The 25th edition Dance with movies will take place at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood from June 9-19. The festival was formed in 1998 by a team of filmmakers who wanted to program a festival where “who you know” mattered less than the quality of the work. It’s an admirable sentiment, but nepotism will probably always be part of the film industry, if not all industries, to some degree. However, the idea of a truly impartial jury is what most filmmakers hope for when submitting their films to the overwhelming inventory of festivals that now exist around the world, and putting such a high degree of emphasis on this particular aspiration is a meaningful move for those trying to break into the industry.
Dance with movies also has a big history involving a fight with Orion Pictures, which sent a cease and desist letter regarding the name of the festival. The studio claimed he violated their then eight-year-old title, dance with wolves. The letter was publicly humiliated by Movie Menace Magazineanother historical institute of independent cinema, rightly pointing out the absurdity of contesting the title of the festival and further reinforcing the need to burst the Hollywood bubble, sometimes completely disconnected from reality.
With that, honor Dance with movies highlighting upcoming horror and thriller titles from the festival that seem particularly interesting and worth checking out.
The film is written and directed by Sean Perry and stars Alexander Molina, Monette Moio, Paige Grimard, Shah Granville, Audra Alexander and Nick Laughlin. This groundbreaking, one-take film follows an adulterous carpool driver navigating the nighttime streets of Hollywood who goes to great lengths to take his disturbing double life to the grave…to dig a grave for himself.
Interesting fact: The film was shot entirely in one take without any editing.
The film is directed by Jeremy LaLonde and stars The Handmaid’s Tale Amanda Brugel, Jonas Chernick, Shawn Doyle, Natalie Brown, Christine Horne and Sugith Varughese. When a troubled couple escapes to their rural farmhouse for a weekend of reconnection, they realize that their ability to save their marriage will literally determine the fate of humanity itself.
Fun Fact: The film won Best Ensemble Cast & Indie Spirit Awards at the Canadian Film Festival.
a little dead
The film is written and directed by Ben Richardson and stars Jack C. Hays, Eden McGuire and Ben Richardson. Hailey and her brother Kevin are visiting their grandfather’s farm for the weekend. They discover that the caretaker is missing and Grandpa has a new nightly ritual of sharing a drink with his dead wife and another unseen entity.
Fun Fact: The film won Best Thriller at the Houston Worldfest International Film Festival.
The film is written and directed by John D’Aquino and stars Chase Vacnin, Jacob M. Wade, Caroline West, Ren Kelly, Kaylee Rawson, Lauren Clark and Alex Felten. With their parents off on a reunion cruise, a group of friends must survive the new reality of an endless night.
Interesting fact: Even though the pilot takes place entirely at night, all the interior scenes were filmed during the day.
The film is written and directed by Mike Gerbino and stars Renee Gagner, Charlie Reid, Scott Schneider and Zahra Alzubaidi. When an unlucky video editor receives a mysterious job offer to edit a snuff film, she finds herself haunted by the victim in the footage.
Fun fact: The team won their production budget in The Film Fund Spring 2021 story competition.
Rekindle my heart
Along the ridethis is Emma Pasarow, Rekindle my heart is the story of a woman’s battle through the multiple levels of hell in her mind and the bloody torment she endures to regain control of her consciousness.
Interesting Fact: The film is a true story based on the director’s life. She was hit by a car in 2019, and the film depicts the aftermath.
Bury your fish
The film is written and directed by Emma Josephson and stars Arkira Chantaratananond and Cassandra Moselle. Bury your fish is a dark psychological drama that follows Sonia, an isolated and lost young woman, as she begins to take life directions based on cryptic Morse code from a mysterious flashing light. When her fish suddenly dies, Sonia must contend with the grim fantasy searching for answers when the only question quickly becomes her own mental stability.
Interesting fact: The film was directed by a majority of women and an LGBTQIA+ team.
The film is written and directed by Geena Marie Hernandez and stars Nicole Marquez-Davis, Jena Brooks, Maddie Moore and Lilliana Simms. A girls’ sleepover quickly spirals out of control when a shy teenager becomes the center of her new friends’ bizarre nighttime ritual.
Interesting fact: chicks features a diverse all-female cast, with the lead role (Nicole Marquez-Davis) being of Filipino descent. The team is diverse with BIPOC, women and LBTQIA+ filmmakers – the writer/director (Geena Hernandez) is a Latinx woman.