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2009 Backseat Film Festival: Official Lineup

By Mike Everleth ⋅ March 4, 2009

Film festival logo that looks like the Welcome to Las Vegas sign

With a focus on the trashy exploitation side of underground filmmaking — always a good thing — the Backseat Film Festival in Philadelphia more than earns its self-appointed title of “rock ‘n’ roll film fest,” particularly with their 7th edition that will run March 6-15.

This is the first time I’m mentioning Backseat on the Underground Film Journal, but how could I not after three films from my Best of 2008 list are included in the lineup? Most importantly, the festival is opening with my absolute favorite movie of 2008, Joshua von Brown‘s totally rockin’ Altamont Now! What a great choice to blow the lid off of this fest right out of the gate! And if that isn’t enough, Backseat is also screening Rona Mark‘s awesomely creepy, black comedy horror drama Strange Girls and Brian Lonano‘s killer Attackazoids!, which has been screening like crazy all over the globe.

Plus, Backseat is screening Mike Davis‘ bust-a-gut hilarious Sex Galaxy and two new films by perennial Underground Film Journal favorites. I haven’t seen yet Carlos AtanesScream Queen nor Bill Plympton‘s Idiots and Angels, but I can recommend checking them out anyway.

One note before I get to the full lineup below: As of today, Backseat isn’t listing what shorts are screening when on their official site. So, I don’t actually know when you can see Attackazoids! or Scream Queen. But heck, the rest of the lineup looks like great fun, so I’m sure it’ll be worth it to gamble and go sit through all four shorts programs.

And, lastly, outside of the Underground Film Journal universe, this year’s Backseat includes a retrospective of outsider comedy director Adam Rifkin, including Detroit Rock City and The Dark Backward, the second feature film by MTV’s Bam Margera, as well as a swell mix of odes to exploitation, documentaries and other outre entertainment:

Friday, March 6th
7:00 p.m.: Altamont Now!, dir. Joshua von Brown. Mark Clark is an investigative journalist who penetrates the underground world of rock revolutionaries who literally live under the ground of the California desert and the site of the notorious ’60s Rolling Stones concert. This is what happens when the youth really stage a revolution. (Read the review)

9:30 p.m.: Blood on the Highway, dir. Barak Epstein & Blair Rowan. Feature film. Three weary travelers stop off in Fate, TX, which isn’t such a great place to stop since it’s filled with vampires.

11:59 p.m.: Hot Rod Girls Save the World, dir. D.A. Sebasstian. A newspaper reporter goes to interview a pair of female hot rod racers and accidentally stumbles into a murder mystery filled with aliens and zombies.

Saturday, March 7th
4:00 p.m.: “Shorts Program I”

7:00 p.m.: Idiots and Angels, dir. Bill Plympton. An abusive alcoholic suddenly becomes a productive, positive member of society after he grows wings.

9:30 p.m.: The Burnt House, dir. Adam Ahlbrandt. A married couple, despondent after the death of their newborn, move back into the husband’s childhood home, which stirs up uncomfortable memories of the past.

Sunday, March 8th
4:00 p.m.: “Shorts Program II”

7:00 p.m.: Vampiro: Angel, Devil, Hero, dir. Lee Demarbre. The documentary chronicles the career of professional wrestler Vampiro, aka Ian Hodgkinson, as he embarks on an international tour of bodyslamming.

9:30 p.m.: Minghags the Movie!, dir. Bam Margera. A pair of trailer trash punks seeks revenge against the evil millionaire who has stolen their invention: The garbage juicer.

Monday, March 9th
7:00 p.m.: Detroit Rock City, dir. Adam Rifkin. Four rockin’ teenagers travel to Detroit by any means necessary to see their idols, KISS, in concert. Starring underground filmmaker Giuseppe Andrews.

Friday, March 13th
7:00 p.m.: Rockabilly Baby, dir. Ken Farmer. A piano player becomes a big rock star back during Rockabilly’s heyday. But will the sudden fame ultimately tear him down?

9:30 p.m.: Resurrection County, dir. Matt Zetell. Four suburbanites on vacation in the backwoods of the south run afoul of the crazed, murderous locals.

11:59 p.m.: Sex Galaxy, dir. Mike Davis. Using just public domain and stock footage, this lusty sci-fi adventure flings a crew of lonely astronauts towards a planet of insatiable women. (Read the review)

Saturday, March 14th
4:00 p.m.: “Shorts Program III”

7:00 p.m.: Homo Erectus (a.k.a. National Lampoon’s the Stoned Age), dir. Adam Rifkin. A caveman with a mind of his own yearns for a life after the discovery of fire.

9:30 p.m.: The Dark Backward, dir. Adam Rifkin. A humorless stand-up comic’s career takes a turn for the surreal when a third arm starts to grow out of his back.

Sunday, March 15th
4:00 p.m.: “Shorts Program IV”

7:00 p.m.: Strange Girls, dir. Rona Mark. Twin sisters who refuse to speak to strangers are released from a mental asylum and try to adjust to life in a lower class Pittsburgh neighborhood. They also try — and fail — to not kill their neighbors. (Read the review)

9:30 p.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.

For more info, please visit the official Backseat Film Festival site.

For this year’s award winners, please read this.