A Park City legend will get his moment on the big screen in his hometown, as the subject of the opening-night film of the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival.
Experimental documentarian Lynne Sachs’ movie “Film About a Father Who,” a profile of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., will open the independent film festival on Jan. 24 at the Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main St., Park City, the festival announced Wednesday.
Ira Sachs Sr., 83, is known around Park City as an eccentric millionaire, the pioneering developer who, among other things, opened The Yarrow Hotel (now the DoubleTree by Hilton Park City). The film employs footage from 1984 to 2019, on 8mm and 16mm film, videotape and digital images.
In its program description, Slamdance said the film “offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets. … As the startling facts mount, Sachs as a daughter discovers more about her father than she had ever hoped to reveal.”
“It takes undeniable courage to discover and reveal shocking truths about one’s family,” said Alina Solodnikova, Slamdance festival manager. “Lynne Sachs has done it with unique style, a dry sense of humor and honesty that captivates our programmers.”
The Sachs family has another link to Park City in January: Ira’s son, also known as Ira Sachs, is a filmmaker who has had six of his seven films screen at the Sundance Film Festival. His 2005 drama “Forty Shades of Blue” won the Grand Jury Prize for U.S. dramatic films at Sundance.
Slamdance — which runs Jan. 24-30, alongside the larger Sundance Film Festival — announced “Film About a Father Who” will be part of its Breakouts program, showcasing directors who have already made their debuts and are sticking to the independent mindset.
Another Breakouts title announced Wednesday is the documentary “Shoot to Marry,” in which director Steve Markle, after a recent breakup, trains his camera on interesting women in the hopes of meeting the love of his life.
The festival has scheduled a masterclass by filmmaker Andrew Patterson, who will dissect his 2019 Slamdance award-winning film “The Vast of Night,” and how it made the journey from Slamdance to a deal with Amazon Studios.
The festival also listed two titles that will be shown as Special Screenings:
• “Animation Outlaws” is director Kat Alioshin’s documentary about Craig “Spike” Decker and Mike Gribble, the founders of Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation. It was a showcase for animated short films from 1977 to the 2000s, and spotlighted early work from such animators as John Lasseter, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Nick Park and Mike Judge.
• “Lillian,” the U.S. premiere of a drama by Austrian writer-director Andreas Horwath. It follows an emigre (Patrycja Planik) who decides to walk back to Russia, crossing the United States into the cold of Alaska in the process.
Slamdance also announced the titles of 81 short films selected to screen at the festival.
Here are the short films selected for the Slamdance Film Festival. (Synopses provided by Slamdance.)
“Borrachero” • (Canada) Director/ Screenwriter: Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea. “After a job goes wrong, a woman flees to her hometown in southern Colombia. Along the way she encounters a mysterious figure, which might be the embodied spirit of an ancient plant.”
“Driftless” • Director/ Screenwriter: Jonah Primiano. “Now only a memory, intimate moments with a family pet emerge and evaporate through delicate graphite drawings.
“Don’t Buy Milk” • (United Kingdom/Costa Rica) Director/ Screenwriter: Julian Gallese. “A whimsical portrait of a small dairy town.”
“Gray Body” • (Iran) Director: Samaneh Shojaei; Screenwriter: Amin Kafashzadeh. “The doctor is calmly visiting the patient. There are some psychiatric patients sitting in the waiting room, but these patients cannot be expected to be calm.”
“Hot and Tasty” • (United Kingdom) Director: Laura Jayne Hodkin; Screenwriter: Laura Jayne Hodkin, Simona Mehandzhieva. “Two drunk friends accidentally walk into a crime scene.” Cast: Anna Chloe Moorey, Emmy Rose.
“In Her Boots” • (United Kingdom/Austria) Director/ Screenwriter: Kathrin Steinbacher. “A story about Heidi’s attempt to retain her identity and autonomy.” Cast: Verena Altenberger, Marianne Freudenthaler, Jannik Goerger, Bertram Tinhof, Kathrin Steinbacher.
“Leaking Life” • (Japan) Director/ Screenwriter: Shunsaku Hayashi. “Touching the surface of the sea, they grow a new skin. A painted experimental animation meditating on liquid forms.”
“The Little Soul” • (Poland) Director/ Screenwriter: Barbara Rupik. “A human soul leaves the dead body and sets off on a journey through a lush and disturbing post-mortem stop-motion world.”
“Mate” • Director/ Screenwriter: Chaerin Im. “A mating ritual on print, plate, and reflection. An experimental film combining animation, printmaking, and photography.”
