By Ray Pride

Slamdance Jury And Audience Awards Announced

he 21st Slamdance Film Festival tonight announced the feature and short film recipients of this year’s awards in the Audience, Jury, and Sponsored Categories. The award winners were announced at the festival’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, UT.
As in previous years, juries of leading industry experts and esteemed filmmakers determined the Slamdance Jury Awards for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, and Short Film categories. The Audience Awards as well as the Spirit of Slamdance, an award given by the filmmakers of Slamdance 2015 to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the Festival, were also bestowed. Additional sponsored awards included the Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Grand Prize and the Kodak Director’s Prize. The feature competition films in the Documentary and Narrative Programs are limited to first-time filmmakers working with production budgets of less than $1 million.
“Congratulations to the winners of Slamdance and indeed to all of the filmmakers this year. The 2015 festival has shown us once again that if you want to see the best of real independent film, Slamdance is the place to be,” stated Peter Baxter, Slamdance President and Co-founder.
“The Slamdance filmmakers and festival goers made the 2015 festival a resounding success,” stated Anna Germanidi, Festival Director. “Congratulations to all of our filmmakers for touching and inspiring audiences and jury members alike with their work.”
Audience Award for Narrative Feature: ACROSS THE SEA, dir. by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam
Damla is a Turkish immigrant estranged from her homeland; she lives in New York City with her husband, Kevin, and they’re expecting their first child. But Damla is still haunted by memories of her first love and when she returns to Turkey with Kevin she has to confront a troubling secret from her past.
Audience Award for Documentary Feature: SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT, dir. by Ben Patterson
Music and politics collide when international music star Pras Michel of the Fugees returns to his homeland of Haiti, following the devastating earthquake of 2010, to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly aka Sweet Micky. The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupt government, civil unrest, and a fixed election.
This year’s Slamdance Narrative Jury Prizes were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Richard Lorber, Todd Looby and Emilie Upczak.
Jury Award for Narrative Feature: TIRED MOONLIGHT, dir. by Britni West
“A masterful fusion of cinematic vision and poetic narrative, Tired Moonlight effortlessly transports you from the prosaic surroundings of its poignant characters’ lives into a realm of unexpected beauty and spiritual authenticity with an unforced craftsmanship.”
The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE, dir. by Perry Blackshear
“With rare filmmaking skill, brains, precision and outstanding performances, Perry Blackshear and his cast and crew silence critics who claim very small and contained films like this can’t be riveting and brilliant.
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature: ACROSS THE SEA, dir. by Nisan Dağ & Esra Saydam
“Through transcendent cinematography trained on the mystical Mediterranean setting and wonderful minute of uncertain love, directorsNisan Dağ and Esra Saydam provide a beautiful, intense and honest look at a relationship in peril.”
This year’s Slamdance Documentary Jury Prizes were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Paige Williams, Josh Leake and Bryan Storkel.
Jury Award for Documentary Feature: SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT, dir. by Ben Patterson
“Sweet Micky For President takes the audience on an unbelievable, wild ride through difficult Haitian politics, in a story that is both entertaining and educational. The film is an enormous accomplishment for first-time director Ben Patterson and is a great example of why Slamdance exists – to celebrate new works by new directors whose films can help change our perspective on the world – one story at a time.”
The award winner was granted $3,500 in legal services from Pierce Law Group.
Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Feature: 20 YEARS OF MADNESS, dir. by Jeremy Royce
“Reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams, 20 Years of Madness is brimming with stunning cinematography, eccentric characters and a heartfelt story about the desire to do something great while confronting the reality of failure.”
Jury Award for Documentary Short: THE SOLITUDE OF MEMORY, dir. by Juan Pablo González
“Juan Pablo González paints a vivid and eloquent portrait of a devoted father and the love for his son, drawing deep emotions from the viewer through his use of gorgeous cinematography, moving music and an incredibly honest, trusting main subject.”
The award winner qualifies for the Annual Academy Awards®.
Jury Honorable Mention for Documentary Short: DOLPHIN LOVER, dir. by Kareem Tabsch
“Storytelling is an art form, and this film is a prime example of using this medium in a beautiful way to tell a seriously fucked-up, but very true and engaging story.”
The below Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Sarah Cornell, Rory Haines and Elle Schneider.
Jury Award for Narrative Short: STAY AWAKE, dir. by Jamie Sisley
“Stay Awake exhibits a remarkable empathy for characters who find themselves trapped in an unenviable moral dilemma. The cast’s stand-out performances convey a depth of emotion few short films are able to achieve.”
The award winner qualifies for the Annual Academy Awards®.
Jury Honorable Mention for Narrative Short: 09:55 – 11:05, INGRID EKMAN, BERGSGATAN 4B, dir. by Christine Berglund & Sophie Vukovic
“A complex, captivating and thoughtful slice of humanity. Delicately shot, with beautiful performances from both women, the film sears itself into your emotional core and remains there for days.”
Jury Award for Animation Short: THE PRIDE OF STRATHMOOR, dir. by Einar Baldvin
“The Pride of Strathmoor is akin to a short, unpleasant trip to the insane asylum. The Poe-esque rendering of madness is perfectly complemented by the inventively textured animation.”
