The countdown to the Chattanooga Film Festival is underway, and with that comes the announcement of the first wave of films. These films join the already announced opening night films Rock Steady Row and Summer of ’84, as well as the world premiere of Life After Flash.
For year five the films had to be special and even more than usual, the team at CFF truly agonized over each choice. The result is something CFF hopes lives up to the phrase “all killer, no filler.”
“We have five features that have chosen to host their world premiere with CFF this year and the fact that these talented filmmakers would choose to go with us, instead of larger fests several decades our senior, stands to us as proof of just how much CFF’s reputation has grown in five short years,” says executive director and lead programmer Chris Dortch. “Even RuPaul seems to be talking about what we’ve got cooking for this year. We are humbly taking these as signs that we are on the right track and we hope our audience and our city will agree.”
Reviews for the films:
Fresh off its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Lu Over the Wall is a gorgeously animated hallucinogenic-but-family-friendly take on the classic fairy tale of the little mermaid who falls in love with mankind, and then comes ashore to join a dysfunctional middle school rock band and propel them to fame.
Exploring the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat shows how New York City, its people, and the tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and '80s shaped his vision.
At CFF we’re suckers for a good old-fashioned ghost story and boy, does Ghost Stories deliver. Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable 'hauntings'.
Every once in a while, you see a film you just know is a classic in the making. Lowlife is such a film. Director Ryan Prows has crafted a darkly comic sublimely cinematic and strangely heartwarming crime tale that explodes off the screen like a Molotov cocktail. CFF is honored to share this one and have Mr. Prows attend for a Q&A afterwards.
From filmmaker Josephine Decker comes Madeline's Madeline, a drama that centers around a family in Queens, New York. In the film, Miranda July plays Regina, single mother to sixteen-year-old Madeline. Madeline finds herself as the youngest member of an experimental-theater company and begins to take her performance too seriously.
For fans of The Exorcist, director William Friedkin delivers a chilling documentary with The Devil and Father Amorth. Having never seen an exorcism, Friedkin wondered how close he came to truly portraying one on screen. Thus, he decided to follow Father Gabriele Amorth, an Italian Roman Catholic Priest and an exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, as he performs his ninth exorcist on an Italian woman.
CFF is extremely proud to bring RBG to Chattanooga screens, a documentary about the life and work of legendary Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West interview friends, family, colleagues and the woman herself, RBG.
In keeping with the theme of strong, powerful women, but this time of the fictional kind, Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge is the ultimate tale of payback and signals the arrival of a relentlessly bold new voice. From its eye-popping tracking sequences to a score that would make John Carpenter proud, Fargeat fills every inch of every frame with style, and anger.
The Last Movie Star finds an aging, former movie star, portrayed by Burt Reynolds, being forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface The Last Movie Star is a tale about faded fame, but at its core, it's a universal story about growing old.
Crazy doesn’t scratch the surface of the things you’ll see and hear when you watch The Road Movie. Painstakingly compiled entirely from Russian dashboard cams. This is one wildly entertaining car wreck you won’t want to look away from.
Icepick to the Moon, which will make its world premiere at the festival, centers on cult following of the obscure, strip-mine crooner Rev. Fred Lane. His obsessive fans, who have described him as “subversive,” “completely satirical,” “the Dada Duke Ellington,” and “Demon Frank Sinatra,” have spent years examining every detail of Lane’s albums, and yet whatever information they have found out about their hero has led them deeper into blissful confusion. Icepick to the Moon not only examines the cult of Fred Lane fans, but it also pulls the curtain back on the artist who is Fred Lane, from his early involvement in the Raudelunas arts collective of Alabama in the 1970s to his current occupation making whirligigs to sell on the craft show circuit. Following the screening will be a Q&A with director Skizz Cyzyk.
Also making its world premiere is Wolfman's Got Nards. This heartfelt documentary explores the power of cult film told through the 1987 classic The Monster Squad and the impact it has on fans, cast and crew, and the industry. Director Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert (both stars of The Monster Squad) and producer Henry McComas will be on hand for a post-film Q&A.
One Sings, the Other Doesn't (L’une chante, l’autre pas) is a feminist musical about the bond of sisterhood felt by Pomme and Suzanne throughout years of changes and fraught relationships with men. At the time of release in 1977, director Agnès Varda said, “If I put myself on the screen—very natural and feminist—maybe I’d get ten people in the audience. Instead, I put two nice young females on the screen, and not too much of my own leftist conscience. By not being too radical but truly feminist, my film has been seen by 350,000 people in France.”
The Laplace's Demon finds a team of seven researchers has developed a software capable of predicting the evolution of common physical events. The final test, the prediction of the exact number of fragments caused by the fall of a glass, was a success. Interested by these results, the mysterious Professor Cornelius invites the working team in his isolated mansion on a deserted island, hiding his true intentions. As time passes, the team will lead to paradoxical situations in a growing tension that will not only test their nerves but also one of their certainties: the free will.
We Are Still Here director Ted Geoghegan is back, but this time with a different kind of story. Mohawk tracks the events of one very long day late in The War of 1812, during which a young Mohawk woman and her two lovers strike back at a squadron of American soldiers responsible for the death of her people. Although set in 1812, this film with resonate with audiences even more so now than ever.
It doesn’t get more wildly influential than the Shaw Brothers’ King Boxer. Not only was it the first bonafide Kung Fu film to be a hit in the West (under the title Five Fingers of Death) it very literally helped kick off the Kung Fu craze of the 70’s, ushering in an era where Bruce Lee became a household name. There is simply no overstating the cultural importance or even the coolness of this Shaw Studios treasure.
