Slamdance unveils short list


The 2008 Slamdance Film Festival narrowed down more than 2,000 short films from around the world to 67 shorts set to compete for a Grand Jury Prize at the event next month.

The selection with the highest star wattage is Jonathan Lisecki's "Woman In Burka," a comic look at an actress' racial stereotyping starring Sarita Choudhury, Sam Rockwell and Kerry Washington.

Films were chosen for five competitive categories: Narrative Shorts Before Features, Gallery Shorts, Documentary Shorts, Polish Shorts Block (selected by a Krakow fest jury) and Animated Shorts.

The docu lineup expanded from six to 11 films this year in conjunction with Slamdance's new partnership with Al Gore's Current TV, allowing viewers to have their films screened at the fest. The slate includes Thomas O'Keefe's profile "B for Beekeeper" and Nathan Kensinger's "Covered Tracks," which examines Manhattan's underground homeless city.

Slamdance director of programming Sarah Diamond noted a significant rise in submissions with gay content, including David Bonneville's "Heiko" and Oscar Alvarez's "Broken English." Twenty-two of the fest's shorts were directed by women, including Lori Chodos' "Lucky Day," Deborah Haywood's "Lady Margaret" and Becky James' "I Hate You Don't Touch Me or Bat and Hat."

The fest also announced films in two out-of-competition categories, nine Anarchy Online Finalists and seven $99 Specials. The former are chosen by online viewers, and the latter are from festival alumni who can create an experimental film with $99 in 99 days. One of them is "Feedback" from director Michael Lucid, winner of Slamdance's 2003 Rosebud Award.

The shorts will be shown from Jan. 17-25 in Park City.