The 2011 Slamdance Film Festival unveiled four Special Screenings, over 50 narrative and documentary shorts as well as titles in its signature $99 Specials sidebar for its 17th annual event. Slamdance, taking place January 21-27, 2011 in Park City, UT, unveiled its Narrative and Doc competition lineups recently.
Among the films on tap for this year’s Special Screenings program is the world premiere of “Summer Children,” described as a “neo-noir dramatic feature film shot in black and white in 1965 with Academy Award winner cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and fully restored from the negatives and optical tracks in 2010.” Also, there is the US debut of Alexandre Rockwell’s “Pete Smalls Is Dead,” with Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi, Seymour Cassel, Rosie Perez and Tim Roth in addition to the “drug/punk/rap fuelled adventure” of “Gandu,” directed by Q.
The $99 Special shorts include three projects that were created over 99 days with $99. In addition to new works by Slamdance alumni Daniel Casey and Paul Sbrizzi, this program includes “Dead In The Room,” directed by Oscar-nominated director Adam Pertofsky and written by Slamdance short script prize winner Marjory Kaptanoglu.
“Our Special Screenings this year showcase the creative spirit that defines Slamdance. From ‘Summer Children”s lost 1960s indie neo-noir to ‘Gandu”s progressive smack and rap Indian fantasy, this unique program is made by filmmakers driven to create their own vision, whatever it takes,” commented Peter Baxter, Slamdance President and co-founder. “The 2011 short film slate continues Slamdance’s tradition of seeking out raw talent, inspired risk-takers, and exceptional filmmakers that are utilizing the freedom of shorter lengths to expand the boundaries of cinema,” added co-Director of Short Film Programming, Randall Good.
Slamdance Special Screenings, Narrative and Documentary shorts as well as $99 Specials with descriptions and information provided by the festival:
“Gandu” – directed by Q (India). 90 mins.
As his mother has sex with her benefactor, an Indian teenager creeps into her room and steals the man’s money. He heads out with his friend Riksha on a drug/punk/rap fuelled-adventure shot in bold, stylish, fluid black and white, until he meets a beautiful kitty-girl who, in one gorgeously shocking scene, turns his world into vivid color.
“Kunst-Camera: J.X. Williams’ Cabinet of Curiosities” – written and directed by J.X. Williams (US, France, Italy, Libya) World Premiere, 90 mins.
In this very rare film program and presentation, the J.X. Williams Archive opens its vault to screen a collection of cinematic artifacts from its holdings in Switzerland.
“Pete Smalls Is Dead” – directed by Alexandre Rockwell (US). US Premiere, 95 mins.
After hitting rock bottom when his faithful dog is kidnapped by a loan shark, K.C. (Peter Dinklage) sets off on an unexpected and hilarious adventure of redemption and retribution when he agrees to meet up with his long-time friend Jack (Mark Boone Junior) in Los Angeles to attend the funeral of their mutual friend and hot shot Hollywood director Pete Smalls (Tim Roth).
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Steve Buscemi, Seymour Cassel, Rosie Perez, Tim Roth
“Summer Children” – written and directed by James Bruner; cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond (US). World Premiere, 86 mins.
A brooding Adonis, Stuart Anderson, driven by his jealous infatuation for an ethereal beauty, Valora Noland, competes for alpha male dominance in this visually stylistic neo-noir 1960s film set against Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography on a yacht crossing to Catalina Island. (B&W 1965 fully restored in HD) Restoration Completed in 2010.
Cast: ’60s actors Valora Noland, Stuart Anderson, and David Arkin.
Narrative Shorts (all films are from the US unless otherwise noted):
“5 Dollars” – written and directed by Clay Jeter. 18 min.
Kenny and Lou Ann are paid five bucks to keep their mouths shut when their sister brings an older boy home to their trailer.
“A Family Portrait” – written and directed by Joseph Pierce. 5 min (United Kingdom)
Suspicion bubbles to the surface during a tense family portrait.
“Andy” – written and directed by Andrew Ahn. 6 min.
Six-year old Andy goes to the mall with his family.
“Animal Love” – written and directed by Mollie Jones. World Premiere, 16 min.
