With just over a month to go until the fourth annual Chattanooga Film Festival, organizers are ready to let some cats out of the bag. (In one case you'll see that this is also a bad pun.)
With three years behind them and a rapidly growing reputation as one of the premier festivals for cinephiles in the Southeast, organizers of the Chattanooga Film Festival offer up a first peek at year four's lineup, including opening-night films DAVE MADE A MAZE, THE NEW RADICAL, S is FOR STANLEY and the world premiere of actor/director Graham Skipper's brilliant and surreal sci-fi romance SEQUENCE BREAK, which will appear in the MES After Hours genre film block.
This year CFF is expanding audience favorite elements from the past years, including another performance by 2016 festival favorites EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, the festival's traditional appearance from the legendary and hilarious JOE BOB BRIGGS, a cat circus (to complement the Istanbul-set kitty-cat doc KEDI) and a retirement party for legendary cult filmmaker Uwe Boll, who'll be on hand to preside over the party and host a hand-chosen screening of one of his favorite films.
"As a lifelong cinephile I can confidently say I think we've constructed one of the most incredible and eclectic lineups of any American film festival this year," said festival executive director and film programmer Chris Dortch 11 "Add in a CFF keynote speech by the partners of Company X, the newly formed entity founded by SpectreVision's Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller and Lisa Whalen, our traditional CFF Secret Screenings - including a special workshop and secret screening. Then remind yourself that this is only the first WAVE, and I think you'll start to see what we've got on our hands here this year.
"We think this is nothing short than one of the coolest and purest celebrations of movie love in the country. To say we're proud parents is an understatement. We hope our audience will love this year as much as we love them."
OPENING NIGHT FILMS:
DAVE MADE A MAZE / Director: Bill Waterson
Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. DAVE MADE A MAZE is Goonies meets Gilliam meets Gondry and we can't wait to share it with our CFF 2017 audience on the giant downtown IMAX screen!
THE NEW RADICAL / Director: Adam Bhala Lough
CFF Truth Bombs Opening Night Film with Post Film Technology Discussion
Uncompromising millennial radicals from the United States and the United Kingdom attack the system through dangerous technological means, which evolves into a high-stake game with world authorities in the midst of a dramatically changing political landscape.
S IS FOR STANLEY / Director: Alex Infascelli
S is FOR STANLEY is the story of Emilio D'Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick's personal driver. A Friendship that lasted through 30 years of their lives, helped create four cinema masterpieces, and brought together two apparently opposite people, that found their ideal journey companion far away from their homes.
SEQUENCE BREAK (*World Premiere) / Director: Graham Skipper
CFF After Hours Opening Night - Q&A following with Graham Skipper and additional cast and crew still to be announced.
A surreal sci-fi romance wherein a beautiful young woman and strange metaphysical forces threaten the reality of a reclusive video arcade technician, resulting in bizarre biomechanical mutations and a shocking self-realization.
ADDITIONAL FIRST WAVE TITLES:
DAYVEON / Director: Amman Abbasi
In the wake of his older brother's death, 13-year-old Dayveon spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. When he falls in with a local gang, he becomes drawn to the camaraderie and violence of their world.
ON THE SLY: IN SEARCH OF THE FAMILY STONE / Director: Michael Rubenstone
Director and super-fan Michael Rubenstone sets out in search of long-time reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. Along the way, he meets with some success, but finds countless more failures in trying to capture a man who refuses to be contained.
BUSTER'S MAL HEART / Director: Sarah Adina Smith
A mountain man (Rami Malek of "Mr. Robot") on the run from authorities survive the winter by breaking into people's empty vacation homes. He has reoccuring dreams of being lost at sea...only to find that he is the man lost at sea. He is one man in two bodies. This is the story of how he split in two.
MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL IS SINKING INTO THE SEA / Director: Dash Shaw
An earthquake causes a high school to float into the sea, where it slowly sinks like a shipwreck in this animated film which features the voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph and Susan Sarandon.
BITCH / Director: Marianna Palka
with Company X Keynote Speech and a Demo of SpectreVision's Video Game, Dispatch
The provocative tale of a woman (Marianna Palka) who snaps under crushing life pressures and assumes the psyche of a vicious dog. Her philandering, absentee husband (Jason Ritter) is forced to become reacquainted with his four children and sister-in-law (Jaime King) as they attempt to keep the family together during this bizarre crisis.
