It's that time of year again... Honoring independent films and filmmakers...

We've got the upcoming American Spirit Awards, Sundance, and then the Oscars. CONGRATULATIONS ALL!!!



Park City, UT — Sundance Institute convenes a full slate of provocative and agenda-setting independent films at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, beginning with today’s announcement of the 66 films selected for U.S. Competition, World Competition and NEXT, as well as a slate of environmentally focused programming under the Festival’s The New Climate program. The Festival hosts screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort January 19-29.

The Festival celebrates creativity and independence at the summit of the Institute’s year-round public programming, which also includes festivals in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Sundance Institute programs support artists year-round, with more than $2.5 million in grants and 25 global residency Labs across theatre, film, New Frontier and episodic content.

Robert Redford, President and Founder of Sundance Institute, said, "From the passion and chaos of creativity, independent filmmakers make decisions to harness that energy, break new ground and tell their stories. This year’s Festival reflects every step of that journey, and shows how art can engage, provoke and connect people all over the world."

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, "It’s more crucial now than ever to have storytellers illuminating the world around us. Artists help us better understand one another and recognize what we have in common. We are proud to champion and amplify original independent work through the Festival and our year-round programs."

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, "The films in this year’s Festival show the human sides of issues, people and places we don’t often see. Independent filmmakers, with their fearless, bold perspectives, are challenging us to witness our world's whole story. These artists, armed with their films, will lead us into the future."

For the first time, the Festival is focusing its programming efforts to drive attention and action around a specific theme: climate change and environmental preservation. The New Climate program builds on the Institute’s longstanding commitment to showcasing environmental films and projects, including An Inconvenient Truth, Blackfish, The Cove, Gasland, Chasing Ice, Racing Extinction and Collisions. The program includes Chasing Coral, which follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists documenting the world's changing coral reefs; Trophy, an in-depth look at the controversial, multi-billion-dollar big-game hunting industry; Water & Power: A California Heist, an investigation of California's convoluted water system; and Plastic China, an examination of employee life at a Chinese recycling plant.

About The New Climate, Redford said, "My own engagement on climate change began more than 40 years ago, and the urgency I felt then has only grown stronger given its very real and increasingly severe consequences. If we’re going to avoid the worst-case scenario, then we must act boldly and immediately, even in the face of indifference, apathy and opposition."

For the 2017 Festival, 113 feature-length films were selected, representing 32 countries and 37 first-time filmmakers, including 20 in competition. These films were selected from 13,782 submissions including 4,068 feature-length films and 8,985 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,005 were from the U.S. and 2,063 were international. Ninety-eight feature films at the Festival will be world premieres. In 2016, the Festival drew 46,600 attendees, generated $143.3 million in economic activity for the state of Utah and supported 1,400 local jobs.
Recent films that have premiered in the sections announced today include Morris From AmericaBeasts of the Southern WildSwiss Army ManCity of Gold, Fruitvale StationThe Diary of A Teenage GirlWhiplashBlackfishLife, AnimatedAll These Sleepless NightsWeiner and First Girl I Loved.
More films, including additional New Climate programming, will be announced soon; watch sundance.org/festival.

Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.
Band Aid / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones) — A couple who can't stop fighting embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage: turning their fights into songs and starting a band. Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen, Susie Essman, Hannah Simone, Ravi Patel. World Premiere
Beach Rats / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity, as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff. World Premiere
Brigsby Bear / U.S.A. (Director: Dave McCary, Screenwriters: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney) — Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children's TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James's life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself. Cast: Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins. World Premiere
Burning Sands / U.S.A. (Director: Gerard McMurray, Screenwriters: Christine Berg, Gerard McMurray) — Deep into a fraternity's Hell Week, a favored pledge is torn between honoring a code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing. Cast: Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Steve Harris, Tosin Cole, DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes. World Premiere
Crown Heights / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matt Ruskin) — When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend, Carl King, devotes his life to proving Colin's innocence. Adapted from This American Life, this is the incredible true story of their harrowing quest for justice. Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. World Premiere
Golden Exits / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry) — The arrival of a young foreign girl disrupts the lives and emotional balances of two Brooklyn families. Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Jason Schwartzman, Chloë Sevigny. World Premiere
The Hero / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Haley, Screenwriters: Brett Haley, Marc Basch) — Lee, a former Western film icon, is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future. Cast: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross. World Premiere
i-dont-feel-at-home-in-this-world-anymore.jpgI Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Macon Blair) — When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves, alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy, Devon Graye. World Premiere. DAY ONE
Ingrid Goes West / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Spicer, Screenwriters: Matt Spicer, David Branson Smith) — A young woman becomes obsessed with an Instagram lifestyle blogger and moves to Los Angeles to try and befriend her in real life. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, Billy Magnussen. World Premiere
Landline / U.S.A. (Director: Gillian Robespierre, Screenwriters: Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre) — Two sisters come of age in ’90s New York when they discover their dad’s affair—and it turns out he’s not the only cheater in the family. Everyone still smokes inside, no one has a cell phone and the Jacobs finally connect through lying, cheating and hibachi. Cast: Jenny Slate, John Turturro, Edie Falco, Abby Quinn, Jay Duplass, Finn Wittrock. World Premiere
Novitiate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maggie Betts) — In the early 1960s, during the Vatican II era, a young woman training to become a nun struggles with issues of faith, sexuality and the changing church. Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor. World Premiere
Patti Cake$ / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Geremy Jasper) — Straight out of Jersey comes Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, an aspiring rapper fighting through a world of strip malls and strip clubs on an unlikely quest for glory. Cast: Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Siddharth Dhananjay, Mamoudou Athie, Cathy Moriarty. World Premiere
Roxanne Roxanne / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Larnell) — The most feared battle MC in early-'80s NYC was a fierce teenager from the Queensbridge projects with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At age 14, hustling the streets to provide for her family, Roxanne Shanté was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend. Cast: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips, Shenell Edmonds. World Premiere
To the Bone / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marti Noxon) — In a last-ditch effort to battle her severe anorexia, 20-year-old Ellen enters a group recovery home. With the help of an unconventional doctor, Ellen and the other residents go on a sometimes-funny, sometimes-harrowing journey that leads to the ultimate question—is life worth living? Cast: Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp, Liana Liberato. World Premiere
Walking Out / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Alex Smith, Andrew Smith) — A father and son struggle to connect on any level until a brutal encounter with a predator in the heart of the wilderness leaves them both seriously injured. If they are to survive, the boy must carry his father to safety. Cast: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman, Alex Neustaedter, Lily Gladstone. World Premiere
The Yellow Birds / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: David Lowery, R.F.I. Porto) — Two young men enlist in the army and are deployed to fight in the Iraq War. After an unthinkable tragedy, the returning soldier struggles to balance his promise of silence with the truth and a mourning mother’s search for peace. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Patric, Toni Collette, Jennifer Aniston. World Premiere
Sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day.
Casting JonBenet / U.S.A., Australia (Director: Kitty Green) — The unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey remains the world’s most sensational child murder case. Over 15 months, responses, reflections and performances were elicited from the Ramsey’s Colorado hometown community, creating a bold work of art from the collective memories and mythologies the crime inspired. World Premiere
Chasing Coral / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Orlowski) — Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. World Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE
City of Ghosts / U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Heineman) — With unprecedented access, this documentary follows the extraordinary journey of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently"—a group of anonymous citizen journalists who banded together after their homeland was overtaken by ISIS—as they risk their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today. World Premiere
Dina / U.S.A. (Directors: Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini) — An eccentric suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter navigate their evolving relationship in this unconventional love story. World Premiere
Dolores / U.S.A. (Director: Peter Bratt) — Dolores Huerta bucks 1950s gender conventions by co-founding the country’s first farmworkers' union. Wrestling with raising 11 children, gender bias, union defeat and victory, and nearly dying after a San Francisco Police beating, Dolores emerges with a vision that connects her newfound feminism with racial and class justice. World Premiere
The Force / U.S.A. (Director: Pete Nicks) — This cinema verité look at the long-troubled Oakland Police Department goes deep inside their struggles to confront federal demands for reform, a popular uprising following events in Ferguson and an explosive scandal. World Premiere
ICARUS / U.S.A. (Director: Bryan Fogel) — When Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller involving dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic Gold—exposing the biggest scandal in sports history. World Premiere
The New Radical / U.S.A. (Director: Adam Bhala Lough) — Uncompromising millennial radicals from the United States and the United Kingdom attack the system through dangerous technological means, which evolves into a high-stakes game with world authorities in the midst of a dramatically changing political landscape. World Premiere
