Friday, August 30, 2013

Sydney Underground Film Festival 2013

This year marks the seventh annual Sydney Underground Film Festival, the film festival that dares to go where other festivals don't.

What makes the Sydney Underground Film Festival so different to other film festivals is it's adventurous and daring line up which include the wacky, controversial and best and worst in independent film. The festival also plays host to film talks, workshops and parties on both the opening and closing nights.

This year, the festival will screen over 100 local and international films over four days. The opening night film is Alejandro Jodorowsky's newest film, The Dance of Reality and will be accompanied by a performance by Betty Grumble and pizza and drinks. While the closing night see's the Australian premiere of Lindsay Lohan's much talked about comeback film, The Canyons.

Each year the festival is becoming more daring and defiant, and according to festival co-director, Stefan Popescu this is absolutely the case this year. He used the example of Unlawful Killing, Keith Allen's controversial documentary about the inquest regarding Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed's death. The film has been banned in the United Kingdom due to it's controversial content associated with the British royal family. The Sydney Underground Film Festival will be only the second audience to see the film since it's debut at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

Unlike other film festivals, the Sydney Underground Film Festival also acknowledges and celebrates the best worst films. 2003 film, The Room has been hailed by many as the best worst film ever made and is a highlight of the festival. The Saturday screening for the film is currently close to sold out.

"These films have a cult following" said Popescu."People have seen them before and want to experience going to see these films with 300 other people who will mock it, scream and throw things at the screen"

"Laughter is contagious. Community is really important to us as we are supposed to be more connected yet we are further removed than we have ever been"

To make things ever more entertaining when you see these best worst films, you will also be able to play Best Worst Film Bingo and win a prize . Here you will receive a game card and be looking for the best worst parts of these films.

If you are looking to attend this year's Sydney Underground Film Festival, but are unsure what film to see, here are some recommendations from Popescu,which show how there is a film for everyone at this year's festival.

If you want to have a good laugh, you should see......
As above, the Best Worst Films are a great way to have a laugh and not take anything too seriously. The films screening at Sydney Underground Film Festival which you will able to watch and also play Best Worst Film Bingo at are The Room, Birdemic: Shock & Terror and Troll 2.

Mr Doodleberger is also one for a great laugh. He will be appearing live at the festival and dubbing some of Australian television classics such as "A Country Practice" (renamed something too explicit to post here!), "Hey Dad!", "Prisoner" and "Home & Away" for all you Alf Stewart fans out there. Attendees will also have the chance to win Doodleburger merchandise.

If someone wants to be shocked and leave feeling satisfactorily disturbed, you should see.....
The LSD Factory Shorts are the films to see on Saturday afternoon if you are willing to try something very different and unsettling. These fourteen shorts will mess with your mind in the least dangerous fashion.

"You will walk out thinking you have taken drugs", says Popescu. "But you know you love it and you don't know why!"

"The Dance of Reality is also disturbing in a beautiful, but surreal way and John Dies At The End will blow your mind"

If you are a horror film buff, you should see.......
For the people who love to be scared out of their wits, Popescu recommends both Rob Zombie's new film, Lords Of Salem and Cody Calahan's Antisocial. " Lords Of Salem is strangely disturbing with a haunting soundtrack. It is very different to normal Rob Zombie films as it is more of a psychological horror"

If someone considers themselves a bit of a music guru, they should see.......
Music lovers will enjoy the likes of a few films at the Sydney Underground Film Festival. They will be able to choose from films such as A Band Called Death, This Band Is So Gorgeous!, Discoverdale and Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.

If you are squirmish and easily grossed out, you SHOULDN'T see......
A Body Without Organs is one film that festival director Popescu, who can sit through almost anything, found to be extremely confronting and graphic. He describes it as being intimate and beautiful, but may not be everyone's cup of tea as there are some scenes which are a little too intimate. He also singles out Return To Nuke 'Em High: Volume 1 as one not for the squirmish to see, as (spoiler alert!) it is full of people having sex and then exploding. Sound like fun?

If someone would like to see a feel good film, they should see.......
"Both The Dance of Reality and The Institute are ultimately feel good films" according to Popescu. "They are both about the journey of life".

Discoverdale is also one to see for something more light hearted. This film, which is also a great film to see if you are musically inclined, has more of a comedic feel good air to it, rather than being a film about how wonderful life can be.

If you HAVE to choose between the opening night and the closing night and their films, what should you do?
If you find yourself in this dilemma, Popescu's advice for you is that you might as well end it all!

However, if you need to make the big decision, it will depend more on your personality as to which film you will enjoy more. While The Dance of Reality is a feel good film, The Canyons is more cynical and about the emptiness of contemporary culture. However, both are celebrations of cinema.

The Sydney Underground Film Festival will run from the 5th-8th of September at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. For more information, please see the official website.

Thankyou to Stefan Popescu for taking the time to talk to Movie Critical

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