There was a lot of complexity to the reason why Amazon’s attempt to “rescue” SXSW by taking the film festival virtual was more than a bit problematic. The biggest reason for Amazon, in particular, was how exploitative to the indie filmmakers this felt. These folks were no doubt hoping to not only to get their film seen, but also land distribution and possibly earn back their investment. The filmmakers were instead offered nothing more than a nominal screening fee for putting their film on one of the largest streaming services out there for a brief window in what felt like a clout-chasing tactic by the multi-headed hydra of a conglomerate. The other piece to this equation is the festival circuit is meant to garner buzz through a very limited release; you have to travel and go to a festival to see these films, and once a film is streamed, that genie is out of the bottle if you will. With our current theatrical online premieres hitting the torrent scene faster than ever in HD, this would rob the film of any possibility of later long-term distribution.
Because of this, most film festivals either delaying or cancelling altogether. But one film festival in particular, The Chattanooga Film Festival, is trying to do this virtual thing and do it right. This is thanks not only their insane virtual guest list featuring Ice-T, GWAR, and Joe Dante, but also some choice films with both world premieres (SKULL) and Sundance favorites (JUMBO). The kicker here is in these trying times they are charging a mere $30 for a full access badge; and if you have attended a regular festival you know that might get in you into one film, maybe two. A portion of badge sales are promised to be given back to the filmmakers, giving them a real source of revenue for sharing their art with us. Since this is online, and the festival scene is has gone dark thanks to COVID-19, I feel like there is a real place for something like this that gives the filmmakers more of an equal footing with the festivals financially.
Tickets are on sale NOW for the The Chattanooga Film Festival, which will run from May 22 to May 25. All-Access Badges are priced at $30, with a VIP option for $100 that comes with some additional titles and special events. Single-Day Access badges will be available for $10, and are good for 24 hours from the time of purchase. (YOU CAN GET BADGES HERE!)
CFF 2020 will go live at chattfilmfest.org, where badge holders will be able log in and watch features, shorts, and live events with their peers. The only catch here is this is limited to viewers from the United States. Not only will films be screening (you can check out the full lineup below), but the fest also has some great panels and live events planned as well, with some of my personal highlights being:
-Ice-T, who will be joining filmmaker and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson (Do The Right Thing, Demon Knight, Juice) for a rare conversation revisiting their cult classic Surviving the Game.
-Shudder is offering a special director’s commentary from FX legend Greg Nicotero on his Creepshow episode.
-Fangoria editors Phil Nobile Jr. and Meredith Borders will be presenting “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Publish the Summer 2020.”
Check out the full rundown of programming below:
THE ANTENNA | Director Orcun Behram
In a dystopian Turkey, the Government begins installing new TV antennas to homes throughout the country. Mehmet, a superintendent at a crumbling apartment complex, has to supervise the installation of the new antenna. When the broadcast it transmits begins to menace the residents of the apartment complex. Mehmet must seek out the spiteful entity.
ATTACK OF THE DEMONS | Director Eric Power
The year is 1994… For centuries, a demonic cult has been plotting the destruction of mankind. When a small Colorado town is overrun by a legion of mutating demons, three non-demon hunter friends must use every skill their minds can fathom to stave off the demon apocalypse.
THE BEACH HOUSE | Director Jeffrey A. Brown
A romantic getaway for two troubled college sweethearts turns into a struggle for survival when unexpected guests — and the surrounding environment — exhibit signs of a mysterious infection. Still
BEING NATURAL | Director Tadashi Nagayama
Caring for his uncle with dementia, Taka lodges in an idyllic thatched cottage in the countryside. When the uncle’s son Mitsuaki returns, his quiet life of caring and bongo-playing seems in doubt, until he and childhood friend Sho are reunited in friendship. But unwelcome visits by a nature-obsessed family from Tokyo threaten to overturn this bucolic existence. At heart a gentle pastoral comedy and satire of romanticised country life, in the hands of Tadashi Nagayama (director of 2016’s Journey of the Tortoise), events start to take a very unexpected direction.
