The Chattanooga Film Festival has announced the final wave for its 10th anniversary edition, which takes place June 23–29, 2023, and what a lineup it is! Premiere galore from slashers to science fiction, special events aplenty, and much more. Following is the official press announcement.
The Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) is proud to announce its final wave for its 10th Anniversary event with a wave that boasts more feature film premieres alongside a LVCRFT laced slew of parties, pitch competitions, workshops, watch parties and more.
Closing out the CFF After Hours block is the world premiere of filmmaker Andrew Adams‘ brilliant, tense, and timely millennial coming-of-rage story AMERICAN MELTDOWN. After the virtual screening, the audience will be able to tune in to a special chat with Adams and the rest of the team behind the film with filmmaker Aaron Moorhead.
CFF 2023 will be the North American Premiere of director Tristan Barr’s cerebral Canadian sci-fi horror SUBJECT. Barr’s film also signifies the third in a trilogy of terror-ific special screenings presented by Cinedigm and Screambox.
The festival’s 2023 collaboration with Dark Star Pictures adds a pair of killer films, crying out for the eyeballs of CFF’s longtime fans to love them. Expanding this year’s already exciting Dark Star Presents showcase are filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay‘s awesome LGBTQ+ slasher BAD GIRL BOOGEY and filmmakers Jon Garcia and Lacy Todd‘s too wild for words SUMMONING THE SPIRIT.
CFF alumni filmmaker Onur Tukel is helping the festival round out its in-person offerings with a special screening of POUNDCAKE, his wild horror satire about a serial killer stalking the streets of New York for straight white men. As he’s known to, Tukel blends genres, and the result is a film that deftly (and hilariously) weaves the slasher sub-genre with political discourse.
The haunted vibes continue in the yoga-horror frightfest MIND BODY SPIRIT. This debut feature from filmmakers Alex Henes and Matthew Merenda is a dread-soaked, back-bending, occult-dipped ghost story. It’s presented by Art Brut Films and produced by Dan Asma and Jesse McClung.
Ready to be discovered by the CFF audience is Anthony Edward Curry’s TRAP, a film with all the raw power of early Safdie/Korine joints that marks Curry as a ferocious new voice capable of capturing poignant portraits about “the lowest depths of street life.”
CFF is also excited to collaborate with Dark Sky Films, who will be presenting one of the most gorgeous and mysterious mind-benders of the year – filmmaker Andrew Legge‘s LOLA. From its black and white cinematography to its Twilight Zone-worthy tale of two scientists that build a machine that can intercept radio and tv broadcasts from the future, this film is ready-made for genre fans to fall in love with.
Virtual badge holders will be treated to a special screening of Gavin Fields’ powerhouse drama BRUTAL SEASON. With masterful cinematography and lighting, Fields turns a simple set into a multifaceted location that is as dynamic as the issues that surround the Trouth family in 1948 Brooklyn. Another special screening for those partaking in the festival virtually is Zach Passero’s ass-kicking animated horror tale THE WEIRD KIDZ. Fans of previous CFF selection ATTACK OF THE DEMONS should make it a point to include this film on their watchlist.
Fans of the ultra-specific and quickly growing horror sub-genre of football slashers (shout out to last year’s THIRD SATURDAY IN OCTOBER franchise) will love the blast that is THE ONCE AND FUTURE SMASH from filmmakers Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein. Virtual attendees will also be treated to a very special screening of filmmaker August Kane‘s infamous lost classic END ZONE 2.
CFF is also proud to announce that after looking for true scream warriors to take the music and madness of the 10th year to unholy new highs, LVCRFT is joining in on the fun. With a scream-worthy discography featuring collaborations with pop and horror luminaries Hellraiser composer Christopher Young and Bruce Campbell, LVCRFT perfectly captures the horror and Halloween obsessed essence of CFF. From the world premiere of their new film TELL ALICE I LOVE HER in the Dangerous Visions short film showcase LVCRFT’s fearless leader DeepKutz (Amanda “MNDR” Warner, the Electro-Pop pioneer who brought the world Mark Ronson’s hit “Bang Bang Bang”) will be DJing the festival’s previously announced Black Magic Masquerade opening night party. Festival organizers have also heard a rumor that Skeleton Sam himself, the titular creep from LVCRFT’s mega-viral Halloween hit song of the same name from the HOCUS POCUS 2 soundtrack will be on hand to party with fest fans. DeepKutz will also be presiding over Children of the Night: A Horror and Music Panel with TELL ALICE I LOVE HER filmmaker Jamie Carreiro along with a ghoulish gallery of hand-chosen filmmakers and musicians.
