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Slamdance Film Festival Goes Virtual, Adds Section for Disabled Creators

Festival’s 27th edition will run Feb. 12-25, 2021

The 2021 Slamdance Film Festival will go virtual this year for its 27th edition. On Monday, the event unveiled its full lineup of features, shorts and episodics, including a brand new program dedicated to showcasing creators with disabilities.

Next year’s Slamdance will run Feb. 12-25, and the full festival — including all films, panels and Q&As — will be available online. Additionally, festival passes will be available for free until Dec. 31 and for $10 thereafter until the end of the festival.

Slamdance will also host a two-night drive-in event in Joshua Tree, Calif. on Feb. 13 and 14, as well as a closing night screening at a Los Angeles drive-in on Feb. 25.

Slamdance’s newest program is called “Unstoppable,” and it will feature 22 short films from up-and-coming disabled filmmakers, or ones that feature actors with disabilities or highlight the conversation of disabilities in today’s world. “Unstoppable” is entirely programmed by disabled artists, and the program’s mission is to amplify the contributions of the disabled community and advocate for their rightful inclusion in the industry.

“I’m honored to be part of the wonderful Unstoppable team and embrace the idea of creating a safe space for filmmakers with disabilities and take our creativity as seriously as everyone else in this industry. I feel like we are building a bridge for others to cross and I am so proud to be a part of it,” Unstoppable programmer Juliet Romeo said in a statement.

Leading the festival on opening night is “No Trace” (“Nulle Trace”) from Canadian director and writer Simon Lavoie. The film takes place in the near future and follows a callous smuggler hardened by life who guides a pious young woman and her child across the border to safety, unaware that their destinies are inescapably linked in an inhospitable land. “No Trace” will screen at a drive-in in Joshua Tree on Feb. 13.

Slamdance will then conclude with the world premiere screening of “18th & Grand: The Olympic Auditorium Story” at a Los Angeles drive-in on Feb. 25. The feature documentary by Stephen DeBro is the story of L.A. told through the prism of a historic fight palace and Aileen Eaton, the woman who ran it.

The festival’s official theme for 2021 is “Greenlight Yourself.” The narrative feature lineup includes 20 premieres from nine different countries.

“Our theme this year was inspired by the incredible resilience and creativity evidenced by our community and our team over the past few unprecedented months,” Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter said in a statement. “The shared journey ahead for Slamdance’s filmmakers, alumni community and organization is to ‘Greenlight Yourself’ and triple down on not only who we are, but how we can continue expanding the many ways we support the filmmakers who are the future of independent filmmaking.”

Last year’s Slamdance winner, “Residue,” was acquired by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY and is now streaming on Netflix.

Check out the full 2021 Slamdance Film Festival lineup here.