Sydney Underground Film Festival has announced a 2015 program filled with international festival favourites, out there documentaries, and a few feature retrospectives (namely Russ Meyer’s classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Larry Clark’s infamous Kids) thrown in for good measure. SUFF has always played an important part in bringing the weird and wonderful to Australian audiences, giving films that may normally be overlooked by its mainstream counterpart a chance to play on the big screen before their domestic home video release (if they manage to get one, which they often don’t). It’s great to see the festival back in full force again this year, led by some strong international heavyweights.
Kicking things off on opening night is Gaspar Noe’s latest, the overwhelmingly controversial Love 3D (pictured, top left). Love is just one of many films currently playing at the Melbourne International Film Festival that will make its Sydney debut at this year’s SUFF, accompanied by the magnificent and overwhelmingly confronting Heaven Knows What from the Safdie brothers,1 Takashi Miike’s mixed gangster/vampire romp Yakuza Apocalypse, SWAT conspiracy documentary Peace Officer (Matthew Bauckman & Scott Christopherson), Silk Road exploration Deep Web (Alex Winter of Bill and Ted fame),2 Rainer Werner Fassbinder tribute To Love Without Demands (from Fassbinder’s close friend Christian Braad Thomsen), illuminating look at the early days of D.C. punk Salad Days (Scott Crawford), Jason Krawczyk’s ridiculous Henry Rollins horror flick He Never Died, documentary about famous renegade art collective The Residents, Theory of Obscurity (Don Hardy), and finally Raiders! from Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen, a documentary about a group of teenagers who made a complex shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the mid-’80s.
SUFF’s selection isn’t restricted to the best and weirdest of interstate festivals however, bringing a number of Australian premieres to our shores. There’s Kung Fu Elliot (pictured, top right) from Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau, a documentary about a man who dreams of becoming Canada’s answer to Chuck Norris that took out the top award at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop, Erin Lee Carr’s documentary about what constitutes a crime in the digital age, focusing a police-officer who was charged for sharing fantasies of rape, torture, murder, and cannibalism online, the much-hyped Nina Forever (pictured, bottom left) from directors Ben and Chris Blaine, a terrifying romance story about a man who is tormented by the ghost of his ex-girlfriend every time he has sex, Back In Time, Jason Aron’s tribute to Robert Zemeckis’s much-loved Back to the Future series, Slamdance stunner They Look Like People (Perry Blackshear), a Hitchcockian paranoia-flick that has been drawing comparisons to It Follows and They Live, and the latest documentary from culture-jammers The Yes Men, The Yes Men Are Revolting (Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Laura Nix), a continuation of the group’s anarchic activism sure to be injected with a little more than a healthy dose of leftist comedy.
Rounding the program out are of course SUFF infamous Love/Sick, LSD Factory, Ozploit!, Reality Bites, and WTF shorts programs, as well as their collection of masterclasses, covering everything from direction, scriptwriting, pitching and distribution for independent features. Closing the festival is Eli Roth’s long-awaited, Keanu-starring, sexploitation throwback Knock Knock (pictured, bottom right), which is sure to be a wild ride of debauchery. Sydney Underground Film Festival have put together a tight program which manages to inject some variety into the niche area of cinema the group attempt to showcase and look to be delivering another fantastic year of what is increasingly becoming a cultural staple in Sydney.
Sydney Underground Film Festival runs from Thursday the 17th of September to Sunday the 20th of September. More information can be found on their website and tickets can be purchased from the Factory Theatre.