NOBODY SPEAK: Hulk Hogan, Gawker and Trials of a Free Press / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Knappenberger) — The trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media pitted privacy rights against freedom of the press, and raised important questions about how big money can silence media. This film is an examination of the perils and duties of the free press in an age of inequality. World Premiere
Quest / U.S.A. (Director: Jonathan Olshefski) — For over a decade, this portrait of a North Philadelphia family and the creative sanctuary offered by their home music studio was filmed with vérité intimacy. The family's 10-year journey is an illumination of race and class in America, and it's a testament to love, healing and hope. World Premiere
STEP / U.S.A. (Director: Amanda Lipitz) — The senior year of a girls’ high school step team in inner-city Baltimore is documented, as they try to become the first in their families to attend college. The girls strive to make their dancing a success against the backdrop of social unrest in their troubled city. World Premiere
Strong Island / U.S.A., Denmark (Director: Yance Ford) — Examining the violent death of the filmmaker’s brother and the judicial system that allowed his killer to go free, this documentary interrogates murderous fear and racialized perception, and re-imagines the wreckage in catastrophe’s wake, challenging us to change. World Premiere
Trophy / U.S.A. (Director: Shaul Schwarz, Co-Director: Christina Clusiau) — This in-depth look into the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and Africa unravels the complex consequences of treating animals as commodities. World PremiereTHE NEW CLIMATE
Unrest / U.S.A. (Director: Jennifer Brea) — When Harvard PhD student Jennifer Brea is struck down at 28 by a fever that leaves her bedridden, doctors tell her it’s "all in her head." Determined to live, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story—and four other families' stories—fighting a disease medicine forgot. World Premiere
Water & Power: A California Heist / U.S.A. (Director: Marina Zenovich) — In California's convoluted water system, notorious water barons find ways to structure a state-engineered system to their own advantage. This examination into their centers of power shows small farmers and everyday citizens facing drought and a new, debilitating groundwater crisis. World Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE
whose-streets.jpgWhose Streets? / U.S.A. (Director: Sabaah Folayan, Co-Director: Damon Davis) — A nonfiction account of the Ferguson uprising told by the people who lived it, this is an unflinching look at how the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown inspired a community to fight back—and sparked a global movement.World PremiereDAY ONE
Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.
Axolotl Overkill / Germany (Director and screenwriter: Helene Hegemann) — Mifti, age 16, lives in Berlin with a cast of characters including her half-siblings; their rich, self-involved father; and her junkie friend Ophelia. As she mourns her recently deceased mother, she begins to develop an obsession with Alice, an enigmatic, and much older, white-collar criminal. Cast: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Arly Jover, Mavie Hörbiger, Laura Tonke, Hans Löw, Bernhard Schütz. World Premiere
Berlin Syndrome / Australia (Director: Cate Shortland, Screenwriter: Shaun Grant) — A passionate holiday romance takes an unexpected and sinister turn when an Australian photographer wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave. Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt. World Premiere
Carpinteros (Woodpeckers) / Dominican Republic (Director and screenwriter: José María Cabral) — Julián finds love and a reason for living in the last place imaginable: the Dominican Republic’s Najayo Prison. His romance with fellow prisoner Yanelly must develop through sign language and without the knowledge of dozens of guards. Cast: Jean Jean, Judith Rodriguez Perez, Ramón Emilio Candelario. World Premiere
Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! / Brazil, Netherlands, France, Paraguay (Director and screenwriter: Felipe Bragança) — In this fable about love and memories, Joca is a 13-year-old Brazilian boy in love with an indigenous Paraguayan girl. To conquer her love, he must face the violent region's war-torn past and the secrets of his elder brother, Fernando, a motorcycle cowboy. Cast: Cauã Reymond, Eduardo Macedo, Adeli Gonzales, Zahy Guajajara, Claudia Assunção, Ney Matogrosso. World Premiere
Family Life / Chile (Directors: Alicia Scherson, Cristián Jiménez, Screenwriter: Alejandro Zambra) — While house-sitting for a distant cousin, a lonely man fabricates the existence of a vindictive ex-wife withholding his daughter, in order to gain the sympathy of the single mother he has just met. Cast: Jorge Becker, Gabriela Arancibia, Blanca Lewin, Cristián Carvajal. World Premiere
Free and Easy / Hong Kong (Director: Jun Geng, Screenwriters: Jun Geng, Yuhua Feng, Bing Liu) — When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results. Cast: Gang Xu, Zhiyong Zhang, Baohe Xue, Benshan Gu, Xun Zhang. World Premiere
God's Own Country / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Francis Lee) — Springtime in Yorkshire: isolated young sheep farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path. Cast: Josh O'Connor, Alec Secareanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones. World Premiere
My Happy Family / Germany, Georgia, France (Directors: Nana & Simon, Screenwriter: Nana Ekvtimishvili) — Tbilisi, Georgia, 2016: In a patriarchal society, an ordinary Georgian family lives with three generations under one roof. All are shocked when 52-year-old Manana decides to move out from her parents' home and live alone. Without her family and her husband, a journey into the unknown begins. Cast: Ia Shugliashvili, Merab Ninidze, Berta Khapava, Tsisia Qumsishvili, Giorgi Tabidze, Dimitri Oragvelidze. World Premiere
The Nile Hilton Incident / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Tarik Saleh) — In Cairo, weeks before the 2011 revolution, Police Detective Noredin is working in the infamous Kasr el-Nil Police Station when he is handed the case of a murdered singer. He soon realizes that the investigation concerns the power elite, close to the President’s inner circle. Cast: Fares Fares, Mari Malek, Mohamed Yousry, Yasser Ali Maher, Ahmed Selim, Hania Amar. World Premiere
pop-aye.jpgPop Aye / Singapore, Thailand (Director and screenwriter: Kirsten Tan) — On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand in search of the farm where they grew up together. Cast: Thaneth Warakulnukroh, Penpak Sirikul, Bong. World PremiereDAY ONE
Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language) / Mexico, Netherlands (Director: Ernesto Contreras, Screenwriter: Carlos Contreras) — The last two speakers of a millennia-old language haven’t spoken in 50 years, when a young linguist tries to bring them together. Yet hidden in the past, in the heart of the jungle, lies a secret concerning the fate of the Zikril language. Cast: Fernando Álvarez Rebeil, Eligio Meléndez, Manuel Poncelis, Fátima Molina, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Hoze Meléndez. World Premiere
The Wound / South Africa (Director: John Trengove, Screenwriters: John Trengove, Thando Mgqolozana, Malusi Bengu) — Xolani, a lonely factory worker, joins the men of his community in the mountains of the Eastern Cape to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best kept secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel. Cast: Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai, Niza Jay Ncoyini. World Premiere
Twelve documentaries by some of the most courageous and extraordinary international filmmakers working today.
The Good Postman / Finland, Bulgaria (Director: Tonislav Hristov) — In a small Bulgarian village troubled by the ongoing refugee crisis, a local postman runs for mayor—and learns that even minor deeds can outweigh good intentions. North American Premiere
