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Slamdance 2015 Narrative & Doc Features Announced – Films on Dennis Rodman & Haiti President Michel Martelly Make the Cut

Slamdance 2015 Narrative & Doc Features Announced - Films on Dennis Rodman & Haiti President Michel Martelly Make the Cut

The 21st annual Slamdance Film Festival has announced its narrative and documentary feature film competition programs. 

This year’s selection of 11 narrative films and 8 documentaries includes, or most interest to this blog, the world premiere of “Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang,” Colin Offland’s documentary on Dennis Rodman’s so-called “hoops diplomacy” in North Korea, when he met with dictator Kim Jong-un; and also the world premiere for “Sweet Micky for President,” also a documentray, directed by Ben Patterson, featuring the contributions of Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel of the Fugees, as well as presidential candidate Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, who campaigns against all odds in Haiti’s third ever democratic election.

“It’s very exciting to bring this dynamic lineup to audiences in Park City,” said festival director Anna Germanidi in a statement. “We are proud to help launch these filmmakers’ careers and celebrate the success we all believe these films deserve.”

All films will be eligible for the Audience Awards, as well as the Spirit of Slamdance Award, and Jury Awards that will be presented to feature films in both the narrative and documentary categories. All in competition are directorial debuts with no U.S. distribution, and budgets less than $1 million. 

8 countries, including Turkey, Brazil, Italy, Austria, and Ireland, are represented in this year’s selections.

“Our success in showcasing emerging artists is most obviously linked with American talent, but increasingly at Slamdance, we want to also support new international talent,” said co-founder and president, Peter Baxter, in a statement.

The 2015 Slamdance Film Festival will take place Jan. 23–29 in Park City, Utah. 

The full narrative and documentary features competition lineup is listed below.

NARRATIVE FEATURES PROGRAM
 
Across the Sea – Directors & Screenwriters: Nisan Dağ, Esra Saydam
(Turkey/USA) North American Premiere
Young, beautiful and pregnant, Damla has to confront her first love in a Turkish summer town before she can fully embrace her new life in New York.
Cast: Damla Sönmez, Jacob Fishel, Ahmet Rıfat Şungar, Hakan Karsak, Brittany Angley
 
Asco – Director: Ale Paschoalini; Screenwriters: Ale Paschoalini, Rafael Baliu
(Brazil) World Premiere
Needs and desires are simplified in this experimental, black and white portrayal of the poisonous destruction of a broken heart.
Cast: Guto Nogueira, Sol Faganello, Acauã Sol, Danielle Rosa, Ligia Franchini, El Alberto
 
Body – Directors & Screenwriters: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
(USA) World Premiere
After three twenty-something girls break into a mansion and inadvertently murder the groundskeeper, they slowly self-destruct as they decide what to do with the dead body in the living room.
Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden
 
Clinger – Director: Michael Steves; Screenwriters: Michael Steves, Gabi Chennisi Duncombe, Bubba Fish
(USA) World Premiere
When her possessive high school boyfriend dies in a gruesome accident, Fern Petersen’s life is thrown into turmoil.  Things go from bad to worse when he returns as a love-sick ghost to kill her so they can be together for eternity.
Cast: Vincent Martella, Jennifer Laporte, Julia Aks, Lisa Wilcox, Debbie Rochon
 
Darkness on the Edge of Town – Director & Screenwriter: Patrick Ryan
(Ireland) US Premiere
A troubled teenage sharpshooter decides to avenge the death of her estranged sister after she is found murdered in a public bathroom.
Cast: Emma Eliza Regan, Brian Gleeson, Maura Foley, Emma Willis, Sam Monaghan
 
Diamond Tongues – Director: Brian Robertson, Pavan Moondi; Screenwriter: Pavan Moondi
(Canada) World Premiere
Edith Welland is an actress. Things haven’t been going very well. When her ex-boyfriend becomes an actor on a whim and almost immediately books a leading role, Edith decides if she’s going to get ahead, she’ll need to get ruthless.
Cast: Leah Goldstein, Nick Flanagan, Leah Wildman, Adam Gurfinkel, Noah R. Taylor
 
