If you think that all found footage cinema has to offer is people running through the woods or exploring old houses while holding shaky cameras, San Francisco’s Unnamed Footage Festival offers plenty to change your mind. Their 2023 edition serves up some of the best new films in the subgenre along with some older favorites. From shivers to Shakespeare, check out the following official press release to see what’s in store this year.
The Unnamed Footage Festival returns to San Francisco for four days of mayhem from March 23rd through March 26th. Celebrating the 6th annual edition of the film festival with a satanic twist, UFF666 plans to summon the devil amidst a marathon of found footage horror, faux documentary, and first person POV cinema. The annual opening night Recalibration Party will be held at the Artist’s Television Access gallery, followed by an evening of features and shorts Friday at the Balboa Theatre, and then moving to the newly renovated 4-Star Theater in San Francisco’s Richmond District for a weekend packed with “in-world camera” films and discussions.
Last year, THE OUTWATERS won the UFF Best Feature Jury Award following its theatrical premiere at the festival. This year, mere weeks after the public release of the critically acclaimed film, UFF will present the World Premiere of filmmaker Robbie Banfitch’s sophomore feature film, TINSMAN ROAD. Shot on grainy 4:3 Mini-DV, TINSMAN offers a mysterious and thoughtful thriller about a man investigating the disappearance of his sister. For those still craving more of Banfitch’s colorful and strange desert horror, UFF will host the theatrical premiere of two short films Banfitch created to supplement THE OUTWATERS: a prequel titled CARD ZERO and a corrupted video file discovered by the Mojave Police saved as FILE VL-624.
2023 marks the 15th anniversary of Matt Reeves and JJ Abrams’ CLOVERFIELD, and what better way to celebrate than watching a 35mm print of the found footage monster movie classic at the Alamo Drafthouse? The UFF team is thrilled to co-present this pre-festival screening as part of the weekly Terror Tuesday program the evening of March 21st.
The UFF team is equally excited to bring another Kōji Shiraishi feature to the movie screens of San Francisco with SAFE WORD. A new entry in the Roman Porno series produced by Nikkatsu Films, SAFE WORD is a Japanese pink film. An S&M mockumentary about a Wrestler turned pop Idol rediscovering herself while undergoing dominatrix training, the movie is surprisingly sweet and delightfully perverse.
UFF666 will also include a repertory screening of the 2011 Australian horror film THE TUNNEL in a double feature with the North American premiere of the making-of documentary, THE TUNNEL: THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS. Shifting focus to the behind the scenes of found footage horror filmmaking, the documentary is an enlightening look at working in the low budget space and exploring radical ideas for film funding and distribution.
Additional titles include R#J, an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set on mobile phones from Sundance breakout director Carey Williams and renowned Screenlife producer, Timur Bekmambetov (UNFRIENDED, SEARCHING, MISSING). A deranged cult filmmaker played by Vinny Curran (RESOLUTION, SPRING) returns to set for one last time for his sure to be masterpiece in EVERYBODY DIES BY THE END. Johannes Grenzfurthner (MASKING THRESHOLD) returns to the fest with his new meta-film RAZZENNEST, which takes on one of the lesser explored aspects of in-world-camera films, the commentary track. Lastly, a binge-watch of The Onion’s SEX HOUSE, a surreal reality television spoof which Vulture called a “must-watch for any comedy (or horror) fan”.
The remaining features and shorts programs will be announced in the second wave announcement later this month, along with the schedule of screenings.
Badges are now on sale via FilmFreeway for entry to all festival events except the CLOVERFIELD screening at Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, which can be bought directly from the Alamo Drafthouse website. Individual tickets will be available after the full schedule is announced. Please visit www.unnamedfootagefestival.com for more information on UFF.
Tuesday, March 21st: Pre-Festival Event at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission
Thursday, March 23rd: Opening night party at Artists Television Access
Friday, March 24th: Balboa Theatre
Sat & Sun, March 25th – 26th: 4 Star Theatre
FIRST WAVE OF UFF666 FILM SELECTIONS
TINSMAN ROAD (2023, USA, dir. Robbie Banfitch)
WORLD PREMIERE – A young man searches for the body of his sister years after her tragic disappearance. Framed as raw documentary footage shot on real Mini-DV cameras, TINSMAN ROAD is a chilling mystery uncovered while observing strained familial bonds that diverts from the heart-stopping horror of Banfitch’s prior film, THE OUTWATERS. A beautifully eerie soundtrack by Salem Belladonna punctuates this tense thriller. Q&A with director Robbie Banfitch and cast.