The award winner qualifies for the Annual Academy Awards®.
Jury Honorable Mention for Animation Short: HIPOPOTAMY, dir. by Piotr Dumala
“An outstanding display of technical craft, the authentic animation style of Hipopotamy accentuates the uncomfortable story.”
The below Short Film Jury Prizes were selected by esteemed industry members Eve Cohen and Dan Brawley.
Jury Award for Experimental Short: RED LUCK dir. by Mike Olenick
“If anything represents the experimental spirit of Slamdance, it’s this tin-foiled caper – an original and striking film full of layered and unexpected images. The film manages to offer a million different narrative paths – from dark and funny to weird and sparkly. A perfect example of a singular experimental work that is easy to watch again and again.”
Jury Award for Anarchy Short: DEVIANCE, dir. by Aron Kantor
“Deviance is the kind of raunchy nonsense that Slamdance embraces. A perverse pleasure diving in and out of reality that left us half-boned and just slightly numb from laughing. If anarchy at Slamdance is an anti-genre, then Deviance is the battle cry of ‘fuck the system.”
Jury Honorable Mention for Anarchy Short: SEA DEVIL, dir. by Dean C. Marcial
“A mythological tale without true beginning or end, this cinematic anarchy short pushes the edges of traditional storytelling, weaving three stories into one, and leaves you hanging. A bold work full of questions, puzzles and refreshing choices – another blazing Borscht experiment.”
Spirit of Slamdance Award: THINK INK, dir. by Wally Chung
The Spirit of Slamdance is awarded by the filmmakers of Slamdance 2015. It goes to the filmmaker who best embodies the spirit of the festival, creatively promoting their film, joyfully participating in screenings and events, and generally putting good energy into the festival. 
The Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking awards were selected by the esteemed panel of industry members Amber Benson, Todd Berger, Kent Osborne, and Damon Russell.
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Grand Prize: COMING TO, dir. by Lindsey Haun, DP Spencer Rollins, starring Jacob Demonte-Finn
“A film that includes a little bit of everything in a very short time. Mystery, laughs, an impressive performance, and some mighty fine camerawork and cinematography. And like any great short film, it has you desperately wanting to know what happens next.”
The award winner was granted a 512gb Digital Bolex D16 Camera.
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: THE CHARACTER STUDY, dir.& DP Luke Pelizzari
“Creating tension in any film is hard, but to do it so effectively and gracefully with a very simple premise is truly an achievement of storytelling.”
Digital Bolex Fearless Filmmaking Honorable Mention: ISOBEL, dir. by Marie Jamora, DP Jason McLagan
“Perfectly capturing the theme of filmmaking on your own terms, this short highlights the magic and wonder of childhood when anything is creatively possible.”
Kodak Director’s Prize: DETRITUS, dir. by T.J. Misny
Given on behalf of Kodak to a promising new filmmaker making bold, film-worthy directorial choices. The filmmaker was awarded a $10,000 credit for Kodak film stock to be used on their next project.
All Jury, Audience and Spirit of Slamdance winners were granted Final Draft 9 provided by Final Draft.
About Slamdance
Slamdance is a year­-round organization and film festival that serves as a showcase for the discovery and development of emerging independent talent and innovative filmmaking. Slamdance is the only festival programmed entirely by filmmakers and is a fertile ground for new filmmakers to begin their careers. The festival began as an alternative to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and they continue to run concurrently.
Notable Slamdance alumni who first gained notice at the festival include: Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Marc Forster (World War Z), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), Lena Dunham (Girls), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Anthony & Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin), Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) and Lynn Shelton (Humpday). Box Office Mojo reports alumni who first showed their work at Slamdance have accumulated over $11.5 billion in the Box Office to date.
Slamdance’s On The Road events and Slamdance Studios’ developing commercial distribution platform continue to increase opportunities for filmmakers both internationally and domestically. The 2015 On The Road series will bring Slamdance films to audiences in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Park City, San Diego, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, and Washington D.C. Slamdance Studios recently launched a new slate of films on HULU, featuring D.I.Y. by Ben Hethcoat, Eric Ekman, and Peter Baxter,Tony by Gerard Johnson, American Jihadist by Mark Claywell, Terms and Conditions May Apply by Cullen Hoback, and Omaha (The Movie) by Dan Mirvish. New films will be added throughout 2015. Nicole Teeny’s 2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize winning documentary Bible Quiz continues its successful run on Netflix.
 Over 2,500 submissions competed for prizes in the 2014 Slamdance Screenplay Competition. This year’s Grand Prize winner was the Original Teleplay Search For Life by Andrea Janakas, which was awarded a total of $7,000 in cash prizes. Submissions for the 2015 Slamdance Screenplay Competition will open on February 23rd.
2015 Slamdance Film Festival Sponsors include Digital BolexThe International Fusion Doc ChallengeDirectors Guild of America,Pierce Law GroupCreativeFutureWriters Guild of America WestDifferent By DesignCarharttFestival ScopeFinal Draft, Park City’s Treasure Mountain Inn, and Salt Lake City’s BlueStar Juice Bar & CafeBeehive Distilling, and Xmission. Slamdance is proud to partner with sponsors who support emerging artists and push the boundaries of independent filmmaking.
Additional information about the Slamdance Film Festival is available at
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Slamdance Winners Include Jury And Audience For Sweet Mickey For President


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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon