The Slamdance Film Festival announced today their Narrative and Documentary Feature Film Competition programs for its 23rd Festival edition, taking place in Park City from January 20-26, 2017. Driven by a dedication to emerging artists, Slamdance continues to be the premiere film festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers.
Established in 1995, Slamdance is dedicated to discovering and supporting new talents in independent filmmaking. Previous Slamdance alumni include: Bong Joon Ho (SNOWPIERCER), Lena Dunham (TINY FURNITURE), and Christopher Nolan (THE DARK KNIGHT; MEMENTO). The 23rd edition of Slamdance will also feature DIG (Digital, Interactive & Gaming) which showcases eight works by emerging artists working in cutting edge digital media, and Polytechnic, a series of free, open-learning workshops that explore new ideas and disrupt existing ones with unique perspectives on filmmaking and new media production from industry insiders.
This year the festival will showcase 11 narrative and 8 documentary features from emerging storytellers across the globe.
“Slamdance gives a platform to artists working outside of the system—we pride ourselves on supporting filmmakers who create challenging work,” says Festival Manager, Clementine Leger. “We feel so fortunate to welcome these artists and their works into our community.”
The feature competition lineup includes 16 premieres—12 World, 3 North American, and 1 US premieres. All competition films are feature film directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million USD, and without US distribution. All films were reviewed by a team of Slamdance alumni and are programmed democratically.
Jury Awards are presented for the Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature. Previous winners include: THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK (Best Documentary Feature, 2016) and DRIFTWOOD (Best Narrative Feature, 2016). Films in both categories are eligible for the Audience Award and Spirit of Slamdance Award, the latter of which is voted upon by this year’s presented filmmakers.
NARRATIVE FEATURES PROGRAM
(Taiwan) World Premiere
Director & Screenwriter: Jheng-Neng LI
Allen invested everything into a beautiful home to flip for profit only to have it languish on the market, turning his daily life into a haze of financial pressures and an erosion of reality.
Cast: Chia-Lun Yang, Jui-Tzu Liu, Chong-Cyuan Huang, Chin-Yu Lin, Sih-Mei Liou, Ting-Li Bao, Chieh-Wen Deng, Zaw Lin Htwe
Beat Beat Heart
(Germany) North American Premiere
Director & Screenwriter: Luise Brinkmann
Daydreaming her way out of a broken heart, Kerstin’s denial as well as her days are shaken up with the arrival of her mother, dealing with her own relationship’s demise.
Cast: Lana Cooper, Saskia Vester, Till Wonka, Aleksandar Radenkovic, Christin Nichols, Jörg Bundschuh, Caroline Erikson
Director: Cheryl Nichols; Screenwriter(s): Arron Shiver, Cheryl Nichols
Struggling musician Jesse tracks down his ex Anne in a small town in New Mexico, and is forced to face the decisions of his past as present day consequences set in.
Cast: Arron Shiver, Cheryl Nichols, Drago Sumonja, Judith Ivey, Jackson Shiver, Cassidy Freeman, Kristian Moore, Dylan Kenin
Dave Made a Maze
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Bill Watterson; Screenwriter(s): Steven Sears, Bill Watterson
Dave builds a fort in his living room and ends up trapped inside by fantastical pitfalls, booby traps and creatures, leaving his girlfriend Annie to head up the eccentric rescue team to go in after him.
Cast: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Adam Busch, James Urbaniak, Stephanie Allynne, Kirsten Vangsness, Scott Krinsky, John Hennigan
Dim the Fluorescents
(Canada) World Premiere
Director: Daniel Warth; Screenwriter(s): Miles Barstead, Daniel Warth
A struggling actress and an aspiring playwright funnel their uninhibited passion into the only paying work they can find: role-playing demonstrations for corporate seminars.
