You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Slamdance has history of indie finds

Buzz titles include 'Bindlestiffs,' 'Heavy Girls'

Slamdance, launched 18 years ago as a renegade alternate to Sundance, is opening Friday amid bright prospects as filmmakers take advantage of lower costs of production.

“I think that modern technology is playing a very positive role for low-budget filmmaking,” notes Slamdance prexy and co-founder Peter Baxter. “Cameras are more affordable and filmmakers can spend a lot more time in the editing room. You’ll really see it in the strength of performances in the narrative section this year.”

Baxter said the new crop of narrative films has accelerated in quality this year. “We’ve had very strong documentaries in recent years but this year we are seeing very strong directing voices in the narrative entries,” he added.

The Slamdance competition lineup has 10 narrative films and eight docs — including 13 world premieres — culled from nearly 5,000 submissions and reserved for first time feature directors working with budgets under $1 million. Slamdance will run through Thursday at Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn.

Narrative titles already generating buzz are “Bindlestiffs,” directed by Andrew Edison; “Heavy Girls,” directed by Axel Ranisch, and “OK, Good,” directed by Daniel Martinico. Documentaries that have gained pre-festival notice include “We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists,” directed and written by Brian Knappenberger;”Getting Up,” directed by Caskey Ebeling; and “Kelly,” directed by James Stenson;

Breakout hits from previous fests have included “Mad Hot Ballroom” in 2005, Seth Gordon’s “The King of Kong” in 2007 and Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity” in 2008. Some of the filmmakers first discovered at Slamdance include Chris Nolan (“Following,” 1998), Marc Forster (“Loungers,” 1996), Jared Hess via a short version of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and Lynne Shelton (“We Go Way Back,” 2006).

Peli, who’s on a promo tour of his upcoming ABC series “The River,” told Variety that his Slamdance experience — when “Paranormal Activity” screened in January 2008 — was unforgettable.

“It was kind of overwhelming for someone with no real connections to Hollywood,” Peli noted. “To get that kind of recognition from people who are really interested in films was just so exciting. What I’d like to do sometime is just go back to Slamdance and enjoy it as a fan, which is obviously not going to happen this year.”

More Scene

  • Lilli Cooper Tootsie

    How the 'Tootsie' Musical Was Updated for the #MeToo Era

    Turning the beloved 1982 comedy “Tootsie” into a 21st century musical already seemed like a challenge when work on the adaptation began back in 2016. Then the #MeToo movement revved up — and the writers knew they couldn’t tell Dorothy’s story for a modern audience without it. “It’s different than it was when the movie [...]

  • Ralph Fiennes attends a special screening

    Ralph Fiennes on Directing Rudolf Nureyev Biopic: 'It's Been a Very, Very Long Road'

    Ralph Fiennes celebrated his latest directorial outing, “The White Crow,” on Monday night in New York City. The Sony Pictures Classics film tells the story of legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev. “It’s been a very, very long road. We were mad. We were mad to take on this subject of Rudolf Nureyev. Mad. Completely mad,” Fiennes [...]

  • Taylor Swift Time 100 Performance

    Watch Taylor Swift's Time 100 Gala Performance and Speech

    Just two nights out from Taylor Swift D-day spring 2019 — i.e., Thursday’s release of a new single — Swift made an appearance Tuesday at the Time 100 event in New York, where she did not let loose with any spoiler performances of new music but did sing a few fan favorites, including “Style,” “Delicate,” and [...]

  • Katie HolmesAT&T Presents: Untold Stories Luncheon

    Katie Holmes, Kal Penn Help Decide Winner of $1 Million Filmmaker Grant

    Tribeca Film Festival and AT&T gave one young filmmaker a million and one reasons to rejoice at the “Untold Stories” third annual competition. After a nerve-wracking 10-minute long pitch in front of over 850,000 live stream audience members and a panel consisting of celebrities and industry leaders, filmmaker Kate Tsang was awarded $1 million Monday [...]

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content