One of the things I love about Slamdance is it's name, of course - it speaks a mouthful. There's also a Raindance, here in the UK, which is quite an obvious take on the same idea... but are there any other -dance fests that I'm not thinking of?
Looking at the competition line-up for the 2007 Slamdance - which runs right around the corner and at the same time as Sundance, as always - it's hard to guess what might come out on top, largely as most of the films in the program are by first time directors. Most of the budgets are south of a million dollars too - which is both encouraging, genuinely exciting and suggests that any gems the fest does turn up will be the result of sheer hard work, ingenuity and smarts and not blank cheques.
What's looking good? Well, there's King of Kong by Seth Gordon: a documentary about hardcore videogamers for which cultdom is likely ensured. Slamdance is the perfect home for such a film as they even run a 'Guerilla Gamemaker' contest.
American Zombie has the word zombie in the title so, naturally, my excitement is spiking and I'm almost certain to be disappointed. No doubt that it's need-to-see, however, just that I expect it might also be need-to-blank-from-memory too.
The Death of Michael Smith is a mystery revolving around a murder - though not necessarily a murder mystery, if you know what I mean. The victim, the killer and the detective working on the case are all called Michael Smith and if this film turns out to have the same twist as Identity or Donald Kaufmann's The Three then I'm gonna scream.
The opening night film is Weirdsville, from Alan Moyle, the director of Pump up the Volume and Empire Records - and is, I assume, one of the more expensive films in the fest. The cast is promising (Matt Frewer, Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning) if the plot is not (junkies encounter midgets, mice and satanists). Urbania meets After Hours meets the Reefer Madness musical? I would be undecided if the still above hadn't put me off.
Just a couple of these films (besides Weirdsville which is probably half way there already) are likely to score half-decent distribution off of the back of the festival. Good luck to them all.