Slum-fest won't hit Park City, but rival rebels vie for sites

Published: Friday, Jan. 16 1998 12:00 a.m. MST

Slumdance, "the film festival that stunned the movie world by existing," is not returning to Park City this year.

However, that doesn't mean that the Sundance and Slamdance film festivals won't see another competing event this year.In fact, Park City officials report that organizers for festivals called "Fundance" and "Slamdamn" have been scrambling to find places to screen as many as 20 different independent films and videos.

"I don't know how successful they're going to be - they started asking sometime around last week," said Melissa Call, a facilities manager for Park City.

But L.A.-based organizers of "Fundance" are evidently scrambling to book any available rooms for a handful of free screenings.

"We're not trying to discourage them, but it's kind of hard to ride on (Sundance's) coattails when you wait until the last minute to start asking," Call said.

As for Slumdance, the "guerrilla" event impressed many last year who thought it was simply an Internet-inspired joke. In addition to some standing-room-only (or more accurately, sitting-room-only) screenings, its parties managed to attract some celebrities in town for the other festivals - including Tim Robbins, who was in town to receive the Sundance Film Festival's Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision.

And in perhaps the most auspicious moment, the Slumdance "Va-grants" were interviewed on the Sundance Channel - where they made some uncomfortable comments about Sundance mogul Robert Redford (something about expressing a desire to reward him with an inappropriate buss).

Topping the memorable "alternative film festival alternative" proved too much for the "vagrants," and though some of those in the know in Park City (such as local bartenders) are claiming to know better, a 1998 event looks highly unlikely.

Telephone calls requesting further information from the "vagrants" went unreturned, though an online site for the "Slumdance Historical Preservation Society" confirmed that the Slumdance Experience will not grace Park City in 1998.

"(The announcement) was met universally with tears, self-flagellation and, in some cases, a despair so great it prompted suicide," the unofficial press release states. "The Slumdance Historical Preservation Society wants to be clear: We consider suicide the coward's way out."

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