Lots of choices for Slamdance

18 films selected from record 5,000 submissions

The “anarchy fest” has chosen.

Slamdance’s 2010 feature competition will serve up 10 narrative and eight documentary feature films, programmed in the spirit of the fest’s motto “by filmmakers, for filmmakers.”

As in years past, competing films are by first-time feature directors working with limited budgets and without domestic theatrical distribution in place. Among the 18 titles, 11 are world premieres.

This year’s slate was selected from a record 5,000-plus submissions. “The quality of indie filmmaking is getting higher while productions costs are getting lower,” said Slamdance prexy and co-founder Peter Baxter. “Far apart from the apparent industry downturn, there appears a great sense of what is possible rather than impossible with our submissions.”

In 2008, the fest screened Oren Peli’s $15,000 phenom “Paranormal Activity” (pic’s debut was at Screamfest in October 2007), after which DreamWorks execs took notice. Pic has since topped $100 million at the domestic box office via DreamWorks’ former home Paramount.

Fest also will bow Steven Soderbergh’s “And Everything Is Going Fine” (Daily Variety, Dec. 9). The short-film lineup and three special screenings will be announced next week.

The 16th annual fest runs Jan. 21-28 in Park City, Utah. The event, which runs concurrently with Park City’s Sundance Film Festival, additionally will mount its first Filmmaker Summit this edition. “It’s time for filmmakers to embrace new tech tools to make the most of exhibiting their work,” Baxter said. “This must now be part of their filmmaking process. With the Filmmaker Summit this year we intend to help our community along this new path.”

The full competitive lineup follows. All are U.S. films unless noted otherwise.

> Denotes world preems


> “Cummings Farm” (Andrew Drazek) Comedy about three couples who try group sex at a lakeside strawberry farm, naively hoping it will lead to enlightenment; with Laura Silverman.
> “Drones” (Amber Benson & Adam Busch) A man discovers a universal threat to his life, job and the planet; Angela Bettis and Jonathan M. Woodward star.
> “The Four-Faced Liar” (Jacob Chase) When a small-town couple meets two best friends, unexpected sparks fly; cast includes Emily Peck, Marja-Lewis Ryan and Todd Kubrak.
> “The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu” (Henry Saine) An ordinary guy is stuck in his boring life until a strange old man gives him an ancient relic and tells him that he’s the last bloodline of H.P. Lovecraft; with Devin McGinn and Kyle Davis.
“One Hundred Mornings” (Conor Horgan) Ireland. Set in a world upended by a complete breakdown of society, two couples hide out in a lakeside cabin hoping to survive the crisis; Ciaran McMenamin, Alex Reid and Rory Keenan star.
“The Scenesters” (Todd Berger) Dark comedy featuring Sherilyn Fenn, Suzanne May and Blaise Miller about a group of crime scene videographers who hatch a plan to catch a serial killer picking off beautiful young hipsters on the east side of Los Angeles.
> “Snow and Ashes” (Charles Olivier-Michaud) Canada. A war correspondent in Eastern Europe wakes from a coma to discover his collaborator missing; Rhys Coiro, David-Alexandre Coiteux, Lina Roessler and Frederic Gilles star.
> “URFrenz” (Jeff Phillips) High school girls and their parents collide over the use of a popular social networking site when the identity and motives of an online boy come into question; featuring Lily Holleman, Gayla Goehl and CaroleAnne Johnson.
> “The Wild Hunt” (Alexandre Franchi) Canada. A medieval reenactment game turns into a Shakespearean tragedy when a non-player crashes the event to win back his girlfriend; cast includes Kaniehtiio Horn, Mark Anthony Krupa and Ricky Mabe.
> “YellowBrickRoad” (Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton) An expedition looks for answers to something horrible in the forest, but the forest finds something horrible in them; stars Cassidy Freeman, Lee Wilkof and Anessa Ramsey.


“American Jihadist” (Mark Claywell) What makes a man willing to kill and die for his religion?
> “Biker Fox” (Jeremy Lamberton) A part docu, part self-help testimonial about Biker Fox, who advocates “cogitating positive vibes to the cortex of your cerebellum.”
> “Candyman” (Costa Botes) A look at the rise and fall of David Klein, inventor of Jelly Belly sweets.
“General Orders No. 9” (Robert Persons) An experimental docu that contemplates loss and change in the American South.
“Mamachas del Ring” (Betty M. Park) Chronicle of the lives of Bolivian women wrestlers.
“Mind of a Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story” (Adam Barker) The birth of freestyle motocross became the demise of the sport’s most infamous legend, narrated by Lemmy.
“Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae” (Stascha Bader) Canada. The musicians of Jamaica’s Golden Age of music, Rocksteady, come together after 40 years to record a greatest hits album and perform a concert in Kingston.
> “William Burroughs: A Man Within” (Yony Leyser) A portrait of the Beat author and American icon, with David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Peter Weller, Iggy Pop and Laurie Anderson.

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