The Slamdance Film Festival is a showcase for raw and innovative filmmaking that lives and bleeds by its mantra: By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers. Slamdance has created a track record for showcasing breakthrough artists that is beyond dispute. Filmmakers who first presented their work at the festival are now amongst the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Alumni who have shown their early short films and debut features at Slamdance include Rian Johnson (Knives Out), Ari Aster (Midsommar), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball), The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame), Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), Lena Dunham (Girls), Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians), Lynn Shelton (Little Fires Everywhere) and Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk).
"Of all the Sundance myths that developed over the last 35 years, the biggest fallacy is that of being magically discovered and launching one’s career on a snow-covered January evening in Park City. If anything, when that does happen, it’s across the street at Slamdance” - IndieWire
The Slamdance Film Festival accepts films in every genre, on any topic, from every country around the world. We spotlight low-budget Narrative and Documentary Features by first-time directors, Breakout Features from non-first time directors, short films across genres, and episodes. We do not disqualify any films based on premiere status or date of completion.
The festival program is selected entirely from our blind submissions pool and no films are given special treatment based on who made them or who they know. Over 200 Slamdance alumni filmmakers are responsible for the programming and organization of the festival. Comprised of a variety of backgrounds, interests, and talents, but with no individual filmmaker’s vote valued more than any other, Slamdance committees have been able to stay close to its original DIY spirit and continue to champion the bleeding-edge of contemporary filmmaking.
Even though it's hard to predict what shape the film festival circuit will take in 2021, Slamdance is committed to continuing to champion independent films in whatever way we can. We will be working on the new program as per our regular timeline and we’ll notify entrants about any event changes as we progress throughout the year. Possible changes include dates, location, and venue.
Whatever shape Slamdance 2021 may take, our priority stays the same: to provide selected filmmakers with a career launching platform, industry and media exposure and support of our alumni community.
We have signed The 2020 Festival Survival Pledge.
As always, we have no premiere or production timeline requirements. All films that have screened online as a part of a film festival are also eligible for consideration.
Jury Award for Narrative Feature
Jury Award for Documentary Feature
Jury Award for Narrative Short
Jury Award for Documentary Short
Jury Award for Animation Short
Jury Award for Experimental Short
Audience Award for Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Documentary Feature
Audience Award for Best of Breakouts
Audience Award for Best Episode
Outstanding Acting Award
Spirit of Slamdance Award (all participating filmmakers vote to determine which film/filmmaker best represents the Spirit of Slamdance)
Established in 2018 by Slamdance alums and critically acclaimed directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Avengers: Endgame), the Fellowship is designed to foster and support young filmmakers while creating a platform for new and emerging talent.
Anthony and Joe will select one filmmaker to receive a $25,000 prize, consisting of an office at their new Los Angeles based studio, mentorship from Anthony and Joe, and a cash stipend for one year.
Each year cash and service prizes are awarded to Sparky Award recipients.
By entering Slamdance Film Festival, you agree to follow its rules and guidelines.
• We consider films in any language, from anywhere in the world. If your film is not in English, make sure it has English subtitles where necessary.
• We consider work in progress. Please include a title card describing what is unfinished at the beginning of the submission screener.
• We consider films regardless of their premiere status. Even if your film has already premiered at another festival, whether it screened at a physical venue or online, it’s still eligible for consideration.
• We consider films regardless of their completion date. You can submit any film no matter when it was made.
• Features previously or currently being released in the US by a third party distributor are not eligible for consideration.
• Features previously self-distributed by the filmmakers online are not eligible for consideration in Feature categories.
• Only directors' debut features with a budget under 1 million USD are accepted to the Narrative and Documentary First Feature competition. If your work is not your first feature film, submit it to our Breakouts competition.
• Only independently produced episodes completed in 2019 or later are accepted to the Episodes category.
• There's no additional eligibility criteria for short films. All shorts are eligible!
• Entrants can update their screener by uploading a new video file provided your original link url does not change. The link must stay the same after you have submitted your entry. If it is replaced programmers will lose access to your screener and it may not be watched in time.
• All screeners must be uploaded by the appropriate deadline.
• Deadlines close at 11:59 PM PST.
• We will contact entrants if there's anything wrong with the submission. If this occurs, you will need to fix the submission issue by the requested deadline, otherwise we can't guarantee that your film will be watched in time.
• We don't provide refunds for festival entries.
HOW WE PROGRAM
• Each film will be watched by at least two different programmers. If you are using Vimeo stats, you can track the watches most of the time. However, we've had many cases in which watches weren't recorded correctly, including for some of the accepted films. Please note that they are not always reliable.
• If a film gets two or more recommendations after the first round of watches, it will be watched by more programmers and discussed at deliberations sessions.
• Deliberating programmers determine a festival selection through discussion and voting. • Each participating programmer has an equal vote and no festival selections are made outside of this process.
• Our programmers are not required to read submission cover letters and other supporting materials, but we encourage you to submit them in case they want to learn more about you and your work.
• We generally don't share programming feedback with entrants.
• The Slamdance programmers' decisions are final.
• Accepted filmmakers will be notified via email, phone or text. Filmmakers must confirm their participation by the given deadline, otherwise they might lose their spot in the line-up. (Heads up: we will be reaching out to some of you over Thanksgiving, but you can't use the holidays as an excuse to delay your confirmation).
• Accepted filmmakers must be the authors of their submitted work and be ready to sign an agreement stating that they own all rights to their film and its components ahead of screening at Slamdance.
• If accepted, entrants are responsible for delivering their festival exhibition copy, trailer, screener link, press stills and press-kit on time.
• If accepted, filmmakers are expected to attend the festival.
• If accepted to both Sundance and Slamdance, filmmakers can not screen at both. We notify filmmakers around the same time, so you will have a chance to make an informed decision and commit to one festival.
• We don't cover filmmakers' travel expenses.
• We don't cover shipping expenses for screening copies and other materials.
• We don't provide screening fees.