A raft of European productions premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival
by Martin Kudláč
- The US gathering welcomed a slew of European productions and co-productions
Several European productions disembarked on US soil recently, at the 23rd edition of the Slamdance Film Festival (20-26 January), which took place in Park City, Utah. “Independent film is made beautiful not by those individual artists that form celebrity culture, but by creative collaboration,” said Slamdance co-founder and president Peter Baxter, adding, “At Slamdance this year, we’ve experienced an entire programme of beautiful independent films and the promise of great emerging artists continuing the legacy of what we set out to do.” This edition was exceptionally ripe with European productions and co-productions.
The Erlprince [+see also:
interview: Kuba Czekaj
film profile] by young Polish talent Kuba Czekaj was unveiled as a North American premiere at Slamdance. Here, Czekaj continues his exploration of growing up, which he began in his previous offering, Baby Bump [+see also:
interview: Kuba Czekaj
film profile]. Shifting from the corporeal to the psychological domain, several genres intertwine in the movie, ultimately forming a moving family drama. The creative team comprising Frauke Havemann, Eric Schefter and Mark Johnson world-premiered their German project Weather House, which straddles film, video art and theatre (read the interview). In this minimalistic and absurd drama, sudden climate change influences the behaviour of an isolated group of characters. There was also a North American premiere on the agenda for another German project, Beat Beat Heart, and for a graduation project by director Luise Brinkmann, DoP Mathias Hansprach, editor Maren Unterburger and producer Olivia Charamsa. In the documentary section, Austrian filmmaker Patricia Josefine Marchart introduced the world premiere of her film The Children Send Their Regards, addressing the issue of “sexual, emotional and physical abuse by the clergy”.
American independent filmmaker Matthew Lessner made his sophomore feature, Automatic at Sea, in co-production with Denmark. The lead actress, Sweden’s Livia Hiselius, portrays Eve, a young Swedish traveller who finds herself stranded on a private island with wealthy heir Peter. As the days go by, Eve becomes trapped in feverish dreams and visions, making her question the nature of reality. Meanwhile, the German-UK-Japanese co-production Kuro, written and directed by Joji Koyama and Tujiko Noriko, was introduced as a world premiere, telling the story of a Japanese woman tending to her paraplegic lover and telling him a story that interweaves personal histories, anecdotes and myths. Finally, Matteo Borgardt attended Slamdance to present his US-, Mexico- and Italy-produced documentary about Charles Bukowski, You Never Had It: An Evening With Bukowski, based on a video interview with the infamous poet from 1981.