Slamdance-goers wait in line for tickets at the Treasure Mountain Inn during last year s festival. The box office is centered in the lobby of the inn, and
Slamdance-goers wait in line for tickets at the Treasure Mountain Inn during last year s festival. The box office is centered in the lobby of the inn, and the line curves around into the hallways. Photo courtesy of Andy Beerman/Treasure Mountain Inn.
The Treasure Mountain Inn has housed Slamdance headquarters for 18 years, and owner of the inn Andy Beerman, said this year will be special: it is Slamdance's 20th anniversary.

To celebrate 20 years, Slamdance is planning what Beerman said will be memorable anniversary celebrations with famous and successful alumni, including honoring Slamdance alum Christopher Nolan ("Inception," "The Dark Knight") with an award on Saturday night.

While Beerman and his staff are conducting business as usual, he said they are still trying to rest up and get ready for what he calls a week of mayhem, even more so with anniversary celebrations in store.

"There are thousands of people walking around, and the hotel is at max capacity," he said. "It's quite a production, and we basically turn over the lower floor of the hotel to them so they can turn it into their own little self-contained festival headquarters."

The inn, which sits toward the top of Main Street, will transform into the headquarters for the film festival and screenplay and teleplay competition with banners hanging over the metal bars in front of the inn.

The lobby will have a ticket sales table in its center, CNN will be broadcasting from the inn and the three meeting rooms will be turned into screening rooms for movies made by first-time filmmakers.

Beerman said those filmmakers range from students to veteran Hollywood bigwigs who have never directed or produced a film. Slamdance crew members will install risers in the Great Room for screenings, hold "fireside chats" and other screenings in the Crescent Room and host the event's lounge in the Alder Room.

He added that the Slamdance festival carries with it a theme every year. In honor of its anniversary, the theme this year is "Slamdance 20." Beerman said they will decorate the lobby and hallways with banners and hanging lights in accordance with the theme.

Slamdance also rents out several offices and commercial spaces within the building, but those they do not will continue with normal operations. Beerman said the Blue Iguana Cantina is usually rented out for the festival's parties, but to his knowledge, an agreement has not yet been reached this year.

The festival first made its home at the Treasure Mountain Inn when Beerman said it was a "very sleepy property in need of a renovation, and [Slamdance] very much needed a home." He said that over the years they have become friends with the organizers, and he and the inn support the mission of the festival.

The "core crew" of Slamdance, including founder Peter Baxter, remain a part of the festival's fabric, staying involved in its production every year despite their growing careers.

"We have to acknowledge that there are plenty of other people that have lent their support to the festival and have been really important to our growth, but Andy and [his wife] Thea have been instrumental," Baxter said. "When Sundance took over The Yarrow in 1997, Thea and Andy gave Slamdance a lifeline, and we've been at Treasure Mountain ever since."

Baxter said they have all grown together over the years, the Beermans are supporters of the arts and that Slamdance would not exist in Park City without them.

"My favorite thing about Slamdance is that it is accessible," Beerman said. "It is pretty laid-back, and they are fun-loving people."

Tickets to films at Slamdance are typically easy to purchase, he said, and every year the films get better and their professionalism and the way they go about putting on the festival continues to rise to a high level.

The events at Slamdance include opening and closing parties, which may or may not take place at Treasure Mountain this year. Beerman said he had yet to confirm those details, but that they are usually events people look forward to.

He also said there will be a "step and click" in the hallway where a backdrop will be set up for stars and actors to take pictures with the filmmakers and founders of the festival.

Beerman said the festival carries with it a different vibe than they are used to, but it is a fun one he looks forward to every year.

"I just encourage folks to come up and see one of [Slamdance's] films and check out the scene," Beerman said. "I think people are usually surprised at how high quality their films are and how easy they are to get into. It feels like a small, independent festival, and it has a nice vibe."

Slamdance is open to the public and the box office officially opens on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 9 a.m. For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.slamdance.com.