERRY GOOD ENOUGH’ marries mental health and holiday hijinks in the most grounded fashion

MERRY GOOD ENOUGH

Ah, the holidays. Lucy Raulie (Raye Levine Spielberg) has always had a complicated relationship with her dysfunctional family, but when her mother disappears on Christmas Eve (and it’s maybe Lucy’s fault…) it’s going to be up to Lucy to bring her family back together again, whether she knows it or not.


Joined in forces (sort of…) by her older brother Tim (Daniel Desmarais) and younger sister Cynthia (Comfort Clinton) the Raulie kids may get more than they all bargained for when their eccentric father George (Joel Murray) shows up to “help” in the search. Featuring vintage songs and a stand-out ensemble cast that also includes Sawyer Spielberg, Marcia DeBonis, Neil Casey and Sophie von Haselberg, Merry Good Enough is at once warm-hearted and sharp, a new holiday classic in the making.


Coming home for the holidays is always wrought with complex emotions. Directors Caroline Keene and Dan Kennedy give audiences much to ponder in MERRY GOOD ENOUGH. A film about familial chaos across generations, this enjoyable small-town film is sure to strike a chord this holiday season.

Joel Murray is George, the absent but immensely excitable father figure. Writer-director Caroline Keene drops early hints of his toxic masculinity, and Murray eases into the skin of a pretty loathsome man. Daniel Desmarais plays Tim. His sardonic wit meshes perfectly with this cast of fantastic misfits. Comfort Clinton is Cynthia. She is uptight and controlling. Clinton owns the role with her evident daddy issues and needs for approval.

Sawyer Spielberg is charming as neighbor Sam. His chemistry with Levine is magic, which makes sense since they’ve been married since 2018. Susan Gallagher‘s performance is spectacular. Keene’s script nails the mother of adult children vibe with running errands, asking if we’ve eaten, awkwardly using technology, grabbing coffee, and the overly stocked fridge. Gallagher captivates with her vulnerability. Raye Levine gives Lucy a tangible relatability. She’s funny, a little lost, and yet entirely grounded.

At the heart of MERRY GOOD ENOUGH, this script delves into unresolved childhood trauma, emotional isolation, mental health, and forgiveness. It’s a breezy watch about finding bliss and connection in the imperfect.


Available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Cable and Satellite On Demand on December 19th! 

 

CO-DIRECTORS:

Caroline Keene

Dan Kennedy

 

 WRITER: 

Caroline Keene

 

PRODUCERS:

Shawn Gauvain 

Dan Kennedy

Krista Minto

 Jamieson Shea

Genevieve Skehan

 

CAST:

Raye Levine Spielberg

Joel Murray

Comfort Clinton

Sawyer Spielberg

Susan Gallagher

Daniel Desmarais

Neil Casey

 

 

RUNNING TIME:

97 Minutes


 

Review: ‘DON’T SUCK’ – *sigh* If only.

PRESENTS THE NEW VAMPIRE COMEDY

DON’T SUCK

SYNOPSIS

Pete (Jamie Kennedy) believes that he has seen it all in his years as a road comic, that is until he meets his new killer opening act, a struggling comic qua vampire named Ethan (Matt Rife). During their time on the road, Pete fulfills his dream of becoming a comic’s comic.


DON’T SUCK follows a washed-up headliner and the newbie he agrees to mentor, who just so happens to be a vampire.

The film takes a solid 25 minutes for a genuine laugh, then weaves in and out of funny. Elyssa Mai is the perky and badass radio producer Carrie. She is a refreshing addition, as her delicious dialogue contrasts most of the script. Honestly, other than the following scene in the booth itself, the moments between Kennedy and Rife are the only watchable parts of the film. The numerous stand-up bits, some by well-known comics, are downright awful. Most of the jokes feel dated, misogynistic, and unfunny.

Jamie Kennedy plays Pete Brennan with a burnt-out, has-been energy, but there is an underlying reason for that. Listen closely for a perfect SCREAM reference. It’s probably the best joke in the script. Matt Rife is undeniably the best part of the film. Setting aside the controversy surrounding him as of late, DON’T SUCK would have been more enjoyable had they leaned more into Ethan’s history. Rife genuinely kills it in this role, even putting on a wonky affected accent. Somehow, it perfectly captures the oddly dour tone of the plot. You cannot take your eyes off him. His level of commitment deserves applause. The script needed vampire buddy comedy shenanigans in earnest. The possibilities were endless. As is, you might as well drive a stake through the heart of this film.


In Theaters & On Demand/Digital December 1, 2023

 

Distributor
VMI Worldwide

Starring
Jamie Kennedy, Matt Rife, Ellen Hollman, Russell Peters, Lauren Compton, Jimmie Walker, Jimmy Shubert, Scott ‘Carrot Top’ Thompson

Directed by
RJ Collins

Written by
Rick D’Elia

Run Time: 100 min  | Genre: Comedy, Horror


 

Review: ‘THIN SKIN’ is an original look at stress and family dynamics.

presents

Synopsis: Ahamefule Joe Oluo’s days are spent at a soul-deadening corporate job and his nights come alive behind a trumpet at Seattle jazz clubs. As he struggles to climb out of the ruins of his broken marriage, Aham has to deal with endless bureaucracy, a boss trying to lead him to the Lord, and his mother who won’t cut ties with his ex. Aham is living with his entire family once again in his sister’s cramped one-bedroom apartment. The one person missing from this living situation is Aham’s estranged Nigerian father. His brief reappearance sends the family into a tailspin and a search for meaning. Pressed together in this vise of a home, the family struggles with adult life and the meaning of family.


Stress can do things to you. In THIN SKIN, Aham’s life is falling apart around him. Circumstances, some of his own doing and others out of left field, throw his days, health, and sanity into chaos.

Aham is a recently divorced musician forced to live with his sister and flighty mother. When his estranged Nigerian father calls them out of the blue, childhood trauma bubbles to the surface, and Aham must confront his life in all its messy glory.

The family dynamics are fascinating. Navigating guilt, disappointment, financial realities, parenthood, and passion feels palpable. Audiences will relate to this film in more than one way. It’s stunningly shot, and the screenplay is hilarious.

This cast, in general, is wonderfully put together. Some of the most memorable moments revolve around the ancillary characters. The chemistry is remarkable. Annette Toutonghi plays the disillusioned mother, eccentric, caring, and complete flake Susan. She is darling to watch. I want to put her in my pocket.

