While the Sundance Film Festival draws big names to relatively small movies, the Slamdance Film Festival takes a more grassroots approach. When a group of filmmakers, who didn’t make it into Sundance and were unwilling to take “no” for an answer, they decided to start their own festival, Slamdance: Anarchy in Utah.
18 years later and directors such as Christopher Nolan (Memento), Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) and Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity) have all gotten their start at Slamdance. Aside from the festival, Slamdance is also a year-round organization fostering the development of unique and innovative filmmakers.
Slamdance begins today, January 18, and runs through January 24 in Park City, Utah. Here are a few queer-themed films, shorts and docs making their debut, including a feature directed by out Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie.
Brooklyn, 2008. On the eve of Obama’s history-making election, three friends, once members of a promising hip-hop trio, cross paths once again and discover that some things never change. Former frontman John, once known as “Big Words”, is now a struggling IT guy who raps only to himself. James is a publicist living with his boyfriend, far removed from the days when he rhymed about getting girls. DJ Malik still spins records, but he wants the old days back. Together again, the guys reckon with the past and dreams deferred.
Oliver, a controlling yet loving father, is shaken when forced to recognize his son, a teenager living with Down syndrome, as an emerging adult with sexual urges who yearns for his independence. He starts to be concerned about his son’s sexual orientation.
When once-up-and-coming indie film starlet Halley Feiffer loses her boyfriend, her agent and her career in one fell swoop she finally realizes that something has got to change…she has to become WAY MORE FAMOUS! Armed with a stolen script and two pitchers of sangria, Halley enlists the help of her brother Ryan and his boyfriend to make a movie, starring herself (of course), and any A-list celebrity she can land. She will stop at nothing, even if it means hurting the only people who truly care about her.
A young boy at the brink of adolescence takes a harrowing journey through a mystical dreamworld. Through splintered fantasies of his reckless, fading beauty of a mother and cruel, alcoholic father, he performs a holy ritual that will one day form into a defiantly singular adult persona.
Where I Am, Directed by Pamela Drynan (Documentary)
Gay American writer Robert Drake is on the road to recovery – but this is a journey with a difference. Over ten years have passed since a violent and bloody attack by two young men in Sligo, Ireland one dark night left him paralyzed. From his home in Philadelphia we follow Robert’s trip back to Sligo, where his drama began, to lay the past to rest. Full of laughter, tears and literary types, this documentary captures Robert’s spirit and intention – that of moving on positively and taking the world with him.