Slamdance 2012: ‘Welcome to Pine Hill’ among prize winners

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The Slamdance Film Festival wrapped up its 18th edition in Park City, Utah, with awards announcements on Thursday night. Taking place at the top of Main Street, the festival -- which runs concurrent with Sundance -- has retained its lo-fi, low-key vibe year-in, year-out even as Sundance has put on the glitz. Living up to their motto of ‘By Filmmakers, for Filmmakers,’ festival co-founder and president Peter Baxter even had a film of his own playing this year, the sporting documentary ‘Wild in the Streets.’

The winner of the grand jury prize for narrative feature was Keith Miller’s ‘Welcome to Pine Hill.’ A statement from the jury lauded the film ‘for its poetic and emotionally honest depiction of one man’s final journey in life, crafted from a true spirit of humanity and community.’ A special jury prize for bold originality went to Axel Ranisch’s ‘Heavy Girls.’


In the documentary category the grand jury prize went to ‘No Ashes, No Phoenix,’ directed by Jens Pfeifer, with that jury noting the film’s ‘adeptly piercing and cinematic look at a basketball team’s impassioned struggle not for glory, but to just avoid losing.’ The short documentary award went to ‘The Professional,’ directed by Skylar Neilsen.

The audience prizes went to the graffiti artist portrait ‘Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story’ by Caskey Ebeling for feature documentary and Andrew Edison’s high school comedy ‘Bindlestiffs’ for feature narrative.

Short film prizes went to ‘Venus’ by Tom Fruergaard, ‘I Am John Wayne’ by Christina Choe, ‘Solipsist’ by Andrew Huang and ‘I’m Coming Over’ by Sam Handel.

A Spirit of Slamdance award was given to Axel Ranisch, Heiko Pinkowski and Anne Baeker, the creative team behind ‘Heavy Girls.’ The award for cinematography went to Kristina Nikolova for ‘Faith, Love and Whiskey.’ A Five Flavors of Filmmaking prize went to Josh Gibson for ‘Kudzu Vine,’ a one-minute short created during the festival.


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-- Mark Olsen, in Park City, Utah