BERSERKER | Director Jefferson Richard
Presented by Vinegar Syndrome
Six people renting a cabin in the woods of Utah run afoul of a legendary viking warrior who dons the claws and mouth of a bear, with no help in sight.
CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER | Mickey Reese
Presented by Fantastic Fest
Two sisters, Alma and Elizabeth, along with a dog who’s described as a “philosopher,” have come to Alma’s remote house to reconnect with Wesley after 20 years. Alma is recently divorced, Elizabeth is a workaholic in Washington, D.C., and Wesley lives in Paris dealing with a wife recently struck with a fatal disease. When the three come together for dinner, it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness, and the desire to connect and share our lives with someone … but we must add to the mix one otherworldly piece of information: Wesley could be a vampire.
DEMENTER | Director Chad Crawford Kinkle
After fleeing a backwoods cult, a woman tries to turn her life around by taking a job in a home for special needs adults, only to discover she must face her dark past to save a Down syndrome girl.
DIRTY GOD | Director Sacha Polak
Netherlands/United Kingdom/Belgium/Ireland, 2019
Jade is a young mother in the prime of her life when an acid attack leaves her severely burned. While her face has been reconstructed, her beauty is lost beneath the scars. Descending a self-destructive path with relationships crumbling, Jade must take drastic action to reclaim her life.
EAT BRAINS LOVE | Director Rodman Flender
An ordinary lunch hour explodes in an orgy of spurting blood and flying organs when stoner Jake Stephens and cheerleader Amanda Blake suddenly gut-munch half their class in the school cafeteria. Afflicted with a zombie virus, they hit the road in search of a cure while outrunning Cass, a telepath charged with hunting and killing the infected. Can Jake and Amanda find love while eating their way through the national sex offender registry? The director of IDLE HANDS delivers an outrageous gore-soaked zom-rom-com.
FULCI FOR FAKE | Director Simone Scafidi
The first biopic about Lucio Fulci, with never seen before footage, photos and interviews.
HELL RIDERS | Director James Bryan
Presented by Vinegar Syndrome
The ‘Hell Riders’ are the most vicious members of a southern California biker gang; so extreme in their activities that they’ve been pushed out of their gang and are now on their own, roaming the countryside on the lookout for people to terrorize. After attacking a stranded woman, who manages to escape to a nearby town, the Hell Riders decide to pursue her, eventually ending up in the town as well and begin violently taking out anyone who has the misfortune of ending up in their bloodthirsty path.
HOLLYWOOD HORROR HOUSE | Director Donald Wolfe
Presented by Vinegar Syndrome
An aging actress living in her Hollywood mansion with a retinue of elderly servants employs a new, mentally disturbed, personal assistant who schemes to take over the large estate.
HOMEWRECKER | Director Zach Gayne
Michelle is in her early 30s. Linda is in her late 40s. Michelle is an interior designer and newlywed to Robert. Linda lives alone; she fills her days with painting and exercise classes. Seeking a new friend, Linda pursues Michelle after one of their classes together, insisting the young designer come over to assess Linda’s self-described dump. Played out as an attempt to cheer Michelle up about her doubts on marriage, Linda, rippling with an undercurrent of startling jealousy and delusion, begins an intricate game of cat and mouse between her and the younger woman — a woman she doesn’t intend to let go of anytime soon.
JUMBO | Director Zoé Wittock
Based on a true story, the film follows Jeanne, a shy young woman who lives at home with her uninhibited mother and works as a cleaner at an amusement park. During her late-night shifts, she begins spending time with the alluring new Tilt-A-Whirl ride that she decides to call Jumbo — and she strikes an intimate bond with the ride. She ends up being seduced by “his” red lights, smooth chrome and oily hydraulics. As a result, she wants to pursue a thrilling new relationship with Jumbo. Still
KILLER QUEEN | Director Ramin Fahrenheit
Two transients, a drug dealer and a lonely Girl cross paths over a drug meetup, but their similarities lead to an unusual affair. With the insistence of the Girl, one night the Boy takes her to a carefully planned robbery, but they choose the wrong victims — a sinister middle-aged couple with the passion of researching poisonous plants. The incident reveals a dark secret about the Girl — a disturbed sociopath and an active serial killer.
