Slamdance Film Festival unveils five Beyond features and 67 short films

Shorts line-up represents 26 countries, in narrative, documentary, experimental, animation and ‘Anarchy’ categories.

(Michael Gallagher | courtesy Slamdance Film Festival) Walter (Matthew Glave), a womanizing TV star, shows up uninvited and unannounced at her estranged lesbian daughter's destination wedding, in director Michael Gallagher's seriocomic "Funny Story," which will screen in the Beyond program of the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

Five more feature films, and a collection of short films from 26 countries, have been added to the line-up of the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

Festival programmers announced Wednesday the features in the Beyond program, as well as 67 short films in narrative, documentary, animation, experimental genres as well as Slamdance’s own Anarchy sidebar.

Slamdance runs Jan. 19-25 at the Treasure Mountain Inn on Park City’s Old Main Street, concurrent with the larger Sundance Film Festival. For more information, visit http://slamdance.com.

Here are the titles for the Beyond program and the shorts, with synopses provided by Slamdance. (All films made in the United States, unless otherwise specified.)

Beyond Features

“Back at the Staircase” • Director: Drew Britton. Cast: Jennifer Lafleur, Stephen Plunkett, Leonora Pitts, Mickey O’Hagan, Logan Lark, Heather LaVine. “Five distinctive people, each with a flimsy coping strategy, find themselves stuck together after an accident.”

“Funny Story” • Director: Michael Gallagher. Cast: Matthew Glave, Emily Bett Rickards, Jana Winternitz, Nikki Limo, Lily Holleman, Jessica Diggins, Pete Gardner, Reginald VelJohnson. “After years of being a neglectful father, a womanizing TV star decides to crash his estranged daughter’s same-sex destination wedding.”

“My Name is Myeisha” • Director: Gus Krieger. Cast: Rhaechyl Walker, John Merchant, Dominique Toney, Dee Dee Stephens, Yvette Cason, Gregg Daniel. “A beloved teenager crosses over into a hip-hop-musical dreamscape at the moment of her tragic death and contemplates her life; what it was and what it could have been.”

“The Rainbow Experiment” • Director: Christina Kallas. Cast: Chris Beetem, Francis Benhamou, Christian Coulson, Kevin Kane, Nina Mehta, Laura Pruden, Connor Siemer, Lauren Sowa, Swann Gruen, Christine McLaughlin. “An investigation uncovers more than just blame at a Manhattan high school when a science experiment permanently injures a student.”

“Savage Youth” • Director: Michael Curtis Johnson. Cast: Grace Victoria Cox, Tequan Richmond, Will Brittain, Chloe Levine, Mitchell Edwards, J. Michael Trautmann, Sasha Feldman, Tomas Pais. “The lives of six troubled teens in a racially-divided small town take a violent turn over drugs and broken hearts. Based on true events.”

Narrative Shorts

“The 99 Steps Left from the Square” (Finland, Turkey) • Director: Sevgi Eker. Cast: Sirin Erensoy, Yasemin Erensoy, Salih Kalafatoglu, Hasan Kurun. “The iron gate safeguarding an old man’s peace is opened.”

“Abbas Kiarostami: The Director” (Iran) • Director: Mohsen Khodabakhshi. Cast: Mani Sherafat, Nazli Gorgani, Shahed Sherafat. “A boy wants to take a photo with Abbas Kiarostami…”

“Audition” • Director: Richard Van. Cast: Shaquita Lopez, Nezih Lopez, Ernest Walker Jr, Laura Price. “Unable to find a sitter, an aspiring actress has no choice but to drag her 3-year-old son to her audition.”

“Clean Blood” • Director: TBD. Cast: Jordan Michael Blake, Stephanie Allynne. “A family drama about Christmas, The Apocalypse and an IMMACULATELY PREGNANT man.”

“Falling” • Director: Ewen Wright. Cast: Sarah Hollis, Elijah Reed, Davey Johnson. “A potentially psychosomatic white man, a woman stuck in a vortex of “man-splaining,” and a young black man caught in a racially charged standoff are set on a collision course as society falls apart around them in this absurdist dark comedy.”

“Flatbush Misdemeanors” • Director: Dan Perlman, Kevin Iso. Cast: Drew Dowdey, Kareem Green, Kevin Iso, Dan Perlman. “Longtime friends Dan and Kevin adjust to their evolving surroundings in the unforgiving environment of Flatbush, Brooklyn. A raw comedy of city life.”

