The 22 films in the competition categories for the 19th annual Slamdance Film Festival have been named.
Slamdance, the upstart festival founded in 1995, highlights independent film alongside the more famous Sundance Film Festival. It runs Jan. 18-24 at the Treasure Mountain Inn at the top of Park City’s Old Main Street.
Here are the films, with synopses provided by Slamdance:
Narrative Feature Competition
“Best Friends Forever” • (U.S.A. - Director: Brea Grant, Screenwriters: Brea Grant, Vera Miao) Harriet and Reba hit the road in this darkly comedic apocalypse tale that explores the boundaries of friendship, the danger of hipsters, and nuclear fallout. Cast: Brea Grant, Vera Miao, Sean Maher, Glen Powell, Kit Williamson, Alex Berg, Alex Fernie, Stacey Storey.
“Big Words” • (U.S.A. - Director and screenwriter: Neil Drumming) A lively drama that captures members of a once-promising hip-hop group, now in their late 30’s, as they struggle with regret, disappointment, and change on Election Night 2008. Cast: Darien Sills-Evans, Dorian Missick, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Yaya Alafia, Zachary Booth,Amir Arison, Jean Grae.
“The Court of Shards” • (Germany - Director and screenwriter: Jan Eilhardt) In this experimental narrative, two disabled women fight in their own way to maintain their independent loves and lives against an overpoweringly caring family. Cast: Caroline Fricke, Silvia Giehle, Natalia Bondar, Frank Hoffmann, Doris Egbring-Kahn.
“The Dirties” • (Canada - Director: Matt Johnson, Screenwriters: Matt Johnson, Evan Morgan, Josh Boles) Two best friends think it would be funny to make a movie about getting revenge on the bullies at their school. One of them isn’t joking. Cast: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Krista Madison, David Matheson, Brandon Wickens, Josh Boles, Alen Delaine, Jay McCarrol.
“Fynbos” • (South Africa - Director: Harry Patramanis, Screenwriters: Harry Patramanis, Jonathan Glatzer) On a lavish and remote property, within the walls of a glass house, six lives intersect and lay bare their secrets and psyches in this twisting drama. Cast: Jessica Haines, Warrick Grier, Cara Roberts, Chad Phillips, Susan Danford, S’Thandiwe Kgoroge, John Herbert.
“Billy Chen Presents: Ghost Team One” (U.S.A. - Directors: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford, Screenwriters: Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli, Scott Rutherford, Ben Peyser) A subversive, comedic take on the found footage genre, where two roommates deathly afraid of ghosts both fall in love with a girl who believes their home is haunted. Cast: Carlos Santos, Fernanda Romero, J.R. Villarreal, Meghan Falcone, Tony Cavalero,James Babson, Scott MacArthur, Craig Stott.
“Hank and Asha” • (U.S.A. - Director: James E. Duff, Screenwriters: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison) In this voyeuristic love story, an Indian student in Prague and a lonely New Yorker correspond online through video letters -- two strangers aching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. Cast: Andrew Pastides, Mahira Kakkar.
“He’s Way More Famous Than You” (U.S.A. - Director: Michael Urie, Screenwriters: Halley Feiffer, Ryan Spahn) A struggling actress will stop at nothing to get her movie made in this sharp comedy, bolstered by absurdist touches and a bravura lead performance. Cast: Halley Feiffer, Ryan Spahn, Tracee Chimo, Jesse Eisenberg, Mamie Gummer,Michael Urie, Ralph Macchio, Natasha Lyonne, Ben Stiller.
“Joy De V.” • (U.S.A. - Director and screenwriter: Nadia Szold) An expressionistic, gritty look at the intersection of madness and love that follows a young con-artist who wakes up to discover his pregnant wife is missing. Cast: Evan Louison, Claudia Cardinale, Josephine de La Baume, Iva Gocheva, Victoria Imperioli.
“Kohlhaas” • (Germany - Director and screenwriter: Aron Lehmann) An obsessed director and his cast seek to adapt the true story of a 16th-century revolutionary when their actions behind the scenes begin to mimic the book’s subject. Cast: Robert Gwisdek, Jan Messutat, Thorsten Merten, Rosalie Thomass, Michael Fuith, Heiko Pinkowski.
“Visitors” • (Germany - Director: Constanze Knoche, Screenwriters: Leis Bagdach, Constanze Knoche) Three adult siblings are surprised by their parents’ announcement that they are cutting off finances in this commanding and evocative look at the oppressive results of stasis. Cast: Uwe Kockisch, Corinna Kirchhoff, Irina Potapenko, Jakob Diehl, Anne Muller,Anjorka Strechel, Bernhard Schütz, Andreas Leupold, Janusz Kocaj, Mehdi Nebbou.
“What Isn’t There” • (Philippines - Director: Marie Jamora, Screenwriters: Marie Jamora, Ramon De Veyra) In this lyrical exploration of love, music and expression, a self-imposed mute returns home for Christmas and the anniversary of his twin brother’s accidental death. Cast: Dominic Roco, Annicka Dolonius, Boboy Garrovillo, Dawn Zulueta, Felix Roco, Alcris Galura, Mercedes Cabral, Marc Abaya.
Documentary Feature Competition
“Battery Man” • (Serbia - Directors: Dusan Saponja, Dusan Cavic) Thanks to the powers he discovered by accident, Biba Struja has spent his entire life experimenting with electricity and proving to himself and others that it cannot harm him.
“Bible Quiz” • (U.S.A. - Director: Nicole Teeny) Seventeen-year-old Mikayla memorizes books of the Bible on her quest to win the National Bible Quiz Championship and the heart of JP, her quiz team captain, in a film that explores coming of age in the face of faith, doubt, fierce competition and teen love.
“The Bitter Buddha” • (U.S.A. - Director: Steven Feinartz) Cult-Comic Eddie Pepitone’s life is on display in this unhinged portrait of creativity, enlightenment and rage.
“The Brotherhood of the Traveling Rants” • (U.S.A./Canada - Directors: Gavin McInnes, Steve Durand, Bryan Gaynor) “Godfather of hipsterdom” Gavin McInnes goes on a stand-up comedy tour with his best friend from high school and things go from bad to worse to downright catastrophic.
“The Institute” • (U.S.A. - Director: Spencer McCall) Is it a cult? Is it a game? Or is it a life-changing adventure?
“The Last Shepherd” • (Italy - Director: Marco Bonfanti) Renato, the last traveling shepherd left in Milan, has a dream -- get to the inaccessible center of the city to meet the children who have never seen a flock of sheep.
“My Name Is Faith” • (U.S.A. - Directors: Jason Banker, Jorge Torres-Torres, Tiffany Sudela-Junker) Faith, a 13-year-old girl who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, attempts to heal from the trauma inflicted by her birthmother’s lifestyle.
“Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde” • (U.S.A. - Director: Suzanne Mitchell) The inspiring journey of a remarkable cowboy who triumphs in his quest to protect wild horses and the American West.
“Where I Am” • (Ireland - Director: Pamela Drynan) Robert Drake, a courageous gay American writer, struggles to return to the scene of a crime in Ireland where he was left for dead more than 10 years ago.
“Without Shepherds” • (Pakistan/U.S.A. - Director: Cary McClelland) Six bold individuals struggle to find their role in the turbulent waters of Pakistan and build a better tomorrow.