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By Film Threat Staff | December 5, 2007

The Slamdance Film Festival, the movie showcase with a sole mission to nurture, support and introduce truly independent works, has announced its feature film slate and special program schedule for the 2008 fest, which takes place in Park City, Utah, January 17-25. Now in its 14th year, Slamdance has established a unique reputation for premiering new films by first-time writers and directors working within the creative confines of limited budgets.

As always, Slamdance is featuring an interesting, provocative schedule of screenings and events, with film programs including Twilight Screenings (Slamdance’s late night series); writing competitions for both screenplays and teleplays; the Anarchy Online Short Film Competition; Fireside Chats with notables from the independent film community; a $99 Special short film production project; a best-of games presentation; and the Horror Screenplay Competition, in which the winning script is guaranteed to be produced as a feature film.

This year, the Opening Night Film is “Real Time,” written and directed by Randall Cole and starring Randy Quaid (“Goya’s Ghosts,” “Brokeback Mountain”) and Jay Baruchel (“Knocked Up,” “Million Dollar Baby”). “Real Time” is a comedic drama about a compulsive gambler who is given one hour to live by the hitman hired to kill him.

As it does every year, Slamdance will run concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival. Slamdance and the box office will be headquartered and films will screen at the Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main Street. For more information and for a complete listing of films in the Festival, visit

“Slamdance has built a reputation for being at the forefront of what’s new and exciting in culture, media and entertainment” says Peter Baxter, President and Co-Founder. “What that means for us as a film festival in today’s new media environment is that we’re inclusive of all the film viewing platforms out there in the marketplace. We don’t just think about theatrical and DVD release – we know our demographic, and they want to watch movies on their iPods, their computers, on YouTube. By embracing all of these different platforms, we’re better equipped to help our filmmakers find an audience.”

The Slamdance Film Festival is distinctive in several ways. The competition feature program is reserved for first time feature directors working with budgets under one million dollars, thus supporting the Festival’s mission to give exposure to emerging filmmaking talent. Further, Slamdance is programmed through a unique democratic method. Every film is programmed by majority rule by a committee of filmmakers. Slamdance alumni are recruited to serve as programmers, so first-timers are represented and assisted by Slamdance veterans. The mantra of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” resounds at every level of the organization, and plays a part in all of its undertakings.

Slamdance has four programming committees: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Special Screenings, and Shorts (the latter category will be announced shortly in a separate release).

“This year, we received more than 1,200 feature submissions and selected 29 of them,” says Sarah Diamond, Director of Programming / Chair of Documentary Competition. “Every year, we’re blown away by the quality and creativity of the films that are submitted. Our job as programmers gets more difficult as the films get better and better, but we’re thrilled that the decisions are as hard to make as they are. It means that the bar for independent filmmaking is consistently being raised, and that the spirit of Slamdance is continuing to be embraced by the indie film community.”

Narrative Feature Competition

“Fix,” World Premiere (2008, 90 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Tao Ruspoli
This darkly comedic road movie journeys from Beverly Hills to Watts over the course of 12 hours, as documentary filmmakers Bella and Milo race to get Milo’s brother Leo from jail to rehab before 8 p.m. – or Leo goes to prison for three years.

“Frost,” World Premiere (2008, 92 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Steve Clark
When a Manhattan playboy learns his childhood love is engaged he is forced to face the demons of his past and grow up.

“Glory Boy Days,” World Premiere (2008,100 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Paul Encinas
A story about a group of young adults in the prime of their lives, in a time where being young makes you invincible, and being invincible makes you complacent.

“Jetsam,” North American Premiere (2007, 84 min, UK)
Written/Directed by Simon Welsford
Starring Shauna Macdonald and Alex Reid
An amnesiac woman is washed up on a beach and attacked by a man who washed up next to her. On the run from this stranger, she pieces her life back together, uncovering a world of spies, obsession and betrayal.

“How To Be,” World Premiere (2008, 83 min, UK)
Written/Directed by Oliver Irving
A wry comedy about twenty-something Arthur who moves back in with his parents, hits a quarter-life crisis and enlists the help of a live-in self-help guru. A timely look at the increasingly common phenomena of grown-up children living at home, frustrated creativity, and self-help.

