Slamdance 2012

I Want My Name Back

You may have heard the song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang (“I said a hip hop, a hippie, a hippie to the hip hop”), but what you might not know is this song helped hip hop break into the mainstream and helped a genre that, up until that point had been brushed off as a fad, start to take root in our musical history. Even though the group was changing the face (and sound) of the music industry, The Sugarhill Gang found themselves on top of the charts with barely a dime to their name. While this is not the first time we have heard stories of talent swindled by shady and greedy record executives, the story of the Sugarhill Gang is not just about losing money, it is about having their name and the true identity of the band member’s themselves stolen from them.



The Sound of Small Things makes it clear early on that sound is as much a character in this film as the leads themselves opening on the sound of sheets rustling as a couple wakes up in bed together. Sam (Sam Hoolihan) and Cara (Cara Krippner) are newly weds who have just purchased their first home together and are settling in to life as a married couple. Sam and Cara play the role with the excited and cautious emotions you would expect from two people just starting out on their lives together. Cara looks at Sam with loving eyes when he talks to his friends and Sam is always aware of making sure Cara is comfortable and happy. While they are the picture of normal newlyweds in many ways there is one aspect of Sam and Cara’s relationship that is unique – Cara is deaf. She does not use sign language to communicate instead opting to read the lips of the person talking to her. This allows things like Sam (an amateur drummer) to practice at all hours without disturbing Cara since she can only feel the vibrations of his playing making her condition seem like one of the ways their relationship works.



We know that Danland will end with a wedding – we know this from the start, as Alexandra Berger‘s debut film opens with our titular Dan Leal (or, as we will very soon come to know him, “Porno Dan”) nervously standing before a glitzy chapel, a veiled lady waiting in the wings. But just who will become Mrs. Porno Dan? Such is the question of the film and the quest of Leal, amateur porn performer and producer, sex addict, salesman, co-dependent, and hopeless romantic. Danland sounds quirky and a bit overstuffed, but that would perhaps be a knee-jerk reaction to indie cinephiles skimming its synopsis, because there’s another facet to Danland and the bizarre world it charts that might not be evident from first glance. Dan Leal is a real person and Danland is a documentary.


OK GOOD Header

It’s almost too spot-on that Daniel Martinico‘s Slamdance film, OK, Good, focuses on a struggling actor living in Hollywood. But while a film festival entry about the trials and tribulations of making it in La-la Land might seem like cliche material, OK, Good is far from cliche. Starring co-writer Hug0 Armstrong, the film follows Paul Kaplan, “a typical actor in Los Angeles. He goes to auditions, takes movement class, sends out headshots, and listens to motivational tapes in his car. However, as Paul struggles through a series of demoralizing setbacks, he is pushed ever closer to the edge.” Sound heavy? It’s not, as OK, Good is apparently a hilarious look at one man, his (in)abilities, and how they confine and constrain him from even the most basic tasks his occupation demands. Today brings us the first poster for OK, Good, which was designed by Adrian Kolarczyk, who recently won the SXSW Audience Award for Excellence in Poster Design in 2011 for his poster for Sophia Takal’s lovely Green. You can check out more about Kolarczyk and his work (including a look at the Green poster) over at Filmmaker Magazine. After the break, check out the gaze-laden first poster for OK, Good. As ever, I’ve included screening information for utmost festival-going ease.


Pine Hill Header

For his narrative feature film, Welcome to Pine Hill, director Keith Miller went for a unique level of veracity, casting in his lead role the same man who actually inspired the film in the first place. The film will have its World Premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival later this month, and the film’s official Slamdance page only hints at how Pine Hill came to be, saying that the film “was born out of a chance encounter between filmmaker Keith Miller and star Shannon Harper, who found themselves arguing over a lost dog one night in Brooklyn.” But is the dog in the film? The film follows Harper playing, well, Shannon Harper, as he attempts to change his life and its circumstances for the better. A former drug dealer, Shannon has gone straight – working two jobs (as a claims adjuster during the day and a bouncer at night). But while Shannon has changed, it doesn’t seem like everything (or everyone) else in his life is interested in the same kind of transformation. You know how it is – just when he thought he was out, they pull him back in. After the break, check out a full look at the film’s first poster by Nathaniel Parker Raymond, along with the film’s trailer and screening information for extra spice.


The Sound of Small Things

Sleepy old Park City, Utah is lucky enough to host not just one, but two world-class festivals come mid-January. While Sundance is the more famous of the two, just up Main Street, the Slamdance Film Festival consistently delivers exciting and innovative new works to cinephiles. This year, one of those new works promises to be Peter McLarnan‘s The Sound of Small Things. A visual artist by trade and training, Small Things is McLarnan’s first feature film. For his film, McLarnan gathered like-minded creatives to star, including Sam Hoolihan (a photographer, musician, filmmaker and professor), Cara Krippner (a dancer and choreographer), Mike and Nick Hoolihan (musicians and songwriters), and Andrea Pittel (an attorney and country singer). The homespun feel of the film looks to only add to its emotional impact, as it follows “Sam, a hobby musician and copywriter, and Cara, a survivor of a mysterious accident resulting in a loss of hearing” who “are navigating a fragile young marriage. Their nascent relationship becomes troubled, as a series of secrets and interlopers begin to blur the borders of truthful communication between them. Both struggling with their perception of the situation, innocence and culpability for the difficulties in their relationship are clouded within the space of silence between them.” The film will have is world premiere at Slamdance, and is part of the Narrative Feature Competition. Check out the film’s first (two!) posters after the break, along with screening information for the festival.



Every year, a pack of wily filmmakers descend on sleepy Park City, Utah to show their films, carouse, and hopefully get noticed by the bigwigs. But did you also know about the Sundance Film Festival? That’s a joke, festival-lovers! Of course, everyone knows about the Sundance Film Festival, but while the bright lights and weary film writer eyes of the ‘dance shine all over Park City, just up the hill, on the top of Main St. at the Treasure Mountain Inn, the Slamdance Film Festival rages on and continues to impress. The festival lives by their own self-professed mantra: “By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers.” As they note, no other festival is fully programmed by filmmakers. Slamdance alums include Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster, Jared Hess, and Oren Peli. Today, the festival announced their in-competition titles for the feature category. The 2012 Slamdance Film Festival feature 18 feature-length competition films, including ten narratives and eight documentaries, with no less than thirteen of those films getting their World Premiere at the Slam. Though Sundance is my favorite of the year’s festivals, last year I made time to head up to the Treasure Mountain Inn for an afternoon at Slamdance, and it proved to be a welcome respite from the oversized screening rooms, long lines, and often-heavy fare of Sundance. Also, they have really great snacks. Check out the full list of Slamdance Feature Film Competition offerings after the break, one that has something for everyone (including a documentary about Master Gee and Wonder Mike). […]

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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