By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Read on for the full feature lineup and poster for the genre-blending fest.
The 2023 edition of the long-running Boston Underground Film Festival will take place March 22-26 at The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. The slate includes movies of every off-Hollywood type, including some eagerly awaited horror titles. The complete list of feature films showing at the fest follows:
THE UNHEARD—World Premiere/Opening Night Film (Jeffrey A. Brown, USA, 2023): In this haunting Massachusetts-set thriller, 20-year-old Chloe Grayden (Lachlan Watson, CHUCKY, CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA) begins to suffer from auditory hallucinations following an experimental procedure to restore her damaged hearing. Seemingly related to the mysterious disappearance of her mother, Chloe’s grasp on reality will rely on discerning between signal and noise. Director Jeffrey A. Brown and writers Shawn and Michael Rassmussen will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A!
NIGHTSIREN—East Coast Premiere (Tereza Nvotová, Slovakia/Czech Republic, 2022): A young woman returns to her native mountain village searching for answers about her troubled childhood, but as she tries to uncover the truth, ancient superstitions lead the villagers to accuse her of witchcraft and murder.
SPAGHETTI JUNCTION—East Coast Premiere (Kirby McClure, USA, 2022): August, a recently disabled Southern teen, sees a flash in the sky and begins having strange dreams that beckon her to a cave in the woods. There she encounters a mysterious injured young man called “The Traveler” who needs her help.
ENYS MEN—New England Premiere (Mark Jenkin, UK, 2022): Set in 1973 on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast, a wildlife volunteer’s daily observations of a rare flower turn into a metaphysical journey that forces her as well as the viewer to question what is real and what is nightmare.
DIVINITY—East Coast Premiere (Eddie Alcazar, USA, 2023): In another time, in another place, scientist Sterling Pierce (Scott Bakula) dedicated his career to searching for the answer to eternal life, over time creating a substance known as “Divinity.” Now Jaxxon Pierce (Stephen Dorff) controls and manufactures his father’s once-benevolent serum… Society on this barren planet has been entirely perverted by the supremacy of the drug, whose true origins are shrouded in mystery. When two mysterious brothers arrive with a plan to abduct the mogul, and with the help of a seductress named Nikita, they will be set on a path hurtling toward true immortality. Featuring Bella Thorne and executive produced by Steven Soderbergh, DIVINITY defies description and demands your attention.
HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE—New England Premiere (Daniel Goldhaber, USA, 2022): A crew of environmental activists plot a daring plan to disrupt an oil pipeline.
MISTER ORGAN—New England Premiere (David Farrier, New Zealand, 2022): Journalist David Farrier is drawn into a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious individual. Delving deeper, he unearths a trail of court cases, royal bloodlines and ruined lives, in this true story of psychological warfare.
MOON GARDEN (pictured above)—Massachusetts Premiere (Ryan Stevens Harris, USA, 2022): A comatose 5-year-old girl journeys through an industrial wonderland to find her way back to consciousness.
PIAFFE—New England Premiere (Ann Oren, Germany, 2022): When her sibling Zara suffers a nervous breakdown, introverted Eva is forced to take on Zara’s job as a foley artist. Suddenly, a horsetail starts growing out of her body.
SICK OF MYSELF—New England Premiere (Kristoffer Borgli, Norway/Sweden, 2022): Increasingly overshadowed by her boyfriend’s recent rise to fame as a contemporary artist creating sculptures from stolen furniture, Signe hatches a vicious plan to reclaim her rightfully deserved attention within the milieu of Oslo’s cultural elite.
SMOKING CAUSES COUGHING—Massachusetts Premiere (Quentin Dupieux, France, 2022): A group of vigilantes called the “tobacco-forces” is falling apart. To rebuild team spirit, their leader suggests that they meet for a week-long retreat, before returning to save the world.
THE ANGRY BLACK GIRL AND HER MONSTER—East Coast Premiere (Bomani J. Story, USA, 2023): Brilliant teen scientist Vicaria (THE EQUALIZER’s Laya DeLeon Hayes) theorizes that death is a curable disease and embarks on a dangerous journey to bring back her recently murdered brother.
STAND BY FOR FAILURE: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT NEGATIVLAND—New England Premiere (Ryan Worsley, USA, 2022): Documentarian Ryan Worsley explores cut-and-paste sonic social critics/sound collagists/pranksters Negativland, who have held a mirror up to media and culture and defied copyright laws from the fringes for the last 40+ years.
REBEL—New England Premiere/Closing Night Film (Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Belgium/Luxembourg/France, 2022): When Kamal resolves to change his life for the better, he leaves Belgium to help war victims in Syria. But, having arrived, he is forced to join a militia and is left stranded in Raqqa. Back home, his younger brother Nassim quickly becomes easy prey for radical recruiters, who promise to reunite him with Kamal. Their mother, Leila, fights to protect the only thing she has left: her youngest son. Filmmakers Adil & Bilall (BAD BOYS FOR LIFE and the recent, infamously shelved BATGIRL) deliver an immensely powerful and nuanced portrayal of a family torn apart over a little Muslim boy’s future that epitomizes a transformative cinematic experience.
Festival badges are available now and individual tickets will go on sale soon at the festival’s official website.