“By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers” has been Slamdance’s brand concept since its inception in 1995, and it’s a mantra that continues this year, as Slamdance celebrates its 2018 edition January 19-25.
Slamdance offers a counterweight to the Park City madness of Sundance, although Slamdance has its own madness, the creative anarchy of being filmmaker-governed and focused on the art rather than the distribution deals. From its perch atop Main St. at the Treasure Mountain Inn, Slamdance is the non-commercialized film fest alternative; you won’t find gifting suites or swag bags here. This authenticity engenders huge support from the creative community, including Slamdance alums like Christopher Nolan, Lena Dunham, Benh Zeitlin, Steven Soderbergh, and the Russo Brothers, who are taking time off their from shooting schedule to attend the festival and work with filmmakers via a fellowship they have created.
Last year 14 Slamdance films got distribution deals, and there will be more deals this year, as major trade publications and buyers cover the festival, but you’ll be just as likely to find filmmakers prepared to roll up their sleeves and get their films out in front of audiences by themselves. That’s a rational filmmaker-entrepreneur response to the truly low sales figures that will likely be on the table this year.
This year, 100 films of all varieties will screen — narrative features, docs, experimental — selected from 6,146 submissions. More than half of the feature entries will be world premieres. The screenplay competition netted 3,666 submissions, a record high.
Here’s our look at Slamdance 2018 By the Numbers.