There is a whole lot of dialogue that happens at Ahamefule J. Oluo (who stars, co-writes, executive produces, and scores the film.) The way he responds is delightful to watch. He has a naturally grounded tone, especially up against the weighty issues of abandonment and getting your shit together. And, boy, can he wail on the trumpet. Oluo manages to conquer the progressively bizarre plot, as his stress physically manifests in graphic ways.

The film is genuinely funny and captivating. It’s an unexpected story with universal themes, pushing the boundaries of genre storytelling.


IN SELECT THEATERS

Bayview Entertainment NY Theatrical Release 11.30 and Wide VOD Release 11.28

Directed by

Charles Mudede
 

Written by

Charles Mudede

Lindy West

Ahamefule J. Oluo
 

Produced by

Jennessa West

Michael Seiwerath

Jonathan Caso


Starring

Ahamefule J. Olou

Annette Toutonghi

Dwayne Kennedy

Hari Kondabolu

Ijeoma Olou

Jennifer Lanier



Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thinskinmovie

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/thinskinmovie

Film Website: www.thinskinmovie.com

Year Two is a Go! Dances With Films NYC 2023 announces lineup with 64 world premieres

2nd Annual Dances With Films – NYC 

announces films and events

(November 30-December 3)

 

The celebrated true indie-focused film festival returns to New York City
with three times as many films as last year’s debut. 
 
64 World Premiere Screenings Featured
  
Dylan K. Narang’s TAPAWINGO is the Opening Night 
selection, and Nicholas Gyeney’s THE ACTIVATED MAN 
will make its World Premiere as the Closing Night selection.

   

TAPAWINGO

 

New York, NY (November 9, 2023) – Dances With Films announced the film lineup for the return of what has become LA’s largest purely indie film-focused film festival over the past 26 years to New York City (November 30-December 3) for the second time featuring a film lineup nearly three times the size of last year’s NYC debut. DWF alum Dylan K. Narang’s Tapawingo is the Opening Night selection, and Nicholas Gyeney’s psychological thriller The Activated Man will make its world premiere in the Closing Night slot.

 

Among DWF NYC’s lineup of 136 films, including 20 narrative features, 9 documentary features, 19 television and streaming pilots, and 88 short films (73 narrative and 15 documentaries), are an impressive number of world premieres. All screenings will take place at Regal Union Square (850 Broadway).

THE ACTIVATED MAN

 

Among the 64 world premieres are Gyeney’s The Activated ManEtana Jacobson’s Advanced Chemistry, Kevin Interdonato’s The Bastard SonsMichael Groom’s Between The Lights, Isaac Hirotsu Woofter’s Bound, Sara Katarina Burke and Aaron Andrew Keene’s Can’t Seem to Make You Mine, Ryan Moore’s Influence, Michelle Bossy’s Nobody’s Home, Brendan Boogie’s Tallywacker, Micah Khan’s The Zombie Wedding, Justin Best’s Sheryl, and Wynette Yao’s District Of Second Chances. Hanna Vastinsalo’s Palimpsest will make its North American Premiere at Dances With Films NYC.

 After becoming the leading beacon for true indie films and filmmakers in Los Angeles over the past 26 years, this will mark Dances With Films’ return to New York City for the second year. Dances With Films’ Founders and Directors Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent, said, “This year’s theme is “the color of imagination” and that imagination, by its various definitions, exemplifies what Dances With Films will be highlighting this December. We could not be more excited to return to NYC and debut so many wonderful films and help provide a platform for all our indie filmmakers and their projects under the spotlight of this great city.”

 Thursday, November 30 will feature the Opening Night presentation of DWF alumni Dylan K. Narang’s Tapawingo. Previously at DWF with his feature All I Need (2016), Narang’s Tapawingo is a lighthearted coming-of-age comedy stars Jon Heder as an eccentric young man who lives with his mother and works in a mailroom. However, when he must pick up his boss’ son from school, he discovers the kid is the subject of relentless bullying. at school, Naturally, he assembles a team of misfits to ensure the boy’s safety, but the good deed takes an unexpected turn when they discover that the network of bullies they are guarding against wields more power and influence than they initially thought. The film also stars Gina Gershon, Billy Zane, John Ratzenberger, and Amanda Bearse.

 As part of DWF NYC’s dedicated programming of horror, thrillers, and genre films, the Closing Night selection also comes from the film festival’s Midnight section. Sunday, December 3, Nicholas Gyeney’s The Activated Man will make its world premiere as it officially closes the film festival. In the film, a man, struggling with the grief from losing his best friend and beloved dog to cancer, begins to have strange visions only he can see. While he questions whether his mind has fractured or if it’s real, a mysterious rise in murder-suicides takes hold of the city, and he becomes haunted by images of a shadowy figure known as ‘The Fedora Man’. To survive, he must face his fears and confront ‘The Fedora Man’ as he uncovers dark secrets from his past, while finally embracing who he really is, and what he is meant to do.

ADVANCED CHEMISTRY

Additional feature films making their world premieres are Etana Jacobson’s Advanced Chemistry about a scientist whose attempt in the lab to help his lesbian best friend stop cheating on her wife backfires when the wife falls for him. Kevin Interdonato’s The Bastard Sons is a story of revenge by a group of men, when the man who raised them – the family boss – is murdered. Michael Groom’s British romantic drama Between The Lights follows askeptical scientist who falls for a reluctant medium, leading them on an odyssey of love, loss and discovery that turns her world upside down. Isaac Hirotsu Woofter’s Bound focuses on a young introvert who flees with her pet pocket squirrel to New York in order to escape her drug-dealing controlling stepfather. Making its North American Premiere is Vardan Tozija’s M. A multi-national production including            

Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, France, and Luxembourg, the film centers on a young boy who lives in the forest under the watchful eye of his overprotective and mysterious father. Their sheltered existence is all he knows until an encounter with a kind-hearted, helpless boy may open up a whole new world to him.

 Also making their world premieres at DWF NYC are Sara Katarina Burke and Aaron Andrew Keene’s Can’t Seem to Make You Mine about a recent parolee who tries to make amends with his ex and become a father to his little boy while staying with a stripper he met on a pen-pal website. Ryan Moore’s Influence focuses on a struggling female filmmaker who kidnaps a famous social media influencer to convince them to play the lead role in her latest project. Michelle Bossy’s Nobody’s Home follows the mind-bending journey of a young man after he is released from the psychiatric hospital with his girlfriend who may or may not be telling him the truth about what he is experiencing. Brendan Boogie’s buddy comedy Tallywacker takes us on a trip with 2 bandmates whose relationship gets tested when one of them gets a gig touring with a major rock star. Micah Khan’s outlandish comedy The Zombie Wedding illustrates the challenges one can have at a New Jersey wedding when the groom is a zombie, and the bride is not. Another film in the Midnight Features section making its world premiere is Justin Best’s Sheryl about a woman who goes on a bloody quest to create the perfect face after she’s dumped by her serial killer boyfriend for not being “hot enough”.

