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by Indiewire
January 31, 1997 2:00 AM
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The Slum Dances Away With Park City's Heart

The Slum Dances Away With Park City's Heart

by Mark Rabinowitz



By far the most interesting and positively charged feature of the recent
Park City film glut opened on Friday, January 17th when, in a flurry of
ass-kissing, the Slumdance Experience was open for business. With almost
no money, and armed with only their collective creative energies, some
financial goodwill and some moonlighting Sundance volunteers, Slumlord
Brian Flemming and other Vagrants (self-described inhabitants of the
slum) fashioned a film event previously unknown to man or beast...or
acquisitions executive.

The 6000' sq. basement in which the Vagrants lived and worked was a
former Mrs. Fields cookie factory, and was rented for $1700 which was
recouped by the Vagrants begging for bed fees from those folks who
wouldn't (or couldn't) leave for the night and who had the dough. The
space was a fully art-directed piece, with Ann Closs and Saadia Goddard
turning a drab basement into an astounding space for the perfect
festival experience. Truly comfortable furniture was bought for $200
from the Salt Lake City Salvation Army, and $100 worth of paint helped
in the transformation (and was used to sign the "guest wall"). According
to the Vagrants' own press release, "Slumdance also made extensive use
of the 30-day Free Rental Program at the Good Guys electronics store in
Salt Lake City." In reality, this is a 30-day, no-questions asked
"guarantee", and with it, the Vagrants picked up digital cameras,
computer equipment, TV's, and VCR's.

The Experience also included top notch 35mm, 16mm, and video projection
set up by Tom Ajar from the North Hollywood-based Tom Ajar Projection
Company
, the aforementioned TV's and VCR's, and a dance floor complete
with Brooklyn DJ, Jacob Craycroft. Other features of the Slum included
the Prostitute's Corner, the Stairway to Acquisition (three steps going
nowhere), Tent City-where the Vagrants slept throughout the event, and
enough good will for the entire state of Utah.

When the subject of alcoholic bevies was broached, since booze tends not
to be cheap, the Vagrants were at a loss, until a certain tall
independent film magazine (FILM*&^%$) publisher donated 15 cases of
beer, saying that if the Vagrants could secure more beer from another,
shorter indiefilm mag publisher (FILM *&^%$*), the former would top the
latter for the closing night's festivities. See tomorrow's piece on how
this challenge worked out. The former publisher was oft quoted during
the week as saying, "Slumdance is the SHIT!"

The space developed quickly into a favorite spot for celebrities and
film execs alike, with Sundance honoree Tim Robbins stopping by after
being feted at the Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision to
spend several hours at the Slum's opening night festivities. Other
notables dropping by included John Waters, Alex Winter, John Cusack, and
Tori Spelling, as well as several execs from Miramax, New Line, and
Polygram. Also featured in the experience was a soup kitchen which
warmed the souls of more than a few heretofore jaded film execs.


In this year of overcrowding, projection disasters, and frenzied buying,
which seemed to turn the once friendly Sundance Film Festival into a
zoo-like market, the Slumdance Experience was born, sort of proving that
what Nietsche wrote was almost true. Out of chaos doesn't come order,
but instead comes nice chaos....fun chaos.....Slumdance!

For more info on the happenings at the Slum, and for a damn good and
deep belly laugh, check out Slumdance on the web at
http://www.slumdance.com

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