AMERICAN GENRE FILM ARCHIVE PRESENTS: THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN / Director: Kei Law
Bruce Lee is dead! Long live Bruce Lee! Not even slightly inconvenienced by the lack of an actual living Bruce Lee, opportunistic producers unleashed a late '70s tidal wave of Brucesploitation movies starring martial artists with names like Bruce Li, Bruce Le and Bruce Leong. As the trend reached peak saturation, the gimmicks (and titles) got weirder: BRUCE LEE VS. SUPERMAN, BRUCE LEE VS. THE CLONES OF BRUCE LEE, and the notorious BRUCE LEE VS. GAY POWER!
And none of them are as weird as THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN, which begins exactly where Bruce's life ended. The now-dead Lee finds himself in Hell, where after incurring the wrath of the King of the Underworld, he meets Popeye the Sailor Man at a bar. Sound weird yet? A coalition of criminals led by "The Exorcist" and including such illustrious members as James Bond, Clint Eastwood, "The Godfather," Emmanuelle and Dracula begin plotting against the King and attempting to kill Bruce.
This is lawless, fearless, out-of-control genre filmmaking at its best. Expect wacky slapstick, weird sex jokes, and genuine Kung Fu fighting set to music stolen from every popular soundtrack of its day.
THE MONSTER SQUAD / Director: Fred Dekker
Q&A with cast members Andre Gower and Ryan Lambert, plus live Squad Cast recording
Among connoisseurs of classic '80s cinema, there's a film many hold so dear that they dare to mention it in the same breath as bona fide classics Goonies and Gremlins. At CFF, we submit that The Monster Squad, from its classic script by legendary screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Nice Guys) to its breezy crowd-pleasing direction by the underrated Fred Dekker, deserves a place in those hallowed cinematic halls. that's why we've invited the film's cast members Andrew Gower and Ryan Lambert to join us for a special screening (make sure to catch their live Squad Cast podcast during the festival as well). When you immediately leave the theater and feel compelled to purchase the film's soundtrack, we promise not to say I told you so.
MENASHE / Director: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Set within the New York Hasidic community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Menashe follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to maintain custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. Since they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home, Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy's strict, married uncle, but Menashe's Rabbi decides to grant him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea's memorial. Their time together creates an emotional moment of father/son bonding as well as offers Menashe a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent.
KEDI / Director: Ceyda Torun
With Acro-Cats cat circus
Before watching Kedi, we wouldn't necessarily have considered ourselves "cat people." Sure we'd petted a few cats in our day, but we never really understood what all the fuss was about. Dogs were our pets of choice. After Ceyda Torun's glorious and unique Kedi, we're ready to adopt a few hundred.
Following the lives of seven cats in Istanbul - where multitudes of strays roam the streets and have been part of the city's culture for thousands of years - the filmmakers pull off a rare feat and craft a heartwarming and endlessly watchable film in which these brave, resourceful felines are hustlers, lovers and fighters.
Kedi is one of the coolest and unique docs we've seen this year. If you've ever spent even 30 seconds going down a YouTube rabbit hole of cute cat videos, Kedi is - if you'll pardon the pun - pure catnip.
THE VOID / Directors: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it's too late. For fans of a good old fashioned practical effects filled spook show The Void.
ANTI-PORNO (*Tennessee Premiere) / Director: Sion Sono
A new film by Japanese outlaw filmmaker Sion Sono is a cause for celebration and Anti-Porno his latest does not disappoint. In a film Indiewire called a "feminist take on sexuality" Sion weaves teh strange tale of Fashion star Kioko is bored in her apartment, waiting for a meeting with Watanabe, a chief-editor who's interviewing her. In the domination and humiliation game between her and her assistant, the roles will slowly invert. unless it's all fiction?
DAVID LYNCH - THE ART LIFE / Directors: Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes
David Lynch takes us on an intimate journey through the formative years of his life. From his idyllic unbringing in small town America to the dark streets of Philadelphia, we follow Lynch as he traces the events that have helped to shape one of cinema's most enigmatic directors. David Lynch the Art Life infuses Lynch's own art, music and early films, shining a light into the dark corners of his unique world, giving audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist. As Lynch states "I think every time you do something, like a painting or whatever, you go with ideas and sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and color them, even if they're new ideas, the past colors them."
ABOUT THE CHATTANOOGA FILM FESTIVAL
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. The festival's record-breaking third year drew more than 10,500 people to its films, workshops and special events. CFF 2017 is set for April 6-9. As always, CFF is proudly continuing its mission to "Respect Cinema" in hopes of increasing film exhibition, education and production in the state of Tennessee. For more information, visit chattfilmfest.org.