With TELL ALICE I LOVE HER leading the festival’s well-known Dangerous Visions shorts block, there are 13 additional shorts to dig into. The 2023 edition of this showcase includes the return of festival alumni Izzy Lee, Francisco Lacerda, and Meg Swertlow, along with some killer new voices like Marc Bernardin, Rebecca Sonia Berrih, and more.
Another stronghold of the festival returning is CFF Salutes Your Shorts showcase, which gives the festival a chance to spotlight talented student filmmakers and up-and-coming creatives from around the Southeast. This year’s block features the work of 15 filmmakers, from stop-motion projects to horror (including a Stephen King adaptation!) to short-form documentaries. CFF Salutes Your Shorts makes a strong case for the future of film being in great hands.
CFF’s popular SCREENPLAY PITCH COMPETITION, presented by Rustic Films’ producer David Lawson Jr. (SOMETHING IN THE DIRT, THE ENDLESS) and featuring special guest judges Gil Adler and A L Katz. Festival attendees who’d like to submit a brief synopsis of their script or film project can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday June 15..
In the early years of CFF, the good folks at Seed & Spark were among the first organizations to believe in the festival’s mission, and offered filmmaking workshops for festival attendees. For the 10th anniversary we’re happy to have them back with some insightful information around one of filmmaking’s biggest hurdles – the budget, with STRETCH THAT BUCK: FILM BUDGETING 101 led by Meghan Ross.
Multi-time festival alumni filmmaker and comedian Joel Ruiz is back this year with a haunted and hilarious episode of his live tabletop roleplaying show ODDITY ROADSHOW.
The festival is taking time to salute Johnny Disco, “The Invisible Man” and Hollywood’s most famous extra. Disco has done and seen it all, from going cross-eyed in Steve Martin’s iconic film THE JERK to arresting Kramer on an episode of “Seinfeld.” Virtual attendees will be able to join CFF in an exclusive chat with Disco to hear the amazing stories behind some of his favorite appearances in film and television ahead of the new documentary film being made about his incredible career.
In addition to the LVCRFT DJ set, we’re proud to have DJ Nomi and Pretty H8 Machine joining us for some gothed-up magic at the Black Magic Masquerade, along with exclusive live sets from hellacious horror punks Silent Horror, who’s loving odes to horror cover everything from the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON to the HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. One final addition to the bill for the now jam-packed Masquerade lineup is Red Gene. Made up of CFF alums, Erica Scoggins (THE BOOGEYWOMAN) and Brian Hennen, Red Gene’s endlessly eerie and darkly delicious ephema-rock is sure to put a spell on attendees.
Although the virtual side of the festival is raging on after the in-person dates close, CFF has partnered with their pals at the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum for a special closing night party for in-person guests and attendees. Grab a pint and make sure to put PINPALZ: PARTYING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW on your CFF itinerary so that an evening filled with endless vintage pinball can take the sting out of the bittersweet goodbyes.
As a special bonus for 2023 attendees who can pick up their badges or tickets ahead of the festival, CFF will be hanging out with the badass brewmasters known as Hutton & Smith, with CFF BFF Andre Gower for Monster Squad Pint Night. MONSTER SQUAD will screen, special door prizes will be given out, and of course, pints will be slammed!
Both Hybrid and Virtual badges are available now at chattfilmfest.org. Individual tickets will become available closer to the festival. In-person screenings and events are taking place June 23 – 25 at The Read House located in downtown Chattanooga, plus additional party locations around the city with the virtual component of the festival taking place June 23 – 29.