In a near future of environmental degradation, a couple meets for an internet hook-up in an animal lover’s apartment.
“Aurora Borealis” – written and directed by Matt H. Mayes. World Premiere, 13 min.
A grown son visits his mother in a rest home when a shift of light reveals the spaces between and inside them.
“Bassa marea (Low Tide)” – directed by Roberto De Paolis. 15 min. (Italy)
A lonely man wanders a lonely city in search of medication and memories.
“Beast of Hearts” – written and directed by Jonathan Seligson. World Premiere, 11 min.
Subdued… A long time ago in the distant future, a cryptic deity recounts the kismet of an Alien Space Bat and his nemesis; all wrapped in a mystery and deep-fried in a crispy, crunchy enigma.
“Bird” – written and directed by Petr Stupin. World Premiere, 31 minutes (Russia)
An estranged man encounters a bird that cannot fly and discovers a purpose for himself.
“Block” – directed by Chadd Harbold; written by Mary Beth Minthorn and Helen Rogers. World Premiere, 12 min.
A young actress living in Brooklyn discovers how profoundly her hostile environment has affected her.
“Bottle” – written and directed by Kirsten Lepore. 5 min.
Animated on location at a beach, in the snow, and underwater, this stop-motion short details a transoceanic conversation between two characters via objects in a bottle.
“Bunny Boy” – written and directed by Brandon LaGanke. 5 min.
When a young child walks home from school he encounters a strange-looking man lying in his backyard.
“Checkpoint” – directed by Ruben Amar; written by Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis. World Premiere, 19 min. (Israel)
A young Palestinian boy living in the Gaza strip accompanies his father on monthly visits to the ruins of a destroyed village. Though he doesn’t understand his father’s ritual, he feels he has a duty to help him.
“Circles and Signals” – written and directed by Ehsan Ghoreishi. World, Premiere, 6 min. (Israel)
A broken taxicab brings more than a headache to an angry auto mechanic and his chaotic garage.
“Death and the Blue-Eyed Boy” – written and directed by Grant Curatola. 18 min.
Charlie falls in love on the first day of school, with a girl who may or may not be the spawn of evil.
“Diamond Bay” – written and directed by David Ratner. World Premiere, 9 min. (Australia)
Diamond Bay is a slightly twisted love story about an elderly Chinese tourist in Sydney, who goes off the beaten path to get away from his wife for a few moments of peace – and finds the opposite.
“Everyday” – written and directed by Will Welles. World Premiere, 3 min.
The infinite spaces of the mind are filled only with violence and childish ideologues berating each other endlessly.
“Flesh Color” – directed by Masahiko Adachi. US Premiere, 4 min. (Japan)
An animated Japanese tattoo world on the skin.
“Gravity” – written and directed by Pamela Romanowsky. World Premiere, 12 min.
Mae lives a quiet life in the north woods with her estranged husband. Amid alienation and brutality, Mae forms an unexpected connection with a wounded rabbit, and finds that its fate is tied to her own.
“Hangnail” – written and directed by Cavan Campbell. World Premiere, 12 min. (Canada)
Photographed entirely in one shot, Hangnail pulls back the skin of parched love.
“Hello Caller” – directed by Andrew Putschoegl; written by Tom Lenk. World Premiere, 6 min.
A suicidal woman makes a call for help with unexpected results.
“Hijo de mi madre” – written and directed by Lucas Mireles. World Premiere, 13 min.
In the desert, a son finds the body of his estranged mother. As he journeys to bury her, he is haunted by memories from the last day he saw her alive.
“Houseboat” – written and directed by Nina Macintosh. World Premiere, 7 min.
Shot on Connecticut’s Coginchaug and Mattabesset rivers, “Houseboat” explores the tenderness and strain between a sister and brother as they take care of each other on the margins of society.
“Les chiens jappent (Barking Dogs)” – written and directed by Arthur C. Joron. US Premiere, 13 min. (Canada)
Two teenaged metal heads feel that they are the badasses of their French-Canadian suburb.
“Make Me Stronger” – written and directed by Sarah Hudson. World Premiere, 6 min. (Canada)
When a flash of a blue sweater triggers visions of a perished childhood friend, an alienated young woman is forced to face the event that continues to haunt her.