Highlights among the documentary section include one feature-length film making its world premiere, and a second making its U.S. Premiere. Making its world premiere is Wynette Yao’s District Of Second Chances, which follows the journeys of three men – all sentenced to life in prison during the 1990s – who have the possibility of being released and starting a new life thanks to sentencing reform. Making its U.S. premiere will be Emilio Di Stefano’s Denim Hunter. The road movie documentary follows a man whose obsession with really old jeans leads him through the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada as well as up the snowclad Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Marc Saltarelli’s Studio One Forever is the untold story of America’s iconic gay disco, a kaleidoscopic excursion into LGBTQ+ history through the lens of Studio One and its adjoining live music venue, The Backlot during the 70s and 80s. Hoag Kepner’s Torched – The Story of Austin Torch tells the story of the Austin Torch, a wild and fiery group of women/non-binary athletes in Austin who are trying to legitimize and professionalize their fringe sport of Ultimate Frisbee.

 The television, web series pilots, and episodics also have a healthy number of world premieres. Those include Federica Marchese and Vinusha Sundaresan’s Chinese series pilot The Blind Zone about a faceoff between two teenage sociopaths after they set their eyes on the same target, David Antonio Martin’s absurd comedy The Selectman where two men are trapped in a picturesque world where the forces of learned behavior, arrested adolescence, and the quest for power forever collide, and Henk Pretorius’ British animated series pilot Travel Foxwhich follows the inquisitive Travel Fox and Bogie the Tortoise as they race across the world, chasing rainbows in search of a legendary pot of gold.

 Additional world premieres include Jon Da’s Ülom: The Primary Experiment is centered on a desperate scientist who undertakes a labyrinthian experiment he believes will locate his missing daughter. Jonathan Chao’s Xander teams a lonely high school student with a Genie. However, the student might lose his new best friend if he makes his one wish. Making its North American premiere will be Aaron Lewis’ Moments, a gripping 9-episode digital series, offering intimate glimpses into characters on the brink. Clarissa De Los Reyes’ Hot Angry Mom about a people-pleasing mom who must face her rage, as a video of her epic meltdown goes viral, and Dana Marisa Schoenfeld’s East about a New York City Corporate attorney who suddenly loses her job and catches her boyfriend cheating, forcing her to reevaluate everything and pursue her childhood dream of being an actress.

Highlights among the short films showcased at DWF NYC include the world premiere of Luke Black’s I Keep Bumping Into Candy Maldonado in which a man keeps bumping into the famous baseball player who is his childhood ideal each day until he’s inspired to make some life changes.

Rj Collins’ thrilling Dropping follows a young woman going through the rigorous “dropping” training which may just turn into a fight for survival. Actor Cynthia Gibb takes a turn behind the camera, directing Lux Freer, about a non-binary teen whose humiliating job of delivering a pizza to bully and aspiring prom queen Arabella Astor’s mansion sets in motion a plot to upend the social stratosphere at her high school. Nazrin Choudhury’s Red, White And Bluestars Brittany Snow as a single parent forced to cross state lines in search of an urgent and necessary abortion. Eleanor Morrison’s You Need To Process This stars Mary Holland and Matt Peters as a married couple who must discuss a sexual assault.

 DWF NYC will also present a series of filmmaker panels focused on current real world issues faced by today’s indie filmmakers at The Stand (116 E. 16th Street) Panels will include “Distribution: Navigating the Marketplace as Well as Forecasting the Future”, which will be moderated by Scott Macauley (Filmmaker Magazine), and is slated to include executives from Magnolia Pictures, IFC, and STX Entertainment, “Making the Sale: The Producer/Sales Agent Dynamic” moderated by Kate Erbland (Indiewire), and includes Carylanna Taylor (Head of Sales Film Sales Corp), Josh Braun (Founder & President, Submarine), and Jason Ishikawa (Sr. Exec. & Co-head of Sales, Cinetic Media), and “The Casting Director/Producer Dynamic” moderated by Michael Sladik (SAGindie New York), and includes casting directors Shayna Markowitz, Bernie Telsey, and Paul Schnee.

 

For more information about the Dances With Films NYC film lineup, events, passes, and tickets, go to: https://danceswithfilms.com/.

 

The 2023 Dances With Films NYC official selections:

 

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION

Tapawingo

Director: Dylan K. Narang

Country: USA; Running Time: 109 min

An oddball becomes the bodyguard for a misfit teenager and finds himself in the crosshairs of the town’s family of bullies.

 

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION

The Activated Man World Premiere

Director: Nicholas Gyeney

Country: USA; Running Time: 115 min

As Ors Gabriel struggles with the grief from losing his best friend and beloved dog to cancer, the trauma brings on strange visions only Ors can see. While he questions whether his mind has fractured or if it’s real, a mysterious rise in murder-suicides takes hold of the city, and Ors becomes haunted by images of a shadowy figure known as ‘The Fedora Man’. Through torments and terror, Ors must face his fears and confront ‘The Fedora Man’ as he uncovers dark secrets from his past, while finally embracing who he really is, and what he is meant to do.

 

 ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FEATURES

 

Advanced Chemistry                                                            World Premiere

Director: Etana Jacobson

Country: USA; Running Time: 96 min

A scientist injects his lesbian best friend with a compound he’s created to make her stop cheating on her wife (who is bi), but when the wife finds her new monogamous fixation suffocating, he injects the wife too, which backfires when she falls for him.

 

BASTARD SONS

The Bastard Sons World Premiere

Director: Kevin Interdonato

Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min

Life for a crew of organized criminals is disrupted when Vincent Damiano’s father, the family’s boss, is murdered. Vincent’s ‘bastard’ brothers (UFC legend Frank Edgar, Chicago Med star Malik Whitfield), a group of orphaned souls he raised together, have an idea of who killed their father…his partner Rome (TV/Film veteran Al Sapienza). In a valiant and calculated attempt to regain the business and enact vengeance on Rome over the course of one day, the Bastards wage an all-out war to get their pound of flesh.

 

Between The Lights                                                             World Premiere

Director: Michael Groom

Country: UK; Running Time: 104 min

When skeptical scientist Alice falls for reluctant medium Jay, she’s taken on an odyssey of love, loss and discovery that will turn her world upside down. Between the Lights is a romantic drama with a liberal dose of the supernatural, in which we visit our characters over three consecutive Christmases. It is set within the ancient walls of York and the stunning natural beauty of the Lake District.

