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2011 Melbourne Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

12th annual Melbourne Underground Film Festival poster

Destroy All Movies! That’s the cheeky theme to the 12th annual Melbourne Underground Film Festival, which will run on August 19-28.

Festival director Richard Wolstencroft lays out his philosophy for this year’s MUFF in an excellent Director’s Statement, which is published in the fest’s program guide. He explains his provocative statement as thus:

“Destroy All Movies” can be taken as a query, a question and even a complaint about cinema itself. Most of us love movies. I still do, of course. I am obsessed by them as ever. Making, watching and showing them. But how often do we question our passion in this kind of ontological sense?

In that regard, MUFF is a much more focused and scaled back event this year with less films screening, but with a tighter consideration of local talent, as well as a larger, more provocative stance as ever.

MUFF has always fought the good fight of strengthening the waning Australian film industry and this year is no different, shining a spotlight on local filmmakers, some of whom don’t traditionally match up with MUFF’s regular transgressive filmmaking — although there’s some of that, too.

For example, there’s the good-hearted comedy Boronia Backpackers, directed by Timothy Spanos, about two middle-aged slackers who go on a lazy tour of Europe; and there’s Citizen Jia Li, directed by Sky Crompton, about a half-Chinese, half-Japanese woman trying to figure out her identity; and the supernatural rom-com The Little Things, directed by Neil McGregor.

Then, on the genre side of Australian filmmaking, there’s Chris Sun’s slasher flick Come and Get Me, which won numerous awards at MUFF’s new sister festival, Bloodfest Fantastique. Plus, there’s the horror mockumentaries Needle, by John V. Soto, and Die for Real by Mike Green & Ryder Grindle; and also the drama about a sex worker, Birthday, directed by J. Harkness.

On the provocation side of the festival, the 12th MUFF is opening with Srdjan Spasojevic’s radically controversial A Serbian Film, a movie so degenerate and despicable, that’s been banned all over the world. However, a slightly edited version of the film has been approved by Australian censors and that’s the version MUFF will be screening.

The fest will also conclude with the equally disturbing, but much less attacked, Serbian movie Life and Death of a Porno Gang, directed by Mladen Djordjevic.

In between these two flicks, there will be a screening of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, which has been banned and un-banned repeatedly in Australia, followed by a panel discussion by local film experts on the film’s merits.

And there’s the epic documentary about controversial fascist artist and intellectual Boyd Rice, Iconoclast directed by Larry Wessel, that is screening in three parts on the night of August 24. And a retrospective of the films of Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro.

For more info on the festival, including screening locations, please visit the official Melbourne Underground Film Festival website. Below is the full lineup:

August 19

8:00 p.m.: A Serbian Film, dir. Srdjan Spasojevic. A retired adult film actor takes a role in a questionable new movie that forces him to perform unspeakable actions.
Screening with:
The Basher, dir. Colin Savage
Gumby’s New Tit, dir. Alex Machin

August 20

5:30 p.m.: 2012: Time for a Change, dir. Joao Amorim. In this documentary, journalist Daniel Pinchbeck considers alternatives to the dire apocalyptic warnings of the year 2012 and hopes for a year of positive change through examining the wisdom of ancient tribal cultures.

7:00 p.m.: F, dir. Johannes Roberts. A group of teachers are trapped and stalked in a school by a gang of murderous kids.

9:00 p.m.: Birthday, dir. J. Harkness. A twenty-five year old sex worker spends her birthday helping a priest who has lost his faith and a young man with zero experience with girls.

11:00 p.m.: Flesh, dir. Paul Morrissey. Part of a Joe Dallesandro retrospective. A bisexual hustler needs to earn enough money turning tricks in order to pay for his wife’s lover’s abortion.

August 21

7:00 p.m.: “Mini Muff Session 1″
Flow, dir. Scott Dale
The Blac k Sheep, dir. Anthony Rilocapro
Skattens Pris (Price of Happiness), dir. Fredrik Waldeland
Facing Rupert, dir. Gregory Erdstein
Hooked, dir. Olivia Olley
Don’t Ya Wanna Dance, dir. Mark Houghton
6ft Hick: Notes From the Underground, dir. Marty Moynihan

9:00 p.m.: “Mini Muff Session 2″
Desire, dir. Nicole Delprado
Turning Tricks, dir. Emma Watts & Kathryn le Froy
A Tale of Obsession, dir. Dave Wade
Tar Sand Pudding, dir. Xtine Cook
Grandmas Gift, dir. Michael Adams & Charlotte Squires
There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, dir. Jaime Snyder
Dead Man’s Debt, dir. Cesar Salmeron
Breaking the News, dir. Nicholas Hansen

August 22

7:00 p.m.: Citizen Jia Li, dir. Sky Cromptom. A half-Chinese, half-Japanese girl loses both her job and her home, so she goes on a quest to discover her true identity.

