The 2008 Slamdance Film Festival has announced the feature film slate for its 14th fest, taking place in Park City, Utah January 17-25. The event will open with “Real Time“, written and directed by Randall Cole and starring Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel. The fest described “Real Time” as a “comedic drama about a compulsive gambler who is given one hour to live by the hitman hired to kill him”. Additionally, they announced a schedule of screenings and events, including Twilight Screenings (the fest’s late night series); writing competitions for both screenplays and teleplays; the Anarchy Online Short Film Competition; Fireside Chats with notables from the independent film community; a $99 Special short film production project; a best-of games presentation; and the Horror Screenplay Competition, in which the winning script is guaranteed to be produced as a feature film.
“Slamdance has built a reputation for being at the forefront of what’s new and exciting in culture, media and entertainment” said Peter Baxter, President and Co-Founder, in a statement. “What that means for us as a film festival in today’s new media environment is that we’re inclusive of all the film viewing platforms out there in the marketplace. We don’t just think about theatrical and DVD release – we know our demographic, and they want to watch movies on their iPods, their computers, on YouTube. By embracing all of these different platforms, we’re better equipped to help our filmmakers find an audience.”
As per usual, Slamdance will run at concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival. Slamdance distinguishes itself from its larger competitor by reserving its competition feature program for first time directors working on budgets under one million dollars, as well as programming under a method that involves a majority rule by a committee of filmmakers. Slamdance alumni are brought in as programmers, following the festival’s mantra of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers.” The festival has four programming committees: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Special Screenings, and Shorts.
“This year, we received more than 1,200 feature submissions and selected 29 of them,” said Sarah Diamond, Director of Programming/Chair of Documentary Competition, in a statement. “Every year, we’re blown away by the quality and creativity of the films that are submitted. Our job as programmers gets more difficult as the films get better and better, but we’re thrilled that the decisions are as hard to make as they are. It means that the bar for independent filmmaking is consistently being raised, and that the spirit of Slamdance is continuing to be embraced by the indie film community.”
The following is a list of narrative features, documentaries and special screenings (as provided by the festival), with shorts being announced shortly.
Narrative Feature Competition
“Fix,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Tao Ruspoli
This darkly comedic road movie journeys from Beverly Hills to Watts over the course of 12 hours, as documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo race to get Milo’s brother Leo from jail to rehab before 8 p.m. – or Leo goes to prison for three years.
“Frost,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Steve Clark
When a Manhattan playboy learns his childhood love is engaged he is forced to face the demons of his past and grow up.
“Glory Boy Days,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Paul Encinas
A story about a group of young adults in the prime of their lives, in a time where being young makes you invincible, and being invincible makes you complacent.
“Jetsam,” North American Premiere (UK) Written/Directed by Simon Welsford
Starring Shauna Macdonald and Alex Reid
An amnesiac woman is washed up on a beach and attacked by a man who washed up next to her. On the run from this stranger, she pieces her life back together, uncovering a world of spies, obsession and betrayal.
“How To Be,” World Premiere (UK) Written/Directed by Oliver Irving
A wry comedy about twenty-something Arthur who moves back in with his parents, hits a quarter-life crisis and enlists the help of a live-in self-help guru. A timely look at the increasingly common phenomena of grown-up children living at home, frustrated creativity, and self-help.
“Paranormal Activity,” (USA) Written/Directed by Oren Peli
A supernatural thriller featuring shocking footage of a demonic haunting.
“Portage,” US Premiere (CANADA) Written/Directed by Matthew Miller, Ezra Krybus, Sascha Drews
In this sensual, intense drama, a quartet of teenage girls embark on a canoe trip with a male guide. After his accidental death, they find themselves trapped in the wilderness and have to fend for themselves to find their way back to safety.
“The Project“, World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Ryan Piotrowicz, starring Michael Stahl David, Matt Servitto, and Juelz Santana
Three film student graduates move to New York City to make a documentary about inner city life, where they soon find themselves becoming active participants in a world they hoped to only observe.
“New Year Parade“, World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Tom Quinn
In the first year of their parents’ separation, two siblings struggle for confidence in their own relationships.
“Under the Snow,” North American Premiere (SPAIN) Written/Directed by Candela Figueira and Maitena Muruzabal
Following the unusual connection made between four workers at different stages of their lives, capturing factory life in a way rarely seen: personal, flirtatious, introspective.
