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New, old film fest alternatives popping up

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PARK CITY — As Sundance goes, so go myriad other events that follow in its wake.

And with the crown prince of U.S. independent film festivals returning to Utah a week early, many Sundance "alternative festivals" are arriving at the same time to set up shop in their customary places.

The Slamdance Film Festival will be back at the Park City Silver Mine — meaning the Digidance Digital Camera Festival can set up shop in Slamdance's old digs in the Treasure Mountain Inn.

As for the Silver Mine, "its 2,000-foot mine shaft will be a great place to throw cell phones if they go off during screenings," said Dan Mirvish, Slamdance's co-founder-at-large.

Still, not all festivals from previous years will be back. Certified Renegade American Products' Lapdance event is taking at least a one-year hiatus from Utah, due to scheduling conflicts (as well as some brushes with law in Park City last year).

Returning festivals include:


A special film festival with screenings of features shot digitally. Past year's selections include the tongue-in-cheek documentary "Star Woids."

Where: Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main, Park City

When: Jan. 11-13, 9 a.m.-midnight

Cost: $15 pass for all screenings

On the Web: www.digidanceonline.com


Not to be outdone by Digidance, this festival has been billed by organizers as "the world's first DVD-projected film festival."

Where: Main Street Mall (second level), 333 Main, Park City

When: Jan. 11-18, 9 a.m.-1 a.m.

Cost: Free


The granddaddy of all Sundance alternatives returns for its eighth year and will open with a special screening of director Alexandre Rockwell's "13 MOONS," which stars Steve Buscemi.

As many as 25 competition films will be shown, including the comedy "The Mallory Effect," from Salt Lake director Dustin Guy, and the Polish drama "Louder Than Bombs."

Stressing the difference between Slamdance and its much larger competitor, president and co-founder Peter Baxter said, "Our American competition is still made up of very low budget films by first-time directors without distribution for their works."

Also, 25 other features and shorts — including the infamous "$99 Specials," shorts made on shoestring budgets by festival alums — will play in the Slamdance Filmmakers' Lounge.

Slamdance will also return to Salt Lake City for some regular festival screenings at Brewvies Cinema Pub. "Last year's Brewvies screenings were so well received there was no question as to whether to bring them back this year," Baxter said. "With many of our films being world premieres, our filmmakers were delighted to get their first audience reactions from a non-entertainment industry audience."

Like Sundance, Slamdance continues to offer an online version on the official festival Web site www.slamdance.com.

"We are delighted to be able to give more filmmakers than ever a chance to participate in Slamdance," Baxter said. "Our focus is still primarily on the first-time directors in competition — but we recognize that there are a large number of films that fall beyond that criteria, that deserve to be seen in the context of Slamdance."

Where: Park City Silver Mine Experience, north of Park City on U-224; Brewvies Cinema Pub, 677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City

When: Jan. 11-18 (in Park City), 10 a.m.-midnight; Jan. 12-19 (Brewvies), 7 p.m.-midnight

Cost: $7 per screening

On the Web: www.slamdance.com


The low-to-no-budget Troma Films studio returns to Park City for its fourth year, with screenings of films that were either made or acquired by the studio.

Where: The Phat Tire Saloon, 438 S. Main., Park City; Brewvies Cinema Pub, 677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City

When: Jan. 16 (Brewvies), 6 p.m.-midnight; Jan. 17 (Phat Tire Saloon), 9 a.m.-1:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

X-DANCE 2002

A 2-year-old event described by organizers as the "ultimate, mind-blowing celebration of action sports culture, film, music and video games."

Included are screenings of top action sports film, including several world premieres, as well as daily demos of sports action video games.

Where: Harry O's, 427 Main, Park City

When: Jan. 12-14, 4-11p.m.

On the Web: www.x-dance.com

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com