Director Andrew Adams | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A ‘Millennial Coming-of-Rage’ story about a young woman who loses her job and struggles to pay rent… Until she befriends a pickpocket who convinces her that the only way to survive in America is by committing petty crime.
Bad Girl Boogey
Director Alice Maio Mackay | Australia, 2022
Presented by Dark Star Pictures
Synopsis: One Halloween, blood was shed by the wearer of a parasitic mask cursed with black magic and bigotry. Sixteen years later, when Angel’s best friend is slaughtered by a killer with the same mask, they must overcome their personal struggles, fight their fear, and find the masked killer before he, or it, slaughters everyone they hold dear. Filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay made Bad Girl Boogey at just 17. The film is a gory throwback slasher with a very diverse cast and very representative of the trans community including filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay.
Blow Up My Life
Directors Ryan Dickie, Abigail Horton | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A disgraced pharmaceutical employee accidentally discovers a deadly opioid vape conspiracy, sending him on the run to expose the crime with a trail of chaos in his wake.
Director Gavin Fields | USA, 2022
Synopsis: In 1948, the Trouths are facing no income and the hottest summer on record. When their estranged son inexplicably returns, the apartment is full again – but is it big enough for the gambling, trauma, and substantial life insurance policy that comes in his wake?
End Zone 2
Director August Kane | USA, 1970
Synopsis: Fifteen years after the events of End Zone, Smash-Mouth is back to finish off the cheerleaders who killed his mother.
Director James Rich | USA, 2023
Synopsis: As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the past rises from the dead to claim its revenge. A year after surviving a brutal attack, a social media influencer and her friends find themselves once again in the crosshairs of a dangerous and relentless dark web cult, thirsting for retribution and willing to stop at nothing to get it.
Hell Hath No Fury
Director Zachary Burns | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A husband and wife separately and unknowingly plot to murder each other on the same fateful night.
Director Andrew Legge | Ireland, UK, 2022
Presented by Dark Sky Films
Synopsis: In 1941, sisters Thom and Mars have built a machine, LOLA, that can intercept radio and TV broadcasts from the future. This allows them to listen to iconic music before it has been made, place bets knowing what the outcome will be and embrace their inner punk well before the movement came into existence. But with World War II escalating, the sisters decide to use the machine for good to intercept information from the future that could help with military intelligence. The machine initially proves to be a huge success, rapidly twisting the fortunes of the war against the Nazis. While Thom becomes intoxicated by LOLA, Mars begins to realise the terrible consequences of its power.
Mind Body Spirit
Directors Alex Henes, Matthew Merenda | USA, 2023
Presented by Art Brut Films
Synopsis: An aspiring yoga influencer embarks on a ritual practice left behind by her estranged grandmother.
Director Onur Tukel | USA, 2023
Synopsis: Poundcake is the story of a New York City serial killer who is murdering straight white men in unspeakable ways. Podcasters are chiming in with their theories on who the killer is, what his motives are, and how to stop him. Is it all a hoax to garner sympathy for cisgender white men? Some people think so. Others find the murders cathartic, even funny. Are the victims finally getting what they deserve after inflicting centuries of oppression? Can the killer be stopped? New Yorkers must find a way to end the hate and embrace positivity instead. It might be the only way to kill the beast!
*In-person and virtual
Soft Liquid Center
Director Perry Home Video | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A recently single woman moves out on her own, but her newfound relief soon curdles as alarming, inexplicable events turn her home into a house of horrors.
Director Alexandra Spieth | USA, 2022
Synopsis: An urban loner fights for a chance at redemption when she’s invited to her estranged BFF’s bachelorette party.
Director Tristan Barr | Canada, 2023
*North American Premiere
Presented by Screambox
Synopsis: Compiling suppressed footage, Subject follows a man on his way to prison when he gets intercepted by a secretive government agency to have him serve his sentence by observing a terrifying creature in a close quartered, isolated facility.
Summoning the Spirit
Director Jon Garcia and Lacy Todd | USA, 2023
Presented by Dark Star Pictures
Synopsis: When Carla and Dean decide to escape the hustle of the big city and buy a nice quiet house in the woods, they bring some big plans with them: start a family, grow a garden, write the next great American novel. Now their nearest neighbor is nearly a mile down the road, but a mile doesn’t seem so far when they find out that he’s the leader of a cult who claims to telepathically communicate with Sasquatch. Danger threatens their new home as the cult leader tries to get Carla and Dean to join his followers on ‘The Farm.’
The Bigfoot Trap
Director Aaron Mirtes | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A journalist’s life is changed forever when he’s locked inside of a bigfoot trap by an insane sasquatch hunter.
The Haunting of Hype House
Directors Brandon Douglas, Matt Farren | USA, 2023
Synopsis: With his brother visiting for the weekend, social-media star Jared Zenith attempts to contact the ghost haunting his home, but instead finds himself possessed by it.
The Legend of MexMan
Director Josh Polon | USA, 2023
Synopsis: Germán Alonso strives to create his first feature film, the fantastical sci-fi epic MEXMAN, in spite of struggles with his producers, an unrequited love, and tensions with a documentary crew.
The Once and Future Smash
Directors Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein | USA, 2022
Synopsis: In 1970, Mikey and William both portrayed football cannibal Smash-Mouth in the influential cult hit, End Zone 2. Now, 50 years later, only one can wear the mask.
Director Manuel Lagos, Jr. | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A couple’s fourth of July weekend is interrupted by the arrival of an estranged childhood friend.
The Weird Kidz
Director Zach Passero | USA, 2022
Synopsis: On a weekend campout, a dark monster terrorizes a group of campers who fall prey to an ancient legend and conspiring local townsfolk. For pre-teen Dug, Mel and Fatt, and Dug’s older brother and girlfriend, a night out in the desert becomes a survivalist horror adventure.
Zach Passero’s heartfelt coming-of-age tale about growing up and surviving a night of terrors juggles frights, laughs and an amputated arm in this unique hand-animated joy ride of a creature feature.
Director Anthony Edward Curry | USA, 2022
Synopsis: Facing life in prison, a hood dreams of the violent streets that forged his identity, but cursed his soul.
Director John Barnard | Canada, 2023
Synopsis: Beth, a volunteer watch person of an isolated northern city, battles a plague of depression that transforms the few remaining residents into empty, zombie-like automatons. She discovers that by entering an alternative dimension through her own dreams, she’s able to stave of the illness during the long, possibly endless winter. But will her power be enough to sustain her?
Children of the Night: Music and Horror Panel
Join CFF, LVCRFT, and a ghoulish gaggle of special guests as we do a good and geeky deep dive into two great tastes that taste great together – music and horror cinema. From the synth scores of Carpenter classics, to DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise. to the heavy metal madness of cult favorites like Trick or Treat and The Gate, we firmly believe that iconic horror is made even more iconic by great music.
Stretch that Buck: Film Budgeting 101 with Seed & Spark
Presented by the Tennessee Entertainment Commission
You’ve got a script you’re proud of, and now you want to bring it to life! But first: what should your crowdfunding goal be? In this workshop, Seed&Spark’s Meghan Ross will teach you how to build your first budget, utilize loans to make up your budget (conceptually as well as literally), navigate the ask, break down your script, and cut costs without sacrificing your vision. Make that dollar stretch!
Rustic Films 4th Annual Screenplay Pitch Competition
Presented by the Tennessee Entertainment Commission
Rustic Films producer David Lawson, Jr. is back and this time with guest judges Gil Adler and A L Katz. Chosen finalists will pitch their film for the chance for a mentoring session with David, which will include advice on next steps forward. If you’ve got a project you’d like to submit for this year’s competition, simply a paragraph write-up of your project to email@example.com. Submissions are open now and close on Thursday June 15 at 11:59pm PT.
Oddity Roadshow is an actual play TTRPG comedy horror podcast run by Joel Ruiz and produced by the Do You Validate Network. They’ll be putting on a live TTRPG show for CFF this year featuring a story about a haunted movie theater that is filled with ghosts of past guests, movie stars, and workers as the cast of Oddity Roadshow must find a way to help clear out the theater before the big film festival starts the next day.
PinPalz: Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow
For those attending in-person, join us for a special closing night party at the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum. Grab a pint, exchange info with the friends you’ve made and tell everyone you’ll write them on Discord as the fest continues to party on virtually. Our hope is an evening filled with endless vintage pinball can take the sting out of the bittersweet goodbyes.
CFF Salutes Johnny Disco
Meet Hollywood’s most famous extra, Johnny Disco, also known as “The Invisible Man.” Disco has done and seen it all, from going cross-eyed in Steve Martin’s iconic film THE JERK to arresting ‘Kramer’ on an episode of “Seinfeld.” Virtual attendees will be able to join CFF in an exclusive chat with Disco to hear the amazing stories behind some of his favorite appearances in film and television ahead of the new documentary film being made about his incredible career.
Monster Squad Pint Night
Want to get a head start on the fest? Join us at Chattanooga’s own Hutton & Smith Brewery on Thursday, June 22, to grab your badge (or tickets) and slam some pints with Andre Gower of THE MONSTER SQUAD. We’ll screen the film, have some special door prizes and hang as we all get ready for three days of on the ground mayhem. (Time to be announced.)
CFF SALUTES YOUR SHORTS (Student and Tennessee FIlmmakers)
Director James Ross | USA, 2022
Synopsis: After closing hours in a department store, the night shift security guard and custodian encounter strange, unusual occurrences. Armed with only their walkie-talkies and overhead cameras, they discover a stealthy, vicious predator.
Director Chris Davies | USA, 2023
Synopsis: When a sinister entity emerges from the forest on a 1970s Halloween night, a young woman’s true motives are revealed – and her future is decided forever.
Director Gabriel Liam Cook Henk | USA, 2023
Synopsis: A recently widowed older woman struggles to cope with the loss of her husband while adjusting to a life of silence and loneliness. As time passes, she begins to receive visitations from her late husband that shows a deeper look into what she fears and hopes for.
Don’t Look Too Far Ahead
Director Nattalyee Randall | USA, 2022
Synopsis: “Don’t Look Too Far Ahead” is a film about Miami native and first-generation Haitian-American college basketball athlete, David Jean Baptiste. Although privilege and wealth did not allow David the same basketball opportunities as many of his peers, he continued to persevere and create his own legacy. Watch as David plays the last home game of his college career at The University of Chattanooga and reflects on what’s ahead.
Director Rachael Porter | USA, 2022
Synopsis: An aspiring flower farmer planting her first crop faces opposition in the place she least expects it—from within herself.
Director Valery Garcia | USA, 2022
Synopsis: Guided by greed and naïveté, two young women take the extreme avenue of summoning a demon. They must now choose between their desires and friendship.
Director McKenzi Vanderberg | USA, 2022
Synopsis: After a loved one’s tragic death, Stefani uses Morse Code to speak with The Beyond. In her search for answers, she inadvertently discovers questions far more dangerous.
Director Edwin Loughry | USA, 2022
Synopsis: Two co-workers discuss a possible alien abduction.
Punch The Boss
Director Taryn Grace | USA, 2023
Synopsis: Doug has been stuck in a dead-end job with a terrible boss for years, but today he’s finally had enough.
Directors Ava Marie Howard, David Steven Smith | USA, 2023
Synopsis: 1866 – A year after the end of the American Civil War, a priest turned bounty hunter rests for the night with an emancipated slave he is transporting to be hanged, when a mysterious traveler stumbles into camp.
Director Trevor Hancock | USA, 2022
Synopsis: During his weekend cabin getaway to find solitude, Brett finds himself at odds with an obnoxious neighbor that won’t seem to give him peace. As the getaway progresses, Brett becomes less stable and begins to have certain diabolical thoughts about achieving the peace he so desperately seeks.
Stephen King’s: All That You Love Will Be Carried Away
Director Bolen Miller | USA, 2022
Synopsis: Based on the Stephen King short story: A middle-aged traveling salesman contemplates his life choices at a shitty motel in Nebraska.
Director Nathan Ginter | USA, 2022
Synopsis: On the way home from school, a young girl runs into a mysterious salesman who looks to instill the fear of financial insecurity and coerce her into selling fashion magazines for him.
Directors Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker | USA, 2022
Synopsis: A disaffected, young gas station clerk on the midnight shift must learn to give a damn about something after malevolent mind-controlling bugs are set loose by irresponsible oil drillers.
Director Joseph Yates | USA, 2022
Synopsis: A man tries to abort his alien pregnancy, in violation of the pro-life “Heartbeat Bill.”
Director Rebecca Sonia Berrih | USA, 2022
Synopsis: While FaceTiming her daughter, a mother spots something scary on the video feed that can’t be seen with the naked eye…
Director Ruwan Heggelman | Netherlands, 2022
Synopsis: Unknowingly, a girl enters the habitat of a tribe of killer gnomes during her daily run. Lured by mysterious glowing mushrooms, she’ll soon wish she’d stayed on her usual tracks…
Director Luke Longmire | USA, 2022
Synopsis: While on TikTok, a young girl scrolls onto a haunted live stream.
Director Izzy Lee | USA, 2023
Synopsis: In 1983, a scientist in isolation resurrects a dead colleague.
Director Zach Fleming | USA, 2022
Synopsis: Halloween night, three friends high in a van, and an urban legend surrounding a cult singer’s mysterious death in a fire – what could go wrong?
No Overnight Parking
Director Meg Swertlow | USA, 2023
*North American Premiere
Synopsis: A woman fleeing from her abusive husband gets locked in an underground parking garage with a masked killer.
Director Dylan Ashton | USA, 2022
Synopsis: A seaside home invasion turns sinister when a young mother discovers her intruders have risen from beneath the sea.
Director Marc Bernardin | USA, 2023
Synopsis: Young Benjamin (Brooks Firestone) has spent most of his ten years on an airplane that almost never lands because when his feet touch the ground, rage spreads like a virus. But when a mid-air collision forces the plane out of the sky, it falls to his caretakers Morgan (Yetide Badaki) and Chris (Moon Bloodgood) to deal with the explosive fallout.
Director Emily Greenwood | UK, 2022
Synopsis: When a workaholic city detective and her laid-back partner try to stop a disheveled girl staggering down the middle of a country road, they discover she’s being stalked by some unseen entity with a horrifying ultimatum: you stop moving, you die.
Tell Alice I Love Her
Director Jamie Carreiro | USA, 2023
Synopsis: Years after a world-changing disaster, a woman on a critical mission through the wilderness is forced to make a desperate choice.
Director Evan Jordan | USA, 2023
Synopsis: An abductee assembles a collection of video evidence and testimonies from amateur researchers, which brings to light some startling revelations about the world we live in, before making a life-altering decision.
They Call It… Red Cemetery!
Director Francisco Lacerda | Portugal, 2022
Synopsis: Among the crosses of an old cemetery, two outlaws have a dispute over honor, companionship, and greed.
Director Gene Blalock | USA, 2022
Synopsis: A woman struggles with her identity as a charming late-night connection takes a dark turn.
About the Chattanooga Film Festival:
The Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) loves everything about cinema: the films, filmmakers, and the open-minded cinephiles that have watched films with us since early popup screenings as the Mise En Scenesters film club. The club evolved into the first-ever Chattanooga Film Festival, which began in 2014 and over the last 10 years has made a name for itself among film lovers, filmmakers, and the entertainment industry. Over the years the festival has been hailed as the “Southern Sundance” by Southern Living Magazine and was chosen as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine in 2022 and made their “Bloody Best Genre Fests in the World” for 2020 and 2019. In addition, the festival has been included in “Dread Central’s Best Horror Festivals in the World” for 2021 and 2022.
CFF shares films and events that are unique, challenging, and, significant, that showcase a diverse roster of up-and-coming filmmakers worldwide. CFF’s ultimate goal is to remember, discover, and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone’s love and respect. As always, CFF is proudly continuing its mission to “Respect Cinema,” in hopes of increasing film exhibition, education, and production in the state of Tennessee.