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). Picks that instantly jump out at me include Derek Franson’s Comforting Skin, Axel Ranisch’s Heavy Girls, Peter McLarnan’s The Sound of Small Things, James Stenson’s Kelly, and Brian Knappenberger’s We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists.
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION PROGRAM, PRESENTED BY KODAK:
BINDLESTIFFS – Director: Andrew Edison, Screenwriters: Andrew Edison, Luke Loftin. (USA) World Premiere
Three smart-mouthed high school virgins, suspended from school on a graffiti charge, flee to the inner city to live out the plot of The Catcher in the Rye.
Cast: Andrew Edison, Luke Loftin, John Karna
Comforting Skin – Director: Derek Franson, Screenwriter: Derek Franson. (Canada) US Premiere
A lonely young woman’s desperate need for emotional and physical companionship draws her into a surreal and ultimately destructive relationship with a shifting and whispering tattoo she has willed to life on her skin.
Cast: Jane Sowerby, Tygh Runyan, Victoria Bidewell
Doppelgänger Paul (or A Film About How Much I Hate Myself) – Director: Dylan Akio Smith, Kris Elgstrand, Screenwriter: Kris Elgstrand. (Canada) US Premiere
The unlikely relationship of two lonely men whose connection sets off a chain of events resulting in the loss of a thumb, the theft of a manuscript, and two appearances on a popular morning talk show.
Cast: Brad Dryborough, Tygh Runyan
Faith, Love and Whiskey – Director: Kristina Nikolova, Screenwriters: Kristina Nikolova, Paul Dalio. (Bulgaria) World Premiere
A young Bulgarian woman, engaged to a well-off American, panics and runs back home, reuniting with her drifter friends and the wild life of her past and falling in love with her passionate but alcoholic best friend.
Cast: Ana Stojanovska, Valeri Yordanov, John Keabler, Lidia Indjova, Yavor Baharov
Heavy Girls – Director: Axel Ranisch, Screenwriters: Axel Ranisch, Heiko Pinkowski, Peter Trabner. (Germany) US Premiere
Sven lives with his elderly mother; Daniel is her caregiver. When she wanders off, their misadventure to find her leads them to discover their confusing affection for each other.
Cast: Heiko Pinkowski, Peter Trabner, Ruth Bickelhaupt
OK, Good – Director: Daniel Martinico, Screenwriters: Hugo Armstrong, Daniel Martinico. (USA) World Premiere
A series of demoralizing auditions and a cultish movement workshop push a struggling actor over the edge.
Cast: Hugo Armstrong
Roller Town – Director: Andrew Bush, Screenwriters: Andrew Bush, Mark Little, Scott Vrooman. (Canada) US Premiere
At the peak of disco-mania, three friends try and stop a local crime syndicate from turning their beloved roller rink into a video arcade.
Cast: Kayla Lorette, Mark Little, Scott Vrooman
The Sound of Small Things – Director/Screenwriter: Peter McLarnan. (USA) World Premiere
Sam and Cara’s attempt to navigate their young marriage is complicated by miscommunication, suspicion and her deafness.
Cast: Cara Krippner, Sam Hoolihan
Sundowning – Director/Screenwriter: Frank Rinaldi. (Singapore/USA) World Premiere
A story about the relationship between a young woman who has lost her memory and her mysterious caregiver.
Cast: Shannon Fitzpatrick, Susan Chau
Welcome to Pine Hill – Director/Screenwriter: Keith Miller. (USA) World Premiere
A reformed drug dealer, now a claims adjuster by day and bouncer by night, receives earthshattering news that compels him to return to his past and seek transcendence beyond the Brooklyn concrete.
Cast: Shannon Harper, Mary Meyers, David Williams
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION PROGRAM:
Buffalo Girls – Director: Todd Kellstein. (Thailand/USA) World Premiere
Two eight year old girls fight in rural Thailand’s underground child boxing economy to earn money to support their families.
Danland – Director: Alexandra Berger, Screenwriters: Ann Husaini, Alexandra Berger. (USA) World Premiere
Amateur porn producer Dan Leal, aka ‘Porno Dan,’ searches for intimacy despite his industry and in spite of himself.
The First Season – Director: Rudd Simmons. (USA) World Premiere
To achieve their version of the American dream, the Van Amburg family struggle as they fight against relentless toil, financial ruin and the harsh reality of dairy farming.
Getting Up – Director: Caskey Ebeling, Screenwriter: Tempt. (USA) World Premiere
After being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and rendered almost completely paralyzed, Tony “Tempt” Quan, a legendary L.A. graffiti artist, regains his voice through technology that reads the movement of his eyes and enables him to create art and write once again.
I Want My Name Back – Director: Roger Paradiso. (USA) Utah Premiere
Thirty years after the historic recording of the iconic mega-hit “Rapper’s Delight,” Master Gee & Wonder Mike come back to reclaim their identities and rightful place in Hip Hop history.
Kelly – Director: James Stenson. (USA) World Premiere
Having fled a provincial past, a young, transgender prostitute searches for love and acceptance in a landscape of broken Hollywood Dreams.
No Ashes, No Phoenix – Director/Screenwriter: Jens Pfeifer. (Germany) World Premiere
A locker room expose about young basketball players in Hagen, Germany who face their fears of losing and challenge enormous odds to succeed.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists – Director/Screenwriter: Brian Knappenberger. (USA) World Premiere
An intimate look inside the world of Anonymous, the radical “hacktivist” collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age.
The 2012 Slamdance Film Festival will run concurrently with the 2012 Sundance Film Festival from January 20 to 26, in Park City, Utah.