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2011 Sydney Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

2011 Sydney Underground Film Festival poster

For their 5th annual event, which is set to run Sept. 8-11, the Sydney Underground Film Festival is looking a little more demented than ever. And that’s saying a lot for this scrappy, still relatively young fest, which typically offers ample twisted cinematic offerings.

The fun kicks off with the Opening Night film, the demented superhero comedy Super, written and directed by former Troma go-to screenwriter James Gunn (Tromeo & Juliet); then ends with the Closing Night wallowing in Sydney’s seedy underbelly, X, by homegrown filmmaker Jon Hewitt.

Crammed between these two excursions into violence and depravity is a lineup filled with perverse visions, scandalous public figures, sickening horror, experimental pop culture remixes and more.

For the Underground Film Journal, the highlight of the fest is Usama Alshaibi‘s Profane, a complex psychological, psychosexual, spiritual morality play about a Muslim sex worker who endures a “reverse exorcism” on her path to find her true identity. Alshaibi has crafted one of the most challenging and visually arresting pieces of cinema we’ve seen in a long time. (Read the Profane underground film review.)

Another highlight is the good time, party-all-night-long pairing of John Heyn and Jeff Krulik‘s Heavy Metal Picnic and Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the only true rock ‘n’ roll utopia that ever existed on Earth: 1980s era Maryland in the U.S.

On the horror front, there’s Trent Haaga’s bloody and surreal Chop, which won the Director’s Choice Feature at the 2011 Boston Underground Film Festival; and a pair of Japanese supernatural flicks, the ghost story Tomie: Unlimited by Noboru Iguchi and the gonzo zombie action of Yoshihiro Nishimura’s Helldriver.

SUFF is also always very strong on the documentary front, so this year there’s Marie Losier‘s film festival hit The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye; Yony Leyser’s William S Burroughs: A Man Within; Pip Chodorov’s Free Radicals; Jordan Todorov’s Dad Made Dirty Movies, a profile of sexploitation auteur Stephen C. Apostolof; and more.

Plus, there’s tons of great experimental and animated short films by the likes of Clint Enns, Leslie Supnet, Tony Lawrence, Jennifer Clary and Don Hertzfeldt; and a program curated by underground historian Jack Sargeant entitled “Extreme Film” that promises to be a blast with supremely sick offerings by Shawn Durr, Carey Burtt, Aryan Kaganof and more. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

And all that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While the full lineup is below, please visit the official Sydney Underground Film Festival website for more, including tickets and theater info.

Sept. 8

7:30 p.m.: Super, dir. James Gunn. After his wife leaves him for a drug dealer, a depressed man decides to put on a homemade superhero costume and fight crime in a desperate bid to get her back.
Screening with:
The Terrys, dir. Tim Heidecker

Sept. 9

6:00 p.m.: William S Burroughs: A Man Within, dir. Yony Leyser. A documentary about the cult author and beat icon, featuring interviews with Laurie Anderson, Victor Brockris, Diane DiPrima, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, David Cronenberg, Thurston Moore, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge, Jello Biafra and more.

6:00 p.m.: “Love/Sick”
Happy Bag, dir. Graeme Robertson
I Like to Photograph Girls Naked, dir. Mischa Baka
Mantis in Black Lace, dir. Tyler Baptist
Red Water Red, dir. Qing Xie
Miriam, dir. RP Kahl
Love Birds, dir. Brian Lye
Outtake, dir. Nicole Brending
Hansel and Gretel, dir. Emma Varker
A Sexually Transmitted Cerebral Fast Food Infection, dir. Jarrod Emmanuel
Ferdinand the Third, dir. David Joshua Ford
Feeder, dir. Joseph Ernst
Golden Boy, dir. Emma Varker

6:00 p.m.: Chop, dir. Trent Haaga. A man is forced into a life of violent brutality and murder by a mysterious figure. (Watch this underground film streaming online)

8:00 p.m.: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, dir. Marie Losier. A portrait of industrial music pioneer Genesis P-Orridge and his late wife, Lady Jaye, who subjected themselves to an art project in which they attempted to become a singular pandrogenous entity, Breyer P-Orridge.

8:00 p.m.: Dad Made Dirty Movies, dir. Jordan Todorov. This documentary profiles cult sexploitation filmmaker Stephen C. Apostolof, who is most well-known for his collaboration with Edward D. Wood Jr., Orgy of the Dead.

8:00 p.m.: Bedways, dir. RP Kahl. A female filmmaker wants to direct a movie that is an accurate representation of sex and convinces two of her best friends to star in it.

9:45 p.m.: Guilty of Romance, dir. Sion Sono. A bored housewife and a police officer embark on a kinky affair.

