Slamdance Film Festival
|Slamdance Film Festival|
|Location||Park City, Utah, U.S.A.|
The Slamdance Film Festival is a yearly film festival reserved for independent films, created in 1995.
As a year-round organization, Slamdance serves as a showcase for the discovery of new and emerging talent in the film industry; it is also the only major film festival fully programmed by filmmakers. Slamdance counts among its alumni many notable writers and directors who first gained notice at the festival, including Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster, Jared Hess and Oren Peli. The festival takes place each year in Utah at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, competing to provide what its supporters consider a truer representation of independent filmmaking. Slamdance is especially unique because their feature competition is limited to films made with budgets under $1 million and made by first time directors.
The festival was founded in 1995 by Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn Peter Baxter along with co-conspirator Paul Rachman  and has since become a year-round organization championing emerging filmmaking talent and their new work.
Slamdance adamantly supports self-governance amongst independents, and claims to deliver what filmmakers go to festivals for: a chance to show their work and a launching point for their careers. Slamdance has earned a reputation for premiering films by first-time writers and directors working within limited budgets.
Peter Baxter has been in charge of Slamdance since 1997.
Festival discoveries have included directors such as Christopher Nolan (Memento), Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) and Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite). Slamdance also attracts world renowned alumni including Larry Clark and Steven Soderbergh.
At the 2005 Festival, Slamdance screened the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, which was immediately purchased by Paramount Pictures for the largest amount ever for a feature-length documentary. At the 2007 Festival Seth Gordon's premiere The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters became another sought after documentary and was acquired by New Line Cinema. 2009 festival highlights included premieres Mississippi Damned directed by Tina Mabry and I Sell the Dead produced by Larry Fessenden and directed by Glenn McQuaid, which was acquired by the Independent Film Channel and Anchor Bay Entertainment. A Quiet Little Marriage, directed by Mo Perkins, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature and shortly afterward was picked for distribution by the Independent Film Channel.
In 2008, Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity played its Festival premiere at Slamdance and was acquired by DreamWorks who then passed domestic control of the film onto Paramount. During the weekend of October 11–12, 2009 “Paranormal Activity” broke the box-office record for a film playing at fewer than 200 theaters by selling $7.1 million worth of tickets in the US and Canada. As of October 25, “Paranormal Activity” had earned $66 million and reached number 1 at the Box Office. By January 10, 2010, the $10,000 budgeted picture had amassed $107 million at the domestic Box Office and $193 million worldwide.
2010's festival event took place in Park City, Utah on January 21–28, 2010. It included the world premiere of Steven Soderbergh's And Everything Is Going Fine (a documentary about the late actor and monologuist Spalding Gray) and introduced the "Filmmaker Summit". This Summit invites the global filmmaking community to collectively craft a new charter for storytelling and content distribution that can succeed by using new technology. The Jury Prize for Best Narrative film was won by Snow and Ashes, directed by Charles-Olivier Michaud and the Jury Prize for Best Documentary was won by “American Jihadist”, directed by Mark Claywell. The Audience Award for Best Narrative was won by The Wild Hunt, directed by Alexandre Franchi and the Audience Award for Best Documentary was won by “Larry Linkogle: The Mind Of The Demon”.
For the 2011 Festival, Slamdance received a record number of over 5,000 submissions. The Sparky for Best Narrative Film went to "Stranger Things” and Best Documentary went to “Bhopali,” which also won the Audience Award. The Audience Award for Best Narrative went to “Silver Tongues.” Following their premiers at Slamdance “Real Life Superheroes” sold to HBO and Atrocious was acquired by the same team at Paramount that developed the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.
At the 2012 Festival, Canadian distributor Phase 4 Films acquired the high school comedy Bindlestiffs. The Slamdance title directed by Andrew Edison will be the first movie to be released under Kevin Smith's "SModcast Pictures Presents".
At Slamdance 2013, Bible Quiz won the Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary and The Dirties won the Grand Jury prize for Best Feature Narrative.
Screenwriting & Teleplay Competitions
In addition to the festival, Slamdance's Screenwriting and Teleplay Competitions have discovered a number of talented screenwriters, including Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace) and Nicole Kassell (The Woodsman). In 2008, Slamdance entered into an agreement with Upload Films to develop and produce Drool, the winner of Slamdance's Screenplay Competition. Written and directed by Nancy Kissam, Drool premiered at the 2009 Festival and thereafter was acquired by Strand Releasing. Chad Kinkle's southern horror screenplay Jug Face won the 2011 Grand Prize. During the 2012 Slamdance Festival Modernciné producers Andrew van den Houten and Robert Tonino announced their production of Jug Face in Nashville, TN.
Each year the winning Short screenplay is produced by Slamdance and premieres at the film festival as part of the $99 specials which are paired with a non-competition Special Screening. In 2011, "Dead in the Room", written by Marjory Kaptanoglu (winner of Slamdance's 2010 Short Screenplay Competition) was directed by Academy nominated filmmaker Adam Pertofsky. . In 2012, Harold's Bad Day, written by RJ Buckley was directed by Slamdance alum Jordan Brady. The 2011 Grand Prize winner Jug Face, written by Chad Crawford Kinkle, premiered at the 2013 festival, where it was picked up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures.