“Goodbye, Brooklyn” • Director: Daniel Jaffe. Cast: Michelle Uranowitz, Angela Pietropinto, Luke Marinkovich, Ione Saunders. “Struggling with New York living, Dana Schapiro decides to move, saying goodbye to a neighborhood that can barely remember who she is…”

“Hail Mary Country” • Director: Tannaz Hazemi. Cast: Vera Cherny, Catherine Taber, Lori Jean Wilson, Alison Yates. “Macho grandmother Irene Dandy has to defend her family of football fanatics from a gang led by a cocky thief named Nora.”

“Iris” (Canada) • Director: Gabrielle Demers. Cast: Marie Babbini, Daphné Germain. “As the storm rages outside a special lust for Laura grows inside Emanuelle.”

“Katalysis” (Sweden) • Director: Ashley Michael Briggs. Cast: Moa Nilsson, Adam Stålhammar, Peter Hildén, Anna Ladegaard. “A doctor and an artist use Anna’s body as an tool to further their own professional progress.”

“The Knits” (Canada) • Director: Lisa Birke. Cast: Barbara Birke; Lisa Birke. “A sweater, lovingly and arduously knit by a mother, incrementally unravels as her daughter treks her way across Canada by foot.”

“Magic Bullet” • Director: Amanda Lovejoy Street. Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Molly Parker. “A psychologist combats grief with self-soothing rituals; a shopping network host obliterates hers in a self-destructive haze. They collide in a televised confrontation.”

“Night on Floating Island” (Australia) • Director: Jack Atherton. Cast: Gavin Drumm, Annie Schofield, André Shannon, Kate Coates. “From a storm drain, a strange man watches a tourist rollerblading through an unfamiliar nightscape in search of his missing girlfriend or an anonymous sexual encounter in a park.”

“OK, Call Me Back” • Director: Emily Ann Hoffman. Cast: Emily Ann Hoffman. “Craving companionship, a woman leaves a voicemail late at night.”

“Onikuma” (Italy/United States) • Director: Alessia Cecchet. Cast: Sandy Siquier, Sarineh Garapetian. “Surrounded by a foreign landscape, two women will understand that demons can come in different forms.”

“Parthenon” • Director: Frank Mosley. Cast: Lily Baldwin, Tallie Medel, Thiago Martins. “A naked body moves a stranger to empathy.”

“Reunion 1” • Director: Brock Neilson. “The artist re-enters a space from their childhood as an adult and is struck both by the haunting tone of the setting and an indelible memory from the past.”

“Rupture” (Jordan/Canada) • Director: Yassmina Karajah “‘Rupture’ follows the journey of four Arab kids whose repressed traumas surface during their quest to find a public pool in their new city.”

“Slap Happy” (Canada) Director: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli. Cast: Jesse LaVercombe, Madeleine Sims-Fewer. “A dysfunctional couple with a penchant for twisted sexual fantasies fight to stay together as their relationship crumbles over the course of a day.”

“That Thing” • Director: Dan Roe. Cast: Claire Lucido, Sam Yarabek. “Tabby is conflicted about Patrick’s sexual quirk.”

“The Things You Think I’m Thinking” (Canada) • Director: Sherren Lee. Cast: Prince Amponsah, Jesse LaVercombe. “A black male burn-survivor and amputee goes on a date with a regularly-abled man for the first time since his accident, 10 years ago.”

“Transmission” • Director: Morgan McGlothan. Cast: Darrin McGlothan, Morgan McGlothan. “Father, daughter, and her 1999 Toyota Camry.”

“The Troubled Troubadour” (South Korea) • Director: Forest Ian Etsler & Sébastien Simon. Cast: Kasuga “Hachi” Hirofumi, Tetsu Kono, Lee Hwajin, Kang Saneh. “An embittered old musician embarks on a journey which becomes the outward manifestation of his inner landscape.”

“Welcome To Bushwick” • Director: Henry Jinings. Cast: Tim Platt, Liba Vaynberg. “On the heels of a successful first date, Evan and Marceline end up back at her place.”

“Whales” (Iran) • Director: Behnam Abedi. Cast: Majid Norouzi, Khosrow Shahraz, Majid Aghakarimi. ”A police officer and a soldier are assigned to investigate a case wherein seven dead bodies are found on a beach.”