9:45 p.m.: Heavy Metal Picnic, dir. Jeff Krulik and John Heyn. Via archival home video footage, hang out at Maryland’s Full Moon Jamboree, an over-the-top weekend music festival filled with booze, babes and unrepentant heavy metal debauchery. Plus, through modern reunion interviews, find out what happened to many of the party’s most colorful characters. (Read the underground movie review.)
Screening with:
Heavy Metal Parking Lot, dir. Jeff Krulik & John Heyn

9:45 p.m.: Profane, dir. Usama Alshaibi. A Muslim sex worker has a devastating spiritual crisis after she believes her “jinn” — an Islamic demon — has been exorcised from her body. (Read the underground movie review.)

12:00 a.m.: Run! Bitch Run!, dir. Joseph Guzman. A young God-fearing woman is raped, brutalized and left for dead by a gang of psychopaths. But, since they didn’t actually kill her, she hunts them down one by one to get her revenge.

Sept. 10

2:00 p.m.: Dragonslayer, dir. Tristan Patterson. This documentary chronicles the life of Josh Sandoval, a skateboarder who lives outside of society, aimlessly drifting from suburb to suburb.

2:00 p.m.: William S Burroughs: A Man Within, dir. Yony Leyser. A documentary about the cult author and beat icon, featuring interviews with Laurie Anderson, Victor Brockris, Diane DiPrima, Gus Van Sant, John Waters, David Cronenberg, Thurston Moore, Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge, Jello Biafra and more.

2:00 p.m.: Free Radicals, dir. Pip Chodorov. A tribute to avant-garde and experimental filmmaking’s rich history, including such luminaries as Len Lye, Stan Brakhage, Maya Deren, Maurice Lemaître, Robert Breer, Ken Jacobs, Jonas Mekas and Peter Kubelka.

4:00 p.m.: Last Days Here, dir. Don Argott & Demian Fenton. This documentary profiles musician Bobby Liebling, who had a promising career as the singer for the ’70s metal band Pentagram, but whose life descended into terrible drug addiction. Can Bobby clean up and relaunch Pentagram again?

4:00 p.m.: Heaven and Earth and Joe Davis, dir. Peter Sasowsky. This documentary profiles the quirky artist and scientist who has done such things as recording the sounds of micro-organisms and encoding Greek philosophy into fly DNA.

4:00 p.m.: “Mother’s Milk”
Dr. Nazi, dir. Joan Chemla
Escape, dir. Dee Hood
Duluth, dir. Nicole Brending
Real Live Phone Confessions, dir. Clare Ferra
Beneath the Waves, dir. Renee Marie Petropoulos
Terremoto, dir. Shelley Jordon
Sun Moon Stars Rain, dir. Leslie Supnet
Dolls Factory, dir. Ainhoa Menendez Goyoaga
Melt, dir. Noemie LaFrance
A Whole New World, dir. Josephine Skinner
Dirty Girl, dir. Jennifer Clary

6:00 p.m.: “Masters’ Class”
I Am So Proud of You, dir. Don Herzfeldt
Dolls vs. Dictators, dir. Martha Colburn
The Terrys, dir. Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Umshini Wam, dir. Harmony Korine
The Little White Cloud That Cried, dir. Guy Maddin
All Flowers in Time, dir. Jonathan Caouette

6:00 p.m.: “Recycled Cinema”
Reno, dir. Tony Lawrence
Automatic Meat Probe, dir. Shawn Hennessy
Long Live the New Flesh, dir. Nicolas Provost
Connecting With Nature, dir. Clint Enns
Camp, dir. Peter Freund
Re-Sync, dir. Tara Nelson
Escape Plan, dir. Paul Turano

6:00 p.m.: “By Popular Demand”
Picked by visitors to the SUFF website.

8:00 p.m.: Super, dir. James Gunn. After his wife leaves him for a drug dealer, a depressed man decides to put on a homemade superhero costume and fight crime in a desperate bid to get her back.

8:00 p.m.: Tomie: Unlimited, dir. Noboru Iguchi. A teenage photographer photographs her sister being impaled to death. Then, one year later, the sister mysteriously reappears.

8:00 p.m.: “So Bad It’s Good!”
The House That Drips Blood on Alex, dir. Tommy Wiseau
Father Strickland, dir. Daniel Stephens
Elvis Chainsaw Massacre, dir. Pierre Ayotte
Hold the Mayo, dir. Jeffrey Williams
Ninja, dir. David Quinn
Treesus for Jeesus, dir. Brian the Lion!
Killer Ice Cream Men and the Untimely Waffle Zombies and Cat, dir. Don Buppapirak
Lions + Tigers + Bears, dir. Lee Marquardt
Wiener Fingers, dir. Clare Ferra
The Terrys, dir. Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim

10:00 p.m.: Helldriver, dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura. When Japan is overridden by zombies that can’t be put down by a simple shot to the head, a young woman is transformed into a cybernetic undead murder machine tha wields a gas-powered sword/chainsaw combo weapon.

