In all my shout-out excitement this weekend, I neglected my main purpose: thanking everyone who voted in our year-end poll! Two films stood atop all others – Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters and Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. Naturally, you can expect to see one of those two films as the subject of MMC!‘s next imagined Criterion title. (No spoilers, but it’ll be Shoplifters!)
Now, on to some trailers!
The Criterion Channel is set to launch on April 8 and the Collection has cut together a rousing trailer promoting it. MMC! already has its charter membership, but there’s plenty here that pricks up our ears: The Safdies! Susan Pitt’s Asparagus! The Devils! Local Hero! The Holy Mountain! Hype! “Godzilla and Beyond!” The Channel’s initial line-up has been announced and there’s even more MMC! fan-bait there too: 11 films noir from Columbia, David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, John Woo’s Last Hurrah for Chivalry, Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues, a profile on Charles Burnett, seven films featuring Simone Signoret, AND Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone! (If the Collection ever released a hard media edition of Bugsy Malone, I swear my face will melt right off!)
The Chattanooga Film Festival has released a second wave of announcements, shining a light on more great films and events at the Southern Sundance! Among the loads of intriguing titles, MMC! is looking forward to Studio Ponoc’s anthology film Modest Heroes, the blues-doc Memphis ’69, the Icelandic eco-comedy Woman at War, festival favourite Monos, and the mind-bending Canadian children’s show Cowboy Who? And with still more to come (particularly the CFF’s short programs), the 2019 Chattanooga Film Festival seems poised for another great year. Respect!
Enjoy the CFF’s latest announcement:
CHATTANOOGA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SECOND HALF OF 2019 LINEUP
The wildly varied collection of films and events ensures there’s something for everyone.
Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 21, 2019) – Less than one month to go before the sixth annual Chattanooga Film Festival is underway, and the second half of the 2019 lineup of films, workshops and events is here.
HARPOON | Director Rob Grant
*Closing night film | Rob Grant in attendance along with producers Michael Peterson and Kurtis David Harder
It’s an honor to close out our sixth year with one of our favorite recent discoveries. Rob Grant’s HARPOON is a brilliantly executed dark comedy that circles around three best friends who become stranded on a yacht.
Synopsis: Rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension that emerge when three best friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of the ocean under suspicious circumstances. | Trailer
Word has come down from Lookout Mountain and Make Mine Criterion! will be attending and covering the 2019 Chattanooga Film Festival, home to Moon Pies and great genre films! Earlier today, Dread Central dropped an exclusive announcement of the CFF’s first wave of titles and MMC! is happy to see amongst the scheduled films the wilderness thriller Body at Brighton Rock (Roxanne Benjamin, 2019), the Cannes rock drama Leto (Kirill Serebrennikov, 2018), the desert punk documentary Desolation Center (Stuart Swezey, 2018), and Peter Strickland’s cursed dress tribute to Euro-horror, In Fabric (2018). MMC! has already set up a Letterboxd list for the 2019 Chattanooga Film Festival program, so be sure to watch out for updates as further titles are announced and for hot-takes during the Festival’s run from April 11 to 14.
Read on to get caught up on the CFF’s announcements thus far!
Our good friends at the Chattanooga Film Festival have announced the return of their annual Halloween Horror Fest – the Frightening Ass Film Fest. FAFF 8 arrives in an expanded, 2-day format scheduled for Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 and boasts seven features (plus a secret screening), two episodes of the latest Channel Zero installment, nine short films, an “Eyeslicer Halloween Special,” a “Frightening Ass Costume Contest,” a “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board Contest” (with live séance), a “HORROR SHOW” art exhibition, and a FAFFter Party featuring the indie-pop-psych-rock sounds of Psychic Dungeon.
Sadly, MMC! will not be attending and I’m kicking myself (which is hard to do and a good way to hurt yourself). For those looking to attend these “Bloodbaths and Beyond,” check out FAFF 8’s schedule!
Here is FAFF 8’s sweet looking line-up:
I had planned to wind up MMC!‘s coverage of the Chattanooga Film Festival with an imagined Arrow Video edition of Ryan Prows’s Lowlife (2017) but no sooner had I done my research and began writing did Shout! Factory announce a Blu-ray edition of the film slated for release on August 7. I’m usually pretty stoked to cross any film off my list of potential MMC! subjects as their circulation is far more gratifying than writing about them here, but I’m a little disappointed not to discuss Lowlife at greater length. I have stumped for Lowlife a fair amount already so let’s instead spend some time with three of Prows’s earlier shorts films, all of which seem to be working through some of the themes and concerns at play in Lowlife and all of which should be included as special features on the upcoming Blu-ray edition.
In case you’ve forgotten, here is a quick refresher on Lowlife taken from the film’s press kit.
When a simple organ harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society’s forgotten and ignored: EL MONSTRUO, a disgraced Mexican wrestler working as hired muscle for a local crime boss. CRYSTAL, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black market kidney transplant to save her husband’s life. And RANDY, a loveable two-strike convict fresh out of prison, cursed with a full-face swastika tattoo and a best friend guilting him into some hair-brained kidnapping scheme.
As the sordid lives of these small-time criminals collide, they must fight tooth and nail to save a pregnant woman from a certain, and surely gruesome, death.
Probably the only thing that improves upon Bo McGuire’s astonishing short, Socks on Fire: Uncle John and the Copper Headed Water Rattlers (2017), is that the film is available on his website right now to see – click HERE to visit his site and watch! The 15-minute short is an experimental fantasy of some family drama that resists easy description. McGuire labels it on his site as a “lyrical meditation exploring personal family relationships, archetypes and myths through a variety of means & textures” and a rough cut to a feature-length “transgenerational docudrama,” while the Chattanooga Film Festival offered this synopsis – “A failed poet takes up cinematic arms when he returns home to Hokes Bluff, Ala. to find his aunt has locked his drag queen uncle out of the family home.” When asked about his inspiration for the short by Indie Grits, McGuire offered this:
Gail Bryant was a lady from my hometown of Hokes Bluff. She had a tick where she would snap her neck to throw her silver hair to the side. One day Gail was snapping that neck and the next day she was in the ground. That pissed me off. The same thing happened to my Nanny and Papa without the neck snaps and that really pissed me off. Then my Aunt Sharon went behind everyone’s back and tried to sell Nanny and Papa’s house, and Meryl Streep got up on the Oscars hollering, take your broken heart, make it into art.
McGuire, the self-described “queer son of a Waffle House cook and his third-shift waitress on the corner of George Wallace Drive in Gadsden, Alabama,” crafts a Southern Gothic dreamscape that is equal parts John Waters and Terrence Malick. Steeped in corner store pageantry, Socks on Fire veers from scenes of straight documentary to magical realist reveries, with McGuire appearing in oscillating roles of interested relation, impartial chronicler, co-conspirator, and mystical trickster. While often ostentatious and unabashed, McGuire never stoops to exploitation but rather preserves an air of respect and poetic gravity throughout the short. It is McGuire’s greatest success here, creating a kind of cinematic eye dialect from the iconography of slim cigarettes, pick-ups, fireworks, Crimson Tide merchandise, and nature’s damp, inevitable power. It’s a mini-masterpiece and I can’t wait to see Socks on Fire in its full, feature-length glory!
Shout out to the Chattanooga Film Festival and to Bo McGuire! I was lucky enough to spend a little time with Bo (even catch a screening of Rock Steady Row with him) and he’s as affable and charming a guy as you’re likely to find. Bo was definitely a personal and cinematic high point of my CFF experience. Thanks Bo!