“Mam” – directed by Hugo Speer; written by Vivienne Harvey. US Premiere, 14 min. (United Kingdom)
When Mam won’t get out of bed, twelve year-old Danny must fend for his brothers and sisters.
“Mouth Babies” – directed by Lisa Duva and Katherine Nolfi; written by Lisa Duva. World Premiere, 7 min.
One woman’s journey through oral pregnancy.
“Odd Streets Run West” – written and directed by Tannaz Hazemi. World Premiere, 7 min.
A kindergarten teacher with Down Syndrome has been fired, and in her imagination she attempts something that no one would have thought her capable of doing.
“Pampelika (Dandelion)” – written and directed by Laurel Parmet. US Premiere, 10 min., (Czech Republic, US)
After a fight with her father, Klara runs away from home to spend the day with her best friend, Lucie.
“Protect the Nation” – written and directed by C.R. Reisser. 16 min. (Germany, South Africa)
When faced with the unexpected kindness of a stranger, a young boy begins to question himself. Does he have the courage to do what’s right?
“Push Bike” – directed by Mairi Cameron; written by Tracey Walker. 12 min. (Australia)
When a married woman’s clothes are stolen from a local pool one night, she has no choice but to brave a nude bike ride home.
“Raymond & Lina” – written and directed by Mark Pagan. 11 min.
Raymond Johnson, 63 and tired. Lina Overton, eight and troubled. One late summer day, the two will discover that their lives will be closer than they expected.
“Refresh” – written and directed by Hayato Ando. 5 min. (Japan)
How can we relieve ourselves when we are under stress? And what happens to those of us who cannot alleviate the mounting frustration?
“Resolved” – directed by Kseniya Rukavishnikova; written by Brandon Maurice. US Premiere, 13 min. (Russia, US)
Tormented by a decision from her past, a nurse tries to find redemption through her patient.
“Rice” – written and directed by Taj J. Musco. 20 min. (Singapore)
A man struggles to cook the perfect bowl of rice under the tutelage of a stern Japanese rice master.
“Rita” – written and directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza. 19 min. (Italy)
A blind, ten-year-old girl’s claustrophobic world of her home is breached by a wounded boy on the run.
“Scumbag, Pervert and the Girl in Between” – written and directed by Bruce Hwang Chen. World Premiere, 15 min. (Taiwan, US)
A high school outcast tries to impress a girl by retrieving her stolen pair of P.E. shorts from a town pervert.
“Sis” – written and directed by Deborah Haywood. 11 min. (United Kingdom)
When Lauren and Amy hear there is a man who ‘likes children’ living in the area, they decide to track him down to show him their handstands.
“Sister” – written and directed by Michael Rittmannsberger. US Premiere, 6 min. (Austria)
A couple takes their two daughters to the seaside. It is an ordinary day until one of the girls disappears and drowns. The parents cannot bear the loss and their other daughter goes searching for her sister. She does not even shed a tear; her eyes mirror guilt, fear and loneliness.
“Six Strands” – written and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane. US Premiere, 16 min.
A lonely, mysterious woman in the hills of an unknown town produces the most elusive and expensive tea in the world. Plucked under mysterious conditions, the ‘Moonlight Thurston’ tea triggers layered sensations encompassing taste, memory, love and pleasure.
“Son of None” – written and directed by Todd Looby. 16 min. (Liberia, West Africa)
Joshua is a seven-year-old Liberian war orphan who is constantly disheveled and falling behind in school, but when a goat goes missing he chooses to help the one thing even more vulnerable than he.
“Stanley Pickle” – directed by Victoria Mather; written by Orhan Boztas and Victoria Mather. 11 min. (United Kingdom)
Stanley lives his life like clockwork, until a mysterious girl turns his world upside down.
“TELEPHONEME” – directed by MK12. 3 min.
The Voice Research Laboratory along with Swedish Secrets Productions produced this colorful, geometric televideo as a means to inform the public of a massive linguistic conspiracy discovered while conducting routine tests on letters & phrases previously thought to be benign.
“The Bellows March” – directed by Eric Dyer. 5 min.