KOKO DI KOKO DA | Director Johannes Nyholm
As a couple goes on a trip to find their way back to each other, a sideshow artist and his shady entourage emerge from the woods, terrorizing them, luring them deeper into a maelstrom of psychological terror and humiliating slapstick.
RED WHITE AND WASTED | Directors Andrei Bowden Schwartz, Sam B. Jones
A documentary with an unapologetic immersion into Florida’s redneck mudding culture. Video Pat is a mudding enthusiast who must question his passion, and maybe his entire way of life, when the last mudhole in Orlando is shut down.
SCARE PACKAGE | Directors Baron Vaugjm, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Aaron Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan
We’ve all seen horror anthology films, but nothing quite like SCARE PACKAGE, which blends a generous helping of comedy into the mix. Each director worked with a different horror sub-genre, taking aim at the tropes and cliches that populate the genre. The result, says horror website BloodyDisgusting, is a film “charmingly aware of the tropes that make up the genre it cherishes, and it leans into them with heart, blood, entrails and laughs.”
SKULL | Director Kapel Furman
World Premiere, Brazil, 2020
Born out of the pioneering genre festival Fantaspoa and their first ever marketplace, SKULL is a mystical Brazilian bloodbath covering the Sao Paulo streets with splatter to spare. Easily this year’s most insane midnighter, filmmaker Kapel Furman channels his inner Jason Voorhees with the story of an ancient mask that possesses the human form to commit visceral sacrifices of vengeance for the incarnation of its God.
THE RINGING BELL | Director Casey T. Malone
World Premiere, USA, 2020
Judah is a young man with a condition — he dreams while he’s still awake. His imagination makes it difficult for him to process the loss of an important person in his life, so when his cousin contacts him with a ridiculous scheme to get at the riches of their eccentric Uncle Airmid who has disappeared, Judah agrees to go along with it.
THE VICE GUIDE TO BIGFOOT | Director Zach Lamplugh
The debut feature from director Zach Lamplugh (Adult Swim); This paranormal comedy follows a hopelessly millennial reporter on the most important assignment of his career: Bigfoot. But after following a prominent cryptozoologist into the Appalachian foothills, he’s forced to answer the question “is a good story worth dying for?”
THE WANTING MARE | Director Nicholas Ashe Bateman
World Premiere, USA, 2020
In Whithren, a line of women pass a recurring dream through multiple generations.
THE WAVE | Director Gille Klabin
An insurance lawyer (Justin Long) goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion with his co-worker, Jeff (Donald Faison). But their night takes a bizarre turn when Frank ingests a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world.
THE YELLOW NIGHT | Director Ramon Porto Mota
In Ramon Porto Mota’s directorial debut, a group of friends travels to a beach house on an island on the Brazilian seaside to celebrate the end of high school. But their drollery and parties are cut short by the feeling the place shelters an unfathomable horror.
CREEPSHOW | Greg Nicotero and John Harrison
Creepshow, the new anthology series based on the 1982 horror comedy classic, is still the most fun you’ll ever have being scared! A comic book comes to life, exploring terrors from murder to the supernatural and unexplainable. In this exclusive preview of the series opener provided to CFF by our friends at Shudder, there are two tales of dread: “Gray Matter,” directed by Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) and starring Adrienne Barbeau (Escape from New York, The Fog) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), and “The House of the Head,” starring Cailey Fleming (The Walking Dead). In “Gray Matter,” Richie’s drinking habit was getting out of control, but no one expected his thirst to become insatiable. His appetite grew from beer, to animals, to people; and with a hurricane closing in, Richie begins to devour everything in sight. In “The House of the Head,” Evie’s dolls are some of her favorite companions, but when a severed toy head appears in their dollhouse and starts murdering, Evie can’t protect them. Are her favorite dolls next? Or worse, if it escapes the confines of the dollhouse … is she next? This episode features an audio commentary with GRAY MATTER Director Greg Nicotero and Co-Writer Philip de Blasi and THE HOUSE OF THE HEAD Director John Harrison.
COWBOY WHO SEASON 2 | Jeff Green
In 1990, children’s theatre performers Robert Eastland and Mike Cormier collaborated with radio producer Jeff Green on a deranged TV pitch to a Canadian broadcaster that was trying to fulfill its educational programming commitments. Against all odds, their pilot was greenlit, and the three embarked on the production of one of the most bizarre, yet innovative children’s shows ever made. Its first season began as a riff on THE HOWDY-DOODY SHOW but mutated into an array of surrealist sketch comedy, experimental video art, and biting satire. Proceeding as if Douglas Adams, Mark Frost and The Kids in the Hall were showrunning WONDER SHOWZEN with the resourcefulness of MST3K’s KMTA years, the second season catapults its hosts into space and pits them against an evil Interstellar Broadcast Empire. This remix preserves the Season 1 finale and first 12 episodes of Season 2, condensed by The Laser Blast Film Society to a feature-length run time for economized, yet maximized mind meltage.
LIVE EVENTS, WORKSHOPS + PODCASTS
2020 VIRTUAL PITCH SESSION | David Lawson
In this year’s Pitch Session, Producer David Lawson (THE ENDLESS, SHE DIES TOMORROW, AFTER MIDNIGHT, SYNCHRONIC) will listen to five minute pitches from 7 hand selected winners. From those Top 7, one winner will be selected to get a one-on-one video meeting with Lawson to discuss their project.
ALEX WINTER ON ZAPPA
A true CFF BFF since our second year (2015), the brilliant Mr. Winter has had a busy year in 2020. In addition to reprising his classic role as Bill S. Preston (Esquire) for the forthcoming and heavily anticipated BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC, he’s spent the last nine years deep diving into the personal vaults and archives of one of the greatest and most visionary musicians ever, Frank Zappa, in the forthcoming doc ZAPPA. We couldn’t be happier to have Alex back with us at CFF to discuss the painstaking process of weaving together a film about one of the most prolific and storied musical personalities of all time.
BENSON AND MOORHEAD RETROSPECTIVE
Since CFF’s earliest days doing pop-up screenings as the Mise En Scenesters film club, we’ve had an opportunity to share each of filmmaking duo Benson and Moorhead’s films, starting with RESOLUTION, their first. It was such a special debut we knew instantly they were filmmakers to keep our eyes on. In the years since, we’ve had the opportunity to share every piece of work they’ve made, from their incredible monster romance SPRING to their UFO death cult riff (in which they cast themselves as former cult members, to great effect). With each film their style and their storytelling has grown further and further, cementing them now as some of our favorite filmmakers working today. Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead and Dave Lawson will be providing live never-before-heard commentary and insight on the making of RESOLUTION, SPRING and THE ENDLESS, giving our CFF audience a candid window into their creative process and the ways they’ve often turned their financial limitations into strengths.
