Chattanooga Film Festival Releases Second Wave of Programming and Events

A 15th anniversary 4K restoration of the haunting DONNIE DARK, two films introduced by acclaimed Chattanooga artist Wayne White, a live-scored silent era classic, and an appearance by Phish bass player/filmmaker Mike Gordon highlight the second wave of programming announced by the Chattanooga Film Festival, which runs April 6 through April 9. 

CFF will salute film music with the silent sci-fi classic OUR HEAVENLY BODIES being live-scored by Coupler, and the documentary SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY. 

White will introduce one of his favorite all-time films, Preston Sturges' comedy classic SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.  In addition, he'll introduce a free screening of the 2012 documentary about his life and work, BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING.  CFF is proud to be working with Shaking Ray Levi Society, as well as River City Company, who is co-presenting this event in the Neutral Alley passageway, lending just a bit more fun to this already-inspiring and entertaining doc. 

Also, in the second wave are CHEAP THRILLS filmmaker Evan Katz's masterful new crime thriller SMALL CRIMES (featuring "Games of Thrones" Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Sundance Grand Jury Prize 2017 winner Macon Blair), Oscar-nominated family film MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI, and the powerful documentary WHOSE STREETS?, which offers up an unflinching look at how the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown inspired a community to fight back and sparked a global movement. 

CFF favorite Mark Covino (A BAND CALLED DEATH) will be back with his second documentary, THE CREST.  This documentary is a touching story about discovering and celebrating one's cultural heritage, a subject that is sure to resonate with many. 

Always fans of celebrating the anniversary of classic independent films, CFF will feature a trio of birthday screenings for the legendary cult classics HATCHET and WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END. Filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch will be on hand to host and will also be recording a live episode of their popular "The Movie Crypt Podcast." 

In the closing night spot CFF will present a gorgeously restored presentation of the haunting indie classic DONNIE DARKO, complete with a new documentary on the film by Daniel Griffith DEUS EX MACHINA: THE PHILOSOPHY OF DONNIE DARKO. 

CFF has also packed the 2017 edition with an incredible selection of short films and their filmmakers.  A highlight will be Phish bass player Mike Gordon, who will be on hand to present a screening of a new film DOLL POWER that his nine-year-old daughter Tessa co-wrote. 

Never ones to make an announcement without offering its attendees an unprecedented amount of bang for their buck, CFF also revealed details of their Uwe Boll All Nite Stroll, a pub crawl in the honor of the attending and soon-to-retire cult filmmaker Uwe Boll that features stops at local staples JJ's, The Bitter Alibi and The Coin-Op and will be preceded by a career spanning chat between Dr. Boll and CFF patron saint/resident film historian Joe Bob Briggs. 


Our Heavenly Bodies / Director Hanns Walter Kornblum
With Live Score by Coupler

In 1925, German director Hanns Walter Kornblum wanted to create a film unlike any before it, a summation of all the astronomical knowledge available at the time and a dreamy investigation of what wonders might await humanity at the advent of space travel.  One of the silent era's most gorgeous visionary films together with an electrifying life score provided by Couple, a Nashville-based band founded by Ryan Norris (Lambchop) that describes itself as "an exploration of the intersections of man and machine, live and recorded, composed and improvised, stasis and flux."

SCORE: A Film Music Documentary / Director: Matt Schrader
Q&A with Chattanooga Symphony Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt

What makes a score unforgettable?  SCORE: A Film Music Documentary, will tell you.  The film shows how painstaking the process of writing any score, let alone a memorable one, can be, and features interviews with many of the world's finest film score composers, including John Williams (STAR WARS, JAWS, INDIANA JONES), Danny Elfman (BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN) and Hans Zimmer (DRIVING MISS DAISY, RAIN MAIN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN). 

Small Crimes / Director: Joe Lynch
Q&A with E.L. Katz

A disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder - returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.  Filmmaker Evan Katz's modern classic CHEAP THRILLS blew audiences away at CFF three years ago and this year we're honored to present his latest with Evan in attendance for a post screening Q&A. Don't sleep on this one!

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End / Director: Joe Lynch
Q&A with Joe Lynch

A group of reality show contestants find themselves fighting for their survival against a family of hideously deformed inbred cannibals who plan to ruthlessly butcher them all in filmmaker Joe Lynch's crowd pleasing cult classic.  CFF is proud to have Joe in attendance to celebrate the 10th birthday of this backwoods genre gem. 

