Director Penny Lane’s provocative Sundance-sensation Hail Satan? opens this year’s 2019 Boston Underground Film Festival with its inspirational and entertaining chronicle of the extraordinary rise of one of America’s most colorful and controversial religious movements, The Satanic Temple (TST). A damning commentary on the role of organized religion in our purportedly secular society, Hail Satan? challenges preconceived notions about the objectives of the nontheistic, Salem-based, political activist movement and offers “a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.” Filmmaker Lane and TST co-founder & spokesperson Lucien Greaves will be present for a post-screening Q&A.
The 21st annual Boston Underground Film Festival returns to Harvard Square, bringing with it a five-day film frenzy to the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive from March 20th through the 24th. This year’s program includes what the festival describes as “a fierce and fresh collection of transgressive, unholy, and unthinkable underground cinema, along with a few outsider-odyssic festival favorites.”
Reaffirming last year’s commitment to giving first-time feature filmmakers a broader presence at the festival, BUFF will feature a bounty of exhilarating visions from the cinematic edge, including Lucas Heyne’s Sundance-smashing porn-drama-cum-true-crime tragicomedy, Mope, and Crazy Pictures’ Swedish, precisely-paced disasterama The Unthinkable, which delivers a pulse-pounding stunner of a closing night!
BUFF’s queer flag flies high with coming-of-age wartime musical Canary, Christiaan Olwagen’s electrifying tale of a smalltown boy coming out to a Bronski Beat in mid-80s South Africa, and Yann Gonzalez’s synth-infused, erotic queer giallo, Knife+Heart, which marries lush De Palma-esque mise-en-scène with a spellbinding score by M83 (which is helmed by Gonzalez’s brother, Anthony).
Fans of horror, have no fear, there’s plenty that’s fearsome in this year’s lineup! Adrian Panek’s harrowing, horrifying Werewolf, raises the bar for siege films to disorienting new heights, and the US Premiere of Drew Bolduc’s dark sci-fi gem Assassinaut, which follows a group of spacewrecked teens on a mission to save the President of Earth from a murderous astronaut.
ASSASSINAUT – US Premiere
Drew Bolduc | USA | 2018
Assassinaut is a science-fiction adventure film about a young girl who braves the alien wilderness of a faraway planet to save the President of Earth from a murderous astronaut.
CANARY – New England Premiere
Christiaan Olwagen | South Africa | 2018
A coming-of-age war musical about a small town boy who gets chosen to serve his compulsory two year military training in the South African Defence Force Choir and Concert group – known as the “Canaries”- during the height of the Apartheid regime.
CLICKBAIT – Massachusetts Premiere
Sophia Cacciola & Michael J. Epstein | USA | 2018
A college student who will do just about anything for Internet fame is kidnapped by a fan, and her reluctant roommate is the only one who can save her in this horror satire of popularity culture. Hometown heroes Sophia Cacciola & Michael J. Epstein bring the first feature they’ve directed, since relocating to Los Angeles, for a homecoming encore.
HAIL SATAN? – Sneak Preview
Penny Lane | USA | 2019
With unprecedented access, HAIL SATAN traces the rise of The Satanic Temple: only six years old and already one of the most controversial religious movements in American history. The Temple and its enigmatic leader Lucien Greaves are calling for a Satanic revolution to save the nation’s soul. But are they for real?
HAPPY FACE – East Coast Premiere
Alexandre Franchi | Canada | 2018
Desperate to become less shallow, a handsome teenage boy deforms his face with bandages and attends a support group for disfigured people.
INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT: THE STORY OF WAX TRAX! RECORDS – Boston Premiere
Julia Nash | USA | 2018
Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Wax Trax! founders Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher led a tribe of outsiders on a ride through the 80s underground, accidentally changing music along the way. INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT explores the life and legacy that pioneered an emerging underground scene – industrial dance music – and features interviews with the likes of Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Al Jourgensen, Franke Nardiello, Chris Connelly, and more.
KNIFE+HEART – New England Premiere
Yann Gonzalez | France/Mexico | 2019
Paris, summer 1979. Anne is a producer of gay porn at discount. When Loïs, her editor and companion, leaves her, she attempts to reclaim her by turning a film more ambitious with the flamboyant Archibald.
MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE – 2K Restoration
Sarah Jacobson | USA | 1997
Jacobson’s only feature film, is a vibrant and vital antidote to every phony Hollywood teen picture, bringing lo-fi realness to the coming-of-age genre. Sure, the usual signposts are here — first job, first time, crushes, friendships, fitting in and figuring it out — but all are handled with utter honesty. Paired with her short film I WAS A TEENAGE SERIAL KILLER, Jacobson’s punk-spirited DIY films combine B-movie aesthetics and riot grrrl feminism in brand new 2K preservations, presented by the American Genre Film Archive.
MOPE – East Coast Premiere
Lucas Heyne | USA | 2019
The tragic true story of best friends Steve Driver and Tom Dong, two low end porn actors who sought fame but gained infamy.
TONE-DEAF – East Coast Premiere
Richard Bates Jr. | USA | 2019
After losing her job and having a recent, complicated relationship implode, a woman flees to the countryside for a weekend getaway, where she finds anything but respite as her rental’s owner struggles to to control his psychopathic tendencies.
THE UNTHINKABLE – New England Premiere
Crazy Pictures | Sweden | 2018
Sweden is under attack by an unknown force, and in the midst of the chaos, Alex tries to reunite with his girlfriend.
WEREWOLF – New England Premiere
Adrian Panek | Poland | 2018
Children liberated from a Nazi concentration camp must overcome hunger, thirst and vicious dogs in an abandoned mansion surrounded by the forest. Little do they know that their fight for freedom has only just begun.