 

Bound                                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Isaac Hirotsu Woofter

Country: USA; Running Time: 101 min

To escape her drug-dealing controlling stepfather, a young introvert flees to NYC with only her pet pocket squirrel. After successfully reinventing herself, she realizes she must confront her dark past, to truly be free.

 

Can’t Seem to Make You Mine                                            World Premiere

Directors: Sara Katarina Burke, Aaron Andrew Keene

Country: USA; Running Time: 102 min

A man who was just released from prison tries to make amends with his ex and become a father to his 6-year-old son while staying with a stripper he met on a pen-pal website.

 

Daruma

Director: Alexander Yellen

Country: USA; Running Time: 104 min

Patrick (bitter wheelchair user) must enlist the help of his cantankerous neighbor (double amputee veteran) to transport the daughter he never knew he had to live with her maternal grandparents on the other side of the country. 

 

Grounded

Director: Justin Chan

Country: USA; Running Time: 84 min

William Lee, a 30-something Chinese-Filipino American, introduces his Caucasian girlfriend to his overbearing, immigrant parents when a mysterious cosmic force takes hold of their day.

 

Home Free

Director: Aaron Brown

Country: USA; Running Time: 98 min

In 1997, a group of college misfits invite an unhoused professor to crash on their porch.

Home Free is a Trojan horse, a bold coming-of-age comedy aimed at reaching a mass audience, but also intended to be a catalyst for serious social change sharply focused on one of the most pervasive problems across America—the homelessness epidemic. Humor is our spoonful of sugar. 

 

Influence World Premiere

Director: Ryan Moore

Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min

A female filmmaker struggling with her career and her mental health reaches a breaking point and decides to kidnap a famous social media influencer in an attempt to coerce them into playing the lead role in her latest project.

 

Katie’s Mom

Director: Tyrrell Shaffner

Country: USA; Running Time: 111 min

A heartfelt comedy influenced by The Graduate but told from the perspective of a protagonist inspired by Mrs. Robinson. Set in modern-day Pasadena, California. Nancy Rosenfeld (Dina Meyer), a nurturing mom and recent divorcée, whose beloved Jewish/Christmas mashup holiday celebration with her adult children is derailed when she falls for Alex Rojas (Aaron Dominguez (Only Murders in the Building), her daughter’s charming new boyfriend. Their electrifying affair upends her status quo and sets her on a path to becoming who she was meant to be.

 

M                                                                                             North American Premiere

Director: Vardan Tozija

Countries: Macedonia/Croatia/Kosovo/France/Luxembourg, Running Time: 99 min

In a secluded forest, young Marko lives under the watchful eye of his overprotective and mysterious father. Their sheltered existence is all he knows. Marko seeks solace in his cherished picture book, finding comfort and answers within its pages. One day, an encounter with a kind-hearted, helpless boy named Miko, brings a glimmer of warmth and connection into Marko’s isolated world. As his curiosity grows, Marko yearns to uncover the secrets that lie beyond the confines of the wilderness. But, a cruel turn of events grants him his wish sooner than he expects…

 

Nobody’s Home World Premiere

Director: Michelle Bossy

Country: USA; Running Time: 83 min

When Luca is released from the psychiatric hospital where he and his girlfriend Theodora live, she escapes with him. To remain in control, she takes him to his childhood home, the root of his trauma. Time lapses. Consciousness is distorted. A dead body is discovered. Theodora insists Luca committed the murder in his sleep. Is she telling the truth? A knock on the door suddenly diverts them. Angelica and Jeremy show up, high on acid. Theodora invites them in to test Luca’s loyalty. Her jealousy increases to the point of danger. In the end, nothing is what it seems. Everyone has darkness inside.

 

Palimpsest North American Premiere

Director: Hanna Vastinsalo

Country: Finland; Running Time: 109 min

Two elderly roommates are selected for a medical trial that makes them younger. Given a second chance at life, with the memories of their past life intact, they realize that growing young is not just fun.

 

Space Baby

Director: Rex Dean

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

Three friends fight fascist Nurse Nancy to rebuild the holy grail and get a new soul for the earth. Each friend is different. 8-year-old Sam (“Mental Man”) is a mad scientist and inventor; 6-year-old Sophia (“Nature Girl”) is a caretaker of the earth; 300-year-old Blue (a great ballplayer like Satchel Paige) was the keeper of the holy grail in Africa before he and his siblings were captured as slaves. With help from a squadron of ladybugs, they fight the “greed, intolerance, and just plain cruelty” that Nurse Nancy and her demonic crow inhabit. A story of courage, friendship, and love.

 

Tallywacker World Premiere

Director: Brendan Boogie

Country: USA; Running Time: 90 min

A rock and roll buddy comedy about 2 bandmates whose relationship gets tested when one of them gets a gig touring with a major rock star.

 

The Zombie Wedding World Premiere

Director: Micah Khan

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

A young Cumberland County, NJ couple decides to go through with their wedding – during the Zombie Apocalypse. Unfortunately, he’s a zombie and she’s not. Both families are fearful, but the humans’ behavior is brutish. When the Zombies begin feeling brain-deprived, the ceremony takes a turn for the weird. Weekly World News reporters are there to cover this wild wedding – while trying to get out alive!

 

 DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

 

44 Lights: Music from Ground Zero                                   

Director: Barbara Blackburn Tuttle

Country: USA; Running Time: 68 min

A musical journey to healing in the aftermath of 9/11. A story of pain, loss, and ultimately rebirth through music.

 

American Pot Story: Oaksterdam

Directors: Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus

Country: USA; Running Time: 97 min

This award-winning documentary is a decade-long follow-up of the underdogs who put their blood, sweat, and tears to overturn a 100-year-old policy, proving in the process that “a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world,” to quote Margaret Mead).

 

Brothers Broken

Directors: Geoff Levin, Lily Richards

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

This is the story of brothers Geoff and Robbie Levin, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the 60’s music scene including Jerry Garcia, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin. The brother’s band PEOPLE! had the hit record “I Love You” in 1968 and toured with The Who; then Scientology entered their lives destroyed their band and split up the brothers. After 46 years Geoff despite losing his children and friends to the cult, left the church and reunited with his brother and band. It’s a tale of breaking free from a modern-day prison of belief.

 

Denim Hunter                                                                        U.S. Premiere

Director: Emilio Di Stefano

Country: Sweden; Running Time: 87 min

In the road movie documentary Denim Hunter, we meet Viktor – a regular guy from Sweden but with a burning passion for really old jeans. The film follows Viktor on his wild journey through the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada as well as up the snowclad Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where he hunts for denim treasures in hazardous run-down gold mines from the 1880s. On his journey, Viktor comes across an array of unlikely desert characters, like Indiana Jeans, Dynamite Dan, and Redneck-Mike. In various ways, they all lead Viktor from one failure to the next.

