Dances with Films 2022: What started as a riff on Sundance, Slamdance, et al, became a festival with important and achievable goals – to showcase the best undiscovered independent cinema out there. From narrative features to shorts to documentaries, and more, DWF, now in its 25th year, is more vital than ever as a showcase for unique and visionary new film works. With studio streaming conglomerates’ and sequel/remake-driven projects seemingly dominating the entertainment landscape, alternative voices need this forum now more than ever. More than just a screening event, Dances keeps the event fresh with stellar panels and performances. But it’s the films that make the heart and mind “dance” during this 10-day indie movie marathon. Here are some top picks from our must-see list.

The Walk (Thurs. June 9, 8 p.m.) –  Based on true events during Boston’s 1974 desegregation busing efforts, the film is directed by Daniel Adams and stars Terrence Howard, Jeremy Piven, Malcolm McDowell and Justin Chatwin.

We Paid Let Us In! (Fri., June 10 9:15 p.m.) Music doc chronicling the journey of Chicago rap duo, Abstract Mindstate, who reunited after a 16-year hiatus when Kanye West signed them in 2021. Common, Coodie & Chike, and Deon Cole make appearances.

The Latin From Manhattan (Sat., June 11, 11 p.m.) Film about the life of adult film star Vanessa Del Rio, with cast members including Shane West, Taryn Manning, Esai Morales, Drea de Matteo and Dita Von Teese.

And I Miss You Like A Little Kid (Sat., June 11, 12:30 p.m.) – Benjamin Hosking’s short psychological drama about an abusive domestic relationship in a Covid-era Los Angeles.

Iron Family (Sun., June 12, 7:15 p.m.)Following Jazmine Faries, a young woman with Down syndrome and her quest to perform her original play in a rural mining town in Michigan.

Ubuntu (Mon., June 13, 7 p.m.) – Documentary about the “Mamas of Cape Town,” a group of women living under the oppression of Apartheid South Africa.

Hotter Up Close (Mon., June 13, 5 p.m.) As his 30th birthday approaches, a gay man must overcome his insecurities and feelings of isolation and loneliness in order to find love.

Carlos Through the Tall Grass (Mon., June 13, 9:15 p.m.) – A comedy centered around a Latino high schooler’s struggle to choose his future path: college or staying home with his family? Created by Whittier College film professor Patti McCarthy, it features over 20 Whittier College students in front of and behind the camera.

My Friend Tommy (Tues., June 14, 7 p.m.) – Nem Stankovic’s chronicle of real-life 40-year-old virgin, Tommy Lee follows a cross-continental journey of self-discovery in this buddy comedy flick meets poignant documentary.

My Stupid Tribute Band –  Following Dallas-based AC/DC tribute band Back in Black’s 20-year history, this rock doc salutes tribute life and ends with the band’s lead singer auditioning for the rock legends themselves.

The Long Rider (Thurs., June 16, 7 p.m.) – This western documentary follows an aspiring journalist who leaves his adoptive home of Canada on a quest to ride horseback from Calgary to Brazil over an 8-year period.

Lodo (Fri., June 17, 5 p.m.) Directed and co-written by Argentinian/Mexican California native (co-founder of the Highland Park Independent Film Festival in East Los Angeles) Alessandro Gentile, this short was filmed in Los Angeles with actors via the non-profit organization Operation Street Kidz. It concerns grief, family and spirituality.

Live Out Loud (Sun., June 19, 12:30 p.m.) Shot over one year, this documentary tells the stories of three people experiencing homelessness in Portland, Oregon.


Rewilding (Sun., June 19, 5 p.m.)   Following Black artist and former Rikers Island inmate Anthony Dejesus’ journey with rock climbers and wilderness guides Jesse Spiegel (the film’s director) and Vitek Linhart, this gorgeous documentary provides an engrossing look at his field test for a program to take formerly incarcerated men into the wild.

How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? (Sun., June 19, 2:45 p.m.) Exploring how marginalized groups are mistreated in our country, this doc features Ed Asner, Danny Glover and Henry Rollins as talking heads and the music of Jackson Browne.

Dances With Films 2022, at the TCL Chinese Theater, 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood; June 9-19. More info at

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