"Long Gone" Wins Two Slamdance Prizes; Also, Producers Promote New Projects in Park City
by Eugene Hernandez
David Eberhardt and Jack Cahill's doc "Long Gone" won two awards, while Elliot Greenebaum's "Assisted Living" and Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce's "Missing Peace" were also prize winners as the ninth annual Slamdance Film Festival presented its prizes Friday night during a ceremony at the Snow Park Lodge in Deer Valley.
"Long Gone" depicts six intertwining stories of transients who live life traveling on freight trains in the American West. It won the jury prize for best documentary as well as the festival's Kodak Vision Award for Cinematography for the work of D.P. Greg Yolan. "Assisted Living," winner of the jury prize for best feature, offers a day in the life look at a janitor and his friendship with one of the hospice's residents. The jury also awarded a special prize to the German film "Die Kurve" by Felix Fuchssteiner.
In audience award ballotting, the best feature prize went to the documentary "Missing Peace," the true story of Colombian congresswoman and presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, who became a target for exposing politicians who had links to drug cartels. The audience award for best short was presented to Stephen T. Maing's "Little Hearts."
The jury award for best short film at Slamdance went to Andrew Black's "The Snell Snow," while the jury presented a special jury prize to Amanda Rudman's "Shadowman." The Spirit of Slamdance prize went to Tom Putnam for "Tom Hits His Head" and the Rosebud Award for a budding filmmaker went to Michael Lucid for his short film, "The Lady in the Lake."
PRODUCERS PROMOTE NEW PIX IN PARK CITY
While Sundance is typically known as a place where emerging filmmakers can break through, it is also a launching pad for producers. In fact, a number of seasoned producers use the festival as a valuable opportunity for networking and bringing new projects to the many would-be financiers and distributors who are in town.
Two producers who strengthened their names in Park City this year are brothers Sean Furst and Bryan Furst of Los Angeles-based Furst Films ("Everything Put Together"). The pair debuted Richard Kwietniowski's "Owning Mahowny," executive produced by Sean Furst and Ed Pressman, in the Premiere section. It will be released by Sony Pictures Classics this spring. In the dramatic competition, they had "The Cooler," Wayne Kramer's new film that was produced by Sean Furst (along with Michael Pierce) and co-produced by Bryan Furst. It was acquired earlier this week by Lions Gate. In a conversation with indieWIRE, the brothers explained that they hope the festival will help them gain momentum for a number of new projects.
Producers Diana Williams of Exit 5 Entertainment ("Our Song") and Rene Bastian ("L.I.E.") of Belladonna Productions have announced a partnership to develop and produce a slate of horror films and psychological thrillers. The pair also named two scripts for the initiative: "Buying the Farm" by Stephen Stafford and "Asylum" by David Elliott.
"The two companies are aiming to apply their skill of discovering strong material in conjunction with their low budget production expertise to create a series of smart and commercial genre movies," the producers commented in a prepared statement.
Producers Andrea Sperling ("Pumpkin") and Jasmine Kosovic ("Just One Time") announced a pact to produce a feature version of the Sundance 2003 short film, "D.E.B.S." by Angela Robinson. The film will start shooting later this year with Screen Gems on board as the studio backer.
As producer Williams explained to indieWIRE, Sundance is an ideal place for independent producers. "For me, it's a way to see what work is out there, to meet new filmmakers, and to meet other producers about partnerships for productions," explained Williams. "From the creative end to the sales end, it's a no-pressure way to start a dialogue."