 

The Depths of My Despair

Director: Elizabeth Lawrence

Country: USA; Running Time: 68 min

The Depths of My Despair is a visceral rabbit hole toward the authentic self. Filmmaker Elizabeth Lawrence takes an emotional, first-person detour inward. Oscillating through saneness and psychosis; debris and lucidity, the film stares at depression dead-on.

 

District Of Second Chances                                                World Premiere

Director: Wynette Yao

Country: USA; Running Time: 76 min

District of Second Chances follows the journeys of three men from Washington, D.C., all sentenced to life in prison during the 1990s. Now, because of sentencing reform, they have a rare chance at release and new lives.

 

Meet Me Where I Am

Director: Grant Garry

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

Meet Me Where I Am explores the topic of grief through individual stories of loss, love, and hope. The film aims to normalize grief in our culture and explores how we can actively participate in helping others through grief. By accepting grief and its impact, we hope to help individuals find new meaning as they move forward with their grief.

 

Studio One Forever

Director: Marc Saltarelli

Country: USA; Running Time: 86 min

The untold story of America’s iconic gay disco, a kaleidoscopic excursion into LGBTQ+ history through the lens of this groundbreaking club. From 1974-1994, Studio One and its adjoining live music venue, The Backlot, became symbols of hope and community for gay men during tumultuous times. Amidst the rise of gay rights, disco’s heyday, and the devastating AIDS crisis, the club offered sanctuary from rampant homophobia and police oppression.

 

Torched – The Story of Austin Torch

Director: Hoag Kepner

Country: USA; Running Time: 66 min

Torched tells the story of the Austin Torch, a wild and fiery group of women/non-binary athletes in Austin who are trying to legitimize and professionalize their fringe sport of Ultimate Frisbee in a historically male-dominated sports industry. As we follow the Torch on the road and at home during their 2022 season, we realize that though the Torch might not always win, they never really lose, because it’s more than a team: it’s a movement.

 

 MIDNIGHT FEATURES

 

Sheryl                                                                                     World Premiere

Director: Justin Best

Country: USA; Running Time: 72 min

After she’s dumped by her serial killer boyfriend for not being “hot enough”, a beauty-obsessed woman goes on a bloody quest to create the perfect face, all while navigating her new relationship with the cop investigating the murders.

 

Wild Eyed and Wicked

Director: G.S. Foxwood

Country: USA; Running Time: 99 min

Lily Pierce is sick of being haunted. She decides to reconnect with her estranged father, a disgraced history professor, and learn how to draw upon a time of steel and blade when armor-clad knights rode out and dueled their monsters to the death.

 

 TELEVISION AND WEB SERIES PILOTS

A Killer Service

Director: Gio Randazzo

Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min

The hapless daughter of an incarcerated con-artist finds she has inherited a substantial debt to a dangerous crime boss. Forced into a corner, Elliott discovers how to take control of her life while helping empower other women. 

Awesome

Director: Paul Munger

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

Every night, 20-year-old Joy gets a glimpse of the future. But with a dad on parole, a pill-popping boyfriend, and a recent lay-off, that doesn’t mean she can stop it from being shitty. That is until she foresees an event that will ruin the lives of her loved ones forever. She’ll have to figure out how to change her future–or live with the consequences.

The Blind Zone                                     World Premiere 

Directors: Federica Marchese, Vinushu Sundaresan

Country: China; Running Time: 32 min

Battle of wits and violence ensues when the separate worlds of two teenage sociopaths collide after they set their eyes on the same target.

 

East

Director: Dana Marisa Schoenfeld

Country: USA; Running Time: 32 min

When Ella Goldman, a New York City Corporate attorney, gets engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Josh, she is ecstatic to embark on the next stage of her life. With a wedding to plan and a blossoming career, Ella thinks she has it all. But when she suddenly loses her job and catches her boyfriend cheating, her world comes crashing down. This devastating turn of events forces her to confront the truth about her life – and what it is she really wants. Convinced that this is a “wake-up call,” Ella pursues her childhood dream of being an actress. 

Events At Hemlock Manor

Director: Katie North

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

At its core, this is a series about underdogs: a ragtag group of spooky weirdos with nowhere else to go. Hemlock Manor is not only a year-round haunted house with a terrible business model; it’s also a home. But what do you do when the thing you love is in trouble? You fight for it. Even when that means throwing a baby shower for a group of rich ladies who thought “the historic Hemlock Manor” was a charming country villa, not a haunted house open in July.

 

For Years to Come

Director: Micah Stuart

Country: USA; Running Time: 27 min

An irreverent and heartfelt romantic dramedy about a gay man who falls in love with his dead mother’s hospice nurse, while struggling to reconnect with his elderly father…who’s secretly a porn director.

Hit Man: Secrets Of Lies

Director: Elias Plagianos

Country: UK; Running Time: 19 min

A reflective hitman from New York City travels to small towns around the country trying to find meaning in his seemingly inconsequential life as he fulfills his contracts and eliminates his targets. 

Hot Angry Mom                                   

Director: Clarissa De Los Reyes

Country: USA; Running Time: 34 min

A people-pleasing mom must face her rage, as a video of her epic meltdown goes viral.

I Could Eat

Director: Rick Bedrosian

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

A new TV/Web Series showcasing the cuisine & music that unites diverse cultures. Host, Rick Bedrosian (“George” in a Beatlemania stage show for 7 years, leader of Celtic music powerhouse, Hair Of The Dog, since 1993 and an international tour guide) spans the globe seeking out the finest food and the most interesting music makers.

L.I.F.E.: It’s Wonderful

Director: Dathan Smith

Country: USA; Running Time: 22 min

L.I.F.E. is an anthology series set in the near future where citizens receive a hand-delivered card notifying them the day they will die. Rose feels trapped in her new “home”. Emilia feels trapped by her daughter’s recent news. Bob is forced to deliver a card he has been dreading since joining L.I.F.E. Corp. as Diane adjusts to her new job.

Moments                                         North American Premiere 

Director: Aaron Lewis

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

Moments is a gripping 9-episode digital series, each under 13 minutes, offering intimate glimpses into characters on the brink. Driven by black trauma and mysticism, it unravels mind-reading and hidden truths through therapist Dr. Winston. An enigmatic narrator, Rutina Wesley, introduces time travel, adding layers of self-discovery. Momentshints at an expanded episodic journey, diving deeper into characters’ histories and relationships, while authentically addressing themes of healing and transformation within the mystical. Boasting a stellar ensemble cast and profound storytelling.

