The Slamdance Film Festival which takes place each year in Utah at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival has just announced its program for the 2011 edition. The festival was founded in 1995 by Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter and has since become a year-round organization championing emerging filmmaking talent and their new work. The aim is to provide what its supporters consider a truer representation of independent filmmaking).
The fest has earned a solid reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets. Festival discoveries have included directors such as Christopher Nolan (Memento), Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) and Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite).
The 17th annual fest will screen 10 narrative films and eight documentary features in competition from Jan. 21-27. Fourteen of the movies are world premieres. As part of this year’s festival theme — “All Is Not Lost” — Slamdance will donate ten% of ticket proceeds back to the filmmakers.
Here’s the full list of films:
NARRATIVE COMPETITION (all films are from the U.S. unless otherwise noted)
Atrocious – directed by Fernando Barreda Luna. (Mexico, Spain) World Premiere, 75 min. Recorded evidence of the “Quintanilla Murder Investigation.” Cast: July Quintanilla, Cristian Quintanilla
Beneath Contempt – directed by Benjamin Brewer. World Premiere, 101 min. A young man returns to his hometown after serving a prison sentence for killing his friends in a drunk driving accident. Cast: Colin Janson, Melanie May, Eric Eastman, Mike Bash, Abby Austin, Sarah Newhouse
Drama – directed by Matias Lira. (Chile) World Premiere, 80 min. Three kids thinking that life is theatre. Cast: Benjamin Vicnna, Diego Ruiz, Eusebio Arenas, Fernanda Urrejola, Isidora Urrejola
Fred and Vinnie – directed by Steve Skrovan. 89 min. Lonely guy Fred Stoller is thrilled when his good buddy, Vinnie D’Angelo, the world’s happiest agoraphobic and fattest vegetarian, comes to live with him, until Vinnie also proves to be the world’s most maddening roommate. Cast: Fred Stoller, Angelo Tsarouches, Scott Chernoff, Bill Rutkoski, John Asher, Harriet Rose, Sarah Rush, Lee Reherman
Pleasant People – directed by David Bonawits. World Premiere, 69 min. When a frustrated singer songwriter finds herself at odds with friends and coworkers, she pushes through it the only way she knows how – faking a smile. Cast: Jiyoung Lee, Josh Hall, Dave Marder, Sarah Atchison, Paula Trude
Silver Tongues – directed by Simon Arthur. World Premiere, 87 min. Two lovers travel from town to town playing a dark game of deceit that soon spirals out of control, threatening their very relationship. Cast: Lee Tergesen, Enid Graham, Tate Ellington, Emily Meade, Harvey Evans, Portia, Rosa Arrendondo, Adam Lefevre
Snow On Tha Bluff – directed by Damon Russell. World Premiere, 79 min. Snow On Tha Bluffis the story of Atlanta robbery boy and crack dealer, Curtis Snow who stole a camera from some college kids in a dope deal and made a documentary about his life. Cast: Curtis Snow, Frank Ringer, Curtis Lockett, Adrienne Lockett, D’Angelo Snow, Brandon Snow, Kita Snow
Stranger Things – directed by Eleanor Burke andRon Eyal. (United Kingdom, U.S.) 77 min. An unusual and touching bond develops when grieving Oona reaches out to a mysterious homeless man, offering him a place to stay in her garden shed. Cast: Bridget Collins, Adeel Akhtar
The Beast Pageant – directed by Albert Birney andJon Moses. 74 min. The Beast Pageant is about a man who goes on an adventure. Cast: Jon Moses, Ted Greenway, Emily Osinski, S. Michael Smith, Sam Hughes, Jon Eaton, Ron Bauerle, andTigran Vardanyan
Without – directed by Mark Jackson. World Premiere, 88 min. On a remote wooded island, a young woman becomes caretaker to an old man in a vegetative state. Her isolated routine devolves into a struggle with sexuality, guilt and loss. Cast: Joslyn Jensen, Ron Carrier
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION (all films are from the U.S. unless otherwise noted)
Bhopali – directed by Van Maximilian Carlson. (India, U.S.) World Premiere, 84 min. In 1984, the world’s worst industrial disaster devastated and contaminated Bhopal, India. Today the suffering continues, prompting victims to fight for justice and corporate responsibility, which has long been ignored.
Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football – directed by Rashid Ghazi. World Premiere, 93 min. Fordsonfollows a predominately Arab-American high school football team from Dearborn, Michigan during the last ten days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and unearths the story of a community desperately holding onto its Islamic faith while struggling to gain acceptance in post 9-11 America
Last Fast Ride – The Life, Love and Death of a Punk Goddess – directed by Lilly Scourtis Ayers. World Premiere, 86 min. Last Fast Rideis a documentary film about the infamous bay-area punk rock performer Marian Anderson. Marian died all too young, and this is her story.
Road Dogs – directed by Shane Aquino. World Premiere, 83 min. Road Dogsfollows three of Hollywood’s most visually vibrant and heavily psychotic bands across the U.S. on a D.I.Y. tour occasionally having disastrous results.
Scrapper – directed by Stephan Wassmann. World Premiere, 81 min. As the global war on terror takes a heavy toll on some local economies, a defiant group of desert outlaws turn an active US military bombing range near the Mexican border into their own free-enterprise zone of extreme survival. Driven by adrenaline and hunger, Crystal Meth and even scripture, they risk their lives to scavenge lucrative debris from exploded and unexploded ordnance in the kill zones.
Shunka – directed by CJ Gardella. U.S. Premiere, 75 min Shunka is a vision of the material and spiritual worlds, and their coalescence; and of finding stark poetry in the haze of the every day in a small community in the Badlands.
Superheroes – directed by Michael Barnett. World Premiere, 90 min. Superheroesis a journey inside the world of real life caped crusaders. From all over America, these self-proclaimed crime fighters, don masks, homemade costumes and elaborate utility belts in an attempt to bring justice to evildoers everywhere.
Zielinski – directed by Chase Thompson andRyan Walker. World Premiere, 65 min. The rise and fall of John Zielinski – the most blacklisted author in the history of Iowa.