Sure, the joke may be tired, but once again, Film Threat was once again in Park City, Utah…virtually, for this year’s Slamdance Film Festival. While having no feet on the ground, we covered a wide variety of Slamdance’s features, documentaries, shorts, and international fare. Heidi Van Lier was the only one actually in Park City, while the rest of us enjoyed the festival’s offering from afar…and in warmer climates.
The Death Tour
The Death Tour, directed by Stephan Peterson and Sonya Ballantyne, is a documentary that chronicles the taxing Canadian indie wrestling tour that takes place in winter. The film chronicles the journey spearheaded by legendary Canadian wrestling promoter Tony Condello, who has been running it for over 50 years. The Death Tour got its name by being “the most grueling tour in pro wrestling.” Jason Delgado says, “The wrestling scenes are a fun bonus for fans who get to see what kind of intense work is needed to get a foot in the door of the business.”
Heaven is a moving target that drug addicts try to hit with a spike in the gritty noir-tinged drama Bliss, directed by Joe Maggio. Way out west, Virgil Bliss (Clint Jordan) has been hiding out for two decades under the false name of Dwayne Bells. He is breaking his back doing stable work when he gets a call from back home that the woman who raised him back east had a stroke. Michael Talbot-Haynes says, “The issues of hiding the corpse are dark enough, but the picture takes a surprisingly deep, dark dive in the middle. Also included are the noir gold standard visuals, such as the Venetian blind shadows..”
Darla in Space
Darla in Space is about Darla (Alex E. Harris) and a magical scobey named Mother (J.S. Oliver). Benjamin Franz says, “While there are no visual effects to speak of, the movie establishes a wondrous sense of whimsical magic. From the orgasms to the vanishing people to Mother’s determined demands to travel to space, the sense of magic permeates every kooky scene.”
Slamdance Films Reviewed by Film Threat
Features: Chaperone, Bliss, Darla in Space, The Bitcoin Car, Love and Work, The Accident (L’Incidente), Migrant Sea: Jenni, Migrant Sea: Fidéle, Migrant Sea: Casa Federica, Legend of El Cucuy, Slide, Sam’s World
Here are links to all reviews from the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.