One of seven Vanguard Gems—unique and exciting don’t miss movies from some of the festival’s most innovative artists.
Holly Herrick, Sarasota Film Festival
“A visual feast, a prayer – it carried me on a journey into the heart of things and put me out on the other side. Reordering, reorienting.”
“by far one of the best films…I saw at either Sundance or Slamdance”
I saw several great shorts, features and docs at Slamdance, but I want to save that for a separate article. The best New Frontier film, which was another poorly programmed Sundance section this year (where was the Sharon Lockhart type of real non-narrative auteur? Please don’t tell me that you think the garish unsubtle color bursts and wacky whimsical narrative of Peperminta’s Pipilotti Rist is that person) was the Slamdance film General Orders No.9 by first time filmmaker Robert Persons. I am going to write a longer piece on it but it is basically a lyrical tone poem about the geographical history of Georgia and the South. Inspired more by Herzog’s Fata Morgana than a Reggio anti-urban rant, the film is mysterious, lyrical, and completely engaging. It is driven strongly by beautiful landscapes, the poetic trance-like narration and the American equivalent of Popul Vul’s music by Stars of the Lid. It should have been the centerpiece of New Frontier but, alas, it might just be too mysterious and challenging for the Sundance audience. I remember how angry much of the audience got during screenings of Lockhart’s Lunch Break last year. There were some great docs, shorts and features at Slamdance, but General Orders No. 9 was by far one of the best films—alongside the mind-bending Enter the Void—I saw at either Sundance or Slamdance.