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Animation In Park City -- From The Poignant To The Perverse

This week, Park City, Utah hosts the Sundance Film Festival, widely acknowledged as the premier independent film festival in the U.S. But less well-known are the host of competing festivals running alongside Sundance, that rarely get as much attention, but often feature just as compelling filmmaking efforts. Walking down Park City's Main Street, the average festival-goer is likely to find advertised screenings for NoDance, Slamdance and TromaDance, just to name a few of the alternative fests. In the animation realm, Sundance is offering up year one of its Animation Spotlight program, a selection of 13 animated short films including Serguie Bassine's FROM THE 104TH FLOOR, a poignant tone poem that relates the events of September 11th as seen through the eyes of a woman trapped above the crash zone. Also screening in the Animation Spotlight are Jen Sachs' meditation on murder THE VELVET TIGRESS, Ray Harryhausen's THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE and Suzie Templeton's moving stop-motion short DOG. Sundance also hosts a Digital Center, which features some compelling animation completed for the Web, including Brooke Burgess' graphic novel-styled BROKEN SAINTS and MUTAFUKAZ: OPERATION BLACK HEAD, directed by Guillaume Renard. Elsewhere in Park City you can catch Rosto's THE RISE AND FALL OF THE LEGENDARY ANGLOBILLY FEVERSON at Slamdance, which is also hosting a special Slamdance edition of SPIKE & MIKE'S TWISTED ANIMATION FESTIVAL featuring the frisky furniture of PES's ROOFSEX and six new short films by Bill Plympton. And for those of you who'd like to see what happens when "PULP FICTION meets the Bible," TromaDance will screen EXTREME BIBLE STORIES: DON'T DIS ELISHA!, a short Flash-animated film that takes an unflinching, humorous look at one of the Bible's best-known stories.

For schedules and times, visit the Websites:

Sundance, January 16-26, 2003, various locations, Park City, Utah. www.sundance.org.

Slamdance, January 18-25, 2003, Treasure Mountain Inn, Park City, Utah. www.slamdance.com.

TromaDance, January 22-24, 2003, Phat Tire Saloon, Park City, Utah. www.tromadance.com.

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