Park City, Utah will host the 22nd Slamdance Film Festival from Jan. 22 to 28. The festival is a friendlier alternative to the well-known Sundance Film Festival, and focuses on "the development of unique and innovative filmmakers," according to the website. Films featured in the festival must be made within a $1 million budget and have a first-time director, according to Variety. Tickets for Slamdance screenings can be purchased online. People can buy tickets for an individual show or passes that let them see as many movies as they'd like.
Dan Mirvish, John Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn, Peter Baxter and Paul Rachman began the festival in 1995, which has a mantra of "By Filmmakers For Filmmakers." The festival — which includes question-and-answer sessions, a film competition and workshops — attempts to recognize emerging filmmakers and low-budget films. As the festival advertises, the films are innovative and dig deep into uncharted territory, such as psychological thrillers and subcultures.
This year's jury members include Damon Russell, Jack Sergeant, Vanessa Hope and Steve Montal, according to Variety. The jury will review the 100 films, which were chosen out of 5,000 submissions. Slamdance will divide the screenings into different categories, such as Narrative Shorts, Special Screenings and Animated Shorts.
Some familiar names who had their start at Slamdance include Christopher Nolan, Marc Foster and Lena Dunham.
The opening movie Director's Cut will kick off the innovative vibe that Slamdance wishes to foster, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The horror film is directed by Adam Rifkin and stars Penn & Teller's Penn Jillette, who also helped write the film. The crowdsourced movie is actually about a crowdsourced movie that becomes a real life scare when the lead actress is kidnapped, /Film reported. The film is meant to appear as a director's cut. Audiences should get ready to rub their heads at this meta thriller.
Baxter compared the sci-fi thriller Let's Be Evil to something festival alum Nolan would do, based on its dark and complex story. Martin Owen directed the film, which stars Elizabeth Morris, Elliot James Langridge and Kara Tointon. The movie is about an advanced learning program that uses "Augmented Reality Glasses" in class. The three chaperones soon learn that those glasses and pupils are less than normal, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Slamdance will also have its share of documentaries, many of which attempt to reveal subcultures, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Baxter also highlights Myrtle Beach, which like many of the other films, has the "risk of 'people may not get this, but we're doing it anyway,'" he said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Myrtle Beach follows the eccentric residents of the South Carolina town, and tells their stories in what Baxter called a "unique and quiet way."
There's also Fursonas, which is directed by Dominic Rodriguez and explains the lifestyle of furries, or people who are into "fur fandom," and adopt or identify with a furry creature, like a raccoon or fox. "To me it was about getting a conversation started and getting people to think about this a little more deeply," Rodriguez said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. "That means presenting people as people."