The 2019 Slamdance Film Festival will open its doors at the top of Main St. in Park City, Utah at the Treasure Mountain Inn on Jan. 25 and run through Jan. 31st. This intimate, competitive, and ever-growing festival gives independent filmmakers and fans of creative films, many of which push the boundaries in both topic matter and style, a different lens with which to view them. And many of these films will be picked up for distribution and just might be the start for the next Christopher Nolan.
If you’re in Park City, this is a festival not to be missed and here are my top picks so far:
In the superficial world in which we live, looks determine not only how others perceive us, but even who we are. Co-written and directed by Alexandre Franchi, “Happy Face” tackles this subject, introducing us to a teenager, struggling with his mother’s diagnosis of cancer that will result in a resection of her face. Joining a patient support group for those who have congenital anomalies or resulting disfigurements from an accident, he disguises himself to fit in. This is an eye-opening look into our own reactions and perceptions of those who may not initially be physically perfect. With no make up, these real people eloquently tell their own stories in this fictional tale.
THE VAST OF NIGHT:
Mystery and intrigue are at their highest as the residents of a small town are distracted by a local basketball game. Only a switchboard operator and a radio DJ have an inkling that something is askew. Written by James Montague and Craig Dietrich, and directed by Andrew Patterson, the film stars Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowtitz in this “sci-fi adventure” film.
One fateful summer, Fiona and her cognitively impaired brother set a course that will slowly change their futures. Written by Anders Emblem and starring Amalie Ibsen Jensen and David Jakobsen, this Norwegian story promises to connect our own lives with theirs as it dissects family and individuality as it relates to responsibility.
Written and directed by Jennifer Alleyn the lines of filmmaking and reality are blurred to create a surreal story of love, loss and what drives us forward. With an experimental and sensual feel, the film finds a common thread, stitching themes together into one glorious tapestry of a story.
A crazy, fast-paced story about Margaret (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Daryl (Joshua Leonard) who attempt to solve the mystery of a missing friend. Their antics and issues of past love interests intersect, sometimes creating a roadblock in finding their friend. What they ultimately find creates even more surprises, many of which they might not be ready or able to handle.
WE ARE THANKFUL:
The film is part real life and part re-enactment, promising to entertain and connect us with the residents in a village a world away in South Africa. Showing the power of film and filmmaking, Siyabonga Majola wants nothing more than to be in a movie and as luck would have it, one is being filmed nearby. What lengths will he go to in order to make his dreams come true? Interestingly, this film is also re-enacted by the very people who experienced what happened that fateful year.
DONS OF DISCO:
If you thought Disco was dead, think again as “Dons of Disco” powers into Slamdance. This documentary is filled with comedy and music as it discovers the identity behind the artist Den Harrow. Part mystery, party history, director Jonathan Sutak will give audiences plenty to ponder during film and after the credits roll.
Following along the beat of music is “Memphis ’69.” The 4th annual Country Blues Festival took place in Memphis. It was an historic event and until recently, the color footage had not been located. Now, almost 50 years later, we see the talent of blues masters such as Sleepy John Estes and Nathan Beauregard and many more, in full color footage. These legends and the amalgam of people who loved them are restored and brought back to life thanks to this discovery.
Check out the full schedule of films which include shorts, features, documentaries and exclusive to Slamdance, “Anarchy Shorts.” Tickets are affordable and the venue is small and welcoming. SLAMDANCE SCHEDULE