In 2009, the Slamdance Film Festival, the preeminent festival whose sole mission is to nurture, support and showcase truly independent works, is celebrating a milestone: its 15th Anniversary. From now until next summer, Slamdance will commemorate this watershed year with a series of special events and happenings, beginning next month with alumni directors Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Steven Soderbergh screening their Slamdance -debuted films, followed by Q & A sessions and parties. In their continued support of Slamdance and its commitment to the discovery of emerging talent, Nolan will participate in a September 5 Los Angeles showing of his first feature, FOLLOWING, and Soderbergh will partake in the September 16 New York City screening of his Schizopolis. Both films originally screened at the Slamdance Film Festival.
FOLLOWING, a captivating neo-noir drama centering on a writer who follows people to ignite his creativity, originally bowed at Slamdance in 1999. Christopher Nolan’s debut, its multi-linear approach conveyed a voice that continued on in films like MEMENTO and THE DARK KNIGHT. Screening in Los Angeles at LACMA’s Bing Theater (5905 Wilshire) on Friday, September 5 at 8:00pm, FOLLOWING is a rare insight to the earliest sparks of directorial talent, and its Slamdance screening put director Nolan on the map. $20 tickets through slamdance.com ONLY; no tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Q&A with Mr. Nolan, moderated by Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, and hosted reception for ticket holders to follow screening.
SCHIZOPOLIS, a comedic satire with confused identity, cerebral wordplay and corporate intrigue, showed at Slamdance in 1997. An inspired departure in tone and structure for director Steven Soderbergh, it highlighted his artistic commitment, a trait also played off in subsequent films like TRAFFIC and THE GOOD GERMAN. Playing in New York City at the IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue) on Wednesday, September 16 at 8:00pm, SCHIZOPOLIS tickets will be $20 and available through ifccenter.com. Q&A with Mr. Soderbergh, moderated by author Anthony Kaufman, and hosted reception for ticket holders at The Post Factory (postfactoryny.com) to follow screening.
Steven Soderbergh, who will screen his Slamdance entry, SCHIZOPOLIS, had this to say: “Generic plea for money disguised as quote about cultural significance. Shameless plug for vilified film followed by self-pitying ‘joke’ and hollow-sounding testimonial. Abrupt conclusion.”
“Chris and Steven’s directing success is founded on low budget and gutsy filmmaking,” Slamdance President and co-founder Peter Baxter notes. “In their lasting support of Slamdance and willingness to share their indie filmmaking experience we showcase some of their earliest work and hear in their own words how they reached the top on their own terms.”
With the call for entries for the 2009 festival open and hundreds of submissions already being processed, Slamdance is both taking stock of where it came from and where it’s hoping to go. “Discovering new, previously anonymous talent and offering a platform for less mainstream and more innovative projects from established directors is what Slamdance is all about; it speaks to these screenings and it speaks to what we want to accomplish for years to come,” states Drea Clark, Executive Director. “More than that, we think of Slamdance as a family, and having these respected artists still support and understand where we’re coming from after so long means a great deal to us.”
The Los Angeles screening is supported by Official Sponsor, Dos Equis, as well as Reception Sponsors: Wild Oats CafÃ©, and Cycles Gladiator Wine. The New York City screening is supported in part by Reception Sponsor, Dos Equis.
As a year-round organization, the Slamdance Film Festival serves as a showcase for the discovery of new and emerging talent and is dedicated to the nurturing and development of that talent. Slamdance began in 1995 with a group of independent artists. The Festival is still organized and programmed exclusively by filmmakers, for filmmakers. This is just one of many elements that make Slamdance a pioneering standout among its counterparts. At Slamdance, the link between artist and festival – and, subsequently, artist and industry – is a direct and cohesive one. Slamdance alumni are recruited to serve as programmers, so first-timers are represented and assisted by Slamdance veterans. It’s what put Slamdance on the festival map to begin with, and what’s made it the viable, big-time contender it is today.
With a renowned Festival as its core, Slamdance has expanded its ventures to include the popular slamdance.com website, writing competitions for both screenplays and teleplays, the Anarchy Online Short Film Competition, a $99 Special short film production project, international film programs and the Slamdance Horror Screenplay Competition.
Slamdance alumni include high profile filmmakers such as Marc Forster (The Kite Runner), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), and Mike Mitchell (Sky High); and writers including Joshua Marston (Slamdance finalist Maria Full of Grace) and Nicole Kassel (Slamdance winner The Woodsman). Slamdance recognized, showcased and helped to discover these auteurs. Filmmakers and writers today realize Slamdance is a great way to begin their careers.