Cast: Claire Armstrong, Naomi Skwarna, Andreana Callegarini-Gradzik, Brendan Hobin, Clare McConnell, Todd Graham, Hannan Younis, Thom Gill
(China, Australia) US Premiere
Director & Screenwriter: Shumin Liu
Liu and Deng are a couple in their 70s who set off to visit their adult children in three faraway cities, in an immersive exploration of family dynamics and daily life.
Cast: Shoufang Deng, Lijie Liu, Xiaomin Liu, Jiangsheng Jiang, Erya Chen, Xujun Liu, Liqin Huang, Zepeng Liao
Kate Can’t Swim
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Josh Helman; Screenwriter(s): Jennifer Allcott, Josh Helman
When Kate’s best friend Em returns from abroad with a surprising new lover, they embark on a reunion vacation with their partners, but the peaceful getaway quickly becomes emotionally complicated.
Cast: Celeste Arias, Grayson Dejesus, Jennifer Allcott, Josh Helman
(France, UK, Germany, Luxembourg) World Premiere
Director(s) & Screenwriter(s): Joji Koyama, Tujiko Noriko
A Japanese woman living in Paris tends to her paraplegic lover, passing time by recounting a story about the time they once spent together in Japan, rich with anecdotes, myths and an unexpected dark turn.
Cast: Tujiko Noriko, Jackie
(Germany) World Premiere
Director(s): Frauke Havemann; Co-Director: Eric Schefter; Screenwriter: Mark Johnson Set in an unspecific time of extreme climate change, an isolated group of disoriented characters develop their own strange belief systems and engage in absurd activities to process their dilemma.
Cast: Inga Dietrich, Charles McDaniel, Erik Hansen, Sabine Hertling, Jack Rath
(Canada) North American Premiere
Director & Screenwriter: Joyce Wong
Betty is a lonely strip mall security guard, and an unexpected moment with charming deadbeat Danny ends up setting off the unraveling of both their lives.
Cast: Reid Asselstine, Darrel Gamotin, Francis Melling, Ellie Posadas
(Canada) World Premiere
Director: Adrian Murray; Screenwriter(s): Adrian Murray, Marcus Sullivan, Dean Tardioli
Living in a basement he can’t afford, Aaron spends his days doing drum solos and talking his way out of paying for utilities, until he finds a lost credit card and devises a plan to defraud its owner.
Cast: Aaron Keogh, Molly Reisman, Dean Tardioli, Adrian Murray, Greg Wasylyszn, Kelly Paoli, Hallie Burt, Earl Oliveros
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES PROGRAM
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Stephen Richardson; Screenwriter: Jennifer Harrington
Through the lens of an anachronistic charm school that has existed for almost three decades in rural Louisiana, we explore a town confronted with contemporary issues of class and race.
The Children Send Their Regards
(Austria) World Premiere
Director: Patricia Josefine Marchart; Screenwriter(s): Jakob Purkarthofer, Sepp Rothwangl, Patricia Josefine Marchart
Adult victims of physical abuse by clergy members in Austria revisit the sites of their childhood trauma and make public their stories to shed light into one of the greatest crimes of the post-war period.
Cast: Georg Prader, Jo Auer, Inge Killmeyer, Josef Schörkmayr, Klaus Oberndorfer, Paula Neulinger, Walo Nowak, Anita Ossinger, Klaus Fluch, Sepp Rothwangl
Director: Pete Gleeson
Somewhere between Australia’s most isolated city and it’s largest gold pit lies Coolgardie, where the arrival every three months of a new pair of foreign female backpackers to work the only bar in town is keenly anticipated by the town’s hot-blooded males.
The Modern Jungle
(Mexico/USA) North American Premiere
Director(s) & Screenwriter(s): Charles Fairbanks, Saul Kak
A story of globalization filtered through the fever dream of a Mexican shaman, this is an intimate portrait of Zoque culture, commodity fetish, and the predicament of documentary cinema.
Cast: Juan Juarez Rodriguez, Carmen Echevarría Lopez
On The Sly: In Search of the Family Stone
(USA) World Premiere
Director & Screenwriter: Michael Rubenstone
Director and super-fan Michael Rubenstone sets out in search of long-time reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. Along the way, he meets with some success, but finds countless more failures in trying to capture a man who refuses to be contained.