Documentary Feature Competition
“Circus Rosaire,” (USA) Written/Directed by Robyn Bliley
For nine generations the Rosaire family has entertained audiences all over the world with their legendary animal acts. However, the circus industry is changing and attendance has dramatically declined. The Rosaire’s livelihood and future are at risk as they struggle to continue the family tradition.
“I Think We’re Alone Now,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Sean Donnelly
Labeled “stalkers” by the media, Jeff and Kelly profess their love for the 80’s pop icon, Tiffany.
“More Shoes,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Lee Kazimir
The story of one individual’s 3,000-mile trek across Europe on foot from Madrid to Kiev .
“My Mother’s Garden,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Cynthia Lester
The story of one woman’s extreme attachment to material objects and how her estranged children reunite to help her let go.
“Neo-Lounge,” (CHINA) Written/Directed by Joanna Vasquez
Arong An Italian aristocrat, a Bulgarian jazz singer, a Colombian coroner, a French hair salon entrepreneur, all together for a short moment in time at Beijing ‘s hippest nightspot Neo-Lounge.
“Pageant,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Ron Davis and Stewart Halpern
In the talented world of female impersonation, this story follows the lives of five ordinary men as they go to extraordinary lengths to be crowned the 34th Miss Gay America(R).
“Song Sung Blue,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Greg Kohs
The alternately inspiring and tragic love story of Lightning & Thunder, a home-grown Milwaukee husband and wife singing duo, who pay tribute to the music of Neil Diamond.
“Sync or Swim,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Cheryl Furjanic
A splashy look at a marginal sport: U.S.A. ‘s top synchronized swimmers endure rigorous training and overcome unthinkable obstacles to compete for Olympic glory.
“View From the Bridge: Stories from Kosovo,” World Premiere (USA/KOSOVO) Written/Directed by John Ealer and Laura Bialis Peace
Told through the first person stories of Serbs, Albanians and Roma (Gypsies), this documentary juxtaposes the nightmares and dreams of Kosovars as it portrays a society trying to build a future while inextricably bound to the past.
“Wesley Willis’s Joyride,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Chris Bagley and Kim Shively
An underground rock icon and revered artist, the late, great Wesley Willis attracted and offended people from all walks of life. The film follows the prolific and controversial artist on his journey from obscurity to cult hero.
Narrative Special Screening Features
“Real Time,” World Premiere (CANADA) Written/Directed by Randall Cole
Starring Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel
A comedic drama about a compulsive gambler who is given one hour to live by the hitman hired to kill him.
“Goodbye Baby“, World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Daniel Schechter
Starring Christine Evangelista, Kevin Corrigan, Jerry Adler, Alan Ruck, Donnell Rawlings
When Melissa Brooks discovers she can’t afford college she moves to New York City and gets a job as a waitress at a comedy club. Living with her eccentric older brother, she enters a love triangle while trying to muster the nerve to get on stage and perform.
“Just Add Water,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Hart Bochner
Starring Dylan Walsh, Danny DeVito, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Tracy Middendorf, Anika Noni Rose
An offbeat romantic comedy about Ray Tuckby, a decent guy living in the once idyllic, now crime-infested town of Trona , California . After encouragement from a stranger he happens upon, Ray begins to dream about the way things used to be. He musters the courage to recapture his childhood love, topple the town thugs and return Trona to its original splendor.
Documentary Special Screening Features
“Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Loren Mendell
Narrated by Don Cheadle. The unlikely story of America ‘s first shock-jock, a black man in a white man’s world who battled the system and his own demons during a time of civil unrest in our nation’s capital.
“Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Kurt Kuenne
On Nov. 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend. To memorialize him, his friend Kurt began making a documentary film; then the killer revealed she was pregnant with Andrew’s son.
“Frontrunner,” World Premiere (USA) Written/Directed by Virginia Williams
A woman’s heroic, relentless run for the Presidency of Afghanistan.
Twilight Screening Features
“Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer,” North American Premiere (CANADA) Written/Directed by Jon Knautz
Starring Robert Englund
Jack Brooks is an angry young plumber who witnessed his family’s brutal murder when he was a child. Unknowingly, he awakens an ancient evil which forces him to confront his past and deal with the monstrous reality of the present.
“Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story” (USA) Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz
A chronicle of the last great American showman, filmmaker William Castle, a master of ballyhoo who became a brand name in movie horror with his outrageous audience participation gimmicks.
“Trailer Park of Terror,” World Premiere (USA) Directed by Steven Goldmann Starring Nichole Hiltz, Lew Temple
Six troubled teens become stranded in a ramshackle trailer park where they meet Norma, an undead, trailer-trash babe with a killer body and a cursed brood of Redneck Zombies.