Slamdance unveils special screenings

Stan Lee, Neil Young among docu subjects

The Slamdance Film Festival has unveiled its special screenings and short programs, including a Stan Lee documentary, Jonathan Demme’s “Neil Young Journeys,” the premiere of a never-before-seen Ed Wood television pilot and Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden’s “Old Dog.”

The films announced for Slamdance, launched 18 years ago as an alternative to Sundance, include five world premieres, and 75 shorts in competition — including the world premiere of a special program of new Iranian shorts never seen outside the country, “Made in Iran: 7 Short Premieres.”

Slamdance announced its competition lineup, comprised of 10 narrative films and eight documentaries, last week. Competition slots are reserved for first-time feature directors working with budgets under $1 million.

Fest takes place Jan. 20-26 in Park City at the Treasure Mountain Inn.

The short films unveiled Tuesday were culled from more than 3,000 submissions. A jury will present awards to short films in competition in the narrative, animation and docu sections; competition shorts are also eligible for the Spirit of Slamdance Award.

Narrative films screening at Slamdance include “Holiday Road,” a comedic anthology celebrating the poignant and absurd aspects of 12 American holidays; “Old Dog,” set on the Tibetan plains about an old shepherd attempting to prevent his Tibetan mastiff from being sold to an urban Chinese dealer; and “Unconditional,” directed by Bryn Higgins, the psycho-love story of teenage twins who fall under the spell of a charismatic man.

Concert film “Neil Young Journeys” will be screened as part of the documentary series. “Journeys” debuted at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival and Sony Pictures Classics acquired worldwide rights, excluding Latin America, in October.

The other docs in the screening series are “No Room for Rockstars,” directed by Parris Patton and following the experiences of four musicians on the Vans Warped Tour; “Terra Blight,” directed by Isaac Brown in a global examination of the life cycle of computer consumption that has created toxic wastes; “Wild in the Streets,” directed by Peter Baxter, in which thousands of locals from rival sides of a rugged English town brutally compete in an ancient game that is the lifeblood of the community; and “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story,” directed by Will Hess, Nikki Frakes and Terry Dougas.

That doc also features Nicolas Cage, Michael Chiklis, Roger Corman, Kirsten Dunst, Danny Elfman, James Franco, Samuel Jackson, Tobey Maguire, Eva Mendes, Frank Miller, Seth Rogen, Bryan Singer, Kevin Smith and Ringo Starr.

The shorts screenings include the pilot “Ed Wood’s Lost Film Final Curtain” and “Franchi Is Back” from director-screenwriter Alexandre Franchi, in which the filmmaker talks about his bout with cancer.

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