In Loco Parentis / Ireland, Spain (Directors: Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane) — John and Amanda teach Latin, English and guitar at a fantastical, stately home-turned-school. Nearly 50-year careers are drawing to a close for the pair who have become legends with the mantra: "Reading! ’Rithmetic! Rock ’n’ roll!" But for pupil and teacher alike, leaving is the hardest lesson. North American Premiere
It's Not Yet Dark / Ireland (Director: Frankie Fenton) — This is the incredible story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a young filmmaker who becomes completely paralyzed from motor neurone disease but goes on to direct an award-winning feature film through the use of his eyes. International Premiere
Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Piscatella) — When the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong, teenager Joshua Wong decides to save his city. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China’s most notorious dissidents. World Premiere
Last Men in Aleppo / Denmark (Directors: Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen) — After five years of war in Syria, Aleppo’s remaining residents prepare themselves for a siege. Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud, founding members of The White Helmets, have remained in the city to help their fellow citizens—and experience daily life, death, struggle and triumph in a city under fire. World Premiere
Machines / India, Germany, Finland (Director: Rahul Jain) — This intimate, observant portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship. North American Premiere.
Motherland / U.S.A., Philippines (Director: Ramona Diaz) — The planet's busiest maternity hospital is located in one of its poorest and most populous countries: the Philippines. There, poor women face devastating consequences as their country struggles with reproductive health policy and the politics of conservative Catholic ideologies. World Premiere
Plastic China / China (Director: Jiu-liang Wang) — Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse, comes an examination of global consumption and culture. International Premiere. THE NEW CLIMATE
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World / Canada (Directors: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana) — This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history—featuring some of the greatest music stars of our time—exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture. World Premiere
Tokyo Idols / United Kingdom, Canada (Director: Kyoko Miyake) — This exploration of Japan’s fascination with girl bands and their music follows an aspiring pop singer and her fans, delving into the cultural obsession with young female sexuality and the growing disconnect between men and women in hypermodern societies. World Premiere
WINNIE / France (Director: Pascale Lamche) — While her husband served a life sentence, paradoxically kept safe and morally uncontaminated, Winnie Mandela rode the raw violence of apartheid, fighting on the front line and underground. This is the untold story of the mysterious forces that combined to take her down, labeling him a saint, her, a sinner. World Premiere
the-workers-cup.jpgThe Workers Cup / United Kingdom (Director: Adam Sobel) — Inside Qatar’s labor camps, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own. World PremiereDAY ONE
Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a "greater" next wave in American cinema. Presented by Adobe.
Columbus / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kogonada) — Casey lives with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin, a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them. Cast: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, Michelle Forbes. World Premiere
dayveon.jpgDayveon / U.S.A. (Director: Amman Abbasi, Screenwriters: Amman Abbasi, Steven Reneau) — In the wake of his older brother’s death, 13-year-old Dayveon spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world. Cast: Devin Blackmon, Kordell "KD" Johnson, Dontrell Bright, Chasity Moore, Lachion Buckingham, Marquell Manning. World PremiereDAY ONE
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train / U.S.A. (Director: Sydney Freeland, Screenwriter: Shelby Farrell) — Two teenage sisters start robbing trains to make ends meet after their single mother's emotional meltdown in an electronics store lands her in jail. Cast: Ashleigh Murray, Rachel Crow, Tim Blake Nelson, David Sullivan, Danielle Nicolet, Sasheer Zamata. World Premiere
A Ghost Story / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Lowery) — This is the story of a ghost and the house he haunts. Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky, Liz Franke. World Premiere
Gook / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Chon) — Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers who own a struggling women's shoe store, have an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old Kamilla. On the first day of the 1992 L.A. riots, the trio must defend their store—and contemplate the meaning of family, their personal dreams and the future. Cast: Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Curtiss Cook Jr., Sang Chon, Ben Munoz. World Premiere
L.A. Times / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Morgan) — In this classically styled comedy of manners set in Los Angeles, sophisticated thirtysomethings try to determine whether ideal happiness exists in coupledom or if the perfectly suited couple is actually just an urban myth. Cast: Michelle Morgan, Dree Hemingway, Jorma Taccone, Kentucker Audley, Margarita Levieva, Adam Shapiro. World Premiere
Lemon / U.S.A. (Director: Janicza Bravo, Screenwriters: Janicza Bravo, Brett Gelman) — A man watches his life unravel after he is left by his blind girlfriend. Cast: Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Nia Long, Shiri Appleby, Fred Melamed. World Premiere
Menashe / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Z Weinstein, Screenwriters: Joshua Z Weinstein, Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed) — Within Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood. Cast: Menashe Lustig. World Premiere
Person to Person / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dustin Guy Defa) — A record collector hustles for a big score while his heartbroken roommate tries to erase a terrible mistake, a teenager bears witness to her best friend’s new relationship and a rookie reporter, alongside her demanding supervisor, chases the clues of a murder case involving a life-weary clock shop owner. Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Philip Baker Hall, Bene Coopersmith, George Sample III. World Premiere
Thoroughbred / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Cory Finley) — Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be—and that a murder might solve both of their problems. Cast: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff. World Premiere
Three films announced today were funded in part through Kickstarter campaigns: DayveonGook and Unrest.
The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including BoyhoodBeasts of the Southern WildFruitvale Station, Whiplash, BrooklynTwenty Feet from StardomLife ItselfThe CoveThe End of the TourBlackfishMe and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size MeDope, Little Miss Sunshinesex, lies, and videotapeReservoir DogsHedwig and the Angry InchAn Inconvenient TruthPrecious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2017 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, AT&T, DIRECTV, and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – American Airlines, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, Google VR,The Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, Jaunt, Kickstarter, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and the University of Utah Health. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute's year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Sponsor seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival
Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute's signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern WildFruitvale StationSin NombreThe Invisible WarThe SquareDirty WarsSpring AwakeningA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.


