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Snow Days

Local filmmakers return from the dances Sun and Slam

By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 30, 2004

l-r: David Zellner,  Kat Candler, Nathan Zellner, Leah Marino, Bryan Poyser, and Jacob Vaughan
l-r: David Zellner, Kat Candler, Nathan Zellner, Leah Marino, Bryan Poyser, and Jacob Vaughan

With all kinds of Austin filmmakers screening their work at either Sundance or Slamdance this year, plus the presence of Kyle Henry/Blue Screen-Cinepraxis partner Spencer Parsons (on the Sundance Shorts jury) and most everyone from the Austin Film Society and Austin Studios in town, Park City 2004 might as well have been River City, at least for a week or so. How did it go? See below. And for Film Editor Marjorie Baumgarten's report, see p.52.

David and Nathan Zellner

The Virile Man/Slamdance

"We've never gotten anything into Sundance or Slamdance before," says David Zellner, "so it was great to finally get in and then actually win the Spirit of Slamdance Award, which was one that was voted on by the other filmmakers. That was the last thing we were expecting. That and meeting Andre 3000 at a bar."

Bob Sabiston

"Grasshopper" and The Five Obstructions/Sundance

Waking Life animator Sabiston scored a doubleheader with animated short "Grasshopper" and a five-minute segment in Lars von Trier's The Five Obstructions. Best/worst part of the fest? "Skiing down the mountain and listening to Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic on MP3 – and then wiping out."

Kat Candler

Roberta Wells/Slamdance

"Sundance wasn't as good as years past," says cicadas director Candler. "It was really hard getting into anything this year. Slamdance is basically the new Sundance." Best part of the fest: "Laughing uncontrollably at the Zellner brothers and four-story mansions full of Austinites."

Bryan Poyser

Dear Pillow/Slamdance

Poyser's comic feature with Gary Chason and Rusty Kelley has been earning raves locally, but Park City audiences, Poyser notes, "really laughed a lot, especially at the perverted parts." Best part of the fest? "Melvin van Peebles told me I should see his son's new film, Baadasss!, because 'It's a joint!'"

Javier Bonafont

"The Love Ballad of Scarab Hack"/Slamdance

"The first screening was really bad – the audience didn't get it, the sound was deafeningly loud," says Bonafont of his 14-minute short. "But the second screening was the exact opposite, people laughed at the right spots and seemed to enjoy it. Who knows why it was so different? Weird."

Ramona S. Diaz & Leah Marino

Imelda/Sundance

Former Austinite Diaz's 16mm and HD documentary on the Philippine first lady picked up the fest's Excellence in Cinematography, documentary award (for Ferne Perlstein) and sold out all five of its screenings. Says Diaz, "The worst part of the fest was the feeling that you were cut off from the rest of the world and living in a bubble and all you heard were the words 'buzz' and 'swag.'" According to Marino, Imelda has "some deals on the table, and the film was handpicked by Sundance to represent the festival at the Berlin Film Festival next month."

Jeffrey J. Radice

(producer) "The Creepees Vs. Robot Monster Number 2"/Slamdance; "LSD A Go Go"/Sundance

"In the past, two films have screened at Tromadance, one at Lapdance, and now these two," says Radice of his and director Scott Calonico's Park City adventures, "still no respect in Austin, but maybe that will change with the feature comedy that's in pre-production."

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