Chattanooga Film Festival Continues To Grow, Adding More Features

  • Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Chattanooga Film Festival has now more than doubled down and conjured 21 additional features, more than 80 short films, more parties, panels and podcasts alongside the festival’s watch parties. 

There’s even a tribute to the festival’s longtime friend, the late great filmmaker Jeff Burr, to kick off the weekend.

Joining the previously announced World Premiere Video Vision are three more features making their debut at the festival. A film marking the triumphant return of a filmmaker the festival's fans know and love, and two more from filmmakers whose "mind-altering visions are sure to end up on countless Best of 2024 lists."

Review for the films and festival:

First, there's writer/director Kelsey Egan's The Fix, CFF's 2024 closing night selection. In the dystopian future of Egan's film, the air is toxic. A troubled young model (Grace Van Dien) takes an illicit new drug at a party and suffers a shocking transformation. She attempts to reverse the effects of the drug, only to discover her mutations may be the key to saving the human race. Throw in some wildly cool effects, the presence of Clancy Brown, and a jaw-dropping third act, and you've got yourself a film tailor-made to find its way into the hearts of the festival's longtime attendees.

Also world premiering is the debut feature of an exciting new voice in genre cinema, writer/director Racheal Cain, whose Somnium acts as the centerpiece of the CFF's opening weekend. Starring the always awesome Chloe Levine (The Ranger) Cain's beautifully shot mind-bender takes place at an experimental sleep clinic, Somnium, where your dreams are made real. Side effects may include: hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, sleep paralysis, detachment from reality, lost sense of self, permanent nightmares. 

After hotboxing festival goers’ brains with last year’s hemp horror Trim Season, filmmaker Ariel Vida a two-time festival alum well-anchored in the psyches of CFF audience, returns with the world premiere of a profoundly personal feature years in the making. In Sleep, Wake, Forget, years after civilization has fallen and the infected roam the world, two brothers survive because of a unique skill - the ability to look into the minds of others. Vida's persistent efforts to complete her film saw her serving as director of photography, writer, make-up effects artist, production designer, and myriad other crew positions, and the result is something magical. Ariel's journey to getting the film made is an inspiring story in its own right, and CFF is honored to give her the spotlight to tell it and a screen to share her haunting labor of love.

Every year, the CFF throws a free kick-off event anyone can come out and enjoy. This year's launch party is a tribute to one of the festival's first champions. Filmmaker Jeff Burr (From a Whisper to a Scream, Leatherface) was the embodiment of CFF’s mission to bring great genre cinema to the city of Chattanooga and beyond. He accomplished this with numerous screenings of his own films but also as a warm-hearted film historian, educator, and mentor to young, local filmmakers. Jeff gave fans new reasons to love cult classics screening for CFF audiences. This event is a free-to-attend (Jeff would have wanted it that way) celebration of the life and films of Jeff Burr. 

Some very special guests, including some of Jeff’s close friends, will be joining us as we share memories of the man. As part of our tribute, we're honored to have the opportunity to share something we know Jeff would have liked more folks to see: a workprint of Leatheface featuring a version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre III that hews far closer to Jeff's original vision than the official studio release. Also uncovered at Jeff's home by his close friend Mark Hannah is an incredible collection of dailies and behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot that we'll also be sharing along with our own stories and memories. We hope you’ll come and enjoy this candid glimpse into a profoundly creative, warm, and wonderful man.

These three world premieres plus special tribute event join 21 more carefully curated features with everything from the debut of filmmakers Benson and Moorhead's longtime editor Michael Felker, Things Will Be Different, to the gorgeous cosmic-Czech-folk-horror of Falling Stars, to a special screening of the unique and disturbing courtroom thriller Red Rooms presented by Utopia. And there’s more: the spell-binding psychological drama Canvas, alongside a fascinating film documenting The UFOs of Soesterberg. The inclusionist community that makes up the festival's audience is sure to fall instantly in love with 2024's CFF centerpiece film Off-Ramp, which kicks off the fest’s stacked virtual offerings with a heartwarming tale of a couple of lovable degenerates who must sojourn through America's hellish underbelly to The Gathering of the Juggalos, the one place on earth they feel accepted. Nathan Tape's film will charm audiences whether or not they're down with the clown and have them joining an angelic chorus of “Whoop Whoop.” We may not know how magnets work, but, like Off-Ramp, they show us how to come together.

Also, early in her new film’s festival run is the wildly talented and prolific CFF alum Alice Maio Mackay, who takes holiday set horror to twisted new places with Carnage for Christmas. Then there is the haunting, beautiful, and deeply personal The Lonely Man and the Ghost Machine, the latest work of a filmmaker who has long been a part of the festival's extended family, Graham Skipper (Sequence Break, The Leech).

