Slamdance Film Festival to Stage a Miami Edition in 2020

Fernando Loureiro (left), Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Andrew Hevia at Slamdance 2019
Fernando Loureiro (left), Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Andrew Hevia at Slamdance 2019 Lauren Desberg
Slamdance, the alternative to the Sundance Film Festival, is coming to Miami next year for an extended weekend of films selected by local programmers and created by local and neighboring filmmakers.

Over the years, Miami filmmakers have made several appearances at Slamdance in Park City, Utah. Kevin Contento from Miami showed the narrative short Hierophany at the festival this past January. Also this year, the Oscar-winning Miami filmmakers of Moonlight — Andrew Hevia and Tarell Alvin McCraney — joined producer Fernando Loureiro to present Micro-budget Workshop: The Art of Collaboration. Boca Raton’s Vito Trupiano and West Palm Beach's Jason Kupfe are also alumni of the festival. Most notable for Miami, Slamdance hosted the 2015 premiere of Kareem Tabsch and Joey Daoud's Dolphin Lover.

In a release announcing the Miami festival, Tabsch, who co-runs O Cinema with Vivian Marthell, says, “As an alumnus of the festival myself, I know firsthand what an important platform it is for independent film. Having the festival in our community is an exciting step forward for our growing community of filmmakers. Slamdance and O Cinema both share the same ethos — that the power and impact of seeing diverse voices that reflect our world is important. We're excited to be partners in this next step in Miami's growing cinematic identity.”

Tabsch, who most recently codirected The Last Resort with Dennis Scholl, has been named one of several local collaborators with Slamdance Miami. His arthouse theater, O Cinema, will host the event as well as screenings at Miami Beach Cinematheque, the Colony Theatre, and the Wolfsonian-FIU.

Tabsch and other experienced local filmmakers and programmers will have democratic input in the program. Beyond Miami, the festival plans to present international filmmakers for whom the city is often a gateway to U.S. audiences. Also to be considered are works by Caribbean, Central, and South American filmmakers. So it makes sense the festival will also work with Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival and the city's local Caribbean film festival, Third Horizon, on the programming.

Other local organizations participating in curation are as follows:
  • Black Lounge Film Series
  • Miami Dade College
  • Miami-Dade County Office of Film and Entertainment
  • Miami Jewish Film Festival
  • Miami Media and Film Market
  • Miami VR Expo, O Cinema
  • OUTshine Film Festival
“Slamdance is an established creative force, and Miami boasts exceptional arts organizations matched with a strong local media scene,” Slamdance president and cofounder Peter Baxter says. “Miami’s rich history involving the ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic diversity of its creative community provide an inspiring glimpse into our cultural future. As an organization that has always valued inclusivity, Slamdance aims to do increasingly more to ensure our programming reflects the world we live in.

"We see this collaboration with Miami’s vibrant arts scene and its ties to the Caribbean and Latin America as a valuable opportunity to engage with a broader range of perspectives and creative voices. Miami is the perfect place for us to nurture and showcase the new storytellers and storytelling to come.”

The arrival of Slamdance in Miami will offer unprecedented access for local aspiring filmmakers at a globally recognized festival. It also includes an education program in collaboration with Miami Dade College and Brazil’s Academia Internacional de Cine designed to “further support emerging artists and their work.” There’s no cost to attend this portion of the fest.

Miami-Dade County has also thrown its support behind the festival, which promises local grants from the county that will support travel for participants, along with other sources. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez says, “Developing the next generation of exceptional artists, this festival will showcase the diverse talent pool we have right here in South Florida.”

Slamdance Miami. May 28 through 31, 2020, at various venues; Ticket prices TBA.
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Hans Morgenstern has contributed to Miami New Times for too many decades, but he's grown to love Miami's arts and culture scene because of it. He is the chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle, and most of his film criticism can be found on Independent Ethos ( if not in New Times.