Nine world premieres will be among 16 features competing for honours at the Slamdance 2003 Film Festival after organisers sifted through a record 2,800 submissions. Announcing the line-up last night (Dec 9), Slamdance director Gianna Chachere and president and co-founder Peter Baxter said the titles reflected 'youthful voices and the discovery of new talent' in keeping with the competition's mandate to uncover emerging film-makers with limited funds who have no US distribution deal. Twelve short films will also screen in competition and Chachere added that the ninth annual event was returning to its Main Street, Park City, base in order to most effectively showcase the work of entrants. Slamdance runs during Sundance from Jan 18-25, 2003. Special Screenings, films screening out of competition and festival events will be announced in due course. The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on Jan 24 at a location to be announced, when entrants will vie for the bronze 'Sparky' trophy.
"I am extremely pleased that the 2003 festival is moving back to Main Street," Chachere said. "A major focus this year is to give each filmmaker as many screenings as possible, and to do so in a convenient, inviting, unaffected and interactive environment. It is important to Slamdance to give these emerging filmmakers an opportunity to screen their films to as wide an audience as possible."
Director of programming Nubia Flores said the record number of submissions were the result of the Slamdance On The Road tour, which this year visited China, Germany and Poland as well as closer-to-home locales such as Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC. Flores also pointed out that 1,500 of the 2,800 entries were digital productions as independent film-makers continued to gravitate towards the more cost effective format.
FEATURE FILMS SCREENING IN COMPETITION:
All Night Bodega (France/USA, 90 mins, 2002, Narrative) Dir: Felix Olivier
A troubled teen learns to assert herself and make her own choices as she comes of age in a foster home in Spanish Harlem. Destiny intervenes when she tumbles into a path of violence and misdeeds. With Jaime Tirelli.
Assisted Living (USA, 77 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Elliot Greenebaum
A janitor in a nursing home spends his days getting high and enjoying the surrealism of resident life. When he develops an unlikely friendship with an elderly woman whose mind is faltering, his compassion drives him to deliberately jeopardize his job.
Briar Patch (USA, 104 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Zev Berman
A modern Southern Gothic tale of true love and murder. With Dominique Swain, Henry Thomas and Karen Allen.
Die Kurve (Germany, 40 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Felix Fuchssteiner
Two outcast brothers live at the base of a rocky mountain surrounded by dangerous, curving roads. The spoils from the numerous car wrecks are their livelihood. Then one day there is a survivor.
Go Wherever You Wanna Go (China, 40 mins, Narrative, 2001) Dir: Nan Wu
A haunting story about two Chinese teens who kidnap a businesswoman and hold her for ransom in an effort to fund the trip of their dreams. The experience transforms the older woman in unexpected ways.
In Smog And Thunder (USA, 46 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Sean Meredith
A mockumentary about a Civil war between Northern and Southern California.
Lou Loves People (USA, 85 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Bret Carr
In order to take a job coaching kids, ex-boxer Lou Benedetti must lose his stutter and confront a lifetime of violent behavior. Written by Quinn K Redeker, who wrote the story for The Deer Hunter.
Melvin Goes To Dinner (USA, 84 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Bob Odenkirk
Melvin goes to dinner with three virtual strangers. They discuss marital infidelity, religion, a guy in heaven wearing a wizard's jersey, anal fetishes, cigarettes and schizophrenia, ghosts, stewardesses, masturbation, and how it's all going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
The Real Old Testament (USA, 88 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Curtis and Paul Hannum
Reality TV meets The Book of Genesis as we find out what happens when Biblical patriarchs cease to be hallowed religious figures and start to get real.
Robot Stories (USA, 85 mins, Narrative) Dir: Greg Pak
Four stories about love, death, family and robots. The film depicts utterly human characters struggling to connect with each other in the face of technological changes in society.
Various Positions (Canada, 90 mins, Narrative, 2002) Dir: Ori Kowarsky
A law student from an Orthodox Jewish family falls in love with a non-Jewish girl, while his father gets into a scandal involving the local Jewish cemetery.
FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES SCREENING IN COMPETITION
Civilian Casualties: Fragments From The War On Terror (USA, 60 mins, 2002)
Dir: Frances Anderson
The plight of Afghan civilian casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom, as seen through the eyes of four Americans who lost loved ones in the September 11th terrorist attack. They travel to Afghanistan to share their grief and offer condolences to Afghan families who lost loved ones in the American bombings.
End Of The Century (USA, 45 mins, 2002) Dir: Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields
The story of the seminal New York punk rock band, The Ramones, and their impact on music history.
Long Gone (USA, 90 mins, 2002) Dir: David Eberhardt and Jack Cahill
Intertwining stories of six tramps who hop freight trains to travel across America over a seven-year period. Gradually they form a portrait of contemporary hobos who struggle to overcome their pasts, haunting war memories, substance abuse, shattered marriages and criminal warrants. Original score by Tom Waits.
Missing Peace (USA, 92 mins, 2002) Dir: Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce
Originally planned as a campaign diary of controversial Colombian Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, the documentary switched gears when Betancourt was kidnapped and evolved into the story of her husbandís quest to free her and keep her campaign alive.