The Slamdance Film Festival unveils its programme, including a handful of European titles
by Jesús Silva
- The US independent gathering, unspooling in parallel with the Sundance Film Festival, will have a European presence across its various competitive sections and special screenings
Regarded as Sundance’s “alternative sister”, and described by itself as a “showcase for raw and innovative filmmaking”, the Slamdance Film Festival has been held in Park City (Utah) since 1995 and, since then, has become a year-round institution fostering the development of avant-garde cinema and one of the main independent film events in the world. In previous years, it has discovered the first projects by emergent talents such as Christopher Nolan (Interstellar [+see also:
film profile], The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Marc Foster (Monster’s Ball, World War Z [+see also:
film profile]), among others. The 21st edition of the festival (running from 22-28 January 2016) will present a handful of European productions and co-productions in competition, as well as several titles during the special screenings.
Among its Narrative Features Programme, made up of first-time directors' fiction features with a budget of under one million dollars and no distribution, we find two European premieres: Last Summer [+see also:
film profile] by Leonardo Guerra Seragnoli, an Italian drama set on board a luxury yacht, where a mother spends her last days with her son after losing a custody battle; and The Lesson by UK director and screenwriter Ruth Platt, an original sort of horror film about the relationship between a tormented teacher and the troubled teens forced to bear his anger. 1ha 43a by Monika Pirch is the only European film in the Documentary Features Programme section - it is a German production about a woman who inherits farmland near Dusseldorf and tries to explore the potential of her new field.
The later announcement of the Special Screening Programme, which rounds off the 2016 selection of Slamdance, included new titles from Poland, the UK, Germany and Italy, which will all have their world or North American premieres at the festival: Embers by Claire Carré, a Polish-US co-production set in a post-apocalyptic future in which humans have lost their memory due to a neurological epidemic; Let's Be Evil by British director and screenwriter Martin Owen, about an underground facility intended to provide advanced learning for gifted children, where things get out of control; Axel Ranisch’s Alky Alky, a German production that follows the tragicomic and destructive friendship between two grown-up men; and The Successor by Italian filmmakers Mattia Epifani and Francesco Lefons, a tale about a former landmine manufacturer who travels to Bosnia in order to confront the ghosts of his past.