At the end of every January, the small ski town of Park City, Utah, becomes a mecca for film talent and movie buzz. The work of filmmakers from all over the world is shown to some of the industry’s biggest influencers while just down the street, Sundance is also happening. The Slamdance Film Festival runs concurrently with Robert Redford’s star studded opus and has steadily grown in size, popularity, and significance in the 21 years since its inception. What makes Slamdance different is its concentration on young filmmakers, predominantly programming films from first time directors with budgets under 1 million dollars.
For the first time ever, Dork Shelf is in Park City to see who the next Christopher Nolan, Rian Johnson or Lena Dunham (all of whom showed early work at Slamdance) will be. With only 12 narrative features and even fewer feature documentaries programmed each year, it is statistically harder to get into Slamdance than it is to get into Sundance. In addition to these categories, the festival also has a Special Screenings program (which this year includes Yosemite, the second film adapted from James Franco’s book of short stories ‘Palo Alto’), a Beyond program which is more experimental work, and several Short film programs. All of the programming is done by filmmakers, predominantly alumni from festivals past, which is unusual for a festival of this size.
We will be concentrating mainly on reviews from the Narrative Feature and Documentary Feature categories, and will also be posting interviews with the filmmakers as the festival unfolds. All of our articles will be hosted on this page and updated throughout the week. Except where otherwise noted, all coverage is provided by Dork Shelf’s Associate Editor, Noah R. Taylor.
Britni West -writer/ director of Tired Moonlight
Patrick Ryan and Emma Eliza Regan -writer/ director and star of Darkness on the Edge of Town
Branden Kramer, Jan Jaworksi, Tom Kropp and Stefan Haverkamp -writer/ director and producers of Ratter
Nisan Dağ and Esra Saydam – co-writers and directors of Across the Sea
Gabrielle Demeestere -writer/ director of Yosemite
Dan Berk, Robert Olsen, Alexandra Kurshen, Helen Rogers and Lauren Molina -the filmmakers and cast of Body
Perry Blackshear -writer/ director of They Look Like People (new)
Michael Steves and Bubba Fish – writer/ director and writer/ producer of Clinger (new)
A version of the text of this article appeared in the National Post on Monday, January 19