 

Morse Code

Director: Travis Nicholson

Country: USA; Running Time: 37 min

In the eccentric community of modern-day East Nashville, Simon, a talented but flawed thirty-something indie folk singer finds himself at a crossroads as he struggles to strike a balance between family and career.

Off The Menu

Director: Daniele Sestito

Country: USA; Running Time: 37 min

“Chef” is a perfectionist, Italian cook who works for an unordinary institution. Typically stern and grandiose, a new side of Chef is revealed when he is forced to make a meal that’s beyond his grasp. 

Q Train

Directors: Dionne Van Den Berg, Samantha Tran

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

A Brooklyn based DJ explores the queer dating scene.

Roboto

Directors: Mari Madrid, Keone Madrid

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

Ky loses his entire career as a highly successful choreographer when AI takes over the dance industry and the world by storm. This throws Ky into suicidal ideations until Mikah, a bright and optimistic 12-year-old boy, decides to disregard the latest craze of dancing with Roboto and instead asks Ky to choreograph for his school performance. While at first Ky reluctantly decides to help the kid, he begins to find a bit of light in his life again. And when it’s revealed that Mikah had a battle with cancer Ky’s perspective is completely shifted.

The Selectman                                       World Premiere 

Director: David Antonio Martin

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

In the wake of Selectman Joseph Allenby’s untimely death, this absurd comedy begins amid a memorial service in the small town of Picasquiddy, Maine. Subverting the idyllic nature of small-town New England, our protagonists are trapped in a picturesque world where the forces of learned behavior, arrested adolescence, and the quest for power forever collide. As two unlikely successors emerge as candidates for the Board of Selectmen, the town’s fate hangs in the balance. Does anybody have what it takes?

Travel Fox                                         World Premiere 

Director: Henk Pretorius

Country: UK; Running Time: 5 min

Get ready for a wild adventure in Travel Fox, the pilot episode of an animated series tailor-made for curious kids. Follow the inquisitive Travel Fox and Bogie the Tortoise as they race across the world, chasing rainbows in search of a legendary pot of gold. But here’s the twist – instead of gold, our friends discover something even more precious: a treasure trove of unique characters and unforgettable experiences.

 

Ülom: The Primary Experiment                        World Premiere 

Director: Jon Da

Country: USA; Running Time: 25 min

In Ülom, one can find anything, even meaning. A desperate scientist undertakes a labyrinthian experiment he believes will locate his missing daughter. Journeying ever deeper into the labyrinth, he must confront an invasive, fictional reality. Remember: what feels real, is real. Ülom is here.

Xander                                           World Premiere 

Director: Jonathan Chao

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

When lonely high school student Luke befriends Xander the Genie, he’s forced to consider if making his one wish is worth losing his new genie best friend.

 

 NARRATIVE SHORTS

 

(In)Convenience

Director: Alexandra Greenspan

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min

 

#Pizzagate World Premiere

Director: Danny Piñeros

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

The 1971 Kitchen Grand Brie

Director: Ian Beckman

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Bisected                                                                                 World Premiere

Director: Danny Piñeros

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

Black Silk                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Patrick Michael

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Blight                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Markus Hoeckner

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Bloodworm                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Kai Wen

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Bounce House

Directors: Callie Bloem, Christopher Ewing

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Burraco                                                                                  World Premiere

Director: Isabella Tagliati

Country: Italy; Running Time: 14 min

 

Candice

Director: Tyler Martin

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Career Day

Directors: Jason Robinson, Chris Hooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Chauncey                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Reilly Anspaugh & Daniel Rashid

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Cheol                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Yeajoon Cho

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

 

Church Camp

Director: Andrew Bourne

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

The Chat                                                                                World Premiere

Writer/Dir/Prod: Artie Brennan

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Clownfish

Director: Clayton Henderson

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Dear Owner

Director: Jing Ai Ng

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Delta World Premiere

Director: Jonathan Coleman

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

 

Detox

Director: Alex Hanno

Country: USA; Running Time: 19 min

 

Dropping

Director: Rj Collins

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Echoes Of My Father                                                            World Premiere

Directors: Junko Kajino, Ed M Koziarski

Country: USA, Japan; Running Time: 18 min

 

The Electro-Rocker

Director: Chris Edgar

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Entrainment

Director: Bill Prokopow

Country: USA; Running Time: 12 min

 

Esperance To Fremantle                                                     World Premiere

Director: William Sebastian Turner

Country: Australia; Running Time: 18 min

 

Everything Goes Dark                                                          International Premiere

Director: Alex Casimir

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Fate Vs. Elena                                                                       World Premiere

Director: Laura Sedlak

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

 

From The Dark                                                                      North American Premiere

Director: Erika Sanz

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Hot Soda

Director: Nello Digiandomenico

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

How To Disappear                                                                World Premiere

Director: Milton Woods

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

I Keep Bumping into Candy Maldonado                            World Premiere

Director: Luke Black

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

In The Quiet                                                                           World Premiere

Director: Merle Dandridge

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

 

Interracial Couple In A Cheerios Ad

Director: Christine Lakin

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

The Invaders

Director: Erin Doyle Cooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

Itch                                                                                         World Premiere

Director: Mohammad Anwerzada

Countries: Pakistan/Canada; Running Time: 9 min

 

Letters To the Wind                                                              World Premiere

Director: Terrence Shu

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Lux Freer

Director: Cynthia Gibb

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

 

Man Baby                                                                               World Premiere

Director: Aaron Murtagh

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Music For A While                                                                World Premiere

Director: Kelvin Z. Phillips

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Nearly Never                                                                          North American Premiere

Director: Peter Franklyn Banks

Country: UK; Running Time: 15 min

 

Newbie

Director: James Skinner

Country: UK; Running Time: 8 min

 

Portrait Of a Cowboy

Director: Devon Wycoff

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Pretty As a Picture                                                               World Premiere

Director: Ryan Nielsen

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

The Pros And Cons Of Killing Yourself                             World Premiere

Director: Ravi Steve Khajuria

Country: Canada; Running Time: 21 min

 

Piano Man                                                                              

Director: Jay Zaretsky

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

Purgy’s

Director: Robbie Bryan

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Rattled                                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Adam Linkenhelt

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

Red, White And Blue

Director: Nazrin Choudhury

Country: USA; Running Time: 23 min

 

Revelation                                                                             World Premiere

Director: Libe Barer

Country: USA; Running Time: 16 min

 

Room 107                                                                              World Premiere

Directors: Steve Anderson, Leandro Imaz

Country: USA; Running Time: 17 min

 

Sane Men

Director: Jess Fritz

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Skateboard                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Peyton Michelle Edwards

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Sonshine                                                                                International Premiere

Director: Corey Podell

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Speak Up Brotha!