Doing it Yourself Across All Platforms

That's officially called DIYAAP.

So... you've made your film, you've entered some festivals, you've won some awards, now what?  Where are the studio contracts? Where's the red carpet? 

How do get my film out into the "real world?"

First look around you. Where'd the real world go?

There's no more Blockbuster store. They got block busted.  You can get your film listed at itunes, netflix, but you need an aggregator - search that term and you'll figure out how to do that.

There's limited distribution deals available, but in order to satisfy them, you must have the help of a distributor - which is a wonderful way to go if you have interest from a distributor about doing that...


If you don't have anyone knocking on your door to distribute your film, what are the places I can sell my title?  Or sell a few titles so that I can make some more films and sell more titles?

First, make sure all your paperwork is in order. That means signed releases from everyone that you have in your film (easy to find those online) you have licensed or created the music, or any music in your film through an agreed upon formula, or you've had the music scored for the film and own that as well.

If you own everything about your film, you're now in a position to market it and sell it DIY style.

One of our film partners does that. KinoNation.com is an excellent resource, easy to find them online, easy to find their instructions, easy to follow them, easy to start getting checks for your film.

But even if you sign up for distribution with someone else, you still have the option of distributing your film (your work, your creativity) on your own.  That's where the DIY platform comes in.  For example:

Become an Amazon Video Direct Star

How it works

Amazon will distribute a share of $1,000,000 per month as a bonus to the Top 100 titles included with Prime through Amazon Video Direct. This bonus—based on global customer engagement—is incremental to revenue earned from hours streamed, rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions, and ad impressions. All of your titles included with Prime are automatically eligible.

Amazon Video has just channeled all of the content away from CreateSpace.com - but it's pretty much the same process.  You go to their site, follow their instructions, add the artwork, add the copy and within a few hours or receiving your content, you will have a webpage online that is searchable on any Amazon.com search engine. (Can't vouch for the prize above, but what the heck? Why not?)

There's a conundrum for those outside the USA - because Amazon only accepts payment in US dollars.  However, if you submit your content to them, that means that your film will be listed in their selections. 

 And if you want to sell it primarily to folks outside the US, then you would create a separate page to do that.  You would update that page so that whenever someone types the name of your film, or your name into a search engine, your page will be found.

And on the page you've found a way to sell your film.  Perhaps you use a direct download sight (like Louis CK did with his comedy show, put it up through Amazon streaming and charged people $5 a show.)  But doing it this way, every time someone streams your film, you wind up paying a fee - it's minimal, but what if there was a way to not pay any fee?

That would also be at the Amazon website.  They will accept your film, if you own all rights to it, through their system.  Another way to sell your film online is to sign up with youtube as a filmmaker, and then they will allow you to upload any length film.  And when you do upload your film, you can find the option for making your film "for purchase only."

Good idea to make that price roughly what people would normally pay to watch your film - if people have to pay alot, and don't know what they're viewing, they may not want to pay very much.  But... you can charge as much or as little as you want.

If you've signed up with them, whatever proceeds you get from the sale of your videos, goes directly into whatever account you've set up with youtube or amazon.

Does this sound easy?

It is.

Finally, once you've put your film up on a "Pay per view" site - people generally won't go looking for it unless you either advertise or promote it in some fashion.

That's where the DIY promotion and advertising knowledge comes into play.  Seek out the kind of people who would be interested in your subject matter - if it's a niche market, all the better, because you'll already know who's a fan of this kind of material.  Contact people who market and sell magazines, newspapers to these people, and suggest reviewing your work, your film, and perhaps an interview with the filmmaker and how the film was made.

Make sure it's easy to find the title of your work.  So if you create a webpage, or have a blog (the ones through gmail and blogger are free) you can add advertising and articles and other things about your film.  When someone types in the title of your film or the filmmaker's name in a search engine, they'll find it.  (Needless to say, if the name of your blog is "BillandTedsExcellentAdventureintoDogwalking" it might be hard for someone to remember -- but if it's "MyAdventuresInDogwalking.com" - then it's easy enough to find.) But a blog site for your film (it costs about $13 a year thru godaddy.com - and then just "forward" your blog to that clever name you just bought).