High Performance – Director & Screenwriter: Johanna Moder
(Austria) US Premiere
Rudi wears a suit, Daniel rides a bike, and they are both interested in Nora for very different reasons; the story of two grown up brothers who still know how to hurt each other.
Cast: Marcel Mohab, Manuel Rubey, Katharina Pizzera
 
Ratter – Director & Screenwriter: Branden Kramer
(USA) World Premiere
Emma is being watched by a stalker who has hacked into all of her personal technology – laptop, cell phone, and other web connected devices – to record her most intimate moments. Eventually the video feeds aren’t enough and the stalker moves from the virtual to the physical.
Cast: Ashley Benson, Matt McGorry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, John Anderson, Kaili Vernoff

They Look Like People – Director & Screenwriter: Perry Blackshear
(USA) World Premiere
Suspecting that those around him are actually malevolent shape-shifters, a troubled young man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself.
Cast: MacLeod Andrews, Evan Dumouchel, Margaret Drake, Mick Casale, Elena Greenlee
 
Tired Moonlight – Director & Screenwriter: Britni West
(USA) World Premiere
Drifting between small-town gossip and dreams of the outside world, two middled aged womens’ lives are slowly upended as they start caring for a young girl and a ramblin’ man from the past rolls through their small town.
Cast: Alex Karpovsky, Liz Randall, Paul Dickinson, Hillary Berg, RainLeigh Vick
 
Wendell and the Lemon – Director & Screenwriter: Lawrence Krauser
(USA)
A young man finds a lemon on the sidewalk, takes it home, and becomes inordinately fond of it. Complications ensue.
Cast: Todd d’Amour, Rebecca Hart, Jay Smith, Lia Aprile, Danton Stone
 
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES PROGRAM
 
20 Years of Madness – Director: Jeremy Royce
(USA) World Premiere
Twenty years after the success of a 90s cult TV show, 30 Minutes of Madness, founder Jerry White Jr. brings the rag tag team of misfits back together to film one final episode – only to find the majority of his cast now suffer from a variety of personal struggles.
Cast: Jerry White Jr., Joe Hornacek, John Ryan, Jesus Rivera, Matt Zaleski
 
Alberi che Camminano – Director: Mattia Colombo; Screenwriters: Erri De Luca, Mattia Colombo
(Italy) US Premiere
A meditative look at the two distinct lives of trees and their deep relationship with human beings.
 
Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang – Director: Colin Offland; Screenwriter: Matt Baker
(UK) World Premiere
An intimate behind the scenes look at Dennis Rodman’s unlikely friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the staging of the most controversial game of basketball the world has never seen.
 
I Am Thor – Director: Ryan Wise
(USA) World Premiere
Before Chris Hemsworth, there was Jon Mikl Thor – the original hammer-wielding, steel bending, brick smashing rock star of the 70s band THOR. But does he still have the magic to thunder a comeback?
Cast: Jon Mikl Thor, Rusty Hamilton, Mike Favata, Steve Price, Keith Zazzi
 
My Fathers, My Mother and Me – Director: Paul-Julien Robert
(Austria) North American Premiere
Twenty years after leaving the Austrian commune where he was raised, Paul-Julien Robert embarks on a personal journey to confront what went wrong and explore ideas of family.
 
On Her Own – Director & Screenwriter: Morgan Schmidt-Feng
(USA) World Premiere
A woman and her family try to save their 5th generation family farm during the Great Recession.
 
The Resurrection of Jake the Snake – Director: Steve Yu
(USA) World Premiere
Legendary wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts charts his personal and professional comeback while battling crippling addictions.
Cast: Jake Roberts, Dallas Page, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin, Adam Copeland
 
Sweet Micky For President – Director: Ben Patterson
(USA) World Premiere
With the help of Pras Michel of the Fugees, presidential candidate Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, campaigns against all odds in Haiti’s third ever democratic election.
Cast: Pras Michel, Michel Martelly, Wyclef Jean

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