Slamdance 2017 Preview: ScreenAnarchy's Top Picks

Editor, U.S.; Los Angeles, California (@filmbenjamin)

Touted as the festival "for filmmakers by filmmakers", the 23rd Annual Slamdance Film Festical kicks off Friday Jaunary 20th at the Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah. A stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of Sundance, Slamdance offerings fall under $1 million dollar budgets with competition exclusively for first-time filmmakers. This is, without a doubt, a festival of discovery.

This is my 5th year attending the fest, and my first year as a programmer for the Narrative Feature Competition slate, which means today's preview is going to be a bit different from previous years. All films marked 'Narrative Feature Competion' are films I've had a heavy hand in programming, and so they are indeed my top of the top picks. Beyond program films are ones I have seen, while the documentaries highlighted are titles I have not seen but are ones I've been hearing good buzz on.

Because I was directly involved in the selection of this year's lineup I will be opting not to write full reviews. But rest assured we have a cool collection of writers that will be chiming in with their own opinions on a bevy of these flicks all weekend long and into next week. And now, without further ado... your first look at Slamdance 2017...

Kuro - Narrative Feature Competition

Directors Tujiko Noriko and Joji Koyama tell the beguiling tale of Romi, a Japanese woman caring for her paraplegic lover in Paris. To help pass the time she recounts the days when they lived in Japan and the strange elderly man, nicknamed Kuro, who nearly consumed both their lives.

Fully utilizing their backgrounds in experimental pop music, graphic arts and photography, Tujiko and Koyama have created a distinct and enveloping narrative on loneliness, dedication, disintegration and the liminal space of immigrant life. Operating somewhere between personal diary, myth and oral history, Kuro powerfully invokes the cinematic essays of Chris Marker and the magical realist literature of Haruki Murakami, creating a striking contrast between what we see and what we hear in Romi's tale(s). To be put under Kuro’s spell is a curious, all consuming pleasure for your eyes, ears, heart and soul.

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