Festival trailers & highlights now on iTunes

By Gregg Schwenk

The Slamdance Film Festival today announced that Apple is launching the «Slamdance Podcast» on iTunes. In a unique creative partnership, the video Podcast will include trailers and screening times for many of the festival’s films, as well as festival highlights, alumni updates and other unique clip content, all for free and available for download to anyone with a new video iPod or on their Apple computer. In conjunction with the Podcast itself, Slamdance will host a Podcasting screening and discussion led by the filmmakers behind FOUR EYED MONSTERS a world premiere Slamdance 2005 competition feature which has evolved into one of the most popular and original podcasts on iTunes.

«The Slamdance Podcast will be a great way for people both in Park City and around the world to get a taste of Slamdance and our filmmakers,» said Slamdance Co-Founder-at-Large Dan Mirvish. «There are going to be a lot of celebrities, Hollywood execs and others with fancy new iPods in Park City. Now they’ll have something relevant to watch.»

Slamdance filmmakers were among the first to embrace video Podcasting when Apple announced the new technology last fall. The FOUR EYED MONSTERS Podcast has shown how creative Podcasts can be used to build an audience in order to get distribution, while Mirvish has used his own Podcast to add bonus content and fan contributions for his film OPEN HOUSE which has already been released. Currently there are 23 Slamdance Podcast episodes, 19 of which are from this year’s filmmakers and more will be added throughout the Festival. «Apple realized that Slamdance filmmakers were already on the vanguard of this new medium, so it seemed a natural extension to partner with the festival as a whole,» said Slamdance’s Marketing Manager Kate Walker.

Audiences can download or watch the Slamdance Podacast at the Apple dedicated iMac G5 computer at the Slamdance Lounge at 608 Main Street. The FOUR EYED MONSTERS Podcast screening and discussion with filmmakers Susan Buice and Arin Crumley will be on Wednesday, 8:30pm, January 25th at Slamdance’s Sitting Room Theatre at the Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main Street.

«Slamdance has had a long tradition of innovation with new technology,» said Slamdance President/Co-founder Peter Baxter. «We’ve been streaming shorts on our slamdance.com website since 1996, we were the first in Park City to use digital projection, and we were the first to include video game designers as part of our festival. The Podcast is yet another extension of our commitment to helping emerging filmmakers find new ways to get their work out there.»

Started in 1995 by a group of upstart filmmakers, the Slamdance Film Festival is a year-round organization dedicated to emerging artists and their vision. Slamdance has established a unique reputation for premiering independent films by first-time directors with limited budgets. At the same time, the Festival has stayed true to its roots by being organized and programmed by active filmmakers. Slamdance films have been picked up for distribution, invited to festivals around the world, won Independent Spirit Awards, the Palme d’Or and an Academy Award, among many other accolades. Slamdance Film Festival alumni include «Memento» director Christopher Nolan (festival award winner «Following»), the Emmy Award winning Russo Brothers («Pieces»), and «Monster’s Ball» director Marc Forster (festival audience award winner «Loungers»). The 2005 Slamdance opening night film, «Mad Hot Ballroom,» was acquired by Paramount Classics.

Slamdance has successfully established year-round ventures including the Screenplay Competition, Best Of Screenings in the U.S., Festival events in China and Poland, the Anarchy Online Film competition, the Dirty Dozen DVD Series (currently in its 7th volume), and short film productions dubbed $99 Specials. In 2004, Slamdance launched a teleplay competition in conjunction with fox21, the Guerilla Gamemaker Competition, and the Slamdance Media Group, a company comprised of distribution, development and talent-management units.

The 2006 Slamdance Film Festival is presented by Kodak and fox21. Festival sponsors include Directors Guild of America, Maryland Film Commission, Andrew Lauren Productions, All Seasons Resorts, Corazon Tequila, Dos Equis, Dr. Martens, Goorin Brothers, PopCap Games, Shuttle, Southwest Airlines, The Living Room, Timbuk2 and XMission. Additional sponsors are listed on the Slamdance website at www.slamdance.com/sponsors.

Festival dates are January 19-27, 2006, headquartered in Park City and Salt Lake City. Park City locations are Treasure Mountain Inn on Main Street and at 608 Main Street.