Slamdance Film Festival Wraps Up First Year in Miami Beach

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Slamdance Film Festival Wraps Up First Year in Miami Beach:

Event highlighted emerging filmmakers from the Americas, Caribbean, and Florida

You may have missed it this year… but be on the lookout next year for Slamdance Miami, a film festival that showcases and celebrates local filmmakers. Through a collaborative effort between Slamdance, its alumni and Miami art leaders, 18 films from filmmakers in 9 countries were selected for screening at the debut event at Miami Beach's North Beach Bandshell. Slamdance Miami focused on emerging filmmakers from Central and South America, the Caribbean and Florida.

In an announcement of the lineup, festival programmer Ron Baez said, “It’s truly as if Slamdance and Miami were made for each other. The only way to truly represent Miami is to prioritize radical cultural inclusion and its spirit of hopeful rebellion. Slamdance Miami is a distinctive celebration of extraordinarily singular voices indicative of Miami’s cultural identity.”

Speaking to the collaborative effort between Slamdance and the local arts organizations here, Slamdance Miami Festival Manager Taylor Miller said, “Constructing relationships with artists, programmers and educators inside Miami creates a bridge to and from our own stories and organizations.”

Sandy Lighterman, Film and Entertainment Commissioner for the Miami-Dade County Office of Film and Entertainment, recruited Slamdance which has held an annual festival at the same time as Sundance in Park City, Utah for the past 25 years. After a delay for COVID, the Miami event kicked off last weekend at the Bandshell. Slamdance also held a festival in Joshua Tree in September prior to Slamdance Miami October 28-30.

We asked Lighterman for her thoughts on the festival and what it means for our area. 

RE:MiamiBeach: Why did you want to bring Slamdance here? 

Lighterman: Slamdance is the premier emerging filmmaker festival in the world. It has started the careers of talents such as The Russo Brothers, Christopher Nolan, Lena Duham, Boon Joon-Ho and too many others too name.

I believe that we needed this level of a film festival here to recognize our local amazing filmmakers on a global stage and bring our filmmakers together collaboratively (Slamdance is programmed by local filmmakers) which is something Slamdance is known for.

RE:MiamiBeach: What are the benefits to the area of having Slamdance here? What does it say about us?

Lighterman: The benefit is that as it grows, the festival will bring other filmmakers to our area and that usually brings along interest to shoot here. What it says about us? That we have brilliantly talented filmmakers that need recognition and that Slamdance chose Miami (Miami Beach) as their East Coast home says volumes to the amount of talented filmmakers we have in our community.

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