7:00 p.m.: Lonesome Cowboys, dir. Andy Warhol. Part of a Joe Dallesandro retrospective. In this spoof of Hollywood westerns, a quintet of gay cowboys hook up with a lonely gal out on the range.

9:00 p.m.: The Little Things, dir. Neil McGregor. A woman believes she is able to manipulate other people’s destinies, but her power is threatened unless she is able to reconnect with the first person she ever “helped,” a man who doesn’t take kindly to the idea that his fate has been decided by somebody else.

9:00 p.m.: The Devil’s 6 Commandments, dir. Dicky Tanuwidjaya. After a woman is brutally gang raped, she seeks out violent revenge against her attackers with the help of her step-brother, a rogue cop, a priest and a multi-millionaire.

August 23

7:00 p.m.: Trash, dir. Paul Morrissey. Part of a Joe Dallesandro retrospective. A junkie in NYC has only one thing on his mind: How he can score his next fix.

9:00 p.m.: Die for Real, dir. Mike Green & Ryder Grindle. A group of four young friends take a ton of drugs while camping out in the woods and are soon paranoid that somebody may be stalking them in the woods. Or, they’re just way too high.

August 24

7:00 p.m.: Iconoclast, Part 1 & 2, dir. Larry Wessel. An epic documentary in three parts! This film profiles the controversial underground artist, musician and fascist intellectual, Boyd Rice, who has been friends with Charles Manson and pioneered the world of “noise” music. An in-depth exposé of true underground culture.

9:00 p.m.: Iconoclast, Part 3, dir. Larry Wessel. See above.

August 25

7:00 p.m.: “Mini Muff Session 3″
Wrecking Ball, dir. Guy Verge Wallace
Nightshift of the Vampire, dir. Justin Crooks
Payload, dir. Stu Willis
Normal, dir. Erin McCuskey
Shoplifting, dir. Neil Triffett
Garth Lives in a Van, dir. Greg Pakis

7:00 p.m.: Salò: 120 Days of Sodom, dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini. After the fall of Italy in 1944, four degenerate, rich libertines sexually and psychologically abouse a group of young men and women held hostage at a large estate.

9:00 p.m.: “Mini Muff Session 4″
Slick Horsing, dir. Kiron Hussain
Twelve Dark Noons, dir. Jaqueline Castel
Everything That Clunked Along Today…, dir. Joshua Belinfante
Kinky Cousins, dir. Stefanie Loffel
The Ferryman and His Wife, dir. Lauchlan Plain
Status, dir. Richard Williams
Kevin Is…, dir. Matt Mirams & Richard Greenhalgh
Peta’s Fall, dir. Ronen Becker

9:00 p.m.: Salò Censorship Forum. Following a screening of the controversial film by Pasolini (see above), a panel of film scholars will discuss the film’s merits, i.e. if it has any. The panel includes Dr. Glenn D’Cruz, a film lecturer; Boris Trbic, writer for Senses of Cinema; MUFF’s own Richard Wolstencroft; plus, Jimmy Jack and Paul Elliot..

August 26

7:00 p.m.: Come and Get Me, dir. Chris Sun. Mayhem and murder ensue when a trio of killers target a gaggle of girls having a fun night out.

9:00 p.m.: Needle, dir. John V. Soto. The friends of a college student begin to perish in gruesome ways after he comes into contact with a bizarre antique mechanical device.

11:00 p.m.: Heat, dir. Paul Morrissey. Part of a Joe Dallesandro retrospective. A wannabe Hollywood star sleeps with anybody whom he thinks will help advance his career.

August 27

6:00 p.m.: Boronia Backpackers, dir. Timothy Spanos. Two thirtysomething Australian lads go on a fun backpacking tour of Europe, leaving their fortysomething girlfriends back home. Or so they think until the girls take off on their own.

8:00 p.m.: Life and Death of a Porno Gang, dir. Mladen Djordjevic. In ’90s-era Serbia, a film school graduate joins up with a group of artists to form a traveling porno cabaret act. To make some extra cash, the gang eventually start producing real snuff films for the black market.
Screening with:
Good Taste, dir. Greg Hanson

August 28

7:00 p.m.: ** MUFF Post-Festival Mystery Screening! **
X, dir. Jon Hewitt. When a retiring high-priced call girl enlists the help of a young streetwalker for one last job, the pair of women find themselves the target of a maniacal killer.

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