Slamdance 2020: Animation Outlaws

Animation Outlaws is a documentary that manages to revisit the touring film festival that is Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation. If you aren’t familiar with Spike Decker or Mike Gribble, you’re in for a treat.  Many now-famous animators got their start thanks to Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation.  The original touring festival–started in 1977–would soon gave way to the Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation later on. The promotion techniques they used would get…

"Slamdance 2020: Animation Outlaws"

Slamdance 2020: Tahara

Tahara focuses on pair of young Jewish women who are grieving the loss of their Hebrew school classmate following a suicide. Carrie Lowstein (Madeline Grey DeFreece) and Hannah Rosen (Rachel Sennott) are best friends.  When we first meet them in Tahara, they are Hebrew school classmate Samantha Goldstein’s funeral.  Following this, they attend a session run by Moreh Klein (Bernadette Quigley) allowing for them to learn the Judaic teachings on grief.  It’s a film that…

"Slamdance 2020: Tahara"

Slamdance 2019: The Vast of Night Interview

Actors Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick joined producer Adam Dietrich in speaking with Solzy at the Movies about The Vast of Night at Slamdance. Unfortunately, director Andrew Patterson was not feeling well on the Sunday afternoon in which this interview took place.  As such, producer Adam Dietrich took his place four days after his wife gave birth to their new child. The Vast of Night was truly the gem of the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival. …

"Slamdance 2019: The Vast of Night Interview"

High Flying Bird: A Sports Film Without Sports

High Flying Bird shows that director Steven Soderbergh isn’t afraid of being an innovative filmmaker even if his retirement was premature. Soderbergh’s new film takes place during a pro basketball lockout.  More on the lockout later.  This is where we find sports agent Ray Burke (André Holland) in quite the pickle.  If the game isn’t in session, he can’t quite bring in the money to fund his career.  So he does the next best thing with…

"High Flying Bird: A Sports Film Without Sports"

Slamdance 2019: Memphis ’69

While Memphis ’69 doesn’t break any new ground in the documentary, there’s nothing wrong with being allowed to just sit back and enjoy the music. During the late 1960s, the Memphis Country Blues Society held an annual blues festival.  As implied in the film’s title, the concert footage is taken from the June 1969 music festival.  These blues musicians gathered together at the Overton Park Shell for three days in celebration of Memphis’ 150th birthday. …

"Slamdance 2019: Memphis ’69"

Slamdance 2019: Spiral Farm

Spiral Farm‘s indie film budget may constrain the filmmaking decisions by writer-director Alec Tibaldi but doesn’t take away from the film. Anahita (Piper de Palma), a teenager, lives on this Southern California commune that looks like it was taken out of the 1960s.  Everyone in this commune has to work together in order to survive on the farm.  Anahita’s dreams of being a professional dancer keep tugging at her.  Even though the farm has been her…

"Slamdance 2019: Spiral Farm"

Slamdance 2019: America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful is an innovative found-footage thriller that plays right into the current American political environment in the Trump era. Upon moving to San Bernardino, Calif., Billy and Carly Reynolds decide to remodel their new house.  This leads to Billy Reynolds’s Extreme Home Makeover being uploaded onto YouTube.  Nobody expects what happens to take place next.  It turns out that their neighbors are racist Trump voters.  This comes through by way of the dialogue. …

"Slamdance 2019: America the Beautiful"

Slamdance 2019: Lost Holiday

Lost Holiday takes us to our nation’s capital as the independent film shows us why it is a solid candidate to join the Gone Girl cinematic universe. There’s no place like home for the holidays.  In this instance, home just happens to be our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.  This is where Margaret (Kate Lyn Sheil) finds herself with her friend Henry (Thomas Matthews).  Henry is in graduate school while Margaret–who also goes by Maggie–teaches…

"Slamdance 2019: Lost Holiday"

Slamdance 2019: Markie in Milwaukee

Markie in Milwaukee follows transgender woman Markie Wenzel over a number of years through her struggles with transitioning and its impact on her life. We first meet Markie Wenzel in 2013.  This is when she had decided to put off transitioning and go back to living as a man.  The reason for doing so is the toll that it’s taken on her.  She lost her family as a result.  Not only this but her marriage…

"Slamdance 2019: Markie in Milwaukee"

Slamdance 2019: The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night takes us back in time to 1950s New Mexico while also placing director Andrew Patterson on the map as a filmmaker to watch. This year is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and while that film held its world premiere last night, this is a very different flick.  This film could very well be one of the most talked about films that aren’t screening during Sundance. Things are much different…

"Slamdance 2019: The Vast of Night"