Independent filmmaking at the Labia cinema in Cape Town gets the documentary season off to an early start with the Sunday Bloody Slamdance film festival this weekend. It’s usually during the winter months that the city’s lobbyists, intellectual hopefuls and posers gather around “deep” films about other people’s issues.
Since late last year there’s been a think-vacuum as beaches and gyms remain packed and book launches have been thin on the ground.
Local filmmaker Daniel Harris has thus decided to screen a selection of winning films from the Slamdance International Film Festival running in Park City, Utah, from January 21 to 28. Slamdance has taken place annually since 1995. Harris’s one-day festival includes his own film, The Bible and Gun Club, among “five films, a dozen shorts, popcorn and a party”.
The Bible and Gun Club is a “scathing social commentary on the fine line that separates the saints from the sinners”.
“Its stars are five overweight Bible and gun salesmen from Anaheim, California … They sell both Bibles and guns, two contrasting products that fit very well into the mainstream of American society … frighteningly perceptive.”
Also in the line-up, Rock the Bells is a documentary that follows a hip-hop producer’s attempts to reunite the Wu-Tang Clan. It is “furiously paced” and might have captured a slice of musical history. Four months after the film was wrapped one of the super-group’s members died from “an accidental overdose of painkillers and cocaine”.
A film with darker-sounding intentions is Surrender Dorothy, which won the Slamdance Grand Jury Prize in 1998. It follows a “twisted, co-dependent relationship as it spirals into ever-darker territory”.
Trevor (27) is a loner who fears women. When he has to protect heroin addict Lanh at his home, he makes a few demands. “In return for shelter … Lanh must wear women’s clothing, make-up and high heels.” And, as Trevor’s need to have a “real woman” grows, his plans for Lanh become progressively more bizarre.”
For more information on the festival contact Daniel Harris at email@example.com or phone the Labia on Orange Street at 021 424 5927