As the film festival is to film, the Slamdance Screenwriting and Teleplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. Screenplays in every genre, any budget, on any topic, from anywhere in the world are welcome to submit. One unique feature of the competition is providing constructive feedback for every entrant.
The competition consists of four categories (Feature, Short/Webisode, Horror, Teleplay). Awards are given to the top three scripts in each category and there is also one Grand Prize for the best piece of material submitted regardless of category.
The Slamdance 2013 Screenwriting Competition is presented by JuntoBox Films. Awards are given to the top three scripts in each category, with a Grand Prize of $10,000 cash and no less than $50,000 in production funds for the best feature-length screenplay regardless of category.
Slamdance Guerrilla Games Competition
The festival used to host a computer and video game competition called "Slamdance Guerrilla Games Competition."
In January 2007 the festival for the first time dropped a finalist. The game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! was announced as a finalist in late November 2006, but the controversial game was dropped by Slamdance founder Peter Baxter with no outside pressure as initially reported. In response to this 6 other finalists withdrew from the competition in protest, Jonathan Blow withdrew Braid, thatgamecompany withdrew flOw, Waking Games withdrew Once Upon a Time, the developers for Toblo withdrew their game (however, on January 16 the college which they attend, the DigiPen Institute of Technology against their wishes "overwrote our decision and readmitted Toblo to the Slamdance Festival", because the developers did not consult the college prior to their withdrawal decision), Queasy Games withdrew Everyday Shooter, Nick Montfort withdrew Book and Volume, and The Behemoth withdrew Castle Crashers. The University of Southern California has also withdrawn its sponsorship of Slamdance over this controversy.
On 26 January 2007, the date the game awards were to be presented, a panel discussion with the remaining finalists resulted in the withdrawal of the "Official Jury Selection" for all finalists, and no awards were handed out. The competition has not been held since.
Slamdance President and Co-Founder Peter Baxter said, “Slamdance has a true independent identity and proven track record of unearthing great films. It’s time now to be progressive and unleash our film programs outside of the festival and directly help filmmakers find popular, worldwide audiences. The standard of Slamdance films deserve this much and we believe the audience will respond.”
As of opening day at the 2011 festival, select Competition Feature Films were made available via Zune video Marketplace as part of this year’s Festival and VOD Showcase for the duration of the festival, January 20–27. Select films included narrative features “Modern Imbecile’s Planet World”, Snow on tha Bluff and “The Beast Pageant”; documentary features “Road Dogs” and “Scrapper”, as well as films from previous years’ festivals.
In addition to VOD development, the organization has established "Slamdance On The Road", a traveling theatrical showcase supported by the film festival organization and its filmmakers. "On the Road" brings popular Slamdance films to audiences that otherwise would not have the chance to see them and provide theatrical venues with an alternative film program experience. "On The Road" events usually take place in the US but have also travelled to countries like China, Poland, France and Chile.
In 2013, the Slam Collective made Slamdance's first collaborative feature film called "I Want To Be an American". In the spirit of the Surrealist parlor game of chance Exquisite Corpse, 7 Slamdance filmmakers each made a documentary short film based on imagery forwarded on by the previous filmmaker in the chain. The composite story forms a global independent filmmaking experience. Inspired by the idea that with digital technology, cameras, online distribution, like-minded filmmakers from different cultures across continents can embrace a basic concept and create several films with one unifying theme; the discovery of community.
Growth of Festival
Slamdance continued to create new avenues for its filmmakers expanding beyond Park City during the festival by creating the annual Filmmaker Summit in 2010.
In 2011, Slamdance presented the second annual Filmmaker Summit, along with the Ford Foundation, IndieFlix and Banyan Branch, bringing together some of the most innovative thinkers in the industry. Speakers included Scilla Andreen (IndieFlix), Tiffany Shlain (Director of "Connected", "Yelp"), Brian Newman (subgenre media), Jenny Samppala (Banyan Branch), Amy Powell ("Paranormal Activity"), Lance Weiler ("Pandemic"), John Anderson (Variety), Orlando Bagwell (Ford Foundation), and Greg Pak (Robot Stories and Hulk comic book scribe).
Slamdance also collaborated with Kodak in order to bring Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond to the festival and host an intimate discussion about the future of film and digital cinematography.
At the 2011 Festival, Slamdance launched a Student Initiative program involving both students and their faculty to help them gain a greater understanding of the current realities and opportunities in independent film.
When the Festival began it received 48 submissions. As of 2012, Slamdance receives over 7,500 submissions per annum and is now seen as one of the most significant Film festival's in the world.
The 2014 Film Festival will run from January 17–23 and will mark Slamdance’s 20th Year.
See also: articles about individual years' festivals
- 2012 Slamdance Film Festival
- 2011 Slamdance Film Festival
- 2010 Slamdance Film Festival
- 2009 Slamdance Film Festival
- 2008 Slamdance Film Festival
- 2007 Slamdance Film Festival
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- Once Upon A Time
- An Open Letter to the Slamdance Festival
- Everyday Shooter by Jonathan Mak
- Grand Text Auto » Book and Volume Withdrawn from Slamdance
- NG BBS — Slamdance Update
- Ludicidal Tendencies: USC Interactive Media Division Withdraws Slamdance Sponsorship
- Slamdance Game Competition Ends in Dissolution
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- "Slamdance Pacts With Microsoft For VOD". http://www.indiewire.com/. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
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