The Sundance Film Festival dominates Park City in late January, but there is also the upstart Slamdance Film Festival. We’ve not really highlighted that fest or its program, but I always stay at Treasure Mountain Inn where Slamdance is headquartered and they’ve kind of grown on me. Last year they brought Christopher Nolan to speak (the fest had the good sense to program his first film) and Joe Mangianello came to vamp his male stripper docu. This year, there’s every chance of seeing Dennis Rodman, the flamboyant former rebounding machine and BFF of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, for the docu Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang In Pyongyang. So let’s all root for an international incident! Here are the films they’ll be playing from January 23-29:
NARRATIVE FEATURES PROGRAM
Across the Sea – Directors & Screenwriters: Nisan Dağ, Esra Saydam. (Turkey/USA) North American Premiere. Young, beautiful and pregnant, Damla has to confront her first love in a Turkish summer town before she can fully embrace her new life in New York. Cast: Damla Sönmez, Jacob Fishel, Ahmet Rıfat Şungar, Hakan Karsak, Brittany Angley
Asco – Director: Ale Paschoalini; Screenwriters: Ale Paschoalini, Rafael Baliu. (Brazil) World Premiere. Needs and desires are simplified in this experimental, black and white portrayal of the poisonous destruction of a broken heart. Cast: Guto Nogueira, Sol Faganello, Acauã Sol, Danielle Rosa, Ligia Franchini, El Alberto
Body – Directors & Screenwriters: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen. (USA) World Premiere. After three twenty-something girls break into a mansion and inadvertently murder the groundskeeper, they slowly self-destruct as they decide what to do with the dead body in the living room. Cast: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden
Clinger – Director: Michael Steves; Screenwriters: Michael Steves, Gabi Chennisi Duncombe, Bubba Fish. (USA) World Premiere. When her possessive high school boyfriend dies in a gruesome accident, Fern Petersen’s life is thrown into turmoil. Things go from bad to worse when he returns as a love-sick ghost to kill her so they can be together for eternity. Cast: Vincent Martella, Jennifer Laporte, Julia Aks, Lisa Wilcox, Debbie Rochon
Darkness on the Edge of Town – Director & Screenwriter: Patrick Ryan. (Ireland) US Premiere. A troubled teenage sharpshooter decides to avenge the death of her estranged sister after she is found murdered in a public bathroom. Cast: Emma Eliza Regan, Brian Gleeson, Maura Foley, Emma Willis, Sam Monaghan
Diamond Tongues – Director: Brian Robertson, Pavan Moondi; Screenwriter: Pavan Moondi. (Canada) World Premiere. Edith Welland is an actress. Things haven’t been going very well. When her ex-boyfriend becomes an actor on a whim and almost immediately books a leading role, Edith decides if she’s going to get ahead, she’ll need to get ruthless. Cast: Leah Goldstein, Nick Flanagan, Leah Wildman, Adam Gurfinkel, Noah R. Taylor
High Performance – Director & Screenwriter: Johanna Moder. (Austria) US Premiere. Rudi wears a suit, Daniel rides a bike, and they are both interested in Nora for very different reasons; the story of two grown up brothers who still know how to hurt each other. Cast: Marcel Mohab, Manuel Rubey, Katharina Pizzera
Ratter – Director & Screenwriter: Branden Kramer. (USA) World Premiere. Emma is being watched by a stalker who has hacked into all of her personal technology – laptop, cell phone, and other web connected devices – to record her most intimate moments. Eventually the video feeds aren’t enough and the stalker moves from the virtual to the physical. Cast: Ashley Benson, Matt McGorry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, John Anderson, Kaili Vernoff
They Look Like People – Director & Screenwriter: Perry Blackshear. (USA) World Premiere. Suspecting that those around him are actually malevolent shape-shifters, a troubled young man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself. Cast: MacLeod Andrews, Evan Dumouchel, Margaret Drake, Mick Casale, Elena Greenlee
Tired Moonlight – Director & Screenwriter: Britni West. (USA) World Premiere. Drifting between small-town gossip and dreams of the outside world, two middled aged womens’ lives are slowly upended as they start caring for a young girl and a ramblin’ man from the past rolls through their small town. Cast: Alex Karpovsky, Liz Randall, Paul Dickinson, Hillary Berg, RainLeigh Vick
Wendell and the Lemon – Director & Screenwriter: Lawrence Krauser. (USA). A young man finds a lemon on the sidewalk, takes it home, and becomes inordinately fond of it. Complications ensue. Cast: Todd d’Amour, Rebecca Hart, Jay Smith, Lia Aprile, Danton Stone
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES PROGRAM
20 Years of Madness – Director: Jeremy Royce. (USA) World Premiere. Twenty years after the success of a 90s cult TV show, 30 Minutes of Madness, founder Jerry White Jr. brings the rag tag team of misfits back together to film one final episode – only to find the majority of his cast now suffer from a variety of personal struggles. Cast: Jerry White Jr., Joe Hornacek, John Ryan, Jesus Rivera, Matt Zaleski
Alberi che Camminano – Director: Mattia Colombo; Screenwriters: Erri De Luca, Mattia Colombo. (Italy) US Premiere. A meditative look at the two distinct lives of trees and their deep relationship with human beings.
Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang – Director: Colin Offland; Screenwriter: Matt Baker. (UK) World Premiere. An intimate behind the scenes look at Dennis Rodman’s unlikely friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and the staging of the most controversial game of basketball the world has never seen.
I Am Thor – Director: Ryan Wise. (USA) World Premiere. Before Chris Hemsworth, there was Jon Mikl Thor – the original hammer-wielding, steel bending, brick smashing rock star of the 70s band THOR. But does he still have the magic to thunder a comeback? Cast: Jon Mikl Thor, Rusty Hamilton, Mike Favata, Steve Price, Keith Zazzi
My Fathers, My Mother and Me – Director: Paul-Julien Robert. (Austria) North American Premiere. Twenty years after leaving the Austrian commune where he was raised, Paul-Julien Robert embarks on a personal journey to confront what went wrong and explore ideas of family.
On Her Own – Director & Screenwriter: Morgan Schmidt-Feng. (USA) World Premiere. A woman and her family try to save their 5th generation family farm during the Great Recession.
The Resurrection of Jake the Snake – Director: Steve Yu. (USA) World Premiere. Legendary wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts charts his personal and professional comeback while battling crippling addictions. Cast: Jake Roberts, Dallas Page, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin, Adam Copeland
Sweet Micky For President – Director: Ben Patterson. (USA) World Premiere. With the help of Pras Michel of the Fugees, presidential candidate Michel Martelly, aka Sweet Micky, campaigns against all odds in Haiti’s third ever democratic election. Cast: Pras Michel, Michel Martelly, Wyclef Jean