A shining beacon of the weird, the wonderful, the nasty, the niche, and the eclectic, Boston Underground Film Festival returns for its 20th edition next month, and has announced its first wave of feature titles. I had the great pleasure to attend last year, and was blown away not only by the variety and quality of programming, but also the amazing staff, volunteers, and venue.
Already they're knocking it out of the park, with films such as Revenge, Coralie Fargeat's new take on the revenge thriller; Deborah Haywood's heartbreaking Pin Cushion; and Let the Corpses Tan, the latest trippy mystery from Belgian duo Hélèn Cattet and Bruno Forzani. There's some exciting queer content with underground film Liquid Sky, and what looks to be a fascinating documentary, Something Wicked This Way Comes, an exporation of horror culture in New England.
And have I mentioned there's Saturday morning cartoons? With cereal provided? But just don't take my word for it. Peruse the excellent selection of titles in the press release below. And if you're anywhere near the Boston area, this is a festival you don't want to miss.
New England’s spring festival season is nigh, with the 20th annual Boston Underground Film Festival returning to Harvard Square, bringing with it a five day fever dream of vanguard and description-defying filmmaking, including soul- thrillers/killers/chillers, to the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive from March 21st through the 25th. This year’s program includes some of the festival’s most eclectic and challenging selections to date, highlighting the harrowing, the horrifying, and the heady.
Kicking off the big 2-0 is the East Coast premiere of My Name is Myeisha, a phantasmagorical meditation on a beloved teen’s life cut tragically short, told from her perspective at the moment of her unjust death. “BUFF is deeply honored to mark its twentieth birthday by celebrating the poignant, powerful story of Myeisha (Tyisha Miller, the real-life inspiration for Myeisha), a young woman who did not make it to hers,” says Director of Programming, Nicole McControversy.
On the heels of its 2018 Slamdance world premiere, where it garnered both the Audience Award for Beyond Feature and the Slamdance Acting Award for breakout performance by lead Rhaechyl Walker, My Name is Myeisha is a bold and beautiful adaptation of co-writer Rickerby Hinds’ play, Dreamscape, that demands and deserves your attention. Director Gus Krieger and star Walker will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.
BUFF is taking its love of the beyond to the next level with a rare repertory screening of Slava Tsukerman’s underground masterpiece of avant-garde sci-fi and queer cinema, Liquid Sky. Nearly 35 years to the day since its theatrical release, BUFF is ecstatic to be presenting this neon-drenched, new wave, electroclashtastic cult classic on lush 35mm. Inspiring generations of creatives, filmmakers, musicians, and weirdos since its debut, Liquid Sky is a mind-melting must-see on the big screen.
Speaking of melting minds, BUFF is bringing double trouble from the French film vanguard with the East Coast premiere of Coralie Fargeat's genre-flipping, outré feature debut Revenge and the New England premiere of BUFF alumni Bruno Forzani & Hélène Cattet’s piece de resistance, Let the Corpses Tan. Fargeat revamps the rape-revenge thriller subgenre, spinning a subversive monomythic tale of female survival and rebirth with fierce and formidable Matilda Lutz in the lead. Forzani and Cattet deliver another gorgeous, sensory-saturated homage to vintage genre, this time honing their craft in pulpy poliziotteschi perfection against a bullet-riddled spaghetti-Western backdrop.
Bleeding into the realm of real-world horror, BUFF is thrilled to host the US premiere of Turkish writer-director Onur Saylak’s chilling debut Daha and the New England premiere of British writer-director Deborah Haywood’s stunning, deeply personal first feature Pin Cushion. While Haywood explores the visible and invisible wounds of intergenerational bullying as experienced by a mother and daughter in small town England, Saylak examines the cycle of intergenerational violence between a father and son caught up in the refugee smuggling trade in small town Turkey.
On the lighter side, BUFF is pleased as pizza to present the World Premiere of Stacy Buchanan & Jess Barnthouse’s homegrown horror doc Something Wicked This Way Comes and the New England Premiere of Aaron McCann & Dominic Pearce’s Aussie-by-way-of-Japan mocku-doc Top Knot Detective. Buchanan & Barnthouse give New England’s pop-horror-culture the full-feature treatment, exploring the region’s viability for growing our independent film scene with input from genre luminaries, horror fans, natives, and local filmmakers. McCann & Pearce explore Japan’s most beloved ronin detective, Sheimasu Tantai, from the 1970s style martial arts series RONIN SUIRI TENTAI (Deductive Reasoning Ronin), and his Oz-based cult fandom so thoroughly and hilariously that it’s nigh impossible to discern fact from fiction...it’s somehow beyond both.
As usual, we’ll have: Our kid-friendly annual Saturday Morning Cartoons program with cereal smorgasbord, programmed and hosted by renowned curator, author, publisher, and founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, Kier-La Janisse; a veritable bounty of shorts programming celebrating fantastic music videos, animation, transgressive horror; and more! More than you could ever imagine.