Archive for 2008
Slamdance was established in 1995, several years after Sundance had been established as the hotspot for American independent film. Started by a group of filmmakers who, for whatever reason, couldn’t get their films into the increasingly competitive bigger name fest, it has now become extremely competitive in its own right. One of the unique things about the festival is that in the competition screenings they show only films without prior theatrical distribution and with budgets under $1 million, from first-time feature directors. Sundance claims to emphasize indie-fare, but many of the films — even in competition — turn out to be vehicles for major stars to get their “indie-cred” and come to the festivals with indirect studio backing. Slamdance ensures that its films — at least those in competition — are on an even playing field.
Every year, in addition to a lineup of sincere fictional and documentary films, they tend to have a decent list of tongue-in-cheek and scary horror flicks. Last year my whole group went to see the low-budget but extremely effective “Paranormal Activity” and were all creeped out — apparently the rights to a bigger budget bigger names version have been purchased by Dream Works.
This year Slamdance is opening with I Sell the Dead, a film that has already generated a huge amount of buzz on the internet and from horror afficionados and stars Dominic Managhan (Merry from Lord of the Rings), Ron Perlman (you know, Hellboy), and Larry Fessenden (longtime veteran and creator of indie horror, director of The Last Winter that we showed at Eckerd’s Environmental Film Festival in 2008). It’s also showing Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Undead, and Zombie Girl, and several other scary flicks. For my money, the horror films at Slamdance tend to be every bit as exciting as the “Midnight” screenings at Sundance. (more…)
From 3,661 feature-length films that were submitted this year, the Sundance staff has selected just 118 to fill the slots in its documentary and feature competitions, as well as in its Spectrum, Frontier, Midnight and Premiere categories. The competition was even more intense when it comes to short films - a mere 96 were selected from 5632 submissions from around the world.
According to Geoffrey Gilmore, longtime director of the festival, and John Cooper, director of programming, the films this year emphasize creative storytelling and emotional resonance. (more…)