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Slamdance Slams Into The Paramount

Utah fest award winners 'The Dirties' and 'Bible Quiz' this weekend
Richard Whittaker, 1:44pm, Fri. Mar. 1, 2013

"By filmmakers, for filmmakers": That's the mantra of the Slamdance film festival. This weekend, Utah's most chaotic cinematic gathering takes that ethos On the Road, as its award-winner-highlighting tour brings The Dirties and Bible Quiz to the Paramount.

Explaining the tour, festival president and co-Founder Peter Baxter wrote, "Slamdance has a proven track record of unearthing great films; yet the commercial challenges many of our alumni face post festival acclaim are harder than ever. This means we are compelled to develop a theatrical program beyond the festival as well as driven to help filmmakers find popular audiences."

First up will be Grand Jury winner for best documentary Bible Quiz, the religious analog to spelling bee doc Spellbound. Contestants must memorize multiple books of the Bible and answer in-depth questions about the content. And no kidding about in-depth: The opening sequence in which a contestant names every chapter of the Bible in which Jesus is named is impressive and unnerving, to say the least. There's an element of evangelical zeal in this: As Assistant Coach Rachel Dawson puts it, you can't learn nine chapters of the New Testament and "not have that have a huge effect on your life and your choices." But the drama comes from the battleground of teen hormones in an ultra-religious environment, a place where the term "hand-ginity" has meaning, and how the team fills a space in the protagonist's lives.

Next up is best narrative feature The Dirties, a brutal depiction of the harshest realities and consequences of high school bullying. Stick around for a Slamdance “Coffee With …” event, a discussion with director Matt Johnson and producer Matt Miller.

Slamdance on the Road: Bible Quiz 5pm (tickets here; The Dirties, 7.30pm (tickets available here; Coffee With … The Dirties, 9pm. For more information, visit www.austintheatre.org. More on Slamdance at www.slamdance.com.
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