HATCHET / Director: Adam Green
Q&A with Adam Green

When a group of tourists on a New Orleans haunted swamp tour find themselves stranded in the wilderness, their evening of fun and spooks turns into a horrific nightmare.  Adam Green's love letter to classic slasher cinema is now a classic itself and along with his Movie Crypt podcast co-host Joe Lynch, Adam is on hand to celebrate the 10th of this blood spattered, comedy/horror classic. 

Sullivan's Travels / Director: Preston Sturges
With Introduction by Wayne White

Tired of churning out lightweight comedies, Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (Joel McCrea) decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, Sullivan, disguised as a hobo, hits the road.  En route to enlightenment, he encounters a lovely but no-nonsense young woman (Veronica Lake) - and more trouble than he ever dreamed of.  This cosmic masterpiece by director Preston Sturges is among the finest Hollywood satires, and a high-water mark in the career of one of the industry's most revered funnymen. 

The Crest / Director: Mark Covino
Q&A following with Mark Covino

At CFF we love filmmaker Mark Covino, and since his debut feature, the life-altering, rad A Band Called Death screened with us several years ago, Mark has been kind enough to come to our festival and teach documentary filmmaking.  Now he's given us another gift in the form of his latest work, The Crest.  On the surface, the film is a gorgeously shot and edited surf documentary, but a closer look reveals a timely tale of family, of immigration, and the importance of preserving traditions and cultures. 

A Dark Song / Director: Liam Gavin

A grieving woman with many secrets rents a secluded home and hires an occult scholar to help her perform a black magic ritual.  The ritual will take six months to complete.  During that time, and with only a circle of salt around the house to protect them, the pair cannot leave the house or risk the ritual not working.  The stunning Irish supernatural drama knocked us flat and has without question the biggest jaw drop of an ending of any film at CFF 2017. 

Whose Streets? / Director: Sabaah Folayan

The activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice bring you a documentary about the Ferguson uprising.  When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and then left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis County.  Grief, long-standing tension, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy.  In the days that follow, artists, musicians, teachers and parents turn into freedom fighters, standing on the front lines to demand justice. 

Beauty is Embarrassing / Director: Neil Berkeley
Intro and Q&A by Wayne White

Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America's most important artists, Chattanooga's own Wayne White, whose multi-faceted talents are on display at Wayne-O-Rama.  Wayne will be on hand to introduce this film and do a post-film Q&A. 

***This is a free event that will be shown at Neural Alley - Passageways in partnership with River City Company, Wayne-O-Rama and generously sponsored by Maclellan Apartments. 

Automatic at Sea / Director: Matthew Lessner

Eve, a young Swedish traveler, finds herself stranded on a private island with Peter, a wealthy heir whom she hardly knows.  While waiting for other guests to arrive, Eve becomes trapped in an unstable reality punctuated by feverish visions, dimensional shifting and secret pizza. How can she escape if she's not even sure she's there? 

My Life as a Zucchini / Director: Claude Barras

After his mother's sudden death, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home, filled with other orphans his age.  At first he struggles to find his place in this at times strange and hostile environment.  But with Raymond's help and his newfound friends.  Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love, as he searches for a new family of his own. 

Lost in Paris / Directors: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon

Fiona visits Paris for the first time to assist her myopic Aunt Martha.  Catastrophes ensue, mainly involving Dom, a homeless man who has yet to have an emotion or thought he was afraid of expressing.  This crowd pleasing comedy looks and feels like a classic screwball picture and gave us some serious warm fuzzies. 

24x36 / Director: Kevin Burke

A documentary that explores the birth, death and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art. Through interviews with a number of key are personalities from the past 4 decades - 24x36 aims to answer the question - What happened to the illustrated movie poster? Where did it disappear to, and why? 

Lake Bodom / Director: Taneli Mustonen

Every camper's worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent.  The Hollywood Reporter called this a "superior Finnish slasher movie" and we couldn't agree more from its eerie atmosphere to its based in fact creepy as hell script Lake Bodom is a must see for thrill seeking cinephiles attending CFF this year. 

Donnie Darko / Director: Richard Kelly
Deus Ex Machine: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko / Director: Daniel Griffith
Daniel Griffith in attendance

The 15th Anniversary 4K restoration along with new documentary about the classic film Deus Ex Machine: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko.  Also an evil Easter Bunny photo booth in the CFF tent will help us celebrate this honest-to-god contemporary classic. 

VIP badges and daily passes are now available at  Individual tickets will be available closer to the festival.  For the most up to date information, visit the official Facebook page:

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