Every year, as Sundance fires up in Utah, Slamdance slides in to slam the independent festival by providing a more accurate selection of independent film. The films selected for competition must be made by first-time filmmakers for budgets under $1 million, and many of them are quirky beyond belief, even the opening-night galas. Last year, the opener was Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers. This year, it's Weirdsville.

While that name might not ring bells, perhaps its director, Allan Moyle, does. He's the nineties teen cult movie guru who brought us Pump up the Volume and Empire Records, as well as the quirky The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag and the more somber New Waterford Girl. I can't share its plot any better than Slamdance does, which they describe as the "story of two junkies on the run from a satanic cult, a cabal of midget knights, a vengeful drug dealer, and a mouse, in a little town called Weirdsville."

The rest of the Slamdance line-up slides into four film areas -- narrative features, documentaries, special screenings and shorts. (Their website also has short film content online, and is worth checking out.) The narrative battle includes a ton of world premieres and the topics range from American Zombie, which is about a group of zombies trying to gain acceptance in LA, to a boy willing to fight his rooster to win the heart of a young prostitute in Tijuana Makes Me Happy. For the docs, selections range from Noah Thomson's Children of God: Lost and Found, his account of growing up in a Christian cult, to Luke Wolbach's Row Hard No Excuses, a story about men attempting to row across the Atlantic . There seems to be a little something for everyone, so check out the full list of films on their website.

categories Cinematical