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FESTIVALS USA/Europe

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European cinema to set sail for Slamdance

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- A raft of European narrative and documentary films will have their North American premieres at the “premier film festival by filmmakers, for filmmakers”

European cinema to set sail for Slamdance
Charlie and Hannah’s Grand Night Out by Bert Scholiers

The new festival season is about to get under way in Park City, Utah, with the showcases of independent cinema at Sundance and its parallel doppelganger event, Slamdance (19-25 January). Dedicated to shining the spotlight on emerging independent filmmakers who have made their debut features with budgets under the $1 million mark, the 2018 competition line-up is brimming with European productions.

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In the 24th edition of Slamdance’s Narrative competition, Belgian writer-director Bert Scholiers’ whimsical comedy Charlie and Hannah’s Grand Night Out will have its North American premiere, following the titular twenty-somethings as events take “a wildly surreal turn”. Meanwhile, Niels Holstein Kaa will introduce the North American premiere of Lovers, which tackles “the ever-rising tide of loneliness and self-doubt that can appear in the face of new love”, alongside his Danish colleague Kristian Sejbro Lidegaard, who examines the power of belief and myth-making in Songs in the Sun. The Narrative competition section for features is rounded off by the French film The Starry Sky Above Me [+see also:
film review
trailer
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]
, directed by Ilan Klipper, a portrait of a failed and reclusive artist and his relatives who are worried about his mental health. 

Rupert Russell will compete in the Documentary section with his feature debut, Freedom for the Wolf [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, a German-US co-production about the global democracy crisis, as will Willem Baptist, with his essayistic documentary about the rise, fall and rebirth of the Polaroid photo, Instant Dreams. The last entry in the Documentary competition is the Belgian-Dutch title Sunnyside by Frederik Carbon, which plunges into the microcosm of 90-year-old sound artist Henry Jacobs and his eccentric 84-year-old friend, who used to work with Frank Lloyd Wright and Daniel Liebermann, and their search for a world of perfection.

"Born out of rejection, Slamdance’s artist-led group continues to discover cutting-edge talent creating work outside of convention,” says co-founder and president of the gathering Peter Baxter. “Our 2018 competition line-up is daring, varied and vivid – it represents the spirit of our time and leads us into the future.” The upcoming edition will introduce a new award, the Russo Fellowship, in partnership with festival alumni Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Civil War), comprising a $25,000 cash prize and mentorship from Joe and Anthony during the development of the winner’s next project at the Russos’ new Los Angeles-based studio. 

The 24th edition of Slamdance will run from 19-25 January 2018 in Park City, Utah.

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