Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Sundance Film Festival Diaries
...And Yet More Festivals (January 19)

by Richard Schwartz

PARK CITY, Jan. 19 - Sundance. Slamdance. Slumdance. Slam Dunk. If they don't stop this copycat festival business soon, they'll begin to run dry on soundalike pun names.

The Slam Dunk Film Fesival kicked off Sunday night as Park City's newest cinema competition with a keynote by "Midnight Cowboy" cinematographer Adam Holender. Boasting some surprisingly mainstream indie offerings, Slam Dunk screens films in the middle of Main Street at the Elks Lodge - just a few blocks down from Slamdance central.

With the vacuum created by the absence of Slumdance this year, the organizers behind Slam Dunk have assembled a varied slate of features and shorts. This year's highlights include a feature titled "How to Make an Oliver Stone Film," a satire directed by Mary Harron of "I Shot Andy Warhol" fame.

"Dogtown" stars resident swinger Jon Favreau alongside Mary Stuart Masterson and Rory Cochrane, best known for his role as Slater in "Dazed and Confused."

And for us "whatever-become-of-philes" in the crowd, Slam Dunk offers some real gems. The premiere night film was Kenneth Schapiro's romantic comedy "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" featuring the cinematic debut of former teenypopper sensation Debbie Gibson. According to the synopsis, Gibson plays a "dishy tabloid photographer" in what seems like a very supporting role. Still, the girl behind "Electric Youth" gets top billing over the likes of Academy Award nominee Valerie Perrine and the voice of Jasmine from "Aladdin." Moreover, the soundtrack features music by ???Daddy??? - great name, huh? - a band comprised of former Village People members.

That's not all. The WASHED-UPdate woud have a field day at Slam Dunk. The comedy "Groupies" stars former Brat Packer Ally Sheedy (also starring in "High Art" at Sundance) and - get this - the subject of that bitter custody struggle in 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer." That's right, cute little Justin Henry is now in his twenties and starring in an indie film! Only in Park City.

Most certainly, someone will invent another festival next winter to handle all of the Slam Dunk rejects. Anyone for Scumdance?

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