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By Film Threat Staff | December 19, 2003

The Slamdance Film Festival has invited films from Slamdance alumni to both open and close the festival. 1995 Alum Eugene Martin’s “THE OTHER AMERICA” will open the festival on January 17th as a World Premiere and 1998 Festival Alum Kevin DiNovis’s “DEATH AND TEXAS” will close the festival. Including opening and closing night films, five feature films (two documentaries and three narratives) make up the Special Screening section (films screening out of competition). Bill Plympton’s animated “HAIR HIGH” is among the feature screening selections. Three short films will also be presented in the Special Screenings category. A total of 20 short films will comprise the “Gallery” section of the festival, another out of competition category. Nine films will compete online during the course of the festival, in the Anarchy Online Global Competition.

“THE OTHER AMERICA” (2003, 83 min., USA) WORLD PREMIERE This drama centers on Ari, a homeless urban teenager. It is a coming of age story in the context of poverty, disillusionment, and the failure of the American dream to embrace perceived outsiders. . Philadelphia-based director Eugene Martin screened his directorial debut TWO PLUS ONE at Slamdance 1995. He also directed DIARY OF A CITY PRIEST starring David Morse and EDGE CITY.
“DEATH AND TEXAS” (2003, 75 min., USA) WORLD PREMIERE Legendary running back for the Austin Steers, “Barefoot Bobby Briggs” (Steve Harris) ended his career when he went to jail for armed robbery. In this parody of the legal system, nine years later he is offered a furlough from Death Row to help take the Steers to Victory in the Mega Bowl. With Charles Durning, Corbin Bernsen, Jello Biafra. Directed by Slamdance 1998 Alumni Kevin DiNovis (SURRENDER DOROTHY).
“FASTER” (2003, 103 min., USA) Narrated by Ewan McGregor, this intense documentary explores the glamour and danger of MotoGP racing. The film focuses on the 2001 and 2002 seasons when 24-year old Italian driver Valentino Rossi dominated the sport. With Rossi’s bitter rival, Max Biaggi; injury prone Garry mcCoy and rising teen star John Hopkins. Directed by Slamdance 2001 Alumni Mark Neale (WILLIAM GIBSON: NO MAPS FOR THESE TERRITORIES).
“HAIR HIGH” (2003, 79 min., USA) WORLD PREMIERE Animator Bill Plympton serves up a humorous gothic high school tale with overtones of CARRIE. With the voices of Dermot Mulroney, Beverly D’Angelo, Keith Carradine, David Carradine and many others.
“ORWELL ROLLS IN HIS GRAVE” (2003, 97 min., USA) This documentary explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about – itself. “A marvel of passionate succinctness.. Docu asks, “Could a media system, controlled by a few global corporations with the ability to overwhelm all competing voices, be able to turn lies into truth?” – Variety. With Michael Moore; Vincent Bugliosi (Charles Manson prosecutor); Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon and many others. Directed by Robert Kane Pappas.
“Ananda” (2003, 5:40 min., USA) Dali meets Bollywood in this surreal fantasy of a man wandering through the bleak industrial wasteland of his own mind. Directed by Mike Smith.
“Deliverance, The Musical” (2003, 8 min., USA) Inspired by the legendary scene in the 1972 thriller DELIVERANCE, where Ned Beatty is ordered by sinister backwoods locals to “squeal like a pig.” Directed by David Fickas (director of the feature THE BASEMENT AND THE KITCHEN).
“Delivery” (2003, 8:20 min., USA) Two friends compete over a delivered package, but is it worth the struggle and loss for what is in the box? Directed by Patrick Smith (“Drink”).
“Broken Condom” (2003, 13 min., USA) Documentary filmmaker Andrew Gurland (who co-directs with Huck Botko), egged on by his angry and invasive mother, goes to incredible lengths to investigate the possibility that his wife duped him into becoming a dad. This is a Fox Searchlab film.
“Come Calling” (2003, 20 min., Japan) An utterly original and surprising Sci-Fi tale about a business man who has lost his job. At the moment of his deepest depression his mother reveals a secret about his birth. Directed by Hiroyasu Obara.
