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Eleven narrative films and eight documentaries have been picked for the competition programs of the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival.
Slamdance, the upstart rival to the bigger Sundance Film Festival, will mount its 23rd annual rendition at Park City's Treasure Mountain Inn, Jan. 20-26.
Tickets and passes for Slamdance 2017 including a $150 Locals Only pass for Utah residents are on sale now at the festival's website.
Sundance will start rolling out its slate starting Wednesday afternoon.
Here are details on the Slamdance competition titles (with synopses provided by the festival):
"Aerotropolis" (Taiwan) World Premiere, written and directed by Jheng-Neng Li • "Allen invested everything into a beautiful home to flip for profit only to have it languish on the market, turning his daily life into a haze of financial pressures and an erosion of reality." Cast: Chia-Lun Yang, Jui-Tzu Liu, Chong-Cyuan Huang, Chin-Yu Lin, Sih-Mei Liou, Ting-Li Bao, Chieh-Wen Deng, Zaw Lin Htwe.
"Beat Beat Heart" (Germany) North American Premiere, written and directed by Luise Brinkmann • "Daydreaming her way out of a broken heart, Kerstin's denial as well as her days are shaken up with the arrival of her mother, dealing with her own relationship's demise." Cast: Lana Cooper, Saskia Vester, Till Wonka, Aleksandar Radenkovic, Christin Nichols, Jörg Bundschuh, Caroline Erikson.
"Cortez" (USA), directed by Cheryl Nichols, written by Arron Shiver & Cheryl Nichols • "Struggling musician Jesse tracks down his ex Anne in a small town in New Mexico, and is forced to face the decisions of his past as present day consequences set in." Cast: Arron Shiver, Cheryl Nichols, Drago Sumonja, Judith Ivey, Jackson Shiver, Cassidy Freeman, Kristian Moore, Dylan Kenin.
"Dave Made a Maze" (USA) World Premiere, directed by Bill Watterson, written by Steven Sears & Bill Watterson • "Dave builds a fort in his living room and ends up trapped inside by fantastical pitfalls, booby traps and creatures, leaving his girlfriend Annie to head up the eccentric rescue team to go in after him." Cast: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Adam Busch, James Urbaniak, Stephanie Allynne, Kirsten Vangsness, Scott Krinsky, John Hennigan.
"Dim the Fluorescents" (Canada) World Premiere, directed by Daniel Warth, written by Miles Barstead & Daniel Warth • "A struggling actress and an aspiring playwright funnel their uninhibited passion into the only paying work they can find: role-playing demonstrations for corporate seminars." Cast: Claire Armstrong, Naomi Skwarna, Andreana Callegarini-Gradzik, Brendan Hobin, Clare McConnell, Todd Graham, Hannan Younis, Thom Gill.
"The Family" (China, Australia) U.S. Premiere, written and directed by Shumin Liu • "Liu and Deng are a couple in their 70s who set off to visit their adult children in three faraway cities, in an immersive exploration of family dynamics and daily life." Cast: Shoufang Deng, Lijie Liu, Xiaomin Liu, Jiangsheng Jiang, Erya Chen, Xujun Liu, Liqin Huang, Zepeng Liao.
"Kate Can't Swim" (USA) World Premiere, directed by Josh Helman, written by Jennifer Allcott & Josh Helman • "When Kate's best friend Em returns from abroad with a surprising new lover, they embark on a reunion vacation with their partners, but the peaceful getaway quickly becomes emotionally complicated." Cast: Celeste Arias, Grayson Dejesus, Jennifer Allcott, Josh Helman.
"Kuro" (France, U.K., Germany, Luxembourg) World Premiere, written and directed by Joji Koyama & Tujiko Noriko • "A Japanese woman living in Paris tends to her paraplegic lover, passing time by recounting a story about the time they once spent together in Japan, rich with anecdotes, myths and an unexpected dark turn." Cast: Tujiko Noriko, Jackie.
