Slamdance and Park City Film Series partner to screen ‘Clinger’ |

Slamdance and Park City Film Series partner to screen ‘Clinger’

Scott Iwasaki

With Halloween just a few days away, there’s nothing like sitting down and watching a horror film.

Things get better when the film is not only smart, but also gives a new take on a common story-telling theme: teen romance.

These are some of the reasons why the Park City Film Series is teaming up with Slamdance’s On the Road program to bring Michael Steves’ "Clinger" to the Jim Santy Auditorium on Thursday.

"Clinger" is about a driven high-school senior name Fern, whose boyfriend Robert dies in an accident. Robert returns from the dead as a love-sick ghost and tries to reunite with Fern by killing her.

"Clinger" premiered at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival at Treasure Mountain Inn and was nominated for the festival’s Best Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize.

At this year’s Shriekfest, held in Los Angeles earlier this month, "Clinger" won the Best Horror Comedy Feature.

"It’s called a comedy horror and is a classic in the sense of a teen romance all gone wrong," said Slamdance co-founder Peter Baxter during an interview with The Park Record. "I think what makes this a particularly funny and creative film is that the filmmaker, Michael Steves, had brought in a B-movie aspect that clashes with the high school sweetheart environment. And this is why distributors have found it fun to work with."

"Clinger" was selected for this year’s Slamdance because it "spoke to the programmers," according to Baxter.

"All of our programmers are filmmakers themselves and they look for different and unique film storytelling elements and different ways of portraying creative work," he said. "We’re not looking for formulas, no matter how well crafted they may be. We’re not looking for well-trodden territories here. We’re interested in filmmakers who try to be brave, be bold, to take risks with their stories. That’s what excites our programmers and what keeps our festival strong, entertaining and speaks of what independent film is all about."

The Park City screening is presented by Slamdance On The Road, a year-round traveling celebration of Slamdance Filmmakers and their visions for independent film.

"The idea is to bring films to audiences outside of the festival period to those audiences might otherwise not have a chance to see there pictures or before they are released," Baxter said. "Increasingly, there are more and more Slamdance films that are being distributed."

"Clinger" has been picked up for distribution by Paragon Releasing and will be shown in theaters and On Demand the weekend following the Park City Screening.

"Since ‘Clinger’ is about to begin its theatrical release, this screening gives cinema fans and lovers of independent film an opportunity to see these films before they come out in theatres or on DVD and Blu-ray," Baxter said.

Usually, Slamdance on the Road screens films nationally. But occasionally it shows films on an international platform as well.

"We’ve done screenings in Moscow, Poland, France, Africa — all of the continents," Baxter said. "We also were able to host the first public screening in China of a film that was made in the United States, which was a big deal for us."

Of course, screening a Slamdance film in Park City is like coming home, he said.

"We’re always happy when we can do this, because it gives us an opportunity to start thinking about and looking forward to next year’s film festival as well," Baxter said.

The next Slamdance Film Festival will be held at Treasure Mountain Inn from Jan. 22 to Jan. 28, and programmers are already chest-deep in film selection.

"When we first started Slamdance [in 1995], we had 48 submissions," Baxter said. "We just closed our entry submissions for this coming festival and received more than 10,000 submissions this year."

Baxter said there are two main reasons for the increase of film submissions over the past 30 years. First is the influx of emerging filmmakers.

"We want to show great new talent, and if you look at the success record our programmers have had in discovering this type of talent, you will see the DIY filmmaking attribute we have at Slamdance can help discover great filmmakers of tomorrow," Baxter said. "We now have a long lists of filmmakers who started to showcase their work at Slamdance that are now household names."

The second reason is the growth of filmmaking opportunities worldwide.

"I think there are more and more film programs developed and being created, and Slamdance is seeing the effects of that growth," Baxter said. "That’s what makes Slamdance really exciting.

"There are no barriers at Slamdance," he said. "Treasure Mountain Inn is a very open environment, and that has helped create this great energy that is supports the showcase over the time. Of course, we do that in a way in which we like to think and hope that is accessible to everybody, whether you’re a student filmmaker, or a Park City local who loves independent film or an industry member."

The Park City Film Series and Slamdance on the Road will present Michael Steves’ "Clinger," not rated, at the Jim Santy Auditorium of the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit . For more information about Slamdance, visit