“Now 2” • Director/ Screenwriter: Kevin Eskew. “Who’s grooming whom? A glossy glimpse into a meticulously manicured suburbia.”
“San” • (South Korea) Director/ Screenwriter: Jin Woo. “Appa wants to feed his daughter, daughter wants to run away from the table, and the kid is laughing.”
“Symbiosis” • (France/Hungary) Director: Nadja Andrasev; Screenwriters: Nadja Andrasev, Rita Domonyi. “When a betrayed wife starts to investigate her husband’s mistresses, her jealousy is gradually replaced by curiosity.”
“There Were Four of Us” • (United States/China) Director/ Screenwriter: Cassie Shao. “In a room, there are four people. A dreamstate mystery evoked by obscure characters and a mind-melting blend of digital and analog materials.” Cast: Joseph O’Malley, Cassie Shao.
“Zorg II” • (Estonia) Director/ Screenwriter: Auden Lincoln-Vogel. “An alien comes to Earth in hopes of starring in a sci-fi blockbuster.” Cast: Kirsten Sogaard, Sally Lincoln-Vogel
“A Black Hole is a Black Hole in the Ground” • Directors: Tyler Macri, Sophia Feuer. “An intimate depiction of the strange, ephemeral realities that arise on evenings of play during early youth.”
“Gods from Space” • Director: Annalise Pasztor. “Welcome to The Aetherius Society — a religion where prayer can be stored in a battery, Jesus was an alien, and an unusual but kind-hearted community works toward the betterment of humanity.”
“Happy Ending” • (United Kingdom) Director: EunJu Ara Choi. “With real testimony from a Korean sex worker, this beautiful painted animation explores what it is like to be the subject of other people’s pleasure.”
“Hayat” • (Australia) Director: Rendah Haj. “Hayat documents the lives of Rahma, an Eritrean migrant and her four young children living in Melbourne, Australia.”
“In a Lion” • (Poland) Director: Karol Lindholm. “In a Danish zoo, visitors can get to know that animals are beautiful on the inside, too. But not all the spectators succumb to the magic of that show.”
“Margarita of the River” • Director: Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsemsa. “An animated documentary which showcases moments in the life of a woman from Honduras, who immigrated to the United States in order to support her family back home.”
“My Favorite Food Is Indian Tacos, My Favorite Drink Is Iced Tea and My Favorite Thing Is Drumming” • (Canada) Director: Derius Matchewan. “A film about courage, and the passion for drumming and traditional singing that young Derius shares with his friends.”
“Names for Snow” • (Canada) Director: Rebecca Thomassie. “This short follows Rebecca Thomassie, an Inuk woman, around Kangirsuk as she learns the 52 Inuktitut words for snow.”
“Old Young” • Director: Emma Baiada. “Following 92-year-old Ruth Young and 53-year-old David Maitz, Old Young is a film about companionship, coins, life, and death.”
“One Nation Under” • Director: Justin McHugh. “An investigation into what it means to be an American, questioning idyllic notions of freedom and power by observing the structures around us and hearing from the people overshadowed by them.”
“The Real Thing” • Director: Julianna Villarosa. “Using physical media (16mm, VHS) destroyed by Coca-Cola, “The Real Thing” contrasts the famous ad ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke’ with The Coca-Cola Company’s most recent scandal: unconscionable water privatization in Chiapas, Mexico.”
“To Calm the Pig Inside” • (Philippines) Director: Joanna Vasquez Arong. “A contemplative film that ponders the effects a typhoon leaves on a small town where myths are woven to help cope with the devastation and trauma.”
“24” • Director: Brian Yulo Ng. “’24’ is an experimental documentary and animated retrospective of a young man born between different cultures, it depicts moments of memory through short vignettes of the past.”
“Spontaneous” • Director: Lori Felker. “You never know when someone is miscarrying; it could be happening right next to you.”
“Umbilical” • (United States/China) Director: Danski Tang. “An animated documentary exploring how a mother’s abusive relationship shaped the director’s own experiences in boarding school. Through a conversation, a mother and daughter learn to understand and support one another.”
“When the Children Left” • (Canada) Director: Charlene Moore. “After the untimely passing of her sister, Amelia McLeod, Angelina McLeod travels back home to Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to honor her sister’s spirit and advocate for equal access to education.”
“The 410 ‘Episode Two’” • (Canada) Creator/ Screenwriter: Supinder Wraich; Director: Renuka Jeyapalan. “Hard-boiled noir meets hipster chill in this tale of familial strife and vigilante justice. Desperate to bail her father out of jail, Suri (Indian, blonde and bougie) comes face-to-face with the criminal underworld that operates inside her seemingly quiet suburban community.” Cast: Supinder Wraich, Jade Hassouné, Cas Anvar, Balinder Johal.