Short-form cinema is another yearly staple of the festival, and the CFF's annual shorts showcases CFF Salutes Your Shorts, Dangerous Visions, and Watch These Films blocks are joined again by two volumes of their Fun Size Epics block, which exhibits short films with slightly longer runtimes and strong enough world building to match any feature. Also expanded are the festival’s long running Dangerous Visions and Watch These Films shorts blocks, which also receive second volumes Bride of WTF and So Long and Thanks for all the Dangerous Visions. Festival fans can count on a mix of much-loved festival alums, talented new voices, and even another World Premiere from Author/Screenwriter/Director Benjamin Percy (Ghost Rider, Wolverine, the Comet Cycle novels). Percy's dread-filled 13th Night debuts in the festival's Dangerous Visions block and he will be on hand afterward to sign books and comics and answer questions.

Making sure that attendees have far more than just screenings awaiting them is the small army of vendors armed with everything from rare VHS tapes to books to artwork to boutique blu-rays to lovingly crafted cannabis products and the book fair stacked with previously announced authors, live readings and mysterious secrets that CFF is calling its Physical Media Rodeo. Presented by Arrow Video, fans that want to pregame for the fest can check out a CFF Selects playlist packed with strange cinema and deep cuts.

There will also be live podcasts by the Video Monsters and Dads From the Crypt, film education events, watch parties, whiskey parties, pizza parties, live music, exclusive screenings, and the long-form Q&As that see CFF leaning into the virtual side of things to take deeper dives into the year's films than an average festival Q&A would allow. 

For the complete schedule of both in-person and virtual screenings and events, visit chattfilmfest.org. For folks who might only have the time or funds to see one or two films during the festival, limited quantity single tickets for all films are on sale starting Tuesday. 

With its commitment to audience and filmmaker accessibility, its warm-hearted southern hospitality, and its consistently surprising and eclectic programming, the Chattanooga Film Festival has, in just 11 years, been chosen as One of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World (MovieMaker Magazine), one of FilmFreeway's Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals in the World out of the nearly 12,000 festivals on that platform, been chosen multiple times as One of the 25 Best Genre Film (MovieMaker) and Horror Festivals (Dread Central) and hailed as "the gold standard on how to run a welcoming, unpretentious film fest for folks who want to hang out and have a good time together" by legendary cinema publication Fangoria. Even Southern Living, Money, and Forbes magazines have all had nice things to say about the festival.

FEATURES

Blind Cop 2
Director Alec Bonk | United States 2023
Blind Cop, the former beacon of justice, is consumed by grief after the mysterious death of his partner in the first movie. (There is no first movie.) His once-illustrious career has been reduced to drunken disorderly conduct, putting him at odds with the police force. In his investigation of a new influx of arms trafficking, Blind Cop discovers a lead that connects the illegal weapons to his partner's death. However, he is fired from the force for his reckless behavior. Now Blind Cop must venture into the dark underworld of the city to continue his investigation. With the help of a bright-eyed young man who wants to follow in his footsteps, they will uncover a web of deceit and corruption that will challenge Blind Cop's perceptions of justice and morality. The truth he seeks may not be what he expected, but he will stop at nothing to avenge his fallen partner and bring the criminals responsible to justice.
*Virtual

Cannibal Mukbang
Director Aimee Kuge | United States 2023
An introverted nerd finds himself dangerously deep inside the crazy world of mukbanging after he falls head over heels for a mysterious woman.
*Virtual

Canvas
Directors Kimberly Stuckwisch, Melora Donoghue | United States 2022
Pitted against each other since youth and raised to believe true artists are only formed through suffering, two sisters reunite after years of estrangement. One sister learns authenticity and the other regret, but neither escapes the sins of their father.
*Virtual

Carnage For Christmas - Southeast Premiere
Alice Maio Mackay | Australia 2023
When true-crime podcaster and sleuth Lola visits her hometown at Christmas for the first time since running away and transitioning, the vengeful ghost of a historical murderer and urban legend seemingly arises to kill again. Lola must solve the case before her community is slaughtered. She's up against not only a psychotic killer, but a town haunted by secrets.
*Virtual

Daughter of the Sun
Director Ryan Ward | Canada 2023
A 12-year-old girl struggles with life on the run as she travels across the country with her father who has Tourette Syndrome. Wanting nothing more than a normal family life, she befriends a community of outcasts in the remote countryside who want to harness a volatile supernatural power her father is hiding.
*Virtual

Falling Stars
Directors Richard Karpala, Gabriel Bienczycki | United States 2023
On the first night of harvest, three brothers set out for the desert to see a witch's corpse.
*In-Person