Cast: Michael Rubenstone, Cornel West, Bobby Womack, Clive Davis, Dick Cavett, Paul Shaffer, David Kapralik, Freddy Stone
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Stefan Avalos
A rural Ohio eccentric with an obsession for ‘Stradivari’ convinces a famous European concert violinist that he can make a copy of one of the most famous and valuable violins in the world. Fighting time, poverty, and most of all – himself – Danny Houck puts everything on the line for one shot at glory.
Cast: Daniel Houck, Razvan Stoica, David Campbell, Rodger Stearns, Mary Houck
Director: Jessie Auritt
Naomi seems like a typical 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl; watching her compete to lift almost three times her bodyweight tells a different story.
Who is Arthur Chu?
(USA) World Premiere
Director(s) & Screenwriter(s): Scott Drucker, Yu Gu
Arthur Chu, eleven time Jeopardy! winner turned internet iconoclast, battles dark forces as a blogger and cultural pundit ultimately realizing that to create positive change in the world he must first heal his own wounds.
All Access, Industry, Local’s, and Student Festival Passes are available now online. Individual tickets will be available shortly. To purchase, click here: http://showcase.slamdance.com/Passes-and-Tickets
The 2017 Slamdance Artwork was created by artist Tommy C Burns
Slamdance is a community, a year-round experience, and a statement. Established in 1995 by a wild bunch of filmmakers who were tired of relying on a large, oblique system to showcase their work, Slamdance has proven, year after year, that when it comes to recognizing talent and launching careers, independent and grassroots communities can do it themselves.
Slamdance alums are responsible for the programming and organization of the festival. With a variety of backgrounds, interests, and talents, but with no individual filmmaker’s vote meaning more than any others, Slamdance’s programming and organizing committees have been able to stay close to the heart of low budget and do-it-yourself filmmaking. In this way, Slamdance continues to grow and exemplify its mantra: By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers.
The 2017 Slamdance Film Festival will run January 20-26 in Park City, Utah.
Notable Slamdance alumni who first gained notice at the festival include: Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Marc Forster (World War Z), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), Lena Dunham (Girls), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Anthony & Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin), Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses), Lynn Shelton (Humpday) and Matt Johnson (Operation Avalanche). Box Office Mojo reports alumni who first showed their work at Slamdance have earned over $11.5 billion at the Box Office to date.
In addition to the Festival, Slamdance serves emerging artists and a growing audience with several year-round activities. These include the popular Slamdance Screenplay Competition, the traveling On The Road screening events, the Anarchy Workshop for student filmmakers, and The ArcLight Presents Slamdance Cinema Club – a monthly cinema club partnership with ArcLight Cinemas based at the ArcLight Hollywood and ArcLight Chicago, with two screenings and filmmaker Q&A’s each month:
In January 2015, Hulu partnered with Slamdance Studios to offer a new film collection from Festival alumni. The nascent but already profitable venture allows viewers to access Slamdance Studios on Hulu at www.hulu.com/companies/slamdance
Slamdance Presents is a new distribution arm established to access broader distribution of independent films. The goal is to build the popularity of independent films and support filmmakers on a commercial level through theatrical releases. In August 2016, Slamdance Presents launched the week long release of Claire Carré’s feature sci-fi film, Embers, at ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood. Steve Yu’s The Resurrection of Jake The Snake was the first film to be released by the company. The documentary reached number one on iTunes in December, 2015.
In November 2015, Slamdance announced DIG (Digital, Interactive & Gaming), a new digital, interactive and gaming showcase dedicated to emerging independent artists working in hybrid, immersive and developing forms of digital media art. Ten works were featured in the inaugural DIG show that opened in Los Angeles at Big Pictures Los Angeles on December 4, running through December 13, 2015. The show was also featured at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival.
DIG will open December 2-10, 2016 and form part of the 2017 Film Festival.