“The Creepees Versus Robot Monster Number Two” (2003, 18 min., USA) Japanese rock band, The Creepees, fight evil alien Monster Robot Number Two. Shot with stunning no-budget flair in gritty Super-8. Directed by Austin filmmaker Scott Calonico.
“Don’t Have, Don’t Give” (“Nie Mam, Nie Dam”, 2002, 17 min., Poland) A writer is moved to confront his self-deception when he returns home to the Polish rust belt for his blue-collar brother’s birthday. Masterfully shot in 35 mm. Director David Turner.
“Falls” (2003, 8 min., USA) What happens when you chase a dream that you can’t fulfill? The relationship between an aspiring young tightrope walker with no talent and her loving farmer father who is unable to help. Directed by Michael Fisher.
“Fine and Dandy” (2003, 6 min., USA) Shot with Film Noir flourishes, a woman prepares for an enigmatic tap dance that invites the viewer to imagine its historical references. Directed by Alabama filmmaker Hugh Merrill.
“The Last Indian” (2003, 15 min., Germany) After moving to a new town, a 9-year old girl strikes up an odd friendship with the homeless man who’s been hunting her beloved ducks in the park. Directed by Kathatina Schode and produced by Feliz Fuchssteiner (who won a Slamdance prize for his film THE CURVE (DIE KURVE) at the 2003 festival).
“Lightyear” (2003, 3 min., Canada) Nature photos become kinetic paintings in this highly inventive animated trip. Directed by Dan Sokolowski.
“Lunch” (2003, 10:30 min., USA) The rhythms and textures of the big city march on relentlessly as an overweight customer in a diner just wants a decent meal. Directed by Mark Herzig.
“The Man On The Boat” (2003, 3 min., Australia) During a cab ride in a storm, an Australian man has a dream that simply and vividly contrasts his prosperity with the conditions that surround him. Directed by Boyd Britton.
“Neurotica” (2003, 4 min., USA) A neurotic woman’s eating habits dovetail nicely with a construction worker’s filthy desires. Directed by Leah Meyerhoff.
“O My Beating Heart” (2002, 4 min., USA) An odd couple’s courtship – an over-the-top physical comedy, updating the tradition of silent movie one-reelers with DV technology. Directed by Chicago dance artist David Wilson. With music by The Smashing Pumpkins.
“Paper Cut” (2003, 5 min., USA) A twisted claymation film that goes to great lengths to determine once and for all if the pen, the sword or something else is mightiest of all! Directed by Eric Towner.
“Party Animals” (2003, 28 min., USA) The dreams and heartaches of hilariously inept children’s birthday performers and a pigeonholed lesbian stand-up comic highlight this sharply written and performed ensemble comedy. Directed by Grady Cooper & Lance Krall.
“The Puppeteer” (2003, 36 min., USA) This documentary profiles Russian street performer Igor Fokin, an icon of Cambridge’s Harvard Square, and his uncanny, lifelike marionettes. Directed by Massachusetts based filmmakers Gary Henoch & Chris Schmidt.
“Roberta Wells” (2003, 8 min., USA) A frail 70-year old woman with emphysema craves a cigarette break during a loud and hectic family Thanksgiving celebration. Directed by Kat Candler.
“A Season On The Move” (2003, 12 min., USA) Montana based Slamdance alumnist Cindy Stillwell weaves a rough-hewn tapestry from the sounds and rhythms of wheat cutting and sheep shearing through the cycle of the seasons.
“The Three of Us” (2003, 3 min., USA) 3-D stop-motion, 2-D hand-drawn animation, cut-outs, scratch on film and found objects are combined to create a surreal and moving reverie. If two heads had the same dream it might look something like this. Inspired by a Ben Harper song. Directed by Benjamin Goldman and Nirvan Mullick.
“The Virile Man” (2003, 8 min., USA) From the safety of his bedroom closet, a married man enlists the help of a telephone psychic to support him in his hilariously deadpan denial. Directed by David Zellner.
“Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come To Dinner” (2003, 16 min., Canada) Three neglected children pursue creepy interests and endure their mother’s culinary abuses in this cheerfully art-directed and utterly dark comedy. Directed by Jamie Travis.
For more info, visit the Slamdance website.

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