CARD ZERO / FILE VL-624 (2023, USA, dir. Robbie Banfitch)
THEATRICAL PREMIERE – Two short films supplementing THE OUTWATERS. A prequel, CARD ZERO is a video diary shot by Robbie Zagorac (Robbie Banfitch) of his relationship with a man he is seeing (Julian Broudy) captured before going missing in the Mojave Desert. FILE VL-624 is a fragment of corrupted footage salvaged from Robbie Zagorac’s camera, now property of the Mojave Police Department. Q&A with director Robbie Banfitch and cast.
SAFE WORD (2022, Japan, dir. Kōji Shiraishi)
CONTINENTAL US PREMIERE – Misa the Killer (Chisako Kawase) is a wrestler turned pop idol being filmed for a documentary when the owner of the S&M lounge H, Tsubaki (played by nonbinary model Ryuchell), recognizes her talent and recruits her as a dominatrix. Awakening to the rush of liberation behind the intensity of S&M, she decides to take on the roles of both idol and dominatrix. Found footage horror icon Kōji Shiraishi takes the chance to play in a very different space in this pink film mockumentary, and with the assistance of a fantastically committed cast, his weirdness and humor truly shine.
THE TUNNEL: THE OTHER SIDE OF DARKNESS (2021, Australia, dir. Adrian Nugent)
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE – On the 10th anniversary of the Australian found footage film THE TUNNEL, this documentary delves into the filmmakers’ endeavors to challenge how films are financed and distributed, and the lasting impact THE TUNNEL had internationally. A rare chance to see the behind-the-scenes footage of a production trying out radical new ideas in the independent film industry.
THE TUNNEL (2011, Australia, dir. Carlo Ledesma)
REPERTORY SCREENING – In 2007 the New South Wales government suddenly scrapped a plan to utilize the water in the disused underground train tunnels beneath Sydney’s St James Train Station. In 2008, chasing rumors of a government cover-up and urban legends surrounding the sudden back flip, investigative journalist Natasha Warner (Bel Deliá) led a crew of four into the underground labyrinth. They went down into the tunnels looking for a story – until the story found them.
R#J (2021, USA, dir. Carey Williams)
CALIFORNIA PREMIERE – Up-and-coming director Carey Williams (Amazon’s EMERGENCY) pairs up with the master of in-world camera innovation, Timur Bekmambetov (UNFRIENDED, SEARCHING, MISSING), to bring us this dynamic screenlife adaptation of the archetypical romantic tragedy. A Sundance premiere, this reimagining of Romeo and Juliet blends Shakespeare’s original dialogue with current social media shorthand to create a modern-day love story that could only be told through a smartphone. It’s Shakespearean screenlife – love between nobles on mobiles.
EVERYBODY DIES BY THE END (2022, USA, dir. Ian Tripp, Ryan Schafer)
A documentary crew follows legendary director Alfred Costella as he completes his final practical effects-driven horror film. This splattery showbiz satire lampoons the concept of the auteur with Vinny Curran (RESOLUTION) starring as the megalomaniacal director, giving a deranged performance that will make you wish you could watch Alfred Costella’s oeuvre in real life. Q&A with directors Ian Tripp and Ryan Schafer, cast and crew.
RAZZENNEST (2022, Austria, dir. Johannes Grenzfurthner)
South African enfant terrible filmmaker and artiste-cineaste Manus Oosthuizen meets with Rotten Tomatoes-approved indie film critic Babette Cruickshank in an Echo Park sound studio. With key members of Manus’s crew joining, they record an audio commentary track for his new elegiac feature documentary RAZZENNEST. But the session goes down a different path… Chaos ensues, but to say how and why would be spilling too many of this highly original arthouse horror film’s deep, dark secrets.
SEX HOUSE (2012, USA)
REPERTORY SCREENING – Six sexy singles move into America’s hottest mansion meticulously designed for only one thing: sex. The Onion’s reality television spoof mutates from comedy to horror without breaking form, drawing attention to the ludicrous setup of (a media conglomerate coercing) strangers (into having hot, hot sex) being forced to live together on camera. Released episodically on YouTube, now presented in its entirety as a 75-minute binge.