Slamdance 2022 Capsule Reviews

Artwork by James Wolfe

The film’s in this year’s Slamdance lineup range from offbeat comedies to relationship dramas to documentaries. This festival runs the gamut of all kinds of visions from various filmmakers, new and already established. These are little indie films hoping to garner some love and maybe get picked up by a studio or streaming service. Here are some of the films I watched during the festival. 

Actual People

Kit Zauhar is the writer-director and star of this film about a woman named Riley and her college friends who are a little younger than her. She’s in the last week of college but doesn’t know what she wants to do when she’s finished. This brings on anxieties and insecurities about her future. She tends to party a lot and drink quite a bit, and this gets in the way of her finishing school. This film is a very good look at college life from the point of view of an aimless woman. Quite a few young people are going through this exact thing in life. Zauhar captures this world perfectly. The acting isn’t great in the film, but the story and the struggle by Riley to survive and graduate makes up for it. College students everywhere can relate to this story.

New Jack

Jerome Young is better known by his ring name “New Jack”. He made his bones in the independents until he made it to the big time in Paul Heyman’s ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling). He was known for bringing a trash can of dangerous objects out to the ring with him for his wrestling matches, such as kendo sticks, bats, street lights, cheese graters, and other items. The lives of wrestlers are notoriously very rough, especially men and women who bounce around the independent circuits. New Jack’s style was one of the most violent in the history of professional wrestling. But that’s nothing compared to the life he was living before as a bounty hunter and drug dealer. His career as a wrestler has damaged him beyond belief. His trademark scarred heart is what he’s known for, but he’s had a lot of other injuries in his career. New Jack paid the price for this violent career, because like a lot of wrestlers he put everything into his character. He became the original gangster and looked the part. To this very day, he is still one of the most hated wrestlers in the business, and this documentary does a good job of exploring that image.

Sylvie of the Sunshine State

Sylvie is a little second-grade girl who is filmed by her mother during the COVID pandemic. Her mother, Sasha, is a single woman who lives in South Florida. Her father is in Georgia and they connect through Zoom calls. Sylvie has a few ailments and she also has to do virtual school which she’s not happy about. This documentary, directed by Sasha, shows the lives of a family having to deal with raising children during the pandemic and still having to work and live their lives like normal people. This film is just a slice-of-life story of this little girl and her family. It’s not much more than that. Despite Sylvie’s ailments, she’s pretty much a normal little girl who does what little kids do. She cries, complains, falls, and occasionally she says something profound.


A woman and her friend are driving together and merging onto the highway when they are pulled over by a police officer. He cites the driver with a ticket for careless driving. She insists on the fact that the police officer was waving her in to merge and he says he didn’t. The woman goes through a bunch of lengths to prove she wasn’t in the wrong. This film is a slice-of-life story about this woman and her problem with being wrong. She can’t take no for an answer and doesn’t like when people disagree with her. She has to constantly be right and explain why she needs to take off work to take care of this situation. This type of person causes a lot of issues because of her own problems with denial. I wouldn’t like to be around her because of this. It causes issues with everybody she knows. She’s just not a good person while going through this situation.

Therapy Dogs is a documentary about a bunch of kids in high school in Canada. The film focuses on Ethan, Justin, and their other friends trying to navigate the life of a senior in high school about to go into college or the real world as a worker for the man. These kids are a lot like typical teens. They are into drugs, alcohol, partying, and general teen angst. Some of them want to leave a legacy for the kids coming behind them and others are trying to pave a path for themselves. They are artistic in the sense they do plays and are musicians as well. This is the ultimate senior year project. Making a movie is a big undertaking, but these kids want to get their stories out to the masses. This film allows them to do that.

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman Founder/EICdisappointment media

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