From Jan. 25-31, 2019, the annual Slamdance Film Festival returns to Park City, Utah. With world premieres and a heavy focus on new and emerging artists, the festival serves as a showcase curated by filmmakers for filmmakers. This year, a number of CalArtians are represented throughout the festival program.
In the Experimental Shorts category, there are two films by CalArts alumni: A Study of Fly by Cherlyn Hsing-Hsin Liu (Film/Video MFA 15) and Watermarks by Sara Suarez (Film/Video MFA 18). Liu’s film is an existential reflection on the relationship between insects, humans, our environment and the universe. According to the program: “The fly in this film can be approached as a living being, a metaphor for human desire to reach beyond, and a state that demonstrates the capacity to move between the realms of life and death.
Watermarks by Suarez is an experimental documentary that questions the way history has been recorded or suppressed. Set in Richmond, Virginia, the film recalls the slave trade that took place along the James River.
Jenna Caravello (Film/Video MFA 19) and Amanda Bonaiuto (Film/Video MFA 18), both Princess Grace Award-winners, each have films being screened in the Animated Shorts program. Frontier Woman by Caravello is about a phone repairwoman who, according to the synopsis, “encounters a chatty corpse, a self-propelled peanut and some portents of the rapture” out in the desert. Hedge by Bonaiuto is a comical and surreal film about a family visiting a funeral home.
Additionally, CalArtians Jonni Phillips (Film/Video BFA 18), Lauren Flinner (Film/Video MFA 18) and 心 宝 努 子 (Sunny Liang, Film/Video BFA 15) have films in the Animated Shorts program. Phillip’s short Goodbye Forever Party is about Lilith, an actress on a children’s show, who “struggles with her job, mental illness and relationships,” according to the synopsis. Saw/Ate Sad Bird by Flinner is a poetic 2D animated film about catching and eating a bird. Sparky by Liang is about a character named Sparky who, according to the synopsis, “likes to gaze out of the window to see every possible or impossible thing.”
Among those selected for the Documentary Shorts program are the films Las Del Diente by Ana Perez Lopez (Film/Video MFA 18) and Winners Bitch by Sam Gurry (Film/Video MFA 18). Lopez’s film is about three women discussing “the social pressure of having kids while celebrating the uniqueness of their bodies.” The cast features CalArtians Angela Stempel (Film/Video MFA 17), Natalia Lassalle-Morillo (Theater MFA 20) and Aitziber Olaskoaga (Film/Video MFA 19).
Winners Bitch by Gurry is about Virginia Hampton, a prominent woman in the dog competition world. Inspired by a found archive, the film contemplates what it takes to be a woman of distinction.
Screening in the Narrative Shorts program is East of the River by Hannah Peterson (Film/Video MFA 18), who was recently named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. The film follows Teonna, a teenager living in Washington D.C, who spends the day hanging out with friends after she is unexpectedly suspended from school.
The Slamdance Film Festival coincides with Park City's better-known Sundance Film Festival, running from Jan. 24-Feb. 3. Read about the CalArtians selected for Sundance screenings in an earlier 24700 post.
2019 Slamdance Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival
Park City, Utah