“Paranormal Activity” (2007, 99 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Oren Peli
A supernatural thriller featuring shocking footage of a demonic haunting.

“Portage,” US Premiere (2007, 89 min, CANADA)
Written/Directed by Matthew Miller, Ezra Krybus, Sascha Drews
In this sensual, intense drama, a quartet of teenage girls embark on a canoe trip with a male guide. After his accidental death, they find themselves trapped in the wilderness and have to fend for themselves to find their way back to safety.

“The Project,” World Premiere (2008, 90 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Ryan Piotrowicz
Starring Michael Stahl David, Matt Servitto, and Juelz Santana
Three film student graduates move to New York City to make a documentary about inner city life, where they soon find themselves becoming active participants in a world they hoped to only observe.

“New Year Parade,” World Premiere (2008, 90 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Tom Quinn
In the first year of their parents’ separation, two siblings struggle for confidence in their own relationships.

“Under the Snow,” North American Premiere (2007, 99 min, SPAIN)
Written/Directed by Candela Figueira and Maitena Muruzabal
Following the unusual connection made between four workers at different stages of their lives, capturing factory life in a way rarely seen: personal, flirtatious, introspective.

“We really challenged ourselves as a programming team this year and I’m thrilled that the resulting films’ subject matters are more disparate than ever before,” says Drea Clark, newly appointed Executive Director and Chair of Narrative Feature Competition Programming. “Having two more alumni directors join the force keeps our opinions and discussions as focused, relevant and democratic as possible and I think the artistry and scope represented in our lineup showcases the best of Slamdance ideals.”

Documentary Feature Competition sponsored by Langley Productions
As a pioneer in the field of reality television, and a company with a strong focus on documentary filmmaking, Langley Productions is proud to be sponsoring the 2008 Slamdance Documentary Competition in order to support the creative efforts of up and coming documentary filmmakers. In addition to television, the company’s new documentary division is actively developing feature-length docs with a mandate to explore exciting topics and to present fresh material with a focus on verite-style storytelling. Producer/writer/director John Langley created the long-running Fox reality program “Cops” in 1988. Currently entering its 20th season, “Cops” pioneered the often emulated video verite technique and is one of the longest running primetime shows in television history. The company’s newest program, “Jail,” currently airs on My Network TV and Court TV.

“Circus Rosaire,” New Edit Premiere (2007, 93 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Robyn Bliley
For nine generations the Rosaire family has entertained audiences all over the world with their legendary animal acts. However, the circus industry is changing and attendance has dramatically declined. The Rosaire’s livelihood and future are at risk as they struggle to continue the family tradition.

“I Think We’re Alone Now,” World Premiere (2008, 70 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Sean Donnelly
Labeled “stalkers” by the media, Jeff and Kelly profess their love for the 80’s pop icon, Tiffany.

“More Shoes,” World Premiere (2008, 75 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Lee Kazimir
The story of one individual’s 3,000-mile trek across Europe on foot from Madrid to Kiev.

“My Mother’s Garden,” World Premiere (2008, 70 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Cynthia Lester
The story of one woman’s extreme attachment to material objects and how her estranged children reunite to help her let go.

“Neo-Lounge,” 86 min (2007, 86 min, CHINA)
Written/Directed by Joanna Vasquez Arong
An Italian aristocrat, a Bulgarian jazz singer, a Colombian coroner, a French hair salon entrepreneur, all together for a short moment in time at Beijing’s hippest nightspot Neo-Lounge.

“Pageant,” World Premiere (2008, 95 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Ron Davis and Stewart Halpern
In the talented world of female impersonation, this story follows the lives of five ordinary men as they go to extraordinary lengths to be crowned the 34th Miss Gay America®.

“Song Sung Blue,” World Premiere (2008, 85 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Greg Kohs
The alternately inspiring and tragic love story of Lightning & Thunder, a home-grown Milwaukee husband and wife singing duo, who pay tribute to the music of Neil Diamond.

“Sync or Swim,” World Premiere (2008, 100 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Cheryl Furjanic
A splashy look at a marginal sport: U.S.A.’s top synchronized swimmers endure rigorous training and overcome unthinkable obstacles to compete for Olympic glory.

