Slamdance Award Winner ‘Waiting for the Light to Change’ Acquired by Freestyle Digital Media

While the Slamdance Film Festival doesn’t get the same publicity that the Sundance Film Festival does, it certainly offers its fair share of worthwhile titles. At Slamdance 2023, the Grand Jury Prize winner for Best Narrative Feature was Waiting for the Light to Change. That win helped get it some distribution, via Freestyle Digital Media.

Here is the press release:

Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, has acquired North American VOD rights to the dramatic feature film WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE — the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival ‘Grand Jury Prize’ winner for ‘Best Narrative Feature.’ WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE premiered at the Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis in October 2022, screened at the Chicago Critics Film Festival in May 2023, and just had its West Coast premiere in Los Angeles at Dances With Films on June 28, 2023. Freestyle Digital Media is planning a fall 2023 release date.  

The acquisition of WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE kicks off Freestyle Digital Media’s first-look with DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts and it’s Indie Studio Initiative – which produces DePaul student feature films. Launched in 2018 by Assistant Professor James Choi, the program supports student-directed and produced micro-feature films through financing and in-kind services. This includes guidance through all aspects of the filmmaking process, such as screenwriting, directing, and editing, with students fully owning the completed projects, providing a unique opportunity for the next generation of filmmakers to grow both creatively and professionally. Committed to diversity and inclusion, 49 percent of the students identify as non-white, 52 percent male, 47 percent female with $2 million dedicated to School of Cinematic Arts scholarship and assistantships funding.

WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE takes place over the course of a week-long beachside getaway. Set over several days in and around a lake house in Michigan, the film follows five twenty-somethings who gather for a small getaway in the early spring. But with little to do in the small, lakeside town, everyone finds themselves dealing with the sort of malaise that happens in one’s early-to-mid twenties: growing older, establishing a career, finding a purpose in life, going over past regrets, and anxious about what the future might hold.

Directed by female director Linh Tran, WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE was co-written by Lihn Tran, Jewells Santos, and Delia Van Praag. Producers are Jake Rotger, Jewells Santos, and Sam Straley. James Choi served as executive producer. The film’s cast includes Sam Straley (‘Jay’), who appeared in the Hulu series THE DROPOUT, and as a series regular on THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (ABC) and WELCOME TO FLATCH (Fox). Actors Eric Barrientos (‘Alex’), Qun Chi (‘Lin’), Joyce Ha (‘Kim’), and Jin Park (‘Amy’) round out the cast.

“DePaul’s Indie Studio Initiative showcases the filmmakers of tomorrow,” said Bill Vergos, Head of Digital Film Distribution for Freestyle Digital Media. “We at Freestyle have partnered with this unique program because rising talent such as Linh Tran and her team deserve an opportunity for their hard work and creativity to be seen on as many platforms as possible.”

“Freestyle Digital Media is making significant strides to actively foster the genuine exploration of true discovery in the world of cinema by supporting the upcoming generation of filmmakers emerging out of this digital revolution,” said DePaul University Assistant Professor James Choi. “We are extremely excited as we embark on this journey alongside Freestyle, beginning with the anticipated release of WAITING FOR THE LIGHT TO CHANGE this fall and potential collaborations on future films coming out of Indie Studio.”


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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