Director: Wes Andre Goodrich

Country: USA; Running Time: 15 min

 

Sugar                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: Alyssa Brayboy

Country: USA; Running Time: 6 min

 

Three Ways Out                                                                    World Premiere

Director: Lizzie Morgan

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

Tips Up!                                                                                 World Premiere

Director: Leah Claire Borrie

Country: USA; Running Time: 7 min

 

Tossou                                                                                   World Premiere

Directors: Melisande Mclaughlin, Sika Stanton

Country: USA; Running Time: 3 min

 

Used Chairs For Sale                                                           World Premiere

Director: Dylan Paffe

Countries: USA/Canada; Running Time: 14 min

 

We Love You Ray                                                                 World Premiere

Director: John Hays

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

You Need To Process This

Director: Eleanor Morrison

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

 DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

 

13 Driver’s Licenses

Director: Ryoya Terao

Countries: USA/Germany; Running Time: 27 min

 

Brothers For Life World Premiere

Director: Alon Juwal

Country: Israel; Running Time: 17 min

 

The Dancer: The Beautiful and Tragic Life Of Gerard Alexander

Directors: Ryon Horne, Tyson Horne

Country: USA; Running Time: 35 min

 

Family Trip                                                                            World Premiere

Director: Sean Dunne

Country: USA; Running Time: 26 min

 

Finding Fate

Director: Beth Toni Kruvant

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

 

How I Roll                                                                              World Premiere

Directors: Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern, BriGuel

Country: USA; Running Time: 13 min

 

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love World Premiere

Director: Susan Morgan Cooper

Country: USA; Running Time: 34 min

 

Kristin Dan Kuching Kuchingnya

Director: Michael Kam

Country: Singapore; Running Time: 6 min

 

Living Loud                                                                           World Premiere

Directors: Carin van der Donk, Isabella Vega, Sarah Teale

Country: USA; Running Time: 40 min

 

Paper Boats

Director: Jessica Pons

Country: USA; Running Time: 5 min

 

Rebirth                                                                                   World Premiere

Director: Olivia Burgess

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

Revealing The Impossible World Premiere

Directors: Tony Chong and Marlene Millar

Country: Canada; Running Time: 29 min

 

 

This Is Why We Train: The Sea Girt Beach Patrol            World Premiere

Director: Kevin Nulty

Country: USA; Running Time: 20 min

 

Tracing Imperfection World Premiere

Director: Chehade Boulos

Country: USA; Running Time: 8 min

 

Where Is America the Beautiful?

Director: Fr3der1ck

Country: USA; Running Time: 30 min

 

 MIDNIGHT SHORTS

 

Bastard                                                                                  World Premiere

Directors: Haley Elise Pehrson, Gretta Wilson

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

The Custodian

Director: Colin J. Mason

Country: USA; Running Time: 9 min

 

D.O.D.

Director: Paul Davis

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

Dedly Wagons                                                                       World Premiere

Director: Martin Balaguer

Country: USA; Running Time: 4 min

 

Good Girls Get Fed

Director: Kelly Lou Dennis

Country: USA; Running Time: 21 min

 

Hevel                                                                                      World Premiere

Director: David Grace

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

Inner Demons                                                                        World Premiere

Director: Jasmine J, Johnson

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

The Mantis

Director: Wylie Rush

Country: USA; Running Time: 10 min

 

Mattress Express

Director: Noah Morse

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

Night Shift

Director: Karlee Boon

Country: USA; Running Time: 28 min

 

Pee Pee Platter

Director: Jon Conklin

Country: USA; Running Time: 11 min

 

The Spirit Became Flesh                                                     World Premiere

Writer/Director: Jesse Aultman

Country: USA; Running Time: 18 min

 

The Worm                                                                              World Premiere

Director: Cameron A. Tubbs

Country: USA; Running Time: 14 min

 

 

 ABOUT DANCES WITH FILMS

Now in its 26th year, Dances With Films champions the unflinching spirit at the very core of the independent film scene. With most film festivals relying heavily on celebrity, we have relied on innovation, talent, creativity, and sweat equity that revolutionized the entertainment industry. And that reliance continues to prove successful with alumni moving on to write, direct, and produce celebrity-studded vehicles, star in blockbuster movies, and television series, produce multi-million-dollar film and create hot TV shows. 

Review: Murder mystery romp ‘HELEN’S DEAD’ opens to Theaters and On Demand today!

HELEN’S DEAD

Helen’s Dead follows the story of Addie (Dylan Gelula). After a terrible breakup with her boyfriend, Addie goes to confront her best friend about cheating allegations and accidentally steps into a murder scene.


HELEN’S DEAD is an ensemble comedy filled with familiar faces. Several uninvited guests throw Leila’s curated entertainment plans out the window. HELEN’S DEAD turns a whirlwind of lies and a spoiled dinner party into a chaotic murder mystery. 

Tyrese Gibson plays Helen’s vengeful boyfriend on the hunt for his lady and some loot. Gibson is equal parts scary and charming. Beth Dover, whom I feel is simultaneously everywhere and not enough places, plays Girl Boss journalist and Leila’s supposed ticket back into the mainstream. Dover is as great as ever. Annabelle Dexter-Jones is our ambitious Leila, looking for the perfect dinner party to weave a small-town comeback tale for the masses. Her nightmarish perfection-driven micromanaging is everything you’d hope for. Brian Huskey plays Leila’s partner, but more importantly, her therapist. His turtleneck-wearing, effected speech character work is fantastic. 

Emile Hirsh is a manic misogynist and one catalyst in the chaos. Matilda Lutz plays the titular Helen. She is a star. Her presence is magnetic, and you cannot take your eyes off of her. Dylan Gelula, whom I adored in Cooper Raiff‘s Shithouse, gives us high millennial manicness for the gods. Gelula embodies Addie to a tea. Oliver Cooper steals the show with his portrayal of Cameron, a local theatre actor smitten with Helen and roped into an elaborate charade by Leila. Cooper is a joy to watch. If you aren’t smirking at his every syllable, check your pulse. 

While the film goes slightly off the rails an hour in, what remains of HELEN’S DEAD is a revenge plot gone awry and a twisted tale of reconciliation. 