Crowds of animated concertinas live out a cycle of destroy-create-destroy.
“The Strange Thing About the Johnsons” – written and directed by Ari Aster. US Premiere, 29 min.
The Johnsons are an attractive, well-to-do, upper-middle class family. But they hide a secret, and Mr. Johnson has written a memoir that chronicles the ins and outs of a bizarre family dynamic.
“The Wonder Hospital” – written and directed by Beomsik Shimbe Shim. 12 min.
A surreal journey through a mysterious hospital that alters the perception of physical beauties.
“Twist & Blood” – written and directed by Kuba Czekaj. World Premiere, 30 min. (Poland)
A young boy is ridiculed by his peers for being overweight. His parents want to slim him down at any cost, but he has found a way to relieve the pressures of his family and friends.
“X.O. Genesis” – directed by Rowan Wernham. US Premiere, 12 min. (New Zealand)
As an alien protagonist walks the path to rapture through a tactile, painterly landscape, he becomes an unwitting participant in religious cacophony and planetary rebirth. A reclamation of science-fiction on anarchy’s terms.
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS (all films are from the US unless otherwise noted):
“Irma” – directed by Charles Fairbanks. 12 min. (Mexico, US)
Filmed in Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl – a notorious district of Mexico City, Irma is an intimate musical portrait of Irma Gonzalez, the former world champion of women’s professional wrestling.
“Kinbaku” – directed by Jouni Hokkanen. US Premiere, 29 min. (Finland)
Rope meets flesh in Tokyo, the S/M capital of the world. It started with samurais capturing enemies on a battlefield and after tying over 3,000 people still inspires rope master Haruki Yukimura.
“Missed Connections” – directed by Mary Robertson. 8 min.
Once found on the back pages of local papers, “Missed Connections” is a forum on Craigslist where those who regret their timidity make appeals to the Ones Who Got Away. This documentary short peers inside these popular online messages-in-a-bottle, asking whether love lost can be found again?
“Oaks” – directed by Charles Wittenmeier. 17 min.
Ethan Rose discovers a silent-era pipe organ at the Oaks Park roller skating rink in Portland. He befriends the resident organist, Keith Fortune and this friendship results in Rose’s critically acclaimed record “Oaks.” The film chronicles how the recording of “Oaks” elicits new life from the Wurlitzer.
“Rhag” – directed by Doug Walker. World Premiere, 40 min.
RHAG recognizes the shear, whacky brilliance of painter and experimental composer Roy Henry Alexander Gover.
“The Laying on of Hands” – directed by Nick Twemlow. World Premiere, 8 min.
Martial arts death dealing meets biblical faith healing.
“This Chair is Not Me” – directed by Andy Taylor Smith. 10 min. (United Kingdom)
While cerebral palsy confines Alan Martin to a wheelchair and inhibits his speech, he refuses to limit himself. When he gains access to technology that enables him to find a voice, his life is transformed.
“Two” – directed by Maya Newell. World Premiere, 17 min. (Australia, England)
Delves into the secret world of adult babies and an Englishman who is locked in a continual state of wanting to be two years old and pampered by his adoring nanny.
“Ultra Violet for Sixteen Minutes” – directed by David Gerson. 17 min.
A sixteen-minutes portrait of Ultra Violet – mistress to Salvador Dali, muse to Andy Warhol, and a born-again Mormon.
$99 Specials (all films are from the US unless otherwise noted):
“Autofocus” – directed by Paul Sbrizzi. World Premiere, 10 min.
Gemma, a wannabe actress, tries to milk her elderly Aunt Rita for acting lesson money, and gets into a cat-fight with her friend Piper over a borrowed sweater. Meanwhile Piper positions herself to pull a real estate scam on the kindly old aunt.
Cast: Laura Russell, Jenny Lee
“Cargo” – directed by Daniel Casey. World Premiere, 7 min.
A man working off a debt to his bail bondsman agrees to drive a potentially dangerous package across the country. Disaster ensues.
“Dead In The Room” – directed by Adam Pertofsky; written by Marjory Kaptanoglu. World Premiere, 7 min.
At a screenwriters’ pitch event, a menacing writer turns the tables on an arrogant studio executive.