The 2007 Slamdance Film Festival shattered all previous submission records, receiving over 3,600 submissions for less than 100 slots, a milestone that catapults the movie showcase into one of the largest film festivals in the world. Celebrating its 13th year, Slamdance has also become the pre-eminent film festival whose sole mission is to nurture, support and showcase truly independent works, having established a unique reputation for premiering new films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets.
Due to the sheer number of the extraordinary quality and quantity of the films submitted, Slamdance has increased the competition documentary features slate, such that now for the first time ever, Slamdance will screen an equal number of documentary and narrative feature films in the competition sections. For the first time, there will be ten features in each of the competitive sections, nearly all World Premieres. Furthermore, Slamdance has scheduled an appealing provocative assortment of Special Screenings and Events, film programs including 21+ (Slamdance’s late night series), writing competitions for both screenplays and teleplays, the Anarchy Online Short Film Competition, a $99 Special short film production project, a games competition, the newly announced Slamdance Horror Screenplay Competition, where an annual chosen script is guaranteed to be produced as a feature film – and the best parties in town.
The Opening Night Gala film is the screwball comedy Weirdsville, starring Scott Speedman (Underworld, Felicity, XXX 2), Wes Bentley (American Beauty, Ghostrider, Four Feathers), Taryn Manning (Hustle and Flow, 8 Mile, Cold Mountain), Greg Bryk (A History of Violence, Shoot em Up), Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Dawn of the Dead) and Maggie Castle (Beach Girls). It’s the story of two junkies on the run from a satanic cult, a cabal of midget knights, a vengeful drug dealer, and a mouse, in a little town called Weirdsville, directed by Allan Moyle. Moyle is one of Canada’s most successful directors, having helmed Pump Up The Volume, Empire Records and the Canadian gem New Waterford Girl.
As always, the Slamdance Film Festival will run concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival, January 18-27, 2007 in Park City, Utah. Slamdance and the box-office will be headquartered and its films will screen at the Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main Street, atop of the hill. The Best of Slamdance will take place on January 27th at the Regency Theatre, 602 E. 500 S. in Salt Lake City. For more information and for a complete listing of films in the Festival, log on to www.Slamdance.com or call 323/466-1786. Festival passes are now on-sale and individual tickets go on sale December 10. Special ticket packages are also available.
All 2007 Festival tickets and passes will be available for purchase online (http://slamdance.com/2007/festival/tickets.asp). Every on-line ticket purchase helps support people in need, close to home. A percentage of proceeds from each Slamdance ticket purchase will go to the Utah Food Bank, serving the community that has supported the Slamdance Film Festival for the last 13 years.
“Taking into account this year’s festival film submissions, it's clear to see independent filmmaking has increased its standing in the world of entertainment,” said Peter Baxter, the President and Co-Founder of Slamdance, as well as a filmmaker too. “What sets Slamdance's program apart this year is the sense of pure independent filmmaking at its best...a passionate combination that offers a high level of entertainment, social and commercial value. In most ways the program represents the spirit of the Slamdance ID. This 13 year-old teenager breaks rules, has stayed true to its roots and embodies the spirit of independent creativity.”
The Slamdance Film Festival is distinctive in several ways. To begin, the competition feature programs are reserved for first time feature directors working with budgets under one million dollars, thus enabling the Festival’s mission to give exposure to emerging filmmaking talent. Further, Slamdance is programmed through a unique democratic method. Every film is programmed by majority rule by a committee of filmmakers. Slamdance alumni are recruited to serve as programmers, so first-timers are represented and assisted by Slamdance veterans. The mantra of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” resounds at every level of the organization, and plays a part in all of its undertakings.
“Slamdance has officially become rebel teenagers as we celebrate our 13th birthday. This year, we have decided to concentrate our narrative and documentary features closer to home,” said Sarah Diamond, Slamdance’s Director of Programming, “highlighting an extraordinary group of Made in the USA movies. They are all brilliant, illuminating and entertaining examples of terrific filmmaking, of course, but that’s all they have in common as their genres and scope couldn’t be more different…or welcome.”
Slamdance has four programming committees: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Special Screenings and Shorts. (The latter category will be announced shortly in a separate release.) “Every film submitted to Slamdance is viewed multiple times by several programmers. Every film,” noted Diamond.
Narrative Feature Competition
American Fork, World Premiere (2007, 94 min., USA)
Directed by Chris Bowman
The life and times of Tracy Orbison, a grocery clerk with the mind of a dreamer, the soul of a poet and the body of a really fat man.
American Zombie, World Premiere (2007, 90 min., USA)
Directed by Grace Lee
Two filmmakers team up to document a group of zombies in Los Angeles and their struggle to gain acceptance in the human community.
Bangkok, (2006, 98 min, USA)
Directed by Colin Drobnis
When Paul, a career soldier, is discharged from the Army, he sets off for Southeast Asia in search of his long lost MIA father. Quickly adrift in the seductive, unfamiliar landscape of modern day Asia, he's targeted by a Bible-toting pickpocket and the two men strike an uneasy friendship.
