Chattanooga Film Festival Starts Friday

  • Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Chattanooga Film Festival will make its return this summer, running from June 23-29. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, after being named one of “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, the festival will return to the ground Friday through Sunday, while still offering a virtual experience from June 23-29.

While the festival will have various locations around the city, the main venue will be Chattanooga’s historic and legendary haunted The Read House Hotel. The hotel’s 1920’s beauty and the tale of Room 311, with resident ghost Annalisa, makes it the perfect backdrop for the festival’s 10th Anniversary, said organizers. 

Tickets are going quickly but are still available at

Review for the festival and films: 

Opening the festival will be the Southeast premiere of ONYX THE FORTUITOUS AND THE TALISMAN OF SOULS based on director Andrew Bowser’s viral character Onyx, who has racked up over 300 million plus views online. Later that evening, Onyx the Fortuitous himself will preside over the CFF’s opening night party, the Black Magic Masquerade. This event has the festival collaborating once again with Chattanooga Whiskey for an evening of costumes and cosplay, mingling and madness, spooky tunes and killer signature cocktails.

This year’s CFF will see the world premiere of SOUR PARTY from filmmakers Amanda Drexton and Michael A. Drexton, one of the programming team’s favorite debut features of 2023. The film centers around Gwen (Samantha Westervelt) and James (Amanda Drexton), two flailing thirtysomething besties that are as broke as they are self-absorbed. When circumstances set the duo out on a bizarre odyssey across Los Angeles to collect “debts,” featuring delightful appearances from the likes of Reggie Watts and Corey Feldman, you’re left with a feminist twist on the buddy comedy that you won’t be able to help but fall in love with.

On the live event side of things, CFF leans deeper into darkness with special return appearances by bestselling authors. screenwriters and longtime festival favorites Clay McLeod Chapman (Whisper Down the Lane, Netflix’s “Wendell & Wild”) and Grady Hendrix (The Final Girl Support Group, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires). 

Mr. Chapman will help kick off the festival's opening day with an event that's become a sacred tradition to CFF fans—The Pumpkin Pie Show, which showcases Chapman's wild and unhinged abilities as a live storyteller. This year he’ll present GHOST EATERS AND OTHER STORIES, featuring readings from his latest novel The Ghost Eaters. It's a perfect reminder to guests that there's nothing better than curling up in a haunted hotel with one of the world's foremost tellers of scary tales.

Mr. Hendrix returns with a brand new live show HOW TO SELL A HAUNTED HOUSE, based on his recent novel of the same name. Those who've seen Mr. Hendrix break down the weird world of pulp horror paperbacks and rowdy dissection of the slasher film sub-genre during past editions of the festival know his shows are as hilarious as they are packed with fascinating information and occasionally even songs. 

CFF will also pay tribute to the iconic horror anthology series TALES FROM THE CRYPT with a series of special events woven throughout this year’s festival. The celebration will kick off with a pop-up comic shop salute to the series’ bloody beginning in the pages of EC Comics, conjured from the depths of darkness by the folks at Infinity Flux Comics.

Next up is a special live episode of The How NOT To Make a Movie Podcast, hosted by two people that know the crypt all too well, longtime TALES FROM THE CRYPT writers, directors, producers Gil Adley and A L Katz. Their wild podcast, named one “The Best Film Podcast of 2022” by Entertainment Weekly, centers around the infamous hellish experience they had making BORDELLO OF BLOOD.

The salute continues with BORDELLO OF BLOOD: LIVE COMMENTARY, presented by Diabolik DVD, which will give insight from Adler and Katz about how they found themselves in the impossible situation of the studio forcing them make a film that not only nobody wanted, a situation that also ended their friendship effectively for over 20 years. Part cinema therapy, we’re sure this event will haul a few more skeletons out of the Bordello closet.

Finally, as we once returned Sam Jones's voice to Flash Gordon, CFF aims to right yet another cinematic wrong with a live script reading of the pair’s never made true DEMON KNIGHT follow-up, DEAD EASY. This event will have a cast of your genre film favorites, as they pay tribute to Adler and Katz.

The valuable lessons the festival learned about accessibility during its online editions cemented their commitment to making a virtual component a permanent part of the event each year. Of equal importance to festival director and film programmer Chris Dortch and his team, is that the festival's virtual offerings will in no way feel like an afterthought. As with the last three years, the virtual component of this year’s festival will feel like a fully-fledged festival experience consisting of features, shorts, and exclusive live events.

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