I've never been to Sundance, but I have seen the episode of Entourage where Queen's Boulevard premieres at the film festival, which I do believe makes me an expert who can publicly bemoan how commercial the once independent fest has become. Okay, so maybe it doesn't, but even an outsider like me can see Sundance doesn't exactly represent what genuine independent cinema is like. And it seems the folks who run the Slamdance Film Festival every year would agree.
So if you happen to be in Park City, Utah in January between the 21st and the 28th, you might want to check out the Slamdance lineup below for some more strictly independent cinema, as opposed to the high-profile indies that seem to dominate the Sundance roster these days. You may recall that Slamdance was the fest that brought a little home video experiment called Paranormal Activity to the attention of the world. Who knows, maybe one of the titles below will someday dethrone it as the most profitable movie ever made.
Doubtful, but still worth a shot.
NARRATIVE COMPETITION (all films are from the US unless otherwise noted)
"Cummings Farm" - directed by Andrew Drazek. World Premier, 103 min
Cast: Laura Silverman
Cummings Farm is a disturbing comedy about an orgy at a lakeside strawberry farm. Three couples at the end their twenties give group sex a go, naively hoping it will grant them enlightenment.
"Drones" - directed by Amber Benson & Adam Busch. World Premier, 96 min
Cast: Angela Bettis, Jonathan M. Woodward
When Brian walks in on his best friend's closet time, he discovers a universal threat to his life, job and the Earth itself!
"The Four-Faced Liar" - directed by Jacob Chase. World Premier, 100 min
Cast: Emily Peck, Marja-Lewis Ryan, Todd Kubrak
When small town couple, Molly and Greg, meets best friends Trip and Bridget, unexpected sparks fly. As friendship slides into passion, Molly must choose between a guy she took for granted, and the girl she can't resist.
"The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu" - directed by Henry Saine. World Premier, 82 min
Cast: Devin McGinn
Jeff is an ordinary guy that is stuck at a dead end job with a boring life, but when a strange old man gives him an Ancient relic and tells him that he is the last bloodline of H.P. Lovecraft. He and his friend Charlie embark on an adventure to protect the relic piece from falling into the hands of the Starspawn and his minions that wish to reunite the relic and release Cthulhu back into the world.
"One Hundred Mornings" - directed by Conor Horgan. (Ireland) US Premier, 85 min
Cast: Ciaran McMenamin, Alex Reid, Rory Keenan
Set in a world upended by a complete breakdown of society, two couples hide out in a lakeside cabin hoping to survive the crisis.
"The Scenesters" - directed by Todd Berger, 96 min
Cast: Sherilyn Fenn, Suzanne May, Blaise Miller
In this dark comedy, when a serial killer starts picking off beautiful young hipsters on the east side of Los Angeles, a group of crime scene videographers hatch a plan to catch him.
"Snow and Ashes" - directed by Charles Olivier-Michaud. (Canada)World Premier, 104 min
Cast: Rhys Coiro, Lina Roessler, Frederic Gilles
A War Correspondent covers an armed conflict in Eastern Europe. When he wakes from a coma, Blaise discovers that his collaborator is missing and sets out to recapture the events that led to his friend's disappearance.
"URFrenz" - directed by Jeff Phillips. World Premier, 84 min
Cast: Lily Holleman, Gayla Goehl, CaroleAnne Johnson
High school girls and their parents collide over the use of a popular social networking site when the identity and motives of an on-line boy come into question.
"The Wild Hunt" - directed by Alexandre Franchi. (Canada) World Premier, 95 min
Cast: Kaniehtiio Horn, Mark Anthony Krupa, Ricky Mabe
A medieval re-enactment game turns into a Shakespearean tragedy when a non-player crashes the event to win back his girlfriend.
"YellowBrickRoad" - directed by Andy Mitton & Jesse Holland. World Premier, 94 min
Cast: Cassidy Freeman, Lee Wilkof, Anessa Ramsey
An expedition looks for answers to something horrible in the forest, but the forest finds something horrible in them.
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION (all films are from the US unless otherwise noted)
"American Jihadist" - directed by Mark Claywell. US Premier. 72 min
What makes a man willing to kill and die for his religion?
"Biker Fox" - directed by Jeremy Lamberton. World Premier, 94 min
By taking the road less traveled, Biker Fox leads you to another dimension by "cogitating positive vibes to the cortex of your cerebellum" in this part documentary, part self-help testimonial.
"Candyman" - directed by Costa Botes. World Premier, 76 min
Candyman is the story of the rise and fall of David Klein, the man who invented Jelly Belly jelly beans. With Weird Al Yankovich
"General Orders No. 9" - directed by Robert Persons, 72 min
Take one last trip down the rabbit hole before it gets paved over. A history of the State of Georgia or Anywhere. Deer trail becomes Indian trail becomes county road becomes...
"Mamachas Del Ring" - directed by Betty M. Park. US Premier, 75 min
Bolivian women wrestlers throw down in the ring in this documentary about what it really means to fight like a girl. Carmen Rosa the Champion is their passionate leader, and is faced with a brutal decision when she is forced to choose between her love of sport and love of her family.
"Mind of a Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story" - directed by Adam Barker, 62 min
The birth of freestyle motocross became the demise of the sport's most infamous legend. Narrated by Lemmy.
"Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae" - directed by Stascha Bader. (Canada) US Premier, 98 min
The singers and musicians of Jamaica's Golden Age of music, Rocksteady, come together after 40 years to record an album of their greatest hits, to perform together again at a reunion concert in Kingston, and to tell their story. With Rita Marley
"William Burroughs: A Man Within" - directed by Yony Leyser. World Premier, 90 minLeyser paints a tender portrait of the Beat author and American icon, whose works at once savaged conservative ideals, spawned vibrant countercultural movements and reconfigured 20th century culture. With David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Peter Weller, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson.