The 19th annual Boston Underground Film Festival returns to Harvard Square to kick off New England's Spring festival season, bringing with it a smorgasbord of phantasmagoria, dark comedy, thrillers, killers, and chillers to the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive from March 22nd through the 26th. This year's schedule boasts an eclectic selection of weird, wonderful programming packed with flavors for cineastes of all tastes!
Bookending this year's festival of sensory-melting bliss are 2016 TIFF Midnight Madness juggernaut PREVENGE and ferocious feminist satires BITCH, on the heels of its 2017 Sundance world premiere. Veteran actress, co-writer of 2012's Sightseers, and first-time director/writer/star Alice Lowe's bloody British baby bump (off) slasher comedy PREVENGE appropriately births BUFF's five days of cinemania and cinemonstronsity when it splatters the Brattle Theatre screen Wednesday March 22nd, fresh from its SXSW 2017 screening. And closing out this year's filmic feast is filmmaking triple-threat director/writer/actor Marianna Palka's delightfully disturbing dive into dissociative doggone delirium, BITCH.
Bubbling up from down-under, also coming to Boston fresh from SXSW 2017, is not-to-be-missed Aussie crime thriller HOUNDS OF LOVE, a masterful feat of tension, terror, and restraint from Perth-based, wildly talented first-time feature filmmaker Ben Young. In stark contrast to some of BUFF's darker fare, prepare to meet your new obsession with first-time filmmaker Bill Watterson's Slamdance 2017 standout DAVE MADE A MAZE, which will beguile and a-maze with its hilarious odyssey through one man's intricately crafted, booby trapped, living room box fort labyrinth; awe-inspiring stop-motion animation and strong lulz await.
BUFF alum Steven Kostanski & co-directing partner Jeremy Gillespie, both of Astron-6 fame, are coming to Boston, bringing with them their moody, atmospheric, tentacular modern horror masterpiece THE VOID. Speaking of creatures, BUFF is beyond thrilled to welcome legendary creature creator and make-up effects maestro Gabe Bartalos, who will present his phantasmagorific nightmare SAINT BERNARD for the first time ever to a North American audience.
BUFF is psyched beyond belief to be hosting the East Coast Premiere of 68 KILL from mad genius Trent Haaga, director of BUFF's 2011 Director's Choice Award-winner Chop and writer of 2013's Cheap Thrills & 2008's Deadgirl. Haaga's highly anticipated punk rock heist film unites BUFF regulars AnnaLynne McCord & Matthew Gray Gubler in the ultimate highway to hell road film. Additional beloved BUFF alumni will be in attendance with fresh cuts this year, including multi-award-winning, Massachusetts-based horror filmmaker Skip Shea, who unveils his deeply personal first feature, TRINITY, to a hometown audience.
As usual, we'll have: Our kid-friendly annual Saturday Morning Cartoons program with cereal smorgasbord, programmed by renowned curator, author, and Monster Fest Festival Director Kier-La Janisse; a veritable bounty of shorts programming celebrating fantastic music videos, animation, transgressive horror; and more! So. Much. More!
Individual screening ticket prices vary and will be available online and at the Brattle Theatre box office on the day of screening. Festival passes, which include admission to all films and parties, are available at a significantly reduced rate through BUFF's ongoing Kickstarter through March 17th. Passes, thereafter, will be available for $180 at www.bostonunderground.org/tickets.
BOSTON UNDERGROUND FIRST WAVE
BITCH - East Coast Premiere
Marianna Palka | USA | 2017
Caged in the suburbs of our discontent, a woman (Marianna Palka) snaps and enters a fugue state, consumed by the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, stay-at-work husband (Jason Ritter) must grudgingly assume the role of a family caretaker, forcing him to engage with his four children and sister-in-law (Jaime King) as they attempt to strengthen their familial unit and entice mom back to reality. Marianna Palka writes, directs, and stars in her bitingly funny and profound fourth feature.
DAVE MADE A MAZE - East Coast Premiere
Bill Watterson | USA | 2017
Dave (Nick Thune) is an artist who has yet to complete anything of significance in his short career; out of frustration, he builds and elaborate box fort in his living room. When his girlfriend and friends (including Kirsten Vangsness, Adam Busch, and Meera Rohit Kumbhani) enter against his protests, he must save them all from a series of fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and creatures of his own creation. Actor Bill Watterson writes and directors his hilarious and idiosyncratic first feature.
HOUNDS OF LOVE - East Coast Premiere
Ben Young | Australia | 2016
In Ben Young's tense, chilling feature debut, 17-year-old Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple and help prisoner in their home. As she observes the volatile dynamic between her captors, she soon realizes the key to survival lies in driving a wedge between them.
PREVENGE - East Coast Premiere
Alice Lowe | UK | 2016
In her directorial debut, Alice Lowe (Sightseers, Hot Fuzz, Garth Marenghi's Dark Place) writes, directs and stars in a pitch black comedic tale of vengeance about seven-months-pregnant Widow Ruth and the unborn serial killer that compels her on her homicidal rampage.
SAINT BERNARD - North American Premiere
Gabe Bartalos | USA/France | 2013
Prolific creature designer Gabe Bartalos (Brain Damange, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Gremlins 2, and the Leprechaun series) crafts a phantasmagoric vision of a classic music conductor descending into insanity with his sophomore feature. Seemingly vanished from a short-lived run on the festival circuit in 2014, BUFF is proud to give this must-see nightmare, and the visionary filmmaker who created it, a proper North American premiere.
68 KILL - East Coast Premiere
Trent Haaga | USA | 2017
Trent Haage (writer of Deadgirl, Cheap Thrills) returns to the director's chair following 2011's Chop with a punk-rock after hours thriller about femininity, masculinity and the theft of $68,000. When Liza (AnnaLynn McCord) asks her boyfriend Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) to help her rob her wealthy sugar daddy, he can't say no. Once they step into the man's home, Chip & Liza embark on a breakneck roadtrip to hell. Adapted from Bryan Smith's 2013, no-holds-barred crime novel of the same name.
THE VOID - New England Premiere
Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski | Canada | 2016
ASTRON-6's Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski return with a Carpenteresque saga of brutal, cosmic dread, packed with creatures straight out of hell. In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road in the middle of the night. When he rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital, he finds that patients and personnel are transforming into something...inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter must lead the other survivors into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to save their lives and end the nightmare before it's too late.
TRINITY - Boston Premiere
Skip Shea | USA | 2016
Award-winning Massachusetts-based filmmaker, writer, artist and actor Skip Shea brings to life a deeply personal and disturbing first feature based on the true story about a moment in the life of a clergy abuse survivor. While at a coffee shop, a man accidentally bumps into the priest who abused him when he was a child, triggering a surreal, PTSD-induced dissociative moment that sends him on a twisted journey through his past.
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements, including our second wave of feature film title announcements, attending guests, and a bountiful program of short films. The full BUFF 2017 Program, and individual ticket sales, will go live on March 8, 2017 at www.bostonunderground.org & www.brattlefilm.org.