"Weather House" (Germany) World Premiere, directed by Frauke Havemann, co-directed by Eric Schefter, written by Mark Johnson • "Set in an unspecific time of extreme climate change, an isolated group of disoriented characters develop their own strange belief systems and engage in absurd activities to process their dilemma." Cast: Inga Dietrich, Charles McDaniels, Erik Hansen, Sabine Hertling, Jack Rath.
"Wexford Plaza" (Canada) North American Premiere, written and directed by Joyce Wong • "Betty is a lonely strip mall security guard, and an unexpected moment with charming deadbeat Danny ends up setting off the unraveling of both their lives." Cast: Reid Asselstine, Darrel Gamotin, Francis Melling, Ellie Posadas.
"Withdrawn" (Canada) World Premiere, directed by Adrian Murray, written by Adrian Murray, Marcus Sullivan & Dean Tardioli • "Living in a basement he can't afford, Aaron spends his days doing drum solos and talking his way out of paying for utilities, until he finds a lost credit card and devises a plan to defraud its owner." Cast: Aaron Keogh, Molly Reisman, Dean Tardioli, Adrian Murray, Greg Wasylyszn, Kelly Paoli, Hallie Burt, Earl Oliveros.
"Bogalusa Charm" (USA) World Premiere, directed by Stephen Richardson, written by Jennifer Harrington • "Through the lens of an anachronistic charm school that has existed for almost three decades in rural Louisiana, we explore a town confronted with contemporary issues of class and race."
"The Children Send Their Regards" (Austria) World Premiere, directed by Patricia Josefine Marchart, written by Jakob Purkarthofer, Sepp Rothwangl and Patricia Josefine Marchart • "Adult victims of physical abuse by clergy members in Austria revisit the sites of their childhood trauma and make public their stories to shed light into one of the greatest crimes of the post-war period." Cast: Georg Prader, Jo Auer, Inge Killmeyer, Josef Schörkmayr, Klaus Oberndorfer, Paula Neulinger, Walo Nowak, Anita Ossinger, Klaus Fluch, Sepp Rothwangl.
"Hotel Coolgardie" (Australia), directed by Pete Gleeson • "Somewhere between Australia's most isolated city and its largest gold pit lies Coolgardie, where the arrival every three months of a new pair of foreign female backpackers to work the only bar in town is keenly anticipated by the town's hot-blooded males."
"The Modern Jungle" (Mexico/USA) North American Premiere, written and directed by Charles Fairbanks and Saul Kak • "A story of globalization filtered through the fever dream of a Mexican shaman, this is an intimate portrait of Zoque culture, commodity fetish, and the predicament of documentary cinema." Cast: Juan Juarez Rodriguez, Carmen Echevarría Lopez.
"On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone" (USA) World Premiere, written and directed by Michael Rubenstone • "Director and super-fan Michael Rubenstone sets out in search of long-time reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. Along the way, he meets with some success, but finds countless more failures in trying to capture a man who refuses to be contained." Cast: Michael Rubenstone, Cornel West, Bobby Womack, Clive Davis, Dick Cavett, Paul Shaffer, David Kapralik, Freddy Stone.
"Strad Style" (USA) World Premiere, directed by Stefan Avalos • "A rural Ohio eccentric with an obsession for 'Stradivari' convinces a famous European concert violinist that he can make a copy of one of the most famous and valuable violins in the world. Fighting time, poverty, and most of all – himself – Danny Houck puts everything on the line for one shot at glory." Cast: Daniel Houck, Razvan Stoica, David Campbell, Rodger Stearns, Mary Houck.
"Supergirl" (USA), directed by Jessie Auritt • "Naomi seems like a typical 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl; watching her compete to lift almost three times her bodyweight tells a different story."
"Who Is Arthur Chu?" (USA) World Premiere, written and directed by Scott Drucker and Yu Gu • "Arthur Chu, 11-time 'Jeopardy!' winner turned internet iconoclast, battles dark forces as a blogger and cultural pundit ultimately realizing that to create positive change in the world he must first heal his own wounds."