When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they’re treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories. The terrifying feature film debut of writer/directors Rebekah and David Ian McKendry, All The Creatures Were Stirring is a frightening and fun journey through the perils of Christmas Eve with an incredible cast and a style all its own. Following the world premiere screening, directors Rebekah McKendry and David Ian McKendry, along with producers Morgan Peter Brown and Joe Wicker will stick around for a Q&A.
In addition to films, CFF always strives to present the best events and workshops. Being one not to disappoint, Joe Bob Briggs, the Patron Saint of CFF, is back with nothing less than the strangest, most brain liquefying talk of his life could do: The History of Exploitation Cinema. Writer Grady Hendrix will be pulling double duty. While here with MOHAWK, he’ll also lead Paperbacks from Hell, a hilarious and magical presentation on the heyday of pulp paperback fiction.
Last year’s festival was the first year featuring live podcast events, and CFF is thrilled to announce that Blumhouse’s Shock Waves will record an episode with hosts Rob Galluzzo, Elric Kane, and Rebekah McKendry. These folks are truly making the world a safer place for the kinds of quality thought provoking horror and genre films CFF and its audiences love to see.
Badges for CFF’s full weekend are now on sale at chattfilmfest.org. Individual tickets to films, workshops and events will be available closer to April. Volunteer sign up can also be found on the website. Corporate badge packages are available for purchase. For more information on these packages, please email Chris Dortch, Sr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Official Film Synopses:
LU OVER THE WALL | Director Masaaki Yuasa
New kid Kai is talented but adrift, spending his days sulking and isolated in a small fishing village after his family moves from Tokyo. When he demonstrates a proficiency at making music on his synthesizer, his classmates invite him to join their nascent garage band, but their practice sessions soon bring an unexpected guest: Lu, a young mermaid whose fins turn to feet when she hears the beats, and whose singing causes humans to compulsively dance - whether they want to or not. | Trailer
BOOM FOR REAL: THE LATE TEENAGE YEARS OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT | Director Sara Driver
Exploring the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and '80s shaped his vision. | Clip
GHOST STORIES | Directors Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable 'hauntings'. | Trailer
LOWLIFE | Director Ryan Prows
The sordid lives of an addict, an ex-con, and a luchador collide when an organ harvesting caper goes very, very wrong. | Trailer
Q&A with director Ryan Prows
MADELINE’S MADELINE | Director Josephine Decker
A theater director's latest project takes on a life of its own when her young star takes her performance too seriously.
THE DEVIL & FATHER AMORTH | Director William Friedkin
Father Gabriele Amorth performs his ninth exorcism on an Italian woman.
RBG | Directors Julie Cohen, Betsy West
A look at the life and work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
REVENGE | Director Coralie Fargeat
Never take your mistress on an annual guys' getaway, especially one devoted to hunting - a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.
THE LAST MOVIE STAR | Director Adam Rifkin
An aging, former movie star is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface THE LAST MOVIE STAR is a tale about faded fame, but at its core, it's a universal story about growing old. | Trailer
THE ROAD MOVIE | Director Dmitrii Kalashnikov
A documentary comprised entirely of footage from dashboard cameras from Russian cars. | Trailer
ICEPICK TO THE MOON | Director Skizz Cyzyk
A feature length documentary about strip-mine crooner, Rev. Fred Lane, and the Raudelunas arts collective of Alabama in the Seventies.
Q&A with director Skizz Cyzyk.
WOLFMAN’S GOT NARDS | Director Andre Gower
This heartfelt documentary explores the power of cult film told through the lens of the 1987 classic The Monster Squad and the impact it has on fans, cast and crew, and the industry.
Q&A with director Andre Gower, producer Henry McComas and Ryan Lambert
ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T | Director Agnès Varda
ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN’T (L’une chante, l’autre pas) is a feminist musical—with lyrics by the director—about the bond of sisterhood felt by Pomme and Suzanne throughout years of changes and fraught relationships with men.
THE LAPLACE’S DEMON | Director Giordano Giulivi
A team of seven researchers has developed a software capable of predicting the evolution of common physical events. The final test, the prediction of the exact number of fragments caused by the fall of a glass, was a success. Interested by these results, the mysterious Professor Cornelius invites the working team in his isolated mansion on a deserted island, hiding his true intentions. As time passes, the team will lead to paradoxical situations in a growing tension that will not only test their nerves but also one of their certainties: the free will. | Trailer
MOHAWK | Director Ted Geoghegan
Late in the War of 1812, a young Mohawk woman and her two lovers battle a squad of American soldiers hell-bent on revenge. | Trailer
Q&A with director/writer Ted Geoghegan and writer Grady Hendrix
KING BOXER AKA FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH | Director Chang-hwa Jeong
Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament. (1972) | Trailer
ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING| Directors David Ian McKendry, Rebekah McKendry
When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they're treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories, featuring a wide ensemble of characters doing their best to avoid the horrors of the holidays. From boring office parties and last-minute shopping, to vengeful stalkers and immortal demons, there's plenty out there to fear this holiday season.
Q&A with directors Rebekah McKendry and David Ian McKendry, producers Morgan Peter Brown and Joe Wicker
The Chattanooga Film Festival loves everything about cinema: the films, filmmakers and audiences; the critics, collectors and curators; and most especially the popcorn. The first ever Chattanooga Film Festival was held in 2014, and has been quickly making a name for itself among film-lovers, filmmakers and the film industry, said officials. The festival’s record-breaking fourth year drew more than 12,000 people to its films, workshops and special events.
For more information, visit chattfilmfest.org.