January 22-28, 2016




Eligible for our Narrative Features competition are features over 40 minutes in length, made by first-time narrative feature directors, with a budget under one million dollars and no distribution*. All films are selected 100% from blind submissions. We consider and program from all genres and from all around the world. We are looking for filmmakers with innovative ideas, points of view, or approach to filmmaking. We are more drawn to an original voice than a high level of production. We will consider work that is not fully completed by the time of submission, and we consider films regardless of their premiere status.

*NOTE: Films submitted to this category that do not meet the requirements above, will be automatically considered for our BEYOND section instead.


Bold and daring films that exemplify the Slamdance spirit, from emerging narrative and documentary filmmakers working beyond their first features. Features over 40 minutes in length by non first-time filmmakers from all around the world will be accepted for this category. All films will be selected entirely from blind submissions and will be eligible for the Audience Award.


Fiction short films up to 40 minutes and from anywhere in the world, are programmed in blocks and before narrative features. We welcome a wide variety of styles and genres: comedy, drama, horror, underground, mockumentaries, music videos, and films that fit into multiple categories or no category at all. Please note that documentary, animated and experimental shorts are programmed under their own categories. Qualifying category for the Annual Academy Awards®.


Animated films up to 40 minutes. Films must be significantly made in a frame by frame manner
(live-action footage of puppets, for example, is NOT animation). Any animation technique, style, genre, and subject matter is welcome. Qualifying category for the Annual Academy Awards®.


Eligible for our Documentary Features competition are documentaries over 40 minutes in length, made by first-time documentary feature directors, with a budget under one million dollars and no distribution* All films are selected 100% from blind submissions. We consider and program any type of documentary subject matter, and from anywhere in the world. Mockumentaries should be submitted to the Narrative Features category. We will consider work that is not fully completed by the time of submission, and we consider films regardless of their premiere status.

*NOTE: Films submitted to this category that do not meet the requirements above, will be automatically considered for our BEYOND section instead.


Short documentaries up to 40 minutes and from anywhere in the world, are programmed before documentary features. We gladly accept any type of documentary subject matter. Short mockumentaries should be submitted to the narrative short category. Qualifying category for the Annual Academy Awards®.


Any experimental or avant-garde film up to 40 minutes. We realize that "experimental" and "avant-garde" are subjective and vague terms, but we don't want to allow the failure of language to keep us from programming films that do not fit into other categories. Send us your non-narrative, conceptual, graphic, didactic, or unclassifiable films! If you've made what you'd describe as an experimental narrative, experimental documentary, or experimental animation, it's up to you which committee you want to judge your short (although we do try to talk to each other). We are open-minded and love challenging works that question and push the boundaries of cinema.


Slamdance was born out of a DIY oppositional gesture and Anarchy is our attempt to recapture the early spirit of the festival. We'd summarize that spirit in three words: "Fuck the system." The casual cinephile might associate the Anarchy program with avant-garde, transgressive, or underground cinema. It is all of these things and none of them. We like to think of Anarchy as an anti-genre. It is a form of resistance to dominant cultural paradigms. The films value innovation of form, violation of taboo, and disdain for institutional modes of representation.

Every year our Anarchy programmers search to find the right films throughout all our Shorts categories. Please note that you cannot submit to Anarchy directly, however, if you think your short film fits the description above feel free to let us know at after completing your submission.


Slamdance 2016 films will be selected by the festival programmers. All selections will be posted on our site mid-December 2015.

ALL films submitted to the festival are seen and scored by two different programmers. All films that have a higher average, or are a favorite of a programmer, go on to final deliberations. Slamdance selects its films by majority vote and nothing is offered early acceptance; we aim for the most democratic, film-loving selection process on the planet. Nay, in the universe.

If a film is accepted, entrants will be solely responsible for delivering their exhibition video materials to and from the festival venue. A complete press kit and an online link to your film will be needed as soon after notification as possible. Slamdance cannot be held liable for your exhibition print/video materials which are lost or damaged.