And you'll find the more film festivals you enter, the more your film's title gets around - and the more articles that you submit or write yourself about your film and try to get them published or into a review stream, the more people will become aware of your DIY film.  Done DIY style.

Winners.  Because they did it themselves.
So that's just some of the basic tips we've learned about DIY distribution.... stay tuned for more articles about the joys of DIY Filmmaking.


The DIY Film Festival Team


No Time Like the Present to Make your Film

"When the cost of making films is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then you'll have true art." Jean Cocteau

The time has come to pick up the camera, do what you need to do and get your vision into the world.

Some random observations about great moments in DIY Filmmaking.

Cody Blue Snider.  Past DIY Fest winner, and budding filmmaker.
1. An actor we know was in need of an acting reel.  So he set up a camera in an empty room.  There were curtains blowing, and the light fell in the background.  Some sounds of a suitcase being zipped up, and the actor walked by the camera and disappeared somewhere off camera. A car door slammed.  The actor came back, sat in front of the camera, reached up and adjusted the focus on himself. A selfie film. He looked into camera and said "You want to know why I'm leaving you?  Let me tell you why."  He then proceeded to pour his heart out. Got up, paced around the room, tore the curtains, threw the chair, then cried desperately on camera. Until he recovered, said goodbye and left the frame.  The actor sent that short film off to a top agency, and he was signed immediately.  I know, the agent told us the story. Think outside the box. FILM OUTSIDE THE BOX (TM)

This winning film was shot over a year at the South Pole.
2. Last year's winning film was shot by a couple of filmmakers in Syria. They took out their cellphones and filmed scenes of Aleppo. Devastated. They caught a bombing on camera, and we watched as a young child was killed from shrapnel. We watched them walk through the haunted streets of their town. They came upon a cat in the street, starving. One of the filmmakers said "We should just film cats walking around Aleppo. Then maybe people would watch what's happening here. More people look at cat videos than watch when a country is falling apart."  If you have some tragedy, sociological reality that's at your doorstep, you owe it to your talent to turn the camera on and tell the story.

A still from the Syrian Film

3. Last year's break out hit from Sundance was a film called "Tangerine."  It was shot on an I-phone, and followed some colorful characters through Los Angeles. It wasn't unscripted, but the film felt like it was.  Real people. Real scenes. Real settings.  It wasn't part of our festival, but it could have been.  It's easy to turn your camera on - harder to edit the content - but still, worth the effort.

Werner Herzog with a camera definitely not DIY
4. Last year's world film entry focused on the actors in India who perform on roadside stands, a tradition that used to exist in the west, but now only exists on youtube.  We met a variety of actors who've been playing these same roles their entire lives - a religious festival which tells the epic story of the Hindu religion.  Who are these actors? What motivates them to tell their story?  A fascinating look into a world we rarely get to see.  You just never know where inspiration might strike.  Stay open to what moves you.

This film began as a DIY Film project, became a feature
5. One of our winning films was a scripted story about a man who thinks he's being followed. Eventually he confronts the person following him and realizes it's himself having returned from the future.  He tells himself that he should go to the local lottery shop and play a certain number in order to win.  That in the future he learns how to time travel, and that he's come back to change his life.  The original twist is - that he shoots himself, takes over his old identity and goes off to win the money for himself.  A brilliantly clever film shot without CGI, just traditional camera tricks and great acting.  Films don't have to hard or complex - sometimes the simplest tale is the best tale. The trick is to tell a story that moves you, the DIY Filmmaker.

There's no time like the present.  The clock be ticking.
What's the story that moves you? What's the story that makes you angry, makes you fall in love, makes you cry?  Do you have the time to put it on screen?  Just allow for a moment that your life has been lived to this very moment so that you can do just that - pick up the camera, turn it on and tell your story.  The worst thing that can happen is that it creates great success for you - and then you'll have to deal with that.
You can make a cat film - it just should be a compelling cat film.
Either way a painter doesn't always pick up a paint brush to pay the rent. 

Sometimes they pick up the paint brush to express an emotion, or to impart some feeling that they no longer want to keep inside.  Allow that emotion out, turn on your camera and put it onto film.

"Don't forget to thank us at Oscar time."

The DIY Film Festival Team


Summer is Upon Us!

What does summer mean aside from the chirping of birdies and the thwack of the baseball bat?

Time to get out the old camera and start filming!!!

Yeah, step back,just a bit. There!
There's no time like the present to take off the lens cap and get your gear in gear.

Maybe you've just finished a course in filmmaking.  Maybe you're about to start a course in filmmaking.  Maybe you're thinking "I've got this film I want to make, how do I go about making it?"

Cannes is Over. Long Live Cannes.
Start by charging your batteries.  Literally and figuratively.

Don't just start shooting. Some folks do that and wind up with tons and tons of footage.  I know at least one Sundance filmmaker who started shooting a film about his friends, and spent a year trying to sort through the footage.

