By now everyone knows that Slamdance is not the only alternative festival in Park City, Utah.
Over the past five years, happening concurrently with Sundance, a potpourri of events — some planned, others spontaneous — have come and gone.
The common theme is always “more indie than Sundance.” This year, exploitation outfit Troma Entertainment has gotten into the act with Tromadance, a one-day event (Jan. 26) “celebrating truly independent cinema” to be held at the Gateway Center in Park City.
One year an association of filmmakers and festgoers, in need of lodging and wall space onto which to project their films, formed SlumDance in the basement of a closed cookie factory on Main Street.
But with the digital and Internet invasion, events are more structured — especially SlamDunk and No Dance, which are both back for their third year.
Just don’t call them festivals
By order of the Park City City Council, both events have been designated “assemblies” rather than festivals. The organizers have agreed not to plaster posters around the city as in past years — though expect trading cards, hats, bullhorns and other promotional gimmicks.
Three years ago, SlamDunk made a name for itself by screening the controversial Nick Broomfield docu “Kurt & Courtney.” This year, executive director Cabot Orton and his staff, based at Harry O’s restaurant on Main Street, will host multimedia events open to the public.
SlamDunk has also become an umbrella for five additional fests — mainly, the Los Angeles-based Dances With Films and Hollywood Shorts; DigiDance; Dfilm; and, back for its second annual party to support its “craptv” Web site, LapDance.
In addition to hosting Web broadcasters, content providers and computer animators, and hosting panels, concerts and raves, SlamDunk will formally show 10 features and six hours of short films. Also on the program: a retrospective of films by 1960s director Monte Hellman, including “Two Lane Blacktop,” “The Shooting” and “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” written by Daily Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos.
Going digital levels playing field
Under founder and fest director James Boyd and headquartered in the Gateway Center off of Main Street, No Dance trumps itself as the first fully digital fest in Park City. The event runs for four days only — from Jan. 22-25.
This year, the competition program includes five features and 10 shorts — all of which will be screened as projected DVD. Activities include a multimedia lounge and a digital filmmaking panel.
“A lot of our films are digital video,” Boyd says. “The fact that they are shooting it so cheaply and that we can screen it without a film print on a DVD projection system is great.”
In past years, No Dance’s “Hands on a Hardbody” and “Flushed” found theatrical distribution.