CFF SALUTES: JOE DANTE
It is difficult to overstate just what a massive influence the films of Joe Dante have had on us here at CFF. Or for that matter, on the film industry as a whole, from his early career working with Roger Corman on films like PIRANHA and ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL to reinventing werewolf cinema with the indisputable classic THE HOWLING, to introducing the world to the Mogwai and the rules that must be followed to prevent the proliferation of GREMLINS. Dante has not only made some of the most unique and endlessly re-watchable classic films of all time (don’t even get us started on how perfect THE BURBS and INNERSPACE are), he’s also a film buff’s film buff. His work on TRAILERS FROM HELL and THE MOVIES THAT MADE ME podcast has exposed countless cinephiles to some of the greatest often underseen and underloved films of all time. Dante has made the world a safer place for lovers of genre cinema, and it’s our great honor to present him with our 2020 Chattanooga Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS LIVE
PRESENTED BY CRITICAL BITS PODCAST
Learning the art of storytelling and world building has long been something that fascinated us at CFF. It’s our belief that one of the greatest ways to learn and refine these skills is through playing the game Dungeons & Dragons. Last year’s live D&D event at CFF was such a hit we’ve decided to reprise it, only this time, placing it squarely in the maniacal hands of game master/CFF BFF Joel Ruiz.
GWAR VS. CFF
Hailing from the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, GWAR has been a driving force behind the shaping of heavy metal pop culture since 1984. Honoring the 30th anniversary and re-release of their now legendary album “Scumdogs of The Universe”, GWAR will be joining you, the audience, in a free for all live face to face Q&A extravaganza. Will you dare call in to converse with these intergalactic warriors? Send us your questions to [email protected] and be prepared to show your ugly mug in front of the world. Pre-order their massive Scumdogs boxset at GWAR.net. We’ll send you to the front of the line with proof of pre-order!
HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND PUBLISH THE SUMMER OF 2020 FANGORIA
FANGORIA editors Phil Nobile Jr. and Meredith Borders have a candid conversation about the challenges of publishing a film magazine when there are no movies coming out. How the logistical nightmare of a global pandemic became a creative challenge to fill 100 pages with exciting content, leading to what might be their favorite issue yet.
JOE BOB BRIGGS AND MICK GARRIS REVIST THE STAND
When it originally aired, Mick Garris’ pitch perfect adaptation of Stephen King’s pandemic epic THE STAND was the highest rated television mini-series of all time. Mick is a filmmaker whose body of work and influence can be felt throughout the history of genre filmmaking, making him sort of the Al Kooper of cinema in some ways. The folks he’s worked with and the stories he’s told are truly the stuff of legend, from AMAZING STORIES to CRITTERS 2 to his incredible adaptations of his friend Stephen King’s work (another CFF favorite, SLEEPWALKERS, springs instantly to mind).
With his painstakingly researched and endlessly fascinating podcast Post Mortem, Mick proves himself in every episode to be one of the preeminent interviewers of genre film luminaries. Mick is a guest we’ve long hoped to have the opportunity to join us at CFF, and there seemed no more perfect time to bring Mick into the mix than to have him discuss the epic making of his incredible adaptation of The Stand (recently remastered and released on Blu-ray for the first time for you physical media lovers). Making things better still is that our very own CFF patron saint, the legendary Joe Bob Briggs (who plays a small town police officer named, well, Joe-Bob in the miniseries), will be conducting the conversation. This is one chat we can’t wait to hear, as these two living legends discuss a project that has never been more timely.
JUNKFOOD CINEMA PODCAST
CFF Fan Favorites critic Brian Salisbury and Marvel Studios writer C. Robert Cargill (DOCTOR STRANGE, SINISTER) return to present a live edition of their popular film podcast.
REMEMBERING THE GAME
There simply aren’t words strong enough to explain how excited we are to have hip-hop LEGEND, Law & Order SVU star and front man of the infamous heavy metal band Body Count, Ice-T, joining us for an exclusive conversation with one of the most prolific and acclaimed filmmakers and cinematographers of all time — Ernest Dickerson (DO THE RIGHT THING, JUICE, DEMON KNIGHT). This iconic duo will be gracing CFF with a rare conversation revisiting the making of their cult classic SURVIVING THE GAME.
SCREEN DRAFTS PODCAST
The podcast where experts and enthusiasts competitively collaborate on the creation of screen-centric “best of” lists! Hosts Clay Keller and Ryan Marker will be holding a special CFF edition focused on the great horror films of the 1970’s.
