Coming of Age?
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Conceived in 1995 by a small group of filmmakers, the Slamdance Film Festival is hosted at the top of Main Street in the Treasure Mountain Inn each January concurrently with the internationally renowned Sundance Festival. Often cast as a more accessible alternative to Sundance, Slamdance boasts that its “sole mission is to nurture, support and showcase truly independent works. Their motto is “by Filmmakers for Filmmakers,” and they accept only low-budget, amateur filmmaker productions—full of grit and promise.
Slamdance was once characterized as ‘a parasite’ by Robert Redford, but recently he softened his stance and acknowledged that Slamdance complements Sundance by expanding the opportunities for filmmakers and providing its own worthy films. In fact, there are some who argue that Sundance’s renewed commitment to remain ‘authentic and small,’ is in part a reaction to the persistent presence of Slamdance.
As Gabe Wardell points out in his blog (link below), “Slamdance has forced Sundance to be better, to try harder, and to remain true to filmmakers, above all. It also led to expansion in Sundance’s programming. This is evidenced by the addition of the “American Spectrum” program which showcased a slate of films that otherwise might have fallen through Sundance’s cracks. The recent addition of the NEXT program (for low budget films) opens Sundance’s doors to lower budget, off-the-beaten-trail films that have come to define Slamdance.”
At least for now, it appears the feud may be over and the focus is back where it should be: on the Filmmakers.
Time/Life just ran a great photo essay on The 2011 Slamdance Festival.
Indiewire has a more detailed festival summary for 2011.
And Gabe Wardell offers some more insight on his blog.
The Park Record shares the local perspective.