Slamdance Film Review: I Want To Be An American

Posted January 22, 2013 in
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Slamdance Film Festival

Directors: Dale Yudelman, Maya Newell, Dylan Verrechia, Q, Monteith McCollum, Peter Baxter, Daniel J. Harris


This collective documentary depicts seven short films from seven different directors, the first of its kind to screen at Slamdance. Unlike other short blocks, which screen several unique films back-to-back, the directors of each short build on the ideas of the previous one. To make things even more interesting and diverse, the seven directors come from five different continents. The first film, I Want To Be An American, follows a young man walking down the streets of Cape Town, South Africa as he proclaims, in blunt dialogue, his desire to visit America and leave the violent city of Cape Town behind. The following films cover a wide range of people, including a stripper in Tijuana trying to make enough money to get by, and a 12-year-old girl in Hollywood trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. The only film not to follow the traditional documentary format is the film, Listen, by Monteith McCollum. Instead, McCollum uses strange imagery and muffled audio clips to tell his story, which makes it a bit hard to follow and understand entirely. But overall, the storytelling by these filmmakers make this a powerful and moving documentary feature.