Crime Fiction, World Premiere (2007, 83 min. USA)
Directed by Will Slocombe
James Cooper is a hopeless writer. After a late-night argument with his girlfriend spirals out of control, James winds up with blood on his hands and a body in his trunk. And he finally finds a story.
The Death of Michael Smith, World Premiere (2007, 88 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Daniel Casey
Set in the shadows of a harsh Detroit winter, "The Death of Michael Smith" follows three men with the same name, inextricably linked to a mysterious murder.
Murder Party, World Premiere (2007, 80 min, USA)
Written/ Directed by Jeremy Saulnier*
A random invitation to a Halloween party leads a lonesome man through the desolate wastes of Brooklyn and into the hands of a rogue collective intent on murdering him for the sake of their art.
*Saulnier previously won the Slamdance 2004 Grand Jury Sparky Award for Best Narrative Short, “Crabwalk”
Over the GW, World Premiere (2007, 75 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Nick Gaglia
Based on a true story of two teenage siblings who get sucked into an abusive, cult-like drug rehabilitation program.
The Path of Most Resistance (2006, 44 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Peter Kelley
Solitude is an essential part of Tom McKenna’s secretive profession, but this New Year’s Eve, which promises to be the most important night of his life, Tom is confronted with a complication he couldn’t have anticipated, and faced with an extraordinary choice – which path will he choose?
Tijuana Makes Me Happy (2006, 79 min., USA/Mexico)
Written/Directed by Dylan Verrechia
A boy will do anything to become a man and win the heart of a young prostitute, even fight his rooster.
Under the Sun, US Premiere (2006, 60 min, Germany)
Written/Directed by Baran bo Odar
August 1984, a long hot summer weekend: twelve year old Viktor is sent to his aunt’s where he is confronted with the strange adult world, his older cousin and the neighbor’s dog.
“More than ever, we were impressed by the ambition present in our feature narratives,” said Drea Clark, Slamdance’s Executive Producer/Chair of Narrative Feature Competition Programming. “Moving independent film from its angsty, torrid origins to what we like to call a more ‘adult darkness’, this year’s narrative line-up almost uniformly blends deft combinations of tragic realism, poignant unions and absurd comedic touches. The resulting ten films represent realistic portrayals of human connections and visually compelling storytelling, and I’m happy to speak for the other programmers to say that it was well worth the time invested in viewing and debating to be able to present such a strong slate.”
Documentary Feature Competition sponsored by Langley Productions
As a pioneer in the field of reality television, and a company with a strong focus on documentary filmmaking, Langley Productions is sponsoring the 2007 Slamdance Documentary Competition in order to support the creative efforts of up and coming documentary filmmakers. Additionally, the company has recently started a division that will focus solely on the production of feature-length documentaries. With a mandate to explore cutting-edge topics and to present material that is dynamic and original, the company is committed to releasing at least one doc per year beginning in 2007. Producer/writer/director John Langley co-created the long-running FOX reality program COPS in 1988. Currently entering its 20th season, COPS pioneered the often emulated video verite technique and is one of the longest running primetime programs in television history.
Bad Boys of Summer, World Premiere (2007, 76 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Tiller Russell, Loren Mendell
Battling prison violence and racial tension, the coach of the San Quentin Giants tries to change the lives of his convict baseball players during their final season together.
Ballad of AJ Weberman, US Premiere (2006, 83 min. UK)
Written/Directed by James Bluemel and Oliver Ralfe
A portrait of obsession and eccentricity this film tells the story of AJ Weberman, Bob Dylan's most infamous fan, founder of Garbology, and New York counter-culture odd-ball.
Children of God: Lost and Found, World Premiere (2007, 75 min., USA)
Directed by Noah Thomson
CHILDREN OF GOD: LOST AND FOUND is a first-person account of growing up in the controversial, evangelical Christian cult known as the CHILDREN OF GOD. Director Noah Thomson tells his story and the story of others like him who were born into the group and later left as young adults.
Dream in Doubt, World Premiere (2007, 56 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Tami Yeager
When his brother is murdered in America's first post-9/11 revenge killing, Rana Singh Sodhi begins a journey to reclaim his American dream and fight the hate that continues to threaten his community.
King of Kong, World Premiere (2007, 79 min., USA)
Directed by Seth Gordon*
Obsession and the pursuit of excellence push diehard gamers to break World Records on classic arcade games like Q*bert, Joust, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong.
*Gordon is a Slamdance alumni director, Slamdance 2002 Anarchy Online Film "Squirt"
Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa, World Premiere (2007, 70 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg
In the remote New Mexico desert, disillusioned Gulf War veterans, desperate teenage runaways and survivalists form a post-modern “Wild West” with a vigilante code all its own.
Red Without Blue, World Premiere (2007, 74 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills & Todd Sills
The intimate bond between two identical twin brothers is challenged when one decides to transition from male to female; this is the story of their evolving relationship, and the resurrection of their family from a darker past.
Rock the Bells (2006, 105 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Casey Suchan and Denis Hennelly
Personifying the fierce independence and Do-It-Yourself spirit of the Hip Hop movement, producer Chang Weisberg puts everything on the line for his impossible dream of reuniting notorious no-shows The Wu-Tang Clan.
