The Sydney Underground Film Festival – Sept 5 – Sept 8

The Sydney Underground Film Festival runs from Thursday the 5th of September through to Sunday the 8th of September.

You can purchase tickets here.

Highlights of this years Underground film fest are Alejandro Jodorowsky’s latest film, The Dance of Reality and Paul Schrader’s latest film The Canyon’s. Each of these films are opening and closing the festival respectively.

There is an emphasis on documentaries, shorts and horror / bizarre at this years festival, and seeing as I’m not a big horror fan It’s meant I have fewer program conflicts which is always a problem with wonderful, but very short festival down at The Factory Theatre (one of my favorite Sydney venues). There is another program conflict for me because I review local theatre and music also, and there is a lot happening at the Sydney Fringe.  I’ll get to maybe a couple of films a day, but usually with festivals I like to completely disappear into them and then reemerge. I won’t be able to that this year, and will be spending a bit on taxis, fleeing the Factory, catching a play in Newtown and racing back in time for the late night screenings. But what can I say?  I love it, so I’ll do it.

There are some higher profile films this year, like Don Coscarelli’s John Dies at the End  and Sebastien Silva’s Magic Magic. They have a best of the worst theme running with multiple screenings of The Room, Troll 2 and Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and given I’ve seen and covered The Room, I might actually skip the other two. There are several fun nights, a bad movie bingo and generally lots of frivolous fun in homage of and at the expense of these three famously terrible films. 

Documentaries feature highly at this years festival.  The Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction bio-doco is there, and I’m keen to get to it if scheduling doesn’t get in the way. Another one at the top of my list is Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, a bio-doc about the famous poet and experimental film maker. The Perverts Guide To Ideology is showing, and as everyone who reads this blog knows, that comes highly recommended from me. There is a weird and wonderful venture into the world of VHS collectors with Adjust Your Tracking: The untold story of the VHS collector, and an odd look at penises with The Final Member. Brian Spitz follows the infamous Patrick around, the man whose girlfriend publicly rejected his marriage proposal at a UCLA basketball game because his penis was too small, as he deals with the complexities of having a small dick and having the world know about it in Unhung Hero. Seeking Asian Female is a fascinating documentary about the realities of mail order marriage when an aging Steven marries young Chinese Sandy and brings her to live with him as his wife in America. For the rest of the documentaries available, check out this link.

As usual, the standard of feature films is high, however unlike usual, I’m not going to be able to get to everything which completely breaks my heart.  See You Next Tuesday (best title ever) first time writer/director Drew Tobia is gaining momentum as a brilliant and witty collection of odd and freakish characters, and not to be outdone, even by himself, the brilliant Lloyd Kaufman’s latest sick and suck fest, Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 is showing. (I have no explanation for why I adore Lloyd Kaufman) Classic horror film maker, Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem is screening, as well as the complicated and interesting horror flick Antisocial.  For the full list of films showing, check this link.

So, if you are lucky enough to be in Sydney next weekend, head to The Factory Theatre and see what takes your fancy.