The 2016 Slamdance Film Festival will take place in Park City, UT from January 22nd-28th, 2016. Unfortunately, Slamdance does not provide room, board or travel for filmmakers, so we suggest bringing a cushion. Festival dates are subject to change.


The coveted Slamdance Sparky will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Jury Award for Narrative Feature

  • Jury Award for Documentary Feature

  • Jury Award for Narrative Short *

  • Jury Award for Documentary Short *

  • Jury Award for Animation Short *

  • Jury Award for Experimental Short

  • Jury Award for Anarchy Short

  • Audience Award for Narrative Feature

  • Audience Award for Documentary Feature

  • Spirit of Slamdance Award (all participating filmmakers vote to decide the film/filmmakers that represented the Spirit of Slamdance the best during the 2016 Festival)

* The winners in these categories qualify for the Annual Academy Awards®.

Additional prizes:

-Each year significant cash and service prizes are awarded to all Sparky Award recipients.
-Slamdance offers selected feature and short films theatrical showings during the following year, through the Slamdance On The Road program.


"Not only was screening at Slamdance an incredibly fun and special communal experience, but the support the programmers have given the film since its premiere has been remarkable and made me feel less alone as an independent filmmaker: from great festival and distribution advice to having the opportunity to screen the film to a packed house at the Arclight in LA, one of the best movie theaters ever (thanks to the Slamdance Cineclub!)."
– Gabrielle Demeestere, director of Yosemite, which premiered at Slamdance 2015.

"I feel extremely fortunate that Slamdance took a chance on premiering my film last year. Since writing and filmmaking can often feel like you’re on an island, it has been wonderful having a community of people to talk with, bounce ideas with, eat/drink with, and collaborate with - all year long. Wishing everyone at this year’s Slamdance all the very best, and hoping to meet many of you soon.”
– Jamie Sisley, director of Narrative Short Jury Award Winner Stay Awake, Slamdance 2015.

"Slamdance Film Festival is my favorite. There's a great, positive vibe all around, and being surrounded by like minded people is inspiring. People are supportive and being in this atmosphere encourages me to continue in my filmmaking journey. Also, once you're part of the Slamdance family, there are numerous opportunities in which to participate, as Slamdance has other screenings outside of the film festival at Park City, an online presence, programming for the festival, helping with the future festivals, and many other avenues in which one can be a part. It is worth submitting to, as your film will be seen by at least two filmmakers and the process is Democratic and 100% based on blind submissions (everyone gets a fair chance.) It's no wonder that this organization has gained in popularity and remains cutting edge and progressive in delivering content, spreading the word while staying independent, and most importantly, being a festival 'By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers.' Keep up the great work, Slamdance!"
– Wally Chung, Director of The Eater and Think Ink, Slamdance programmer and winner of The Spirit of Slamdance Award.

“An amazing festival with incredible programming and the most enthusiastic audiences we've seen. Slamdance is simply the most relevant film festival for first time filmmakers in the world. Winning best documentary changed everything for our film and our careers.”
– Jaret Belliveau & Matthew Bauckman, directors, KUNG FU ELLIOT (Jury Award for Doc Feature at Slamdance 2014)

“Slamdance should be the standard for all other festivals to follow. Its values have never wavered. It is and always has been about the filmmaker and truly independent films. And every year a number of films get distribution out of the festival, as ours did after winning the Audience Award there."
– Mark Raso, director, COPENHAGEN (Audience Award for Narrative Feature at Slamdance 2014)

"All young and first-time filmmakers must make Slamdance their #1 target fest. Nothing compares when it comes to exposure and excitement, both from audiences and the amazing staff (who by the end of the week are your best friends). Bribe them, lie to them; do whatever it takes to get in. I'm serious."
— Matt Johnson, director, THE DIRTIES (Jury Award Winner for Narrative Feature and Spirit of Slamdance 2013)

"Screening at Slamdance was one of the most memorable weeks of my life. Not only is it an incredibly supportive place to debut your first feature, it is great for the future life of your film (a lot of industry there) on top of being ridiculously fun! The staff and other filmmakers were incredibly cool and on the last day it was like camp--none of us wanted to leave!"
— Nicole Teeny, director, BIBLE QUIZ (Jury Award Winner for Documentary Feature at Slamdance 2013)

“We have so much appreciation and admiration
for Slamdance! As a festival, they live in their own romantic era and we felt that vibe so intensely. We are romantics as well and we believe that this is a place of absolute love and devotion for filmmaking, run by amazing filmmakers with unique taste, enthusiasm and fierce independent spirits. Slamdance has been a very precious diamond for us!”
— Harry Patramanis & Eleni Asvesta, director & producer of FYNBOS, Winner of the Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography at Slamdance 2013

“Slamdance was an amazing experience! The staff was incredible, everyone was friendly and supportive, the crowds were enthusiastic, and our film got tons of attention and press! We are VERY grateful for the experience and the opportunity to be part of Slamdance and left the festival with a distribution deal!“
— Oren Peli, director, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, Slamdance 2008

"Slamdance was the perfect fit for us and our film. Intimate, thoughtful, provocative, genuine, community-minded, fiercely independent, and fearlessly passionate, Slamdance is indeed 'by filmmakers, for filmmakers' and exactly what I love about being a part of this world."
— Elisabeth Holm, Producer of WELCOME TO PINE HILL, Winner of Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature 2012

“I had been to Park City a few times, but I was unprepared for the incredible reception and experience of being a filmmaker with a film at Slamdance. The camaraderie and truly independent spirit of the festival was heartening. I genuinely feel like part of the family now.”
— Andrew Putschoegl, director of HELLO CALLER

"Premiering my first feature at Slamdance was an experience that beyond exceeded my expectations. A festival that definitely puts its money where its mouth is. When they say ‘For Filmmakers by Filmmakers’ they actually mean it.”
— Ryan Piotrowicz, director of THE PROJECT, which premiered at Slamdance 2008 winning the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

“SLAMDANCE is the Cadillac of film festivals in Park City - curb feelers and all - It was an amazing ride I will never forget.”
— Greg Kohs, director, SONG SUNG BLUE, which premiered at Slamdance 2008 winning the Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

“It was an honor and a privilege to premiere at Slamdance. We felt like the luckiest filmmakers ever; we signed papers with New Line right after our first screening and once we could announce that sale, got to enjoy a wonderful week in Park City.“
— Seth Gordon, director, THE KING OF KONG, which premiered at Slamdance 2007

“I had such a blast at Slamdance. Having been to a number of film festivals in the past, I came to Park City with typical expectations of coming and going anonymously with only a badge and a few business cards. Fortunately I was proven wrong. I came away with a rich sense of camaraderie and was inspired by the festival’s daring and thoughtfully curated film programming. Slamdance’s ‘by filmmakers, for filmmakers’ philosophy truly stands out above the rest, making this experience one of the most welcoming and unforgettable festivals I’ve been to yet."
— Andrew Huang, director of SOLIPSIST, Winner of Special Grand Jury Prize for Experimental Film 2012

"Slamdance is an incredibly engaging community whose members showered incredible support for both filmmakers and independent film goers. Our screening received press coverage from the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, and a host of other media outlets. I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying experience from start to finish; everyone was extremely helpful, encouraging, and super creative. Slamdance cultivates a refreshing spirit of collaboration and creativity that will compel me to attend future Slamdance festivals and events."
— Jason Insalaco & Jonathan Harris of Ed Wood’s FINAL CURTAIN

“I remembered what I read about Slamdance before I even submitted my film. People always talked about the 'Slamdance Family.' And it totally makes sense to me.”
— David Bonawits director of PLEASANT PEOPLE

"Slamdance is a killer platform to launch your film. You get the excitement and industry attention of Park City without getting lost in the shuffle. Slamdance has a smaller, more select slate of films so that each project can be given its due attention."
— Jeremy Coon, producer, AMERICAN FORK, which premiered at Slamdance 2007

"Slamdance's ongoing commitment to first-time filmmakers provides an opportunity to be cherished. The festival was a legitimate platform to get my work out there during a time when no one was asking to see it."
— Christopher Nolan, director, FOLLOWING, which premiered at Slamdance 1999