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Slamdance "by filmmakers for filmmakers"

The Slamdance Film Festival, often called the ‘independent alternative’ fest held in Park City, Utah (January 21-28, 2005), unveiled its line up with a record 23 World and US feature premiers (including works-in-progress) as well as a striking departure for its Opening and Closing Night films.

Two documentaries will bookend the festival: opening the festival is Mad Hot Ballroom (Marilyn Agrelo: USA), a gloriously fun chronicle of New York kids training for a ballroom dance contest. The film, represented by Cinetic Media, is making its world premiere at Slamdance. I Know I Am Not Alone (Michael Franti: USA) will close the festival as a work-in-progress. Filmed entirely on location in Iraq and Palestine during the summer and fall of 2004, the film is a personal diary of one man’s journey to discover the ‘truth’ of the US war in Iraq and the war between Israel and Palestine.

Festival Director Kathleen McInnis said, “We feel the documentary film to be the last stand of truly independent filmmaking -- not yet co-opted by studios or the mini-majors but instead fresh voices from filmmakers almost always nearly shy of resources but rich in story. We couldn’t be more excited to bookend our festival with two such strong films. They will encapsulate an extraordinary line up of films that showcase remarkable risk-taking, passion and cinematic verve.”

Other standout feature films include the absurdist comedy Phil the Alien (Rob Stefaniuk, Canada) about an alien’s unlikely effect on a small Canadian town; the relationship-challenged Four-Eyed Monsters (Arin Crumley & Susan Buice: USA); Milk Can (Matt Kresling: USA) about a rivalry between two small towns over a milk can that has grave consequences; the black romantic comedy Mall Cop (David Greenspan: USA); the disturbing psychological drama This Very Moment (Chritoph Hochhäusler: Germany), and the IFP Independent Spirit Cassavetes Award nominee On the Outs (Lori Silverbush & Michael Skolnik: USA) among others.

Standout documentary films include Abel Raises Cain (Jennifer Abel & Jeff Hockett: USA) about the notorious media hoaxer Alan Abel; In a Nutshell (Director Don Bernier: USA) about cult figurine Elizabeth Tashjian, and two views on the sixties from Slamdance alumni: Commune (Jonathan Berman: USA) starring Peter Coyote, and The Real Dirt on Farmer
John (Taggart Siegel: USA).

Director of Program Relations Sarah Diamond said, "Our slate this year represents an amazing array of worldwide cinema. We have come into our 11th year with a film program more diverse than ever. True to form, Slamdance will introduce the class of 2005 as strong, vibrant and talented filmmakers."
Slamdance 2005 will feature 11 competition narrative feature films, 8 competition documentary films, 6 Special Screenings and 7 Midnight Screenings, in addition to the nearly 80 short films playing throughout the festival.

Also new this year are both the BIG C Gaming Competition sponsored by BAWLS Guarana and NCsoft, and the Teleplay Competition sponsored by fox21 (the boutique television production arm of Twentieth Century Fox). The Gaming Competition (for independent game developers) will be held the first weekend of the festival; the public is encouraged to attend to play the games along with the competition judges. The Teleplay winner will be announced at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony at Suede nightclub in Kimball Junction.

The week-long festival has also physically expanded this year to include a second screening venue and new box office at 608 Main Street in Park City, in addition to their Festival Headquarters at the Treasure Mountain Inn. Additionally, the festival will expand their Salt Lake City screenings to both the newly refurbished vintage movie house, The Murray Theatre, as well as the brew pub theater, Brewvies. All ticket prices will be $10, except for Utah State residents who pay $8.50 upon proof of residency.

The Festival has continued to grow since it first emerged in 1995. Submissions for 2005 reached nearly 2,800 and came from over three-dozen countries. As always, the Festival is ‘by filmmakers for filmmakers’ and as such all programming of competition films is done by a committee of filmmakers, including Festival alumni. The Festival is also related to the Slamdance Media Group—the distribution entity created to support Indie filmmakers year-round with a commercial enterprise that brings them financial reward by exhibiting their film globally. Slamdance Media Group was initiated by Slamdance Film Festival President and Co-founder Peter Baxter. Baxter is President and Co-CEO of Slamdance Media Group.

In competition: narrative features:
Mall Cop David Greenspan USA World premiere
Milk Can Matt Kresling USA World premiere
Phil the Alien Rob Stefaniuk Canada US premiere
Zombie Honeymoon Dave Gebroe USA
Frozen Juliet McKoen UK
On the Outs Lori Silverbush & USA US premiere
Michael Skolnik
This Very Moment Christoph Hochhäuser Germany
Four-Eyed Monsters Arin Crumley & USA World premiere
Susan Buice
The Dry Spell John Erick Dowdle USA World premiere
Strahl Manuel Flurin Hendry Switzerland US premiere
Ellektra Rudolf Mestdagh Belgium US premiere

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