Fest grows from niche rebel to tastemaker
Filmmakers Jon Fitzgerald (“Self-Portrait”), Shane Kuhn (“Redneck”) and Dan Mirvish (“Omaha: The Movie”) are rejected from the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. A plan is hatched for an alternative event.
The troika, along with producer Peter Baxter, launch “Slamdance ’95: Anarchy in Utah — The First Annual Guerrilla Intl. Film Festival.” Filmmakers run the projection booths.
Slamdance draws 450 submissions. Fitzgerald becomes festival director; Greg Mottola’s Sundance-rejected film “The Daytrippers” wins first juried competition. Produced by Sundance alum Steven Soderbergh, the pic goes on to Cannes and grosses more than $2 million Stateside. “Loungers,” Marc Forster’s debut feature wins the first Audience Award.
Soderbergh premieres “Schizopolis” at the
festival. Baxter establishes a year-round office in Hollywood.
Programming now handled entirely by filmmakers.
Performances by Moby, Perry Farrell and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan support films at fest. Christopher Nolan’s “Following” wins the Black & White Award and is picked up by Zeitgeist and IFC.
Submissions cross the 2,000-film mark. Sheryl Crow and Dwight Yoakam perform. First Filmmaker Sled-Off.
Submissions climb to 2,300.
Closing-night film is a surprise screening of “Downhill Racer” (1969), starring Sundance founder Robert Redford.
Fest opener, docu “Mad Hot Ballroom,” is snapped up by Paramount Classics. First bloody nose at Filmmaker Sled-Off.
Fest’s first Hot Tub Social debuts.
Documentary “The King of Kong” is picked up by New Line Cinema/Picturehouse. First broken leg at Filmmaker Sled-Off.
Opening-night film “Real Time” finishes projecting its final frame just before a Park City-wide blackout; Q&A session is held in the dark with emergency lights.