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Underground Film Class of 2007: Out On DVD (Part One)

The Underground Film Journa posts the full schedules of a lot of underground film festivals as opposed to just linking to those festivals when their schedules are available. The main reason I started doing that was to make it easier on myself — and any potential fellow underground film researchers — to track the trajectory of the films screening at the fests to any potential public release, either theatrical or DVD.

A theatrical release of an underground film is next to nil, but I’m happy to report that many undergrounds do eventually find a DVD release. Of course, many don’t and that always sucks.

This “Class of 2007” project, of which this is the first post, covers all of the films that screened at an underground film festival in the year 2007 that are now available on DVD. I chose to report on the year 2007 for two reasons. One, from my limited experience, two years from a festival run to an actual DVD release feels like it’s about the norm, although there are always exceptions to films coming out sooner or even later. But between actually finding a distributor to hammering out a contract to producing the full DVD to fitting into a distributor’s schedule usually eats up quite a bit of time.

The second reason I chose to spotlight 2007 is simply because that was the first year the Underground Film Journal swung into high gear on covering the entire underground film festival scene.

In all, in 2007, the Underground Film Journal posted lineups to ten underground film festivals that screened feature films. (Many undergrounds are “short films only” festivals, so they got excluded.) Over 100 feature films screened at these festivals and, if I’m counting my spreadsheet correctly, somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 of those films either got picked up by a DVD distributor or have been self-released.

Rather than cram all those films in one uber-long post, I’m breaking them up into a couple of posts. Below are the first ten films from the “Class of 2007” project, including synopses, where one can buy or rent these DVDs, where they screened and who the distributor is:

Blood Car DVD
Blood Car, dir. Alex Orr
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: In the future when gas costs $40 a gallon (that can’t be too far off, can it?), an amateur scientist discovers a new fuel source. Now, look at the title of the film and guess what that source could be.
Screened: Atlanta, Chicago
Distributor: TLA

Bulldog in the White House DVD
Bulldog in the White House, dir. Todd Verow
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: This update of the classic story Dangerous Liasons recasts the current Bush Administration as group of devious homosexuals.
Screened: Boston, (In 2006: Chicago)
Distributor: Water Bearer Films

Dante's Inferno DVD
Dante’s Inferno, dir. Sean Meredith
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: An animated — with paper puppets — modern adaptation of the classic tale. An alcoholic wakes up from a bender and gets a tour of Hell. Featuring the voices of Dermot Mulroney and James Cromwell.
Screened: Boston, Calgary, Lausanne
Distributor: TLA

demonsamongus DVD
demonsamongus, dir. Stuart Simpson
Available: Amazon | Netflix (Also streaming online)
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, a guy is blamed for a murder that was actually committed by demons living in the woods while the devil tries to convince an ad exec that he should rule the world.
Screened: Melbourne
Distributor: Troma Entertainment

Get Thrashed DVD
Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal, dir. Rick Ernst
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: Ernst, a former producer on MTV shows like Headbangers Ball, presents this history of the most extreme version of heavy metal, with performances and interviews with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and more.
Screened: New Haven, San Antonio
Distributor: Lightyear Video

Llik Your Idols DVD
Llik Your Idols, dir. Angelique Bosio
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: A documentary about the Cinema of Transgression movement of NYC, which included filmmakers like Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Joe Coleman and Nick Zedd.
Screened: Chicago, Melbourne, Coney Island, Lausanne
Distributor: Le Chat Qui Fum

Pervert DVD
Pervert!, dir. Jonathan Yudis
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: In this homage to the films of Russ Meyer, a college student hopes to solve a bizarre murder. Starring former CA gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey.
Screened: Miami, (In 2006: Coney Island, Lausanne)
Distributor: TLA

Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea DVD
Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, dir. Chris Metzler & Jeff Springer
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: Visit California’s lovely Salton Sea! Well, it was once. Although this one-time resort lake is filled with dead, rotting fish, hardcore residents swear their beloved home will make a comeback.
Screened: Miami, San Antonio, (In 2006: Melbourne)
Distributor: New Video Group

Threat DVD
Threat, dir. Matt Pizzolo
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: A homeless punk and a hip-hop revolutionary form an anti-drunk driving group that goes to extreme lengths to put a stop to that nefarious crime in NYC.
Screened: Miami, (In 2006: Lausanne)
Distributor: Halo 8

Viva DVD
Viva, dir. Anna Biller
Available: Amazon | Netflix
Synopsis: In the ’70s, a secretary gets involved in the bohemian lifestyle — including drugs and free love — after her husband splits.
Screened: Boston, New York, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, Lausanne
Distributor: Cult Epics

Read “Underground Film Class of 2007: Out on DVD (Part Two)


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