Slamdance Film Festival, begun in 1995, has become a yearly event, taking place, “coincidentally”, at the exact same time as Sundance, in scenic Park City, Utah.
Sometimes rejection is the best motivator. This was certainly the case for filmmakers Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter, who took their rejection from the Sundance Film Festival and channeled it into the creation of their own, alternative film festival. Slamdance Film Festival, begun in 1995, has become a yearly event, taking place, “coincidentally”, at the exact same time as Sundance, in scenic Park City, Utah. Run and operated with the mantra of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” in mind, the Festival, which aims to showcase truly independent films, has drawn quite a following in its 18 years of operation, and even boasts the discovery of directors Christopher Nolan, Marc Foster, and Oren Peli.
Proving a veritable breeding ground for documentaries, in 2005, the Festival showcased Mad Hot Ballroom, which was then purchased by Paramount for a record-breaking sum, and in 2010 was home to the world premiere of Steven Soderberg’s documentary And Everything is Going Fine, which chronicles the life of deceased actor Spalding Gray.
In 2008, Slamdance housed the premiere of the now cult-phenom Paranormal Activity, a film that has since spawned three sequels, and is largely responsible for starting the current trend in horror movies toward “found footage” films, (see The Fourth Kind, Apollo 18, and this month’s wildly popular The Devil Inside).
Thursday marked the end of the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival, and the highly anticipated winners were announced. In 2011 Slamdance received over 5,000 submissions, a record for the festival, meaning that the competition this year was sure to be tough. So, if the past is any indication, these films are definitely ones to watch as 2012 continues. Below is the list of films and directors awarded the top prizes this year, and links to a sample of each film:
GRAND JURY AWARDS- NARRATIVE:
Feature Narrative: Welcome to Pine Hill, Keith Miller
Special Jury Award for Bold Originality: Heavy Girls, Axel Ranisch
GRAND JURY AWARDS- DOCUMENTARY:
Feature Documentary: No Ashes, No Phoenix, Jens Pfeifer
Short Documentary: The Professional, Skylar Nielson
Feature Documentary: Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story, Caskey Ebeling
Feature Narrative: Bindlestiffs, Andrew Edison