PARK CITY— Judging by the films, next year's Slamdance Film Festival will be true to life.

Slamdance officials have announced the schedule for the Jan. 11-19 event in Park City. The festival will screen 12 feature films, five of which are documentaries — a record number of nonfiction films for the Sundance "alternative."

Peter Baxter, the festival's executive director and co-founder, attributed the influx of documentaries to "low-cost film production and the vast array of subject matter.

"Our goal at this year's festival is to offer as many of these filmmakers a platform that they might not otherwise have and attract industry members to this talent pool."

According to Baxter, the festival received a record 2,468 film submissions, all hoping to compete in the eighth annual event. In addition to the dozen features, 11 of which are premieres, Slamdance will screen 12 short films in competition.

Features include "Easy Listening," by Stephen Berra; "Holy Land," Eitan Gorlin; Juan Ramirez's "Israel in Exile"; "Lefty-Right," Rae McGrath; "Louder Than Bombs," Przemyslaw Wojcieszek; Christopher Hailey's "Ronnie" and "The Mallory Effect," a comedy directed by Utahn Dustin Guy.

Documentary films include "My Father, the Genius," by Lucia Small; "Standing by Yourself," Josh Koury; Mark Moskowitz's "Stone Reader"; "Thank You for the Rubbish," Iain Jones; and "Where Has Eternity Gone?" by Barney Snow.

Slamdance's feature competition section is limited specifically to films that have not yet found U.S. distribution by first-time filmmakers working with limited budgets.

"If Hollywood is serious about discovering new talent, then Slamdance has proven that we're the place to go," Baxter said. "Winning films have been picked up for distribution every year since we've started."

Festival co-founder Dan Mirvish agreed. "Somewhere in this slate is the next Christopher Nolan or Marc Forster," he said, referring to two Slamdance alumni who have moved on to mainstream critical acclaim.

Films in competition at Slamdance are eligible to win the coveted bronze Sparky dog, as well as cash and goods prizes amounting to more than $50,000.

Prizes include grand jury awards for Best Dramatic Feature and Best Dramatic Short, the Best Documentary Award, audience awards for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film, the Moviemaker Breakthrough Award, the Award for Excellence in Editing and the Kodak Vision Award for best cinematography.

For the second year, the Slamdance Film Festival will be held at the Park City Silver Mine, approximately two miles south of Park City on U-224.

Some festival passes are still available by calling 1-323-466-1786. Individual screening tickets will be on sale at the Slamdance box office, located in the Park City Silver Mine, beginning Jan. 11. Updated information can be found at www.slamdance.com.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com