Documentary Shorts

“Big Surf” • Director: Brian Smee. “San Francisquito Cyn, March 12th, 1928: The sound a horse makes as it’s drowning.”

“Do I Have Boobs Now?” (Canada) • Director: Milena Salazar, Joella Cabalu. “A trans activist’s journey to challenge Facebook and Instagram’s censorship policies.”

“Ex Nihilo” (Finland) • Director: Timo Wright. “‘Ex Nihilo’ is an experimental short documentary about a doomsday seed vault, an advanced robot and a cryonics facility.”

“Homeland” (Belgium) • Director: Sam Peeters. “‘Homeland’ is a creative documentary about right-wing populism and narrow-mindedness in the Belgian suburbs.”

“House” (Iceland/United States) • Director: Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson. “A meditation on emigration and immigration, house and home.”

“Icon” (Poland) • Director: Wojciech Kasperski. “An old doctor who has spent his life working at a psychiatric hospital in the Siberian countryside. The place, which was inaccessible for film crews, can be shown thanks to its residents, some of whom spent several decades at the hospital.”

“The Last Man You Meet” • Director: Chris Bone. “Take an exclusive look inside the gritty business of death as a third-generation funeral director reflects on his life.”

“Lorem Ipsum (pain itself)” • Director: Gabrielle Kash. “A handmade look at why artists hate making, and keep making art.”

“Nueva Vida” • Director: Jonathan Seligson. “A ball, some brains, and a lot of fluids. A cautionary true tale on the dangers of playing soccer from my dear brother, Kenny.”

“Phototaxis” • Director: Melissa Ferrari. “Rooted in nonfiction, ‘Phototaxis’ connects Mothman, a prophetic demon in West Virginia folklore, and Narcotics Anonymous, the primary treatment program in West Virginia’s addiction epidemic.”

“Pocket Sized Feminism” • Director: Valerie Schenkman. “‘This house is for wallpaper women. What good is wallpaper that speaks?’ Women speak out about women’s rights, or human rights.”

“Quiet Hours” • Director: Paul Szynol. “Donald Hall, America’s Poet Laureate and winner of the National Medal of Arts, lives in the fragile space between loneliness and solitude.”

“Taobao” • Director: Noah Sheldon. “Modelling for China’s largest online shopping site, Taobao.”

“True Love in Pueblo Textil” (Cuba/United States) • Director: Horatio Baltz. “Nine-year-old Maribel explains to us how it feels to be stricken with the world’s oldest infliction: love.”

“Where Are You From” (United States/China) • Director: Xizi “Cecilia” Hua. “In a world where Western values dominate, coming to America as a ‘Parachute Kid’ makes the filmmaker feel ashamed of her ‘Chinese’ and ‘foreign’ identity.”

Animation Shorts

“Airport” (Switzerland/Croatia) • Director: Michaela Müller. “An exploration of the place in modern society where the limits of borders, security, and tolerance are constantly tested.”

“Ascribed Achievements” (Iran) • Director: Samaneh Shojaei. “A man’s suicide attempt leads to the idea that fate is breakable.”

“Black Dog” • Director: Joshua Dean Tuthill. “A dark family drama set during the space race of the 1960’s, utilizing stop-motion animation and archival footage to elucidate a time of heated social and political tension.”

“Gusla ou les Malins” (France) • Director: Adrienne Nowak. “Adrienne goes back to Poland to see her grandmother and ask her family about communism. In their cozy kitchen she will learn about the spirits that haunt the Polish imagination and the unexpected superstitions used to face them.”

“Icebergs” (United States/Greece) • Director: Eirini Vianelli. “An existential, dark comedy of 14 stop-motion vignettes both mundane and absurd.”

“Interstitial” (Japan) • Director: Shunsaku Hayashi. “A hybrid project of a painting and additive animation exploring a spacelessness of humanity in the defined space of a canvas of a continuous horizon.”

“Mak” • Director: Natalya Serebrennikova. “Searching for opium, Big Macs, and cultural identity, a teenager visits her hometown in Russia and finds that her best friend has already grown up.”

“Mountain Castle Mountain Flower Plastic” • Director: Annapurna Kumar. “The most efficient containers can store multiple pieces of information in the same location, intersecting from different angles.”