In the Name of God
Director Ludwig Gur | Sweden 2024
After the wife of Theodor, a 40-year-old priest, falls seriously ill, he seeks guidance from his old mentor who convinces him he has been chosen by God to rid the world of sinners to bring new life to true believers. He then commits his first murder, convinced it is a necessary sacrifice in service of his divine mission. At the moment of the murder, his wife’s health improves and the congregation starts referring to him as the “miracle priest,” knowing nothing of his horrible act. But lurking in the shadows is a disbelieving man who begins to uncover the bloody traces of the priest's unholy deeds.
*Virtual

Killington
Directors Mark Dudzinksi, Frank Perz | United States 2023
When a group of women from Manhattan win a weekend getaway with wellness influencer Kali to picturesque Killington, Vermont, the creepy local vibes and characters take on a life of their own. Tensions spark among the longtime friends as Kali pushes their boundaries, and things take an unexpected turn.
*Virtual

Love And Work
Director Pete Ohs | United States 2023
Diane and Fox love to work. Unfortunately, they live in a polarized world where having a job is illegal.
*Hybrid

NOCLIP
Directors Gavin Charles, Alex Conn | United States 2023
Two filmmakers set out on an adventure into a creepy old mall, only to find themselves lost in an increasingly claustrophobic maze of hallways, liminal spaces, stairwells, and backrooms in this comedic found footage horror film.
*Virtual

Off Ramp
Director Nathan Tape | United States 2023
A couple of lovable, degenerate Juggalos must sojourn through America's hellish underbelly to The Gathering of the Juggalos, the one place on earth they feel accepted.
*Virtual

Quantum Suicide
Director Gerrit Van Woudenberg | Canada 2023
A reclusive physicist builds a particle accelerator in his garage and embarks on a quest to understand the nature of reality. In the process of his experiments he suffers radiation poisoning, loses his vision and alienates his partner, who eventually leaves him. But in his obsession he finds clarity and the key to understanding our reality. There is one final test he must perform.
*Virtual

Red Rooms
Director Pascal Plante | France 2024
The high-profile case of serial killer Ludovic Chevalier has just gone to trial, and Kelly-Anne is obsessed. When reality blurs with her morbid fantasies, she goes down a dark path to seek the final piece of the puzzle: the missing video of a murdered 13-year-old girl, to whom Kelly-Anne bears a disturbing resemblance.
*In Person

Sleep, Wake, Forget - World Premiere
Ariel Vida | United States
In a fallen world, a young man will stop at nothing to save his brother from becoming one of the creatures they have spent their lives running from.
*Hybrid

SOMNIUM - World Premiere
Director Racheal Cain | United States 2023
At an experimental sleep clinic, Somnium, your dreams are made real. Side effects may include: hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, sleep paralysis, detachment from reality, lost sense of self, permanent nightmares. 
*In-Person

The Buildout
Director Zeshaan Younus | United States 2023
A friendship is tested as two women experience something strange in the desert.
*Virtual

The Fix - World Premiere
Director Kelsey Egan | South Africa 2023
A dark, dystopian thrill ride with an environmental slant, The Fix explores identity, perception and autonomy in a frighteningly viable future. A toxic compound infects earth’s atmosphere. Pharmaceutical giant, Aethera, sells immunity to those who can afford the daily dose... most can't. When a troubled model takes a new designer drug at a house party, she suffers a shocking transformation. Pursued by a dangerous gang and authorities in cahoots with Aethera, she hunts desperately for a “fix” to reverse the drug’s effects only to discover that her mutations could save the human race.
*Hybrid

The Lonely Man With The Ghost Machine
Director Graham Skipper | United States 2023
The last man on Earth after a global catastrophe finds himself questioning his purpose and sanity as both his dead wife and a mysterious stranger confront him with his past, his present, and whatever future might remain in the wastes of a dead world.
*Virtual

The UFOS of Soesterberg
Director Bram Roza | Netherlands 2023
In the early morning of February 3, 1979, a mysterious object flew over Soesterberg Air Base. At least twelve soldiers witnessed this. Despite being in the middle of the cold war this event has still remained unexplained. And that is not the only anomalous sighting in that specific part of the Netherlands...
*Virtual

Things Will Be Different
Director Michael Felker | United States 2024 
In order to escape police after a robbery, two estranged siblings lay low in a farmhouse that hides them away in a different time. There they reckon with a mysterious force that pushes their familial bonds to unnatural breaking points.
*In-Person Only

