The schedule for the 18th Boston Underground Film Festival has begun to trickle out, and Massachusetts area fans of the weird and wonderful are in for some real treats based on the first wave of announcements. Promising to deliver an “onslaught of phantasmagoria and intrigue” to the Brattle Cinema and Harvard Film Archive, the folks behind BUFF have taken some pretty big swings with this year’s lineup.
Sandwiching the festival are a pair of titles that earned raves at this past winter’s Sundance. The festivities kickoff with The Lure, a Polish film that raids a variety genres the way with the verve of a five year old raiding mom’s closet and makeup kit when playing dress up. Director Agnieszka Smoczynska has crafted an unholy mashup of The Little Mermaid and Nosferatu while tossing in disco and musical elements into the fray. If that and the ensuing five days of madness aren’t enough to melt your brain, then the closing night film might push you over the top. Ricky Bates Jr. returns to the place that gave his debut film Excision so much love with his third feature film Trash Fire. Variety hailed the film as “an aggressively unpleasant black comedy” that should appeal to the misanthrope that lives inside all of us. Bates will be in attendance along with the film’s star Anna Lynne McCord to introduce the film and deliver scathing put downs to anyone who doubts his genius.
Human 1980s anecdote machine Frank Henenlotter returns with Chasing Banksy, a comedic art heist caper film, while BUFF honors special guest and indie horror stalwart Larry Fessenden with a special presentation of his cult classic Wendigo, which will be screened in a glorious 35mm print.
Director Zach Clark goes for a BUFF threepeat as his newest feature Little Sister attempts to claim the best picture crowns that Modern Love is Automatic (2009) and White Reindeer (2013) claimed. The film makes its world premiere at SXSW and is meant to inspire the angry teen goth girl that lives inside all of us, or at least lives chained up in our basements. Robert G Putka is bringing his debut feature MAD which BUFF says centers on “a combative, emotionally compromised woman” who forces her adult daughters to deal with her damaged psychological state and one another.
This year BUFF adds a second venue for a trio of special presentations. The Harvard Film Archive will play host to Ross Sutherland’s Standby for Tape Backup. The live performance was featured at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Fest and is currently touring the UK. The show is a mishmash of multimedia where Sutherland uses bits of old movies and TV programs to tell the story of his life. The HFA also hosts Sympathy For The Devil: The Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgement a documentary that examines and explains the group’s appeal in the 1960s and 1970s. Filmmaker Neil Edwards will be on hand to present the film.
The local filmmaking and musician husband and wife team Michael J Epstein and Sophia Cacciola may be picking up stakes for Los Angeles this fall, but before they leave they’re premiering their third feature film Blood of the Tribades at BUFF. The film is their tribute to the gonzo Hammer horror films of the 1970s and draws significant inspiration from the erotic vampire films of Jean Rollin.
Also returning are festival favorites such as the Saturday Morning Cartoons program that comes complete with free breakfast cereal, a number of short film programs including an all New England based horror bloc, and the always popular music video program.
The full lineup for Boston Underground, along with the dates and times for each screening and the afterparty activities, is still to come. That said, there should be enough listed above to get fans of cult cinema salivating. The BUFF Kickstarter campaign is ongoing, and contributors can pick up individual tickets or full festival passes right now.