In Theaters & On Demand November 3, 2023

Directed by K. Asher Levin
Written by Amy Brown Carver
Story by K. Asher Levin and Amy Brown Carver

Produced by Levin, Daniel Cummings, Robert Dean, Roy Scott MacFarland & Todd Lundbohm



Austin Film Festival 2023 review: The hilarious ‘DON’T TELL LARRY’ combines office politics with extreme absurdity.

Don’t Tell Larry


After lying to her new eccentric coworker Larry about a company party, an ambitious corporate flunky must deal with the deadly consequences.

Dot-Marie Jones and Ed Begley Jr. serve up pro performances that most certainly elevate DON’T TELL LARRY. Kiel Kennedy has a genuine Will Ferrell energy. His portrayal of Larry is cringe, uncomfortable, and entirely unhinged. It’s wild and wonderful. I won’t say more because seeing is believing. Kennedy gives Larry a larger-than-life persona, mastering the comedy and terror.

Kenneth Mosley is Patrick, Susan’s work bestie and equally fabulous sidekick. Do yourself a favor. Watch Mosley’s reel on IMDB. You will wonder why he isn’t on every screen in your home. His performance as Patrick immediately catches you off guard in the best way. He’s magnetic. Patty Guggenheim is unforgettable as the hyper-ambitious Susan. Guggenheim is a star. She has a similar energy to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her comic timing and charisma pull you in. Her chemistry with Mosely makes me want a sequel/spin-off/whatever!

Filmmakers Greg Porper and John Schimke give us a classic, over-the-top workplace comedy that stands alongside titles like OFFICE SPACE. It’s wacky and worth your eyeballs.


(USA, 95 MIN)

Writer/Director: Greg Porper, John Schimke

Key Cast: Patty Guggenheim, Kiel Kennedy, Kenneth Mosley, with Dot Marie Jones and Ed Begley Jr.



To find out more about the Austin Film Festival 2023 click here!

 

Austin Film Festival 2023 review: ‘THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE’ brings familial chaos and charm.

THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE

Two distant cousins who’ve never met – one in NYC, the other in the smallest town there is in Ireland – come together to finally put an end to a generations-long family feud. It doesn’t go well. The Problem With People, set in the beautifully lush Irish countryside, is a heartwarming comedy about family, world peace … and sheep.


Director Chris Cottam brings Austin Film Festival audiences a charming transatlantic tale of fortune, forgiveness, and family.

Paul Reiser, who also writes the screenplay with Wally Marzano-Lesnevich, plays Barry. A real estate mogul from NYC, he receives a call from his distant cousin in Ireland, requesting his presence to heal a wound from generations past. The caller is Ciáran, played by Colm Meaney. The two proud, established men momentarily connect for the sake of their family. When Barry finds himself inheriting half of the family land, shenanigans ensue, dividing this small town between old and new ways.

This breezy film is perfect for the festival circuit. Jane Levy grounds the film as Barry’s daughter. While 95% of her appearances occur as phone calls from NYC, her brightness keeps Barry grounded for the viewer. Reiser is as great as ever. His big-city energy is a delicious foil for Meaney’s homegrown pride. Ciáran wavers between forgiveness and fight, and Meaney is a pro.

The landscape of the film is breathtaking. The sets are inviting. The script is heartwarming and silly. Frankly, THE PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE is a film we all need right about now. While it doesn’t break the mold, it makes you smile from beginning to end. I would easily watch a sequel of these two men navigating whatever comes next.


For more info on the Austin Film Festival 2023, click here!

 

Review: Susanna Fogel’s ‘CAT PERSON’ is obscenely relatable… on every level.

CAT PERSON

Emilia Jones plays Margot, a college student and movie theatre concession girl who goes on a date with an older patron who may or may not be a murderer. Based on Kristen Roupenian‘s 2017 viral short story in The New Yorker, director Susanna Fogel skillfully weaves a dark tale that every woman has lived.

Nicholas Braun plays Robert. Taking the world by storm as Greg on Succession, Braun leans into his height and natural awkwardness, simultaneously charming and scaring the shit out of audiences. His dialogue overflows with double entendres and demeaning terms of endearment. Braun is spectacular, settling into the role without a moment’s hesitation.

Emilia Jones (CODA) plays Margot with a delicious mix of caution, optimism, anxiety, and delightful sardonic wit. She commands your attention with equal parts “every girl” and an entirely captivating performer. Watching her feels effortless.

The script perfectly balances black humor and visceral tension. Writers Michelle Ashford and Kristen Roupenian cleverly utilize fantasy and nightmare sequences to keep the viewers constantly on edge. Countering the fear is a feminist message of empowerment, predominantly in the form of Margot’s best friend Taylor (Geraldine Viswanathan), and her professor Dr Enid Zabala (Isabella Rossellini). The movie references that initially attract Robert and Margot to one another continue throughout the film. Cinephiles rejoice. Text message conversations keep Robert ever-present.

The script also comedically highlights how far women go to remain appealing, how we placate for acceptance, the self-deprecating behavior, and the blatant shunning of red flags. There is a sex scene that is truly something to behold. It is the most cringeworthy, amusing, icky, relatable thing any woman can watch. It accurately captures the constant fear of existing as a woman. The relentless anxiety, the people pleasing, and the patriarchal pressure from every direction, CAT PERSON nails each aspect with humor and truth in fiction.


CAT PERSON
Starring Emilia Jones & Nicholas Braun
Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker Susanna Fogel

Opens New York City & Los Angeles October 6th
In Theaters Nationally October 13th

**Official Selection – 2023 Sundance Film Festival**

Genre-Bending Thriller Based Off Kristen Roupenian’s
Viral New Yorker Short Story


Directed by Award-Winning Filmmaker
Susanna Fogel (“The Flight Attendant”, writer Booksmart)

Starring:
Emilia Jones (CODA)
Nicholas Braun (“Succession”)
Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers)
Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet)
Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)
Liza Koshy (Transformers: Rise of the Beasts)
Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark)

Written by Michelle Ashford (“Masters of Sex”), the story expands upon Kristen Roupenians’ 2017 short story of the same name published in The New Yorker. Striking a nerve with readers, “Cat Person” was the first work of short fiction to ever go viral, spurring conversations about the modern dating scene, seduction and consent around the world.

When Margot, a college sophomore (Emilia Jones) goes on a date with the older Robert (Nicholas Braun), she finds that IRL Robert doesn’t live up to the Robert she has been flirting with over texts. Cat Person is a razor-sharp exploration of the gender divide, the quagmire of navigating modern dating and the dangerous projections we make in our minds about the person at the other end of our phones.


 

ICYMI- The extended trailer for Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest ‘POOR THINGS’ starring Emma Stone


POOR THINGS

From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Coming to theaters December 8th, 2023

#PoorThings