"Welcome to Pine Hill."
"Welcome to Pine Hill."

The Slamdance Film Festival doesn't get as much *shine* as the Sundance Film Festival, even though they both take place in Park City, UT, and at almost exactly the same time.

This year's Slamdance lineup included at least one film we profiled, Keith Miller's meditative docu-drama Welcome To Pine Hill, made in collaboration with the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, a group which writer/director Miller belongs.

The film, a 2011 Independent Filmmaker Lab participant, is said to have be inspired by a chance encounter between Miller and the film's star Shannon Harper, who found themselves fighting over a lost dog one night in Brooklyn, NY.

Here's its synopsis:

Straddling the worlds of fact and fiction, documentary and narrative, WELCOME TO PINE HILL follows Shannon, a recently reformed drug dealer, now working as a claims adjuster by day and bouncer by night. When Shannon receives earth-shattering news, he is compelled to make peace with his past and search for freedom beyond the concrete jungle of New York City. 

Harper plays himself, and is surrounded by an eclectic cast of both emerging talent and real-life people, including Jaiden Kaine, and Mary Meyers.

The film is produced by Elisabeth Holm and Keith Miller.

Its Slamdance 2012 screening was its world premiere, and quite a premiere it must have been because, the film won the Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Narrative prize at the festival, announced last night, after being selected by an esteemed panel of industry members who awarded the film that particular award "for its poetic and emotionally honest depiction of one man's final journey in life, crafted from a true spirit of humanity and community.

So, congrats to Mr Miller, cast and crew.

I didn't get to see the film at Slamdance, since it conflicted with my Sundance screening schedule; but thankfully, I was given a screener of the film, which I'll be watching this weekend, before my interview with director Miller on Sunday morning. And my review of the film, plus interview with the director will be posted early next week.

I couldn't find a trailer for the film, but here are 2 clips which show off its loose docu-drama style: