The Best of Slamdance 2020
The best of Slamdance 2020
The annual movie convention Slamdance, held by filmmakers for filmmakers, is now underway in Park City, Utah and is seeing the premiere of many highly-buzzed about short films, features and documentaries. ComingSoon.net got the chance to watch a portion of the catalogue of the films screening in the festival and below we’ve gathered our favorites!
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The dating world is one of the most challenging things humanity has to deal with, from online to trying to figure out how to strike up a conversation with someone in person to the dreaded blind date, dating a friend will set up. In his poignant and intriguing documentary, Shoot to Marry, filmmaker Steve Markle takes his disillusionment with being unmarried and turns his lens to explore the facets of the dating world in the wake of a significant breakup and journeys around the country meeting various women and interviewing them about their experiences with dating and in hopes of even meeting someone he can connect with. The plot of this documentary might sound familiar for some Japanese horror fans, and the movie does frequently stray into quite uncomfortable territory in moments as audiences want to sympathize with Steve and root for him in his search for romance, but his narration reveals some questionable techniques and intentions on his behalf. Some of this uncomfortable and awkwardness character works well towards the more comedic character of the documentary, and Markle shoots it with a skillful eye, but it distracts from helping this movie soar to the heights it certainly could have reached.
Film About a Father Who
- Director: Lynne Sachs
- Rating: 9.5/10
There are many circumstances that could challenge that love, including a divorce involving parents, although the love between a father and his children may be seen for both parties involved. In Lynne Sachs’ Film About a Father Who, she takes her camera and the changes in technology from 1984 to 2019 and concentrates it on her father Ira Sachs Sr, a pioneering businessman from Park City who hid a large web of secrets from her mother and her siblings, including a number of relationships with other women and even spawning kids with said women. Sachs takes a approach by letting the audience decide how they feel about his transgressions, including interviewing the women themselves, while it might appear easy to paint her dad as the villain in the documentary. The changes in technology over the years also helps to supply a style to the storytelling, with the various interviews filmed in 16 and 8 mm proving compelling to watch.
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- Director/Writer: Merawi Gerima
- Rating: 7.5/10
The topic of gentrification in america is one of the most important topics many filmmakers aren’t taking the time to delve into, with last year’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco being one of the most notable endeavors to do so and today Merawi Gerima tries to capture its spirit in the form of Residue. Set around an aspiring screenwriter returning to his hometown, the movie follows him as he finds his neighborhood becoming drastically gentrified, with his older friends having to turn to crime to continue living in the area or selling out to the rich white people looking to turn the area around. Gerima directs with a very artful eye and his cast all deliver sound performances in their roles, but the film’s flaws lie in the mixed bag of storytelling in attempting to deliver its prevalent themes, sometimes feeling as if it is contradicting its own messages or not knowing how it wants to tell them in a manner that’s both realistic and satisfactory to audiences wanting a more optimistic conclusion.
- Director: Olivia Peace
- Rating: 9.5/10
The coming-of-age genre has seen many fascinating subsections, with one of the most timely and compelling of late being that of the coming-out variety, and while films such as Enjoy, Simon has handled the substance in a respectful but more happy-go-lucky manner, Olivia Peace’s Tahara tackles the issue in a manner that feels wholly original and true to reality. The movie follows two Jewish classmates Carrie and Hannah, who’ve been inseparable for so long as they know, but when a classmate of theirs commits suicide seemingly linked to her sexuality, it brings out a lot of complicated feelings between the two, especially following a singing exercise awakens something in Carrie. Setting the film in a Jewish high school helps investigate topics of questioning faith in addition to a burgeoning sexuality and it is handled in a really fascinating manner, from its tighter aspect ratio creating more intimate character work to its script managing the ups-and-downs of coming out affecting friendships. This is one of the most original movies in the subgenre in a long time and entering the future.