“View From the Bridge: Stories from Kosovo,” World Premiere (2008, 105 min, USA/KOSOVO)
Written/Directed by John Ealer and Laura Bialis
Peace is for the brave. Told through the first person stories of Serbs, Albanians and Roma (Gypsies), this documentary juxtaposes the nightmares and dreams of Kosovars as it portrays a society trying to build a future while inextricably bound to the past.

“Wesley Willis’s Joyride,” World Premiere (2008, 77 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Chris Bagley and Kim Shively
An underground rock icon and revered artist, the late, great Wesley Willis attracted and offended people from all walks of life. The film follows the prolific and controversial artist on his journey from obscurity to cult hero.

“This year we’ll be screening more documentaries than ever before,” says Diamond. “Slamdance is emerging as a major festival for documentaries. The 2008 doc slate is themed around people who have chosen the path not often taken, from a schizophrenic pop star, to a family of wild animal trainers, to competitors in the Miss Gay America pageant. Our documentary programming team was moved by these films celebrating the diversity of human experience.”

Narrative Special Screening Features

“Real Time,” World Premiere (2008, 80 min, CANADA)
Written/Directed by Randall Cole
Starring Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel
A comedic drama about a compulsive gambler who is given one hour to live by the hitman hired to kill him.

“Goodbye Baby,” World Premiere (2008, 87 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Daniel Schechter
Starring Christine Evangelista, Kevin Corrigan, Jerry Adler, Alan Ruck, Donnell Rawlings
When Melissa Brooks discovers she can’t afford college she moves to New York City and gets a job as a waitress at a comedy club. Living with her eccentric older brother, she enters a love triangle while trying to muster the nerve to get on stage and perform.

“Just Add Water,” World Premiere (2008, 90 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Hart Bochner
Starring Dylan Walsh, Danny DeVito, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Tracy Middendorf, Anika Noni Rose
An offbeat romantic comedy about Ray Tuckby, a decent guy living in the once idyllic, now crime-infested town of Trona, California. After encouragement from a stranger he happens upon, Ray begins to dream about the way things used to be. He musters the courage to recapture his childhood love, topple the town thugs and return Trona to its original splendor.

Documentary Special Screening Features

Adjust Your Color: The Truth of Petey Greene,” World Premiere (2008, 60 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Loren Mendell
Narrated by Don Cheadle
The unlikely story of America’s first shock-jock, a black man in a white man’s world who battled the system and his own demons during a time of civil unrest in our nation’s capital.

“Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father,” World Premiere (2008, 95 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Kurt Kuenne
On Nov. 5, 2001, Dr. Andrew Bagby was murdered by his ex-girlfriend. To memorialize him, his friend Kurt began making a documentary film; then the killer revealed she was pregnant with Andrew’s son.

“Frontrunner,” World Premiere (2007, 90 min, USA)
Written/Directed by Virginia Williams
A woman’s heroic, relentless run for the Presidency of Afghanistan.

Twilight Screening Features

“Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer,” North American Premiere (2007, 90 min, CANADA)
Written/Directed by Jon Knautz
Starring Robert Englund
Jack Brooks is an angry young plumber who witnessed his family’s brutal murder when he was a child. Unknowingly, he awakens an ancient evil which forces him to confront his past and deal with the monstrous reality of the present.

“Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story” (2007, 80 min, USA)
Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz
Interviews with John Waters, John Landis, Roger Corman, Leonard Maltin, Marcel Marceau, Joe Dante
A chronicle of the last great American showman, filmmaker William Castle, a master of ballyhoo who became a brand name in movie horror with his outrageous audience participation gimmicks.

“Trailer Park of Terror”, World Premiere (2008, 91 min, USA)
Directed by Steven Goldmann
Starring Nichole Hiltz, Lew Temple, Hayley Marie Norman, Ryan Carnes, Priscilla Barnes, Trace Adkins
Six troubled teens become stranded in a ramshackle trailer park where they meet Norma, an undead, trailer-trash babe with a killer body and a cursed brood of Redneck Zombies.

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