“Railment” (Japan) • Director: Shunsaku Hayashi. “In the anonymous crowds of commuter rail lines, it’s possible to move at high speeds while remaining perfectly still.”

“The Realm of Deepest Knowing” (South Korea) • Director: Kim Seung-hee. “A playful exploration of how knowing someone on the deepest level becomes a love that spans across objects.”

“Red Fat Cat” (Germany) • Director: Klaus Hoefs. “A singer-songwriter animation confronting the dichotomy of drowned refugees washing up on a public beach while residents go about their settled, everyday lives filled with antique cars, dogs, and cats.”

“Satellite Strangers” • Director: James Bascara. “A zoom into a microscopic world reveals a strange cacophony.”

Experimental Shorts

“38 River Road” (United States/Switzerland) • Director: Josh Weissbach. “Fear resides in the gesture of a telling.”

“Are you tired of forever?” • Director: Caitlin Craggs. “A surreal meditation on the experience of self.”

“Cloud Of Petals” • Director: Sarah Meyohas. “At the former Bell Labs, 16 workers photograph 100,000 individual rose petals to map out an artificial intelligence algorithm that learns to generate new petals forever.”

“I’m Not Sure” (Germany) • Director: Gabriel Hensche. “By confronting an App with Surrealist paintings, ‘I’m Not Sure’ explores the psychology of Artificial Intelligence.”

“No Stories Now” • Director: CT Bishop. “Hopefully, in moving toward weakness, there can be recognition of false relief.”

“Silica” (Australia/United Kingdom) • Director: Pia Borg. “An unseen location scout explores an opal mining town in South Australia in this sci-fi-laced essay film, which finds in this semi-deserted region both the traces of indigenous culture and remnants of cinema history.”

Anarchy Shorts

“AniMal” (Iran) • Director: Bahram Ark, Bahman Ark. Cast: Davoud Nourpour. “A man disguises himself as a ram to cross a border into another land.”

“Breaker” (Japan) • Director: Philippe McKie. Cast: Yuka Tomatsu, Arisa Hanzawa, Kazuya Shimizu. “In tomorrow’s Tokyo, the technologically-enhanced body of a young mercenary hacker is overrun by a sentient data weapon.”

“Clipping. - ‘Back Up’” • Director: Anna Zlokovic. Cast: Daveed Diggs, Antwon, Signor Benedick The Moor. “An unnamed filmmaker stumbles upon a horrifying discovery: An underground cult-like society where adults have baby faces and milk is the drug of choice.”

“Information Superhighway” • Director: Mathew Nelson. Cast: Luke Banham, Elias Harger, Anna Faye Hunter, Michael Lee. “A man participates in an experiment to test artificial intelligence in driverless cars.”

“Little Wonder” • Director: Jojo Carlman. Cast: Christine Moore, Daegan Palmero, Brisco Diggs, and David Breen III. “This refreshing tale of puppet sexuality follows Username: Stray_Cat as he trolls internet dating sites and vaguely meditates on the loneliness of death.”

“Love After Time” (Taiwan) • Director: Tsai Tsung-han. Cast: Lee Hong chi, Nana Lee. “After a nuclear explosion, two mutant humans fall in love.”

“Manila Death Squad” (Phillipines/United States) • Director: Dean Colin Marcial. Cast: Sid Lucero, Annicka Dolonius. “An ambitious journalist challenges the leader of a violent vigilante group to a high-stakes drinking game. Its outcome may score her a scoop... or a bullet to the head.”

“The Order of the Orchid” • Director: Alex Italics. Cast: Juliette James, Sean T. Randolph. “A lonely spinster’s failed attempt at arranging flowers summons an ominous shadowy figure that sends her into a psychedelic netherworld to confront her own mediocrity.”

“Santa Ana” (Spain/United States) • Director: César Pesquera. “Part art-film, part documentary, ‘Santa Ana’ aims to elucidate the link between evil and the famed Santa Ana winds, extremely dry down-slope winds in Southern California supposedly responsible for a tense, uneasy, wrathful mood among the people of Los Angeles.”

“Steve’s Kinkoes” • Director: Emma Debany. Cast: Timmy Gibson, Chance Bartels, John Archer Lundgren. “A man copies posters for his missing (and dead) cat at an otherworldly 24/7 photocopy shop. What will happen to him if he stays forever?”