“Apricot ‘Popcorn’” • Creators/ Directors/ Screenwriters: Sam Icklow, Jake Thompson. “Marrying the verve of social media with sketch comedy absurdism, besties Sam and Jake equally celebrate and lampoon our kaleidoscopic consumer world with wit and whimsy. In ‘Popcorn’, our fashionable jokesters get a hankering for everyone’s favorite movie-time snack.” Cast: Jake Thompson, Sam Icklow.
“Bleeding Art ‘Episode One’” • (United Kingdom) Creators/ Directors/ Screenwriters: Pardeep Sahota. “Join artist Daniel Crossan as he shows you his journey down the creative process, all the way down.” Cast: Daniel Crossan, Mike Sumpter, Mark Mathews, Caspar.
“Candide ‘Home Sweet Home’” • (Hungary) Creators/ Directors: Zsuzsanna Kreif, Oliver Hegyi; Screenwriter: Nandor Bera. “Behold! Voltaire’s immortal satire remixed for our manic meme age. In this animated adventure, our titular pacifist hero is cast as a vile instrument of war by the nefarious General Pangloss.” Cast: Borbala Zetenyi, Marcell Szenasi, Fanni Nemethi, Zoltan Koska.
“Countdown ‘Overslept’” • Creator/ Director: Nathan Breton; Screenwriter: Joseph Killeen. “This anthology series explores the unique challenges of choices made when the clock is ticking down. In ‘Overslept,’ Ellen awakens before her alarm but it’s already too late to undo a bubbling betrayal.” Cast: Cassandra Clark, Matt Hopkins, Tanmaya Shekhar.
“Fashion in the Dark II” • (Scotland/Poland) Creator/ Director: Emily Ford-Halliday. “This short-form documentary series observes the way individuals with limited sight redefine their style identities and express themselves through fashion. Visiting 24-year-old Rae, we are immersed in a sensual cotton-candy world of youthful idealism and tactile magic.” Cast: Borbala Zetenyi, Marcell Szenasi, Fanni Nemethi, Zoltan Koska
“Monday ‘Pixelface’” • (Finland) Creators: John Lundsten, Melli Maikkula; Director: Samuli Valkama; Screenwriters: John Lundsten, Melli Maikkula. “Nestled disturbingly between ‘Night Gallery’ and ‘Black Mirror’ — each ‘Monday’ installment of this anthology series translates the surreal into a shared dilemma of truth. In 'Pixelface,’ a man’s scrambled face reveals hidden secrets as his wedding day nears.” Cast: Jarkko Niemi, Saara Kotkaniemi, Niina Koponen, Teijo Eloranta.
“Take One Thing Off ‘All the Pretty Bottles’” • Creator/ Screenwriter: Scout Durwood Director: Bruce Allen. “An evolving personal odyssey based on original music from cabaret star Scout Durwood’s debut album, this short form series fuses sketch comedy with music videos as fans follow Scout’s transition from a NYC dive bar star to becoming an L.A.-based internet legend.” Cast: Scout Durwood, Graham Beckett, Dre Swain, Nikkilette Wright.
“The Eyes of Summer” • (Sri Lanka/United States) Director: Rajee Samarasinghe. “Made collaboratively with the director’s family shortly after the Sri Lankan Civil War, an improvised narrative develops around an investigation into his mother’s childhood interactions with spirits in the community.”
“For All Audiences” • Director: Josh Weissbach. “A trailer of an experiment searches for meaning in a moldy montage.”
“Meteorite” • (Mexico) Director: Mauricio Saenz. “Bird men suffer mysterious falls in the search for where the sun rises. An altered reality through rites that converge in one objective: dying to generate life.”
“No Garden Beyond” • (Bermuda/United States) Directors: Rhys Johnevan Morgan, Anna Kipervaser. “Scenes from above, below and around the Sargasso Sea, a body of water unbounded by land where ecology and mythology have coexisted since before Juan de Bermúdez’s 1505 expedition. Where spirits whisper through the island’s flora and fauna, only to be interrupted by the alternating currents of manmade ruin and regeneration.”
“Patient’s Copy” • (United Kingdom) Director: Patrick Tarrant. “A hand-made reflection on the underconscious and on the illustration of ideas on plastic.”
“Re-Education of the Senses” • Directors: Erinn E. Hagerty, Adam Savje. “An experimental vision of Bauhausian hypnotherapy orchestrated by sentient technology.”
“Shooting Stars” • (Germany, Poland) Director: Magda Jaroszewicz. “The starting point is an observation, through which I near a picture searching for stories that ultimately emerge in one’s head. That night was a different one. It’s a midnight song about masculinity, joy and rivalry.”
“Ava’s Dating a Senior!” • Director/ Screenwriter: Frederic Da. “Silas is a freshman in high school. He’s in love with Ava, a girl in his grade — but rumor has it she is dating a senior.” Cast: Silas Mitchell, Ava Cooper, Archie Thorpe, Loulou Baltz.
“Blown Joan” • (United Kingdom) Director/ Screenwriter: Teva Cheema. “A man visits his newlywed brother and sister-in-law and masturbates on their bed.” Cast: Charlotte Mangel, Cael King, Jimmy Gorniak.
“Chubby” • (Canada) Directors/ Screenwriters: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli. “A 10-year-old girl struggles with the residual trauma of her sexual abuse.” Cast: Maya Harman, Jesse LaVercombe, Deragh Campbell.
“Earth FM” • Director/ Screenwriter: Philip Rabalais. “Three scientists search for an elusive signal ... their transmissions cross inside the earth, resulting in a mysterious and cathartic discovery.” Cast: Michael Cook, Anna Gebhardt, Dominic Rabalais, Adrien Logsdon.
“Greetings, from the Planet Krog!” • (Canada/United States) Director/ Screenwriter: Yani Gellman. “A young mother is stolen away to the furthest corners of the galaxy and must escape an alien prison to return home and free her own child.” Cast: Kendall Wright, Oliver Orlovski, Julia Hune-Brown.
“Hell and Such” • (Spain) Director/ Screenwriter: Enrique Buelo. “A stack of self-help books. A few calendars with pictures of naked women. An illegal store. A costume of Sancho Panza. A young woman who suffers.” Cast: Marian Gotor, Pilar Ponce, Justo Lozano.
“It’s Been Too Long” • Director: Amber Schaefer Screenwriters: David Ebert, Krista Jensen. “When two ex-lovers meet at a rarely-used Aspen lodge to reignite their passions, they must first confess their past sins.” Cast: David Ebert, Krista Jensen.
“Molly’s Single” • Director/ Screenwriter: Ariel Gardner. “After a devastating break-up, a guilt-ridden amateur singer seeks solace through a series of encounters with prospective suitors.” Cast: Magi Calcagne, Aaron Alberstein, Robby Massey, Brodie Reed.
“The Motorist” • (Scotland) Director/ Screenwriter: Ciaran Lyons. “When a man refuses to get out of his car after knocking someone down, justice takes a bizarre form.” Cast: Douglas Russel, John Cooke, Maria MacDonnel, Dom Watters.
“Moving” • Director/ Screenwriter: Adinah Dancyger. “The act of transporting an old mattress into a new walk-up apartment becomes absurdist, cinematic one-woman choreography.” Cast: Hannah Gross; Richard Vetere; John Wilson; Sam Taffel.
“Museum of Fleeting Wonders” • Director/ Screenwriter: Tomas Gomez Bustillo. “A collection of small and magical everyday moments inspired by real people’s stories.”
“MyToeShoes.Com” • Director/ Screenwriter: Corey Hughes. “A Florida man records an unboxing video for his YouTube channel.” Cast: Corey Hughes, Marnie Ellen Hertzler, Nick Vyssotsky.
“Oracle” • (Canada) Director/ Screenwriter: Aaron Poole. “A child internalizes the chaos of home renovations and his parents’ preoccupation, precipitating a fever dream that catapults his consciousness into adult realms of obsession and dread.” Cast: Carl MH Brooks, Sarah Naomi Campbell.
“Our Boy” • Director/ Screenwriter: Kyle Sims. “On the eve of a young boy’s adolescence, his community gathers to usher him through a peculiar coming-of-age ceremony.” Cast: Ryan Herzog, Christine Herzog, Mike Dugan, Carol Alaimo.
“Out of Tune” • (United States/Mexico) Director/ Screenwriter: Aaron With. “In an advanced society that worships a musical chord, a maintenance worker who tunes sonic shrines is thwarted by teen vandals.” Cast: Alberto Giacoman, Ezio Mastropaolo.
“Pillars” • Director/ Screenwriter: Cameron Bruce Nelson. A Mennonite woman reverts to a secret language when her best friend begins the rites of marriage.” Cast: Madeline Burton, Isabel Lasker, Donna Gafford, Walker Hare.
“Pitalev” • (Israel) Director/ Screenwriter: Omri Dekel-Kadosh. “Kid. Woman. Pita. Heart.” Cast: Shay Litman.
