The South Florida film scene has grown exponentially over the past decade, coinciding with increasing competition and collaboration between institutions, as well as the portrayal of a thriving film culture.
This month, a new actor makes his debut on the sunny landscape for his inaugural event: Slamdance. A Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Slamdance has spent the past 25 years discovering and cultivating the work of emerging filmmakers from around the world. This year, its launch Slamdance Miami, screened from October 28 to 30 at the North Beach Bandshell and on the Slamdance virtual platform.
With Slamdance Miami, the festival capitalizes on Miami’s status as a geographic gateway, drawing on works by filmmakers from Central and South America, the Caribbean and Florida.
Miami-Dade Film Commissioner Sandy Lighterman is excited about the new addition to Florida film culture, saying, “Slamdance is Miami-Dade owned because it can build on the region’s strong cultural ties” with the aforementioned geographic regions. “Slamdance Miami can become the hub for the most talented content creators in these parts of the world.”
Similar to the Ibero-American accent of the Miami Film Festival, the advocacy of Caribbean cinema at the Third Horizon Film Festival, and the recently launched SunPass Film Festival specifically offering a platform for emerging Florida filmmakers, Sundance Miami aims to continue these missions in the region. .
Slamdance Miami programmer Ron Baez is excited about the new edition.
“It’s really like Slamdance and Miami were made for each other,” Baez says. “The only way to truly represent Miami is to prioritize radical cultural inclusion and its hopeful rebellious spirit. Slamdance Miami is a distinctive celebration of extraordinarily singular voices indicative of Miami’s cultural identity.”
Linked to Miami’s cultural identity, the festival has partnered with Miami organizations, such as the Miami Film Commission, FilMiami, Miami Media and Film Market, O Cinema, Faena, and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau in what Slamdance promises to be a fully collaborative effort between Slamdance, its alumni and Miami’s arts leaders. For the festival’s first year, a programming team led by Baez selected 18 films, six feature films and 12 short films from nine different countries as examples of the future of cinema from these regions.
The feature films section is united by tales of struggle and hardship, political turmoil, survival and sacrifice, and the idea of leaving and returning home. Malpaso, from the Dominican Republic, opens the festival and follows twin brothers who struggle to survive on the Haitian border when they lose their grandfather. In the same spirit, The border, which takes place in the space separating Colombia and Venezuela, finds a family grappling with a political crisis and making ends meet by looting travelers.
ColOZio, from Mexico, is a political biopic inspired by the real events surrounding the death of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio. argentinian cinema Death does not exist and neither does love is the story of a homecoming when a young woman returns to Patagonia to spread the ashes of her best friend while confronting her own past. The film pairs well thematically with the documentary Mom Icha’s house, in which the titular subject returns to Colombia to find peace at the end of his life after years of living in the United States.
The last feature film, another documentary, Park on the rise, focuses on tragic events in South Florida and how a group of college students took the tragedy and amplified their voices to spark a new conversation about gun violence in the United States
The shorts represent a wide variety of perspectives in both form and content and include narrative, documentary and experimental films from a new generation of emerging filmmakers. As a result, narrative shorts have a common focus on the perspectives of young people. In Nursing bats, Lucas is in charge of a school project to show his family’s daily life, but decides to make things more interesting by playing pranks on unwitting family members.
Adolescence is the theme of Playful Children Bridge, in which a young man loses his summer until the arrival of a mysterious girl changes his lazy agenda. Love also plays a role in Paris is there, who follows the introvert Georges, who falls in love with his dream girl, Gisèle, who dreams of seeing Paris. Ultimately, The absences explores a young woman who finds herself in an unhappy marriage and the radical decision she must make.
The documentary section is extremely diverse, touching on ethnography, religious identity, education, colonialism and authoritarianism. Echoes of the volcano is a six-year project examining the impact of a volcanic eruption that forced the indigenous Zoque community to relocate. The juxtaposition of the Koran and thrash metal forms the tension in I see colored mists, in which a guitarist navigates her Muslim identity through her artistic expression. Lavosi documents the inspiring work of a school in Guatemala as it shapes the lives of a new generation of children. A Puerto Rican artist who spent a decade painting a mountainside village becomes a gateway to explore American colonialism and community resilience in my mud my hillside. And in Stunned, I stay alert, the fear of history repeating itself plays out as a human rights defender who fought against three years of dictatorship sees Brazil back down.
Rightly, experimental cinema is not left out. Excerpts is a collage film featuring images of cities around the world, including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Marrakech and Rabat from 1970 to 1972. A poetic examination of an immigrant struggling with his identity in a new society propels A few steps from the blue island. Using only archival footage, Needle and drum, an experimental documentary, uses the director’s grandparents as subjects to explore the power of memory and its inevitable deterioration.
The first-ever Slamdance Miami offers an eclectic, diverse and promising lineup that imbues the festival’s mission with a flavor that only Miami can deliver.
“We are honored to collaborate and continue to learn from the people, the stories and the city of Miami,” said festival director Taylor Miller.
As a festival launched in the midst of a pandemic, the festival has taken special precautions by using an outdoor screening space as well as a virtual component. As part of its protocols, wearing a mask is mandatory throughout the festival, and its COVID policy is posted on Slamdance Miami website.
Slamdance Miami. Thursday October 28 to Saturday October 30 at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami; 786-453-2897; northbeachbandshell.com. Tickets cost $ 15 to $ 20 via northbeachbandshell.com/slamdance.