SCRIPTS GONE WILD
Led by filmmaker Billy Ray Brewton, Scripts Gone Wild presents live readings of beloved screenplays with wildly reimagined casts to hilarious results. For CFF’s virtual edition we’ll be mounting a production of John Carpenter’s immortal classic THE THING.
Blumhouse Productions presents SHOCK WAVES: Join your hosts Rob Galluzzo (Acquisitions and Development for Fangoria), Elric Kane (This Week In Horror, Inside Horror), Rebekah McKendry (Former Editor In Chief: Blumhouse.com, Fangoria) and Ryan Turek (VP of Development at Blumhouse Productions) for a weekly discussion and analysis of all facets of the horror genre! SHOCK WAVES puts the focus on the latest horror films, retrospectives on classic titles and welcomes very special guests for all aspects of the industry to tackle a variety of topics and give listeners candid insight into how some of the best genre films are made. SHOCK WAVES is here to quench your insatiable thirst for all things horror! SHOCK WAVES is presented by Blumhouse and the FANGORIA Podcast Network.
SONIC CINEMA MUSIC IN FILM ROUNDTABLE
At CFF we’ve long believed music and film have a special relationship. This leads us to the creation of our yearly Sonic Cinema offerings, which give us a chance to explore the fascinating link between film and music. Join us for a special virtual roundtable discussion in which a hand-picked selection of CFF’s favorite filmmakers, musicians and music documentarians discuss the magical things that can happen when these two powerful mediums are combined.
THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW | Clay McLeod Chapman
“With the trembling voice of Vincent Price and the sinister presence of Boris Karloff, Clay McLeod Chapman… uses the macabre to explore the humanity of his characters and reveal an almost spiritual side to the horrific.” — New York Times
For more than 20 years, author Clay McLeod Chapman and performer Hanna Cheek have offered a view into the minds of the most depraved Southern Gothic monstrosities with The Pumpkin Pie Show. Sometimes darkly humorous, sometimes strangely heartbreaking, and most definitely always in-your-face, these tales of madness and macabre explore the domestic horrors of the everyday, finding terror within our very own households. This one-of-a-kind performance delves deep into the darkest recesses of those madmen and women who drift along the periphery of humankind. Don’t miss it! “Clay McLeod Chapman is like Stephen King transmogrified into a post-punk preacher poet.” — The Scotsman
VINEGAR SYNDROME UP ALL NIGHT PAJAMA PARTY
CFF is proud to team up with our favorite archeologists of awesome ass arcane cinema VINEGAR SYNDROME on a triple feature of three bizarre and beautiful cinematic delights: HELL RIDERS, HOLLYWOOD HORROR HOUSE and BERSERKER. Put on your pandemic pjs and join in on the fun with host Liz Howell and special music guests UNDEATH who’s disgusting slabs of death metal will help you shake off them sleepies and ROCK ALL NIGHT.
WORLD- BUILDING IN INDEPENDENT FILM: VISUAL EFFECTS TOOLS FOR LOW BUDGET FILMMAKERS | Nicholas Ashe Bateman
Director Nicholas Ashe Bateman explains the largely digital journey of bringing The Wanting Mare and its fictional world to life. Through the film’s earliest concept stages into production planning, filming, and its years-long execution of over 500 visual effects shots, Bateman makes a case for the boundless possibilities afforded by easily accessible modern technology and software. Intended for both filmmakers and fans of genre cinema alike, ‘World Building in Independent Film’ promises to be an entertaining testament to the power of visual myth, maps and magic.
WRITING/STORYTELLING WORKSHOP | Clay McLeod Chapman
Come join Clay McLeod Chapman, author of The Remaking and Marvel Comics’ ongoing series Scream: Curse of Carnage, to discuss the hunting and gathering of new narrative material to tell our own spooooky stories. Whether it’s for film or fiction, comics or something even crazier, this workshop lays down a very simple foundation for spinning out a yarn around the campfire, no matter what the medium may be.
More details at https://www.chattfilmfest.org