“Proof” • (United States/India) Directors: Nishtha Jain, Deepti Gupta Screenwriter: Nishtha Jain. “A conscientious young male gynecologist comes face-to-face with the reality of the women’s ward in a government city hospital.” Cast: Ritesh Jaltare
“Somewhere” • (Israel) Director/ Screenwriter: Lynn Laor. “Two 10-year-old girls are trying to relieve the boredom of Shabbat in Safed, the religious town they live in. And then comes the darkness.” Cast: Emily Maduel, Lior Gallner, Nissim Lagro.
“Still Working” • (Switzerland) Director/ Screenwriter: Julietta Korbel. “The guardian of a factory doomed to be demolished is faced with the end of his universe…” Cast: Beat Wittwer, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant.
“They Salivate” • (France) Director/ Screenwriter: Ariane Boukerche. “At a party, one guest drinks the last kiss of a couple.” Cast: Olga Riazanova, Nikho Georgiades, Julie Sokolowski, Marc-Antoine Vaugeois.
“Third Look” • (Israel) Director/ Screenwriter: Efrat Rasner. “A young woman, traveling by bus from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, is suddenly forced to navigate her way through confusion, guilt, relief, compassion, and alarm.” Cast: Yael Finkel, Sasha Netzah Agraunov.
“Two Words” • Director/ Screenwriter: Jordan Michael Blake. “A recently engaged couple deals with the stress of competing for $10,000 on a public access gameshow.” Cast: Anu Valia, Jordan Michael Blake & Brendan O’Brien.
“A Walk Down To Water” • (Canada) Director/ Screenwriter: Levi Holwell. “A motel employee awaits the arrival of an ambulance after discovering a guest has passed away in one of the rooms.” Cast: Boban Stojanović, Myla Southward.
Department of Anarchy
“Ceremony Night” • (Iran) Director: Behnam Abedi; Screenwriter: Hamed Hoseini Sangari , Behnam Abedi. “Anarchy games in a ceremony night.” Cast: Pejman Yavari, Amir Ahmad Ghazvini, Navid Nouri.
“400 MPH” • (France) Directors/ Screenwriters: Paul-Eugène Dannaud, Julia Chaix, Lorraine Desserre, Alice Lefort, Natacha Pianeti, Quentin Tireloque. “Chimpanzee attempts breaking land speed record.”
“Hot Pursuit” • Director/ Screenwriter: John Warren. “Subjected to a meticulous digital reprocessing, both action and narrative dissolve and are subsumed into a psychedelic, cascading digital texture, presided over by a hypnotic soundscape.” Cast: General Lee.
“Karaoke Night” • (Portugal/Finland) Director: Francisco Lacerda Screenwriters: Amarino França, Francisco Lacerda. “Two sleazy tourists have the night of their lives at a karaoke bar in the Azores.” Cast: Rita Borges, Francisco Lopes, Fernando Alle, Eliezer Pereira.
“The Message From Space” • Director/ Screenwriter: Grier Dill. “Earth receives a message from deep space, showing us how to create a new miracle substance that can replace every modern material we currently use.” Cast: Anne Smith, Anthony Lund.
“Nevermore” • Director/ Screenwriter: Joshua Franco. “A paranoid raven writer trying to overcome writer’s block.”
“Over/Under” • Director/ Screenwriter: Dia Jenet. “A game for two.” Cast: Dia Jenet.
“Piggy” • (Spain) Director/ Screenwriter: Carlota Pereda. “For Sara, being a teen can be a real horror story.” Cast: Laura Galán, Paco Hidalgo, Elizabet Casanovas, Mireia Vilapuig.
“The Procedure Part 2” • Director/ Screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder. “A man is forced to endure another strange experiment.” Cast: Christian Palmer, Terry Sequel.
“Smiles” • (Spain) Director/ Screenwriter: Javier Chavanel. “Borja is about to meet his girlfriend´s parents.” Cast: Luis Miguel Jara, Loreto S. Santamaría, Alejando Sigüenza.
“Sweep Away Hungry Ghosts” • (United Kingdom) Director/ Screenwriter: Zhang and Knight. “A wishful reverie of a young Asian man as he struggles to come to terms with his deceased father’s cross-dressing.” Cast: Takuro Hama Cheung, Ken Mai.
“Washed” • Director/ Screenwriter: Michael Bartolomeo. “In this stop-motion horror short, a couple enlists the aid of a mysterious figure to help them with their seemingly insurmountable laundry problem.” Cast: Stephen West-Rogers, Sergine Garraud, Lukas Hassel.