Row Hard No Excuses, World Premiere (2007, 83 minutes, USA/Spain)
Written/ Directed by Luke Wolbach
Two middle-aged American men set out to win the “world’s toughest race”—three thousand miles across the Atlantic in a rowboat—is it a noble quest or an ill-fated nightmare?
Unsettled, World Premiere (2007, 80 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Adam Hootnick
During the Gaza withdrawal of 2005, three young Israelis will be forced from their homes, two soldiers will be sent to evict them, and one activist will try to help her country avoid a war. Can one generation change history?
Narrative Special Screening Features
Crashing, World Premiere (2007, 80 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Gary Walkow*
Starring: Campbell Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Izabella Miko, Alex Kingston, David Cross,
Stephen Gyllenhaal, Cory Singer, Calleigh White
Based on Campbell Scott’s novel
Executive Producers: Anthony & Joe Russo Slamdance Alumni
Novelist Richard McMurray crashes on the couch of two coed writing students and starts secretly writing about their lives.
*Walkow won the Grand Prize, Sundance, 1987
You are Here, World Premiere (2007, 82 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Henry Pincus
Starring: Bijou Phillips, Lauren German, Danny Masterson, Katie Cassidy, Patrick Fleuger, Adam Campbell, Chris Lowell, Michael Biehn
Music: Score by BC Smith. Songs by Bloc Party, The Rapture, Nouvelle Vague, The Rakes, LCD Soundsystem, Felix Da Housecat, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Stars
A group of twenty-something friends try to piece together what happened to them over the course of one crazy night in Los Angeles. Told from their varying perspectives, YOU ARE HERE is a fast-paced, kinetic story about love, friendship and what it means to be young and carefree.
Documentary Special Screening Features
Alice Neel, World Premiere (2007, 81 min., USA)
Written/Directed by Andrew Neel
Portrait painter Alice Neel (1900-1984) abandoned almost all the comforts of a "normal" life and family in her quest to document the 20th century, one soul at a time.
Previous Film: Darkon, (2006, 90 min.)
Documentary Feature, SXSW Audience Award
Ganja Queen, World Premiere (2007, 120 min., Australia)
Directed by Janine Hosking
Behind the scenes of the controversial trial of Schapelle Corby, a young woman accused of smuggling ten pounds of marijuana into Bali, Indonesia.
Previous Film: My Khmer Heart (2000)
Winner, Best Documentary: Hollywood Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Mademoiselle and the Doctor 2004, Silverdocs finalist, Joris Ivens finalist, Amsterdam 2004, Melbourne Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival.
Super Amigos, World Premiere (2007, 82 min, Canada/Mexico)
Written/Directed by Arturo Perez Torres
Mexico City is not Gotham City, but if you were to run into any of the five masked activists who protect this metropolis, you’d wonder if you were not living inside a comic book.
Previous Films: Wetback - The Undocumented Documentary
Awards: Winner, Spectrum Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; Winner, Best Documentary, Cinequest Film Festival; Winner, Audience Award, Chicago Latino Film Festival; Winner, Best Story, Festival Pamplona Punto de Vista.
Dante’s Inferno, World Premiere (2007, 78 min., USA)
Directed by Sean Meredith*
Written by Sean Meredith, Paul Zaloom, and Sandow Birk
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, James Cromwell, Martha Plimpton, Paul Zaloom, Tony Hale, John Fleck, Dana Snyder.
A satirical update of Dante's classic travelogue of the underworld, reinterpreted in a postmodern melding of apocalyptic graphic novel meets Victorian-era toy theater.
*Meredith is a Slamdance 2003 ALUMNI, In Smog and Thunder
Cold Prey, North American Premiere (2006, 97 min., Norway)
Directed by Roar Uthaug*
Cast: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Victoria Winge, Tomas Alf Larsen, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Endre Martin Blindheim Midtstigen
Music: (Magnus Beite)
They catch sight of a mountain hotel in the distance, and decide to find shelter there. The hotel lies empty and silent, obviously closed down years ago. The phone lines are dead, and the youngsters realize they have to spend the night in the hotel.
*Roar Uthaug’s graduation film The Martin Administration was nominated for the Student Oscar as Best Foreign Student Film. He has been employed as director for commercial films and music videos in Fantefilm since the summer of 2002.
Homo Erectus, World Premiere (2007, 95 min., USA)
Directed by Adam Rifkin
Cast: Adam Rifkin, Ali Larter, David Carradine, Gary Busey, Talia Shire, Carol Alt
HOMO ERECTUS, a comedy set in prehistoric times, follows the exploits of the
hapless Ishbo, a philosophical caveman who yearns for more out of life than sticks, stones and raw meat.
Slamdance 2007 is presented by Kodak and fox21. Additional sponsors include Directors Guild of America, Maryland Film Office, Studio Number One, All Seasons Resorts, Continental Airlines, Dos Equis, Jewel Winery, Langley Productions, Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, Timbuk2 and XMission.