My Slamdance Film Festival 2022 Coverage

7 min readFeb 6, 2022

These are just my Letterboxd reviews for the Slamdance films this year. Go give it a read!

Ethan Eng’s Therapy Dogs

i can’t recall the last time i saw a good film about high school.

from prom and graduation to the everyday shenanigans and house parties, all of these and so much more are here.

the film’s unconventional narrative structure is authentic and unfiltered and it makes you feel like you’re part of their senior year, and also relates to you on a profound level since it’s an experience that we’ve all had.

never in my life have i felt such a deep connection so much as this.

i can’t wait for everyone to see this incredible film!

Alex Nevill’s Ferroequinology

ferroequinology reminds me of agnes varda and jr’s faces places without the pasting of pictures on walls.

just like faces places, it’s all about travelling, photography, and of course, the inclusion of trains, which is one of the focus of the documentary.

andrew cross and mcnair evans draw you in with their projects as they travel across america.

you can’t help but be captivated by their photographs and the stories behind them, whether they’re landscape shots or portraits of passengers.

it’s a fascinating documentary that deserves to be seen and experienced by everyone!!

Justin Zuckerman’s Yelling Fire In An Empty Theater

yelling fire in an empty theater is a love-hate letter to new york city.

the film was shot with a miniDV camcorder, creating a very authentic and personal feel to it.

storywise, the mixture of humor and fiasco delivered by everyone’s performances makes the film very relatable and uncomfortable at the same time.

the thing i like about this is that even though it’s bland and a bit on the nose at times, it still works and makes the film seem realistic and true to the experience of living in new york.

i enjoyed watching it and i think anyone would as well!

Clay Tatum and Whitmer Thomas’ The Civil Dead

this film was a delight to watch. so far, it’s my favorite from slamdance.

there is something about clay tatum’s and whitmer thomas’ performances that just works so well together, and their dynamic is a big part of what makes the film so great.

they play off each other very well, and the outcome is some great, hilarious moments.

it’s not uncommon for ghost comedy films to feature funny cliché moments, but this one is self-aware and funny without taking itself too seriously.

it was genuinely amusing while also being unsettling and dramatic, which is a difficult balance to strike, but it manages to pull it off.

the way the film doesn’t explore the tropes of the genre and instead makes a subtle point about the way we perceive horror and the way we are conditioned to think about life and death is a fascinating exploration that is both entertaining and clever and a definite highlight of the film.

also, it isn’t afraid to toss the audience a curveball and keep them on their toes, like in the film’s ending, where everything is turned on its head, and you’re not sure how to feel.

i absolutely loved this one, and i hope that more people can watch it because it’s just such a damn good movie.

Avalon Fast’s Honeycomb

honeycomb is a perfect example of how a group of young people can come together and make something extraordinary.

i love that fast made this film with her friends for nothing more than the pure joy of making it.

it’s a true testament to their dedication and passion, and it’s great to see them use their creativity and sense of adventure to bring something new to the psychedelic horror genre.

even though the film has flaws of all kinds, it’s still a thrilling watch.

there’s a fantastic underground cinema vibe to it, and it feels like a grindhouse production in some ways.

it’s the perfect blend of influences, and the result is a movie that stands out as something truly unique and boundary-pushing.

i gotta admit that i loved the scrappy raw nature of the film.

it’s so refreshing to see a movie where the cast and crew didn’t hold back and didn’t pretend to be more talented or experienced than they actually were.

it’s much more interesting that way, and it makes the viewer feel like they’re getting to know the real people behind the film.

the combination of horror with everyone’s lax attitudes and weirdness that i find off-putting at times is cool and perfect.

it also oozes the diy spirit, which i really admire. it represents the spirit of youth at its best, and i’m glad to see them bring that out in their work.

and the music in the film, especially those played by the band gargoyle city (now called DASTARD), is just incredible.

i want more of it.

anyway, i really enjoyed watching the film just as much as everyone involved in its production did.

i’m hoping that everyone will watch it and come away appreciating its weirdness and the cast/crew’s dedication and passion.

Jordan Tetewsky & Joshua Pikovsky’s Hannah Ha Ha

hannah ha ha is a lovely, heartfelt film that made me think of my position in life and the choices i’ve made in the truest sense of the word.

the film perfectly captures one’s struggle in a world that is constantly pressuring you to achieve more and be better, and at the same time, being helpful and making a difference for those around you.

it also illustrates the complicated nature of working towards a meaningful goal while not disappointing those who care about you the most, including yourself.

hannah lee thompson’s performance is the essence of this.

from her reserved personality to her contented nature, it’s impossible not to relate to her in some capacity.

she exudes such an honest and real energy that you can’t help but root for her from the get-go.

her nuanced performance is so well done — and so important — that it makes the audience feel the pressure of being an adult and society’s expectations and feel the weight of making the right choices for themselves and their future.

everyone in the film is likeable in their own ways, and it’s easy to feel the genuine connection that every character has with one another, which only adds to the film’s overall warmth and honesty.

as a micro-budget indie shot on film, it is gorgeous to look at, capturing a balance between realism and beautiful imagery that is so unique and special.

i love the scenes where the camera follows hannah just walking down a street.

it shows her simple yet relatable path while also the complexity and beauty of the world.

hannah ha ha has a lot to say about the pressures of life, and it says it with an emotional and relatable message that can’t be ignored and will leave you thinking long after the film is over.

i hope everyone will watch this film and discover what a gem it is.

Adrian Murray’s Retrograde

retrograde is the kind of film that is unbearable to watch at times yet impossible to look away from.

it makes you feel uncomfortable and laugh at the same time.

molly reisman’s performance shows how much of a toll obsessive and panicked behavior can take on a person’s life and how it affects those around them.

it’s a relatable theme that the film handles in a smart way.

she plays this incorrigible character, and it is a great way to highlight how her behavior affects those around her.

from her relationships with friends to her job, the obsession became a burden that she couldn’t push away.

you can’t help but feel annoyed at her at times and understand where she’s coming from and why she acts the way she does.

her eccentricities are something that everyone can relate to somehow, and how she expresses herself is so authentic.

reisman’s ability to make you feel all kinds of emotions with her flawed and exasperating character proves that she managed to pull off an impressive performance.

also, the writing here is shockingly clever and realistic that it’s impossible not to become attached to the characters and feel their emotions right along with them.

there’s some dry humor to be found here, which is just what’s needed to balance out the film.

one more thing, i really like the film’s minimalist, low budget filmmaking style.

the long takes and few camera movements give it a sense of naturalism that lets the audience get fully immersed in the story that murray creates.

it also helps to emphasize the awkwardness and discomfort of the characters’ situations, making us feel like we’re right there with them.

anyhow, retrograde is such a compelling film, and i would definitely recommend giving it a shot.

can’t wait for next year! thanks for reading!