The Slamdance Film Festival will serve up 10 narrative features and eight documentaries in its 2018 competition slate — which will add a new prize backed by two alumni who made good.
Slamdance, the upstart little brother to the bigger Sundance Film Festival, will throw its 24th annual edition Jan. 19-25 at Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn.
The new award has been launched by directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who debuted at Slamdance with “Pieces” in 1997 — and more recently directed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War” and next summer’s “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Every filmmaker participating at Slamdance is eligible for the award, the Russo Fellowship. The award includes a $25,000 cash prize, plus mentorship from the Russo brothers in developing their next project at the brothers’ new L.A.-based studio.
Slamdance co-founder Peter Baxter, in a statement, said, “The Russo brothers exemplify our ‘by filmmakers for filmmakers’ paradigm. They are joined by a great number of dedicated alumni who’ve shown that when it comes to recognizing talent and launching careers, Slamdance’s independent and grassroots film community really can do it themselves.”
The following are the competition films at Slamdance 2018, with synopses courtesy of Slamdance. For ticket information and more details, visit http://slamdance.com.
“Birds Without Feathers” (United States) • Written and directed by Wendy McColm. “Desperate for human interaction, six emotionally damaged individuals risk self-respect, shedding their disillusionment in a last grasp for happiness. A cruel-world comedy populated by struggling Instagram stars, Russian cowboys, self-help gurus and more; their lives collide and crash in astounding ways.” Cast: Wendy McColm, Lenae Day Cooper Oznowicz, William Gabriel Greer, Sara Estefanos, and Alexander Stasko.
“Charlie and Hannah’s Grand Night Out” (Belgium) • Written and directed by Bert Schollers. “Two Girls. One Night. Magical Candy Consumed. Twentysomethings Charlie and Hannah find themselves strolling through the city as events take a wildly surreal turn. Transported to a trippy galaxy, filled with cosmic wisdom and contradictions, the pair learn to realize the search for love can take many forms.” Cast: Evelien Bosmans, Daphne Wellens, Patrick Vervueren.
“Fake Tattoos” (Canada) • Written and directed by Pascal Plante. “Shy Theo finds himself unexpectedly kicked in the heart by a punk-rock romance on his 18th birthday as Mag bursts into his life for a rollicking encounter. Set against a backdrop of music and mayhem, this coming-of-age tale explores the thrashing fragility of summer love as life choices and separation loom with no true answers in sight.” Cast: Anthony Therrien, Rose-Marie Perreault.
“Fish Bones” (United States) • Written and directed by Joanne Mony Park. “Hana, a Korean immigrant on winter break, is caught between worlds. While struggling to find peace with her conservative mother and the expectations surrounding her future, Hana finds herself falling for Nico, a tender and affectionate Latina music producer.” Cast: Joony Kim, Cris Gris.
“Human Affairs” (United States) • Written and directed by Charlie Birns. “This richly earnest drama follows Geneviève, a surrogate who must reckon with her ambivalence about the pregnancy and her precarious feelings for the parents-to-be.” Cast: Dominic Fumusa, Kerry Condon, David Harbour, Julie Sokolowski.
“Lovers” (Denmark) • Directed by Niels Holstein Kaa; written by Magnus B.B. Lysbakken. “In the streets, parks and cafes of Copenhagen, a triptych of love stories come to vivid life. Framed with a superb naturalism, these tales through the seasons tackle the ever-rising tide of loneliness and self-doubt that can come in the face of new love.” Cast: Marie Mailand, Niklas Herskind, Nina Terese Rask.
“M/M” (Canada/Germany) • Written and directed by Drew Lint. “Wayward Canadian Matthew, crushed by the isolation of being new to Berlin, turns his sexual desires toward Matthias that spiral into a dark fixation of assumed identity. Soon, this obsessive power struggle between the two careens toward brutal passion and violence in a bid for dominance.” Cast: Antoine Lahaie, Nicolas Maxim Endlicher.
“Rock Steady Row” (United States) • Directed by Trevor Stevens; written by Bomani Story. “Demented chaos rules this bizarro-world college campus where the reigning gang-frats target a freshman who dare crosses their path. Trapped between a blaze of twisted ‘Mad Max’ style power games, he shrewdly plays both sides, fueling apocalyptic-sized battles that escalate to ensnare the school dean who’s coming unglued.” Cast: Heston Horwin, Diamond White, Logan Huffman, Isaac Alisma, Allie Marie Evans, Larry Miller, Peter Gilroy.
“Songs in the Sun” (Denmark) • Directed by Kristian Sejrbo Lidegaard; written by Allan Hyde, Kristian Sejrbo Lidegaard. “Off the coast of Denmark, young Anna discovers she is the only lifeline to ailing childhood friend Julie and Sonja, Julie’s apathetic mother. Over the course of one momentous afternoon, Anna will learn the healing power of belief and mythmaking in everyday living.” Cast: Emma Sehested Høeg, Charlotte Munck, Victoria Carmen Sonne.
“The Starry Sky Above Me” (France) • Directed by Ilan Klipper; written by Ilan Klipper, Raphaël Neal. “Bruno is happy to live out his days luxuriating in the existential highs and lows only a brilliant literary mind can appreciate. But when his loved ones seek to intervene with the help of a psychiatrist, Bruno’s bohemian lifestyle may in fact be the perfect anecdote to the colorless, PC lives they didn’t know they hated.” Cast: Laurent Poitrenaux, Camille Chamoux, Marilyne Canto, Alma Jodorowsky, François Chattot, Michèle Moretti, Frank Williams.
“Circus Ecuador” (Ecuador/United States) • Directed by Ashley Bishop and Jim Brassard. “James and Ashley travel to the jungles of Ecuador to make a documentary about a school being built for an indigenous community only to discover that the community may or may not be involved in aliens, gold smuggling, human trafficking and murder.”
“Freedom for the Wolf” (Germany/United States) • Directed by Rupert Russell. “From Hong Kong to Tunisia to Bollywood, people are fighting against elected leaders dismantling freedom and democracy. These seemingly disparate international stories are cohesively tied into what is happening in the U.S. to reach some very compelling conclusions.”
“Ingrid” (United States) • Directed by Morrisa Maltz. “An intimate look at a woman who left her life as a successful fashion designer and mother in Texas to become a reclusive hermit, immersed in nature, focused solely on creating art.”
“Instant Dreams” (Netherlands) • Directed by Willem Baptist. “An essayistic quest for the secret of instant film, the magic appeal of Polaroid and what that tells us about the fascinating relationship we have with the photographic image.”
“Man on Fire” (United States) • Directed by Joel Fendelman. “Grand Saline, Texas, was a sleepy, unremarkable town — until a white preacher lit himself on fire to protest the town’s racism in 2014.”
“MexMan” (United States) • Directed by Josh Polon. “Germán is a young artist and filmmaker struggling to complete his first feature film and express his undying love to a girl, while secretly living at an airport and trying to stay sane.”
“Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End” (United States) • Directed by Pablo Bryant. “This personal documentary follows a controversial political cartoonist as he struggles to provide for his family and stay true to his creativity in a world where biting satiric humor has an ever-diminishing commercial value.”
“Sunnyside” (Belgium/Netherlands) • Directed by Frederik Carbon. “On a seaside mountain in Northern California two old friends (one a visionary architect and the other an influential sound artist) dream, talk, live and create.”