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Slamdance Announces Its Winners

Saturday, January 27---The Slamdance Film Festival, the "truly indie" parallel event that unspooled in Park City, has announced its award winners. While it is in many ways a more low key cousin to the main event, the Slamdance Film Festival has had capacity crowds and more business interest than in recent years. The Festival attracted nearly 20,000 attendees for the event. Filmgoers with an appetite for fresh alternatives and buyers looking for quirky material at less expensive prices have been sampling the wares since the Festival's launch last week.

Awards were announced on Friday evening, with selected winners screening in Salt Lake City today at the Trolley Square Cinema. The winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature, which includes a cash prize of $15,000 credit at Filmworks/FX is TIJUANA MAKES ME HAPPY, written and directed by Dylan Verrechia. In this debut film, a 14 year old boy who lives in Tijuana, Mexico who makes the treacherous journey across the border to San Diego, to make money to buy his own cockfighting rooster and buy respectability for a young prostitute.

The Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature, which includes a Sony HDV Camera and tape courtesy of Media Distributors, is UNSETTLED, a US/Israel co-production directed by Adam Hootnick. The film chronicles the story of three young Israeli settlers who are forcibly evicted from their homes in the Gaza Strip by their own soldiers.

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature was given to MURDER PARTY, an artful horror film about the ritual murder of a group of innocents by a gang of deranged hipster artists, directed by Jeremy Saulnier.

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature was awarded to RED WITHOUT BLUE, an intimate portrait of the unconventional relationship between two identical twin brothers, one of whom is living as a woman. The film, directed by Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills and Todd Sills explores our notions of self-hood and sexual identity.

Other awards include:

Global Audience Award for Best Anarchy Film
COMMODE CREATIONS: The Artwork of Barney Smith

Spirit of Slamdance Award

Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short

Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Short

Grand Jury Award for Best Experimental Short

Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Short

Awards were also given to screenwriters in narrative, documentary and short film categories. The high quality of the competition was evidence by the sale of two films to major distribution companies. New Line Cinema picked up rights to the documentary film THE KING OF KONG. Directed by Seth Gordon, the film follows a middle school science teacher who also happens to be a video arcade world champion. In addition, Seventh Art Releasing picked up the rights to OVER THE GW, a dramatization of a true story about rehabilitation clinics that prey on unsuspecing teenagers and their well-meaning parents.

Slamdance has justly become one of the pre-eminent film festivals in the world", Slamdance President and Co-Founder Peter Baxter exulted. "We had an astonishing array of narrative films, documentaries and shorts, and audiences happily found them....nearly all of our screenigs were sold out. Our focus on premiering new films by first-time writers and directors has grown dramatically, and we could not be more thrilled.”

Sandy Mandelberger
Sundance Online Dailies Editor

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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