10:00 p.m.: “Reality Bites”
Australia Part 1, dir. GLC
Transformation, dir Vahid Vahed
A Cambodian Snack, dir. Philip Atlakson
I’m a Rock Star, dir. Stefano Bertelli
The Big Stone, dir. Shane Borza
Pervo, dir. Bryan Lye
Trailers, dir. Jasmine Hirst

10:00 p.m.: “Extreme Film presented by Jack Sargeant
Gash, dir. Usama Alshaibi
Baked Alaska, dir. Huck Botko
Washing Machine, dir. Ca Ca Ca
The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase, dir. Carey Burtt (Watch this underground movie streaming online)
Cheesecake, dir. Huck Botko
Beyond Ultra Violence, dir. Aryan Kaganof
Like a Pig in Shit, dir. Samantha Sweeting
Bovine Vendetta, dir. Bob Judd
Organ Molly, dir. Usama Alshaibi
Meat Fucker, dir. Shawn Durr

12:00 a.m.: A Man Called… Rainbo, dir. David Casci. A reworked and redubbed version of Sylvester Stallone’s first starring role.

Sept. 11

2:30 p.m.: Trilogy, dir. Kostas Seremetis. This is an experimental re-editing of the original Star Wars trilogy where the left third of the screen is filled with the original A New Hope, the middle third is The Empire Strikes Back and the right third is Return of the Jedi, all synchronized them to dissonant effect.

2:30 p.m.: “Animation Fornication”
Go Fish, dir. Ronnie Cramer
Fragments, dir. George Varettas & Cosmin Hrincu
The Death of Johnny Forceps, dir. Timothy David Orme
Blood and Cinnamon, dir. Jess Mott & Steve Reinke
Wisdom Teeth, dir. Don Hertzfeld
Camera Obscura, dir. Marta Mata
Scary on the Radio, dir. Annaliese Ciel Walker
Reddish Brown & Blueish Green, dir. Samantha Gurry
Everything That Clunked Along, dir. Joshua Belinfante
Fiesta Brava, dir. Steven Woloshen
A Meditation in the Colour and Light, dir. Jon Behrens
Wrecking Ball, dir. Guy Verge
Maleka, dir. Tony Lawrence
Long in the Family, dir. Ryan Bornen
Poison Ivy, dir. Hazel Gore
Star Cross, dir. Ted Wiggin
Collision, dir. Sarah Eddowes
Black Moon, dir. Brandon Blommaert
The Secret Story, dir. Shahriar Shadab
Luminous Flux, dir. Gregory Godhard

2:30 p.m.: Guilty of Romance, dir. Sion Sono. A bored housewife and a police officer embark on a kinky affair.

5:00 p.m.: Better This World, dir. Kelly Duane de la Vega & Katie Galloway. This documentary profiles David McKay and Bradley Crowder, two men who attempted to create chaos through terrorism at the 2008 Republican Convention.

5:00 p.m.: “LSD Factory”
Anatomy of the Vertebrate Retina, dir. Jon Behrens
Christmas Reeve, dir. Mateusz Subieta
Endless, dir. Matt Bloom
Year of the Child, dir. Adam Simpson
Lark’s Tongue in Aspics, dir. David Shushan
Slick Horsing, dir. Kiron Hussain
The Birthday Circle, dir. Philip Lepherd
The Artist, dir. Joseph Perkins
1000 Grams, dir. Tom Bewilogua
XTRMNTR, dir. Annabelle Fouchard
Satan, Jesus, Elvis, dir. Pierre Ayotte
Real Time, dir. George Nagel
Demodern Times, dir. Tara Cook
Parramatta Road Project #1, dir. John Gillies
In Search of the Manitou, dir. Dan Sokoloski
The Gathering Storm, dir. Dan Sokolowski

5:00 p.m.: “Masters’ Class”
I Am So Proud of You, dir. Don Herzfeldt
Dolls vs. Dictators, dir. Martha Colburn
The Terrys, dir. Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim
Umshini Wam, dir. Harmony Korine
The Little White Cloud That Cried, dir. Guy Maddin
All Flowers in Time, dir. Jonathan Caouette

7:00 p.m.: 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.
Screening with:
PUTA, dir. Gary Hillberg


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