SHORT FILM BLOCKS
CFF Salutes Your Shorts - Student & Regional Shorts
Analog Exorcism - Directed by Jim Shashaty
A Portrait of Elizabeth - Directed by Corey Simpson
Big Break - Directed by Harrison Shook
Dead Presidents - Directed by Ryan Lilienfield
Descension - Directed by Valery Garcia
Hope Chest - Directed by Dycee Wildman, Jennifer Bonior
Implications of the Bootstrap Paradox on Spatiotemporal Continuity - Directed by Shaler Keenum
Kino Kopf - Directed by Jack Cosgriff
Out of Order - Directed by Catherine Mosier-Mills
Washed Up - Directed by Thomas Bayne
Dangerous Visions - Horror and Sci-Fi Shorts
13th Night - Directed by Benjamin Percy
Accidental Stars - Directed by Emily Bennett
Butterscotch - Directed by Alexander Lee Deeds
Dream Creep - Directed by Carlos A.F. Lopez
Hi! You Are Currently Being Recorded - by Anna Maguire, Kyle Greenberg
Let’s Go Disco - Directed by Austin Lewis
Pit Stop -  Directed by David A. Flores
Souling - Directed by Jacquelyn Ferguson
The Influencer - Directed by Lael Rogers
The Thaw - Directed by Sarah Wisner, Sean Temple

WTF (Watch These Films) - Strange & Magical Shorts
Body - Directed by Ronald Short
Cart Return - Directed by Matt Webb
Gum - Directed by Sam Elder
Like Me - Directed by Ashley Thomas
Make Me a Pizza - Directed by Talia Shea Levin
One Happy Customer - Directed by WATTS
Stairwell - Directed by David Britton, Anthony Ceceri
The 44th Chamber of Shaolin - Directed by Jon Truei
The Curse of the Velvet Vampire - Directed by Christoffer Sandau Schuricht
The Rainbow Bridge - Directed by Dimitri Simakis
The Shadow Wrangler - Directed by Grace Rex
Type A - Directed by Jake Barcus
Two Women Make a Lunch Plan - Directed by Elizabeth Archer
We Joined a Cult - Directed by Chris 

Bride of WTF 
A Visual Poem - Directed by Benjamin N. Walant
All is Lost - Directed by Carla Pereira, Juanfran Jacinto
Burn Out - Directed by Russell Goldman
Catacombs - Directed by Chad Cunningham
Disciple - Directed by Boston Enderle
Don’t You Dare Film Me Now - Directed by Cade Featherstone
Hunky Dory - Directed by Steven Vander Meer
Krampuss - Directed by Guðni Líndal Benediktsson
Ouchie - Directed by Kyle Kuchta
Quiet! Mom’s Working! - Directed by P Patrick Hogan
Shadow - Directed by Kamell Allaway
The Crossing Over Express - Directed by Luke Barnett, Tanner Thomason

So Long and Thanks For all the Dangerous Visions
Apotemnofilia - Directed by Jano Pita
Come Back Haunted - Directed by Logan James Freeman
Consumer - Directed by Matthew Fisher
Giallo - Directed by Yogesh Chandekar
Nian - Directed by Michelle Krusiec
Night Feeding - Directed by Sarah K. Reimers
Outer Reaches - Directed by Karl Redgen
Roger is a Serial Killer - Directed by Don Swaynos
Spooky Crew - Directed by Erin Broussard
Strange Creatures - Directed by Nicholas Payne Santos
That’s Our Time - Directed by Alex Backes
The Cost of Flesh - Directed by Tomas Palombi
The Little Curse - Directed by Nicholas Berger, Dana Berry
The Noise - Directed by Jillian Shea Spaeder, Bryce Gheisar
When Shadows Lay Darkest - Jacob Leighton Burns

Funsize Epics Vol 1. 
Amos’ Bride - Directed by Yakako Fujimori
Caller 102: A Ballad of Cyberspace - Directed by Turner Barrowman, Jack Goldfisher
Cotton Candy Sky - Directed by Michael Curtis Johnson
Dumpster Archeology - Directed by Dustie Carter
Honk - Directed by Charles de Lauzirika
Hot Soda - Directed by Nello DiGiandomenico
Redcoat - Directed by Michaela Hounslow
Seraphim - Directed by Oscar Ramos
Spiral to the Center - Directed by Alisa Stern, Scott Ampleford
The Dumpster Dive - Directed by Laura Asherman
Villa Mink - Directed by Darron Carswell

Funsize Epics Vol 2. 
Dark Mommy - Directed by Courtney Eck
Eyes Like Yours - Directed by Gabrielle Chapman
Floater - Directed by D. M. Harring
Good Girls Get Fed - Directed by Kelly Lou Dennis
Inked  - Directed by Kelsey Bollig
Lost Boys Pizza - Directed by Cassie Llanas
Mort - Directed by Charlie Queen
Madame Hattori’s Izakaya - Directed by Shanna Fujii
Robbie Ain’t Right No More - Directed by Kyle Perritt
The Garden of Edette - Directed by Guinevere Fey Thomas
The Kindness of Strangers - Directed by Stu Silverman
The Lonely Portrait - Directed by Marc Marashi
Too Slow - Directed by Danielle McRae Spisso, Stephen Vanderpool
Up on the Housetop - Directed by Dakota Millett, Michael Fischer
Vespa - Directed by Olivia Ramos
Volition - Directed by Ashley George

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