Oldie but goodie.  Cannes and QT.
Have a plan.  Make a plan. 

First ask yourself "What the premise of this film?  If I could answer it in one sentence what would it be?" Then ask yourself "What the end of the first act? What happens that propels the audience to follow my character in a new direction?"

Old foto. Still good.
Some artists are put off by the idea of the 3 act structure.  (Hint: It's been around since Aristotle's "Poetics" and he was referring to an ancient structure.  So it's been around a lot.) You don't have to follow the structure, but you must be aware of it.  Your audience is going to want to be taken on adventure, so give it to them.

Think about your ending. What's the first image I want to show on film, and how does it relate to the last image?  This is true for both documentaries and narrative films. Every story has a beginning middle and an end. Every life has the same. So think in terms of why you're telling this story, and then why you're telling this story.

Great place for Indie Filmmakers
The how is easy.   Put your eye to an eyepiece and film something.  If you're experience, or not, it doesn't matter.  Looking at what you've filmed, making choices on what works, what doesn't is pretty simple, as well as is equally important for huge films and small ones.  (There are no small films; content will alway outweigh delivery.)

Ask "how can I make this film stand out above the crowd?"  Part of that journey is brining your own pov to the subject matter.  What inspires you to tell this story? Is it like others stories that have been told? How can you make it different? 

Respect the game.  The audience is as smart if not smarter than the filmmaker.  So don't talk down to them, don't pander to them, don't show them things they've already seen, and don't insult them by showing them things they don't want to see.  It's one thing to have a fantasy world, but another thing to bring it into the marketplace.  

I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille

Then once you've thought these things through - forget about them.  Find your actors, or just go to your location.  Tell the story.  Let the actors give you ideas how to fix your story.  You may not agree, but they deserve to be heard. You may learn something you don't know.

When you've shot it, edited it, show it to friends.  Get their feedback or opinion.  Ask them to be honest.  Remember that one point of view won't make or break a story - but if everyone has the same note about your film then it's time to rethink it.  Reshoot a scene.  Add something else to address the concern.  You don't have to make the changes others insist upon - but you do need to understand why it doesn't make sense, or it throws them out of the story.
High five. Where's George Miller when I need him?

Think about the marketplace. Some would argue this is the first item to worry about.  But not every painter picks up a paintbrush to pay the rent.  Sometimes it's important just to see what colors come out of the brush.  Likewise, think about how and where you're going to distribute this - or sell this - or not sell it.  There's no rule that you have to sell your art.

It used to be that people trying to figure out how to use the internet charged people for use of their site. Then people realized that just having people come to the site created a brand, or brought in people who appreciated the work, and then found a way to pay that artist.  The internet is a vast place for filmmakers to put up their art, and depending on their audience, they've got a good chance at finding them.  If the audience is "studio executives" that's fine - but most executives are like anyone else in the audience, and are impressed by content, impressed by the amount of people who've come to see the content.  So if you have a million views on a particular piece of work - people pay attention to that. Whether it's good or not.  But if it's good, then you have a chance at actually making things that sell.

Sailing into the sunset in your boat from Costco.
A long way of saying "turn on the camera."  There are a million different avenues to take your work, from youtube to Universal.  From film festivals to the living room and a family audience.  It's never been easier to be creative with film.

As Jean Cocteau put it, and the DIY Film Fest's motto: "when the cost of filmmaking is as much as a pencil and piece of paper, then we'll find true artists."

They're waiting for you. Just "do it!"

Get to work!!!


And the Winners Are...

Congratulations to all DIY Filmmakers out there!  

The DIY Film Festival is proud to present the WINNING ENTRIES!  

We congratulate all of you for finishing your film, and its inclusion here is based on a variety of factors including a passion for story telling, utilization of do it yourself filmmaking, casting, editing and the tools that anyone can use to tell a story.
And here they are: 

2016 DIY FILM FESTIVAL presents



Directed by Kevin Huang. Trailer:

"Still Moon is a 16mm short film, shot in central Oregon and Colorado. www.stillmoonthefilm.com   In the mid-1800s, a small crew of surveyors arrive in central Oregon.  They stumble upon an indigenous tribe, where all villagers have been recently massacred, only to find a young girl as its sole survivor.  Devastated by what he has seen as a result of the westward expansion, Spender, the cartographer of the team, decides to sabotage the expedition...- the old will always fight the new." 

Kevin's film recreates a world we no longer know, but that is still familiar for its prejudices, steeped in greed and an inability to see others as fellow humans.  Kevin's film explores the theme of man's inhumanity to man within a world that once represented honor and truth, to open a window into the soul of a world gone by. Filmmaker Kevin Huang took to IndieGogo to finance this story and vision and we at the DIY Film Fest are proud to be able to honor it here.


Still Moon trailer from Kevin Huang on Vimeo.



Kevin financed his film through IndieGogo - a DIY artist that we applaud and can't wait to see more of his work! 


Directed by Michael McCallum 


Michael McCallum (Michigan Movie Magazine)

"A one-night stand gone wrong at a high school reunion, when a man comes into town to see his dying Father for the last time and encounters an abused woman."  

Last year's DIY Fest winner for "Buffalo" Michael McCallum draws on family and friends to populate his universe.  A unique vision, a unique voice, Michael's films show that DIY filmmaking is alive and well in the Midwest.

Two For the Show-Official Trailer from Michael McCallum on Vimeo.


Director Matthew Luppino.  


Matthew Luppino Picture
Matthew Luppino (IMDB)

"Inspired by true events; follows 18 year old high school senior, Grace Connolly, who discovers that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and has been given one month left to live. As Grace struggles to accept that she is dying, she finds strength in those around her and comes to a simple realization, everything will be okay."

Director Luppino takes a story that in another's hands might be maudlin and difficult to tell.  Instead, he delivers a film based on a true events, that one can't help but identify with the characters in the film.  We all will face death at some point in ourselves or in loved ones - and how do we cope with that? Partially financed by a gofundme page, the film delivers on its premise.


Directed by Aditya Patwardhan  


Aditya J. Patwardhan Picture
Aditya Patwardhan (IMDB)
"Two older brothers discover, after their fathers death, that they have a younger brother who they have never met. They then must decide who is going to take care of him otherwise he is going to be sent into foster care." 

A simple story about a complex subject.  How would we react if a child was suddenly dumped in our laps, told that they were a blood relative.  Would we do our best to avoid disruption of our daily routine, or would we be able to look at the gift that's been presented to us?



Directed by Matthew Baker  


Matthew Baker Picture
Matthew Baker (IMDB)
"A Canadian woman openly shares about her dark days as a young prostitute and gang criminal before she connected with the Elizabeth Fry Society in Edmonton on her inspirational journey to becoming an aid worker and advocate for marginalized women."

Director Matthew Baker takes us into the world of recovery - of people who are helping others, as well as the victims.  He also finds a way to introduce us to a Canada we might never have seen before, it's beauty reflected in the tragic stories being told on screen.

A Hand In The Darkness - Trailer from Squirrels of Doom on Vimeo.

Directed by Peter Zander

Peter Zander (peterzander.com)

"Dave James started running ten years ago and hasn't stopped. He is one of the top ultra-marathoners in the world . He says he likes the endorphin high, the process of turning his body into a machine; it takes his mind off things he'd rather not thin
Director Peter Zander takes us into the world of a man who has found that running keeps him alive.  Haunted by his past, its his ability to allow himself to be lost in the present while running that has saved his life. An excellent examination of an athlete who uses his skills to define who he is.

Directed by Albert Uria.  

Albert Uria Picture
Albert Uria
 "A short, sweet comedy about how short (and sweet) life can be..." Albert Uria was born on July 22nd, 1973 in Barcelona, Spain. He is a director, producer, and writer, known for his commercial work for brands such as Nike, Ford, Nissan, McDonalds, Ikea, Volkswagen, X-box, and Honda." (IMDB)  

In "Any Day Now" Albert Uria gives us a glimpse into his dry comic world.  Beautifully shot, wonderfully directed, the actors pull us into the ridiculousness of a one sided love story with hilarious consequences.


Any Day Now Trailer by Albert Uria from GARAGE FILMS on Vimeo.


Directed by Sashikanth Ananthachari

Sashikanth Ananthachari
"Every year in over 300 villages in Tamilnadu, India. The Mahabharata is performed as a village festival. For 20 days, and 20 hours per day, the epic is narrated as story, performed as village rituals, and enacted right through the night as theater." 

From the director: "Both Kailasam and I were fascinated with the little festivals we would cross across during our drives to various shoots. To most, they would seem like a nuisance with loudspeakers blaring and the traffic generally disrupted. To the academics, they seemed to hold no interest either as these festivals were too 'small' and disparate, for any coherent theory to be constructed from them; and they did not interest religious scholars as they could not be put in any framework of religion as it is commonly understood; but as they say, these festivals are 'legion'."

From a screening in Chennai (web)


Artur Boruzs (inthepalace.com)

"A project born out of a psychologist's search for a solution to contemporary existential dystopia among his students, is brought to life through the metaphor of Plato's "Cave."  

A fantastic short documentary that explores an event that is staged in a cave in one of the oldest forests in Romania.  The premise of the film - that people are bored and need something to do or perform is beside the point - there are people in Romania who will move an entire orchestra into a cave in the forest and thousands of people will arrive to watch a classical performance there.  Breathtaking and fun at the same time.

Directed by Zachary Craw 

Zachary Craw (Ball State Edu)
"A young boy, born from the roots of the earth, searches for his one true love. Someone that is the right fit."  

An unusual love story told through animation - two hearts beat as one in all of its permutations, and learning how to find one's soul mate.  How do we tell if someone is "the right fit?"  Apparently it's something that "just fits."


The Right Fit from Ball State University Animation on Vimeo.

Again, congratulations to all of you for completing your films.  The winning filmmakers will be awarded editing software and are eligible for digital distribution through our sponsor KinoNation.com.  Both Finalists and Winning films will receive a certificate from the DIY Film Fest. Congratulations to all of you!

"When the cost of a filmmaking is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then we'll have true art."  Jean Cocteau