The CFF will offer many outstanding films from all genres for all ages
As February draws to a close, and winter appears to have passed Chattanooga by entirely, it’s time for a new dream of spring. The end of March promises not to go out like the traditional lamb as the Chattanooga Film Festival returns for its third year, bringing with it a cavalcade of new films, new guests, and new rumors.
The festival has announced the first wave of films to be featured, and like always, there is a wide variety of genres and subjects that can satisfy any and all fans of the silver screen, with many more announcements to follow in the coming weeks.
Each year the festival is an improvement on the previous, but nothing is ever solid until the week of the festival. 2014 gave us fantastic films like What We Do in the Shadows, Hard to Be a God, and The Tribe as well as notable guests like Elijah Wood and Joe Bob Briggs. Who knows exactly what this year will entail?
Chris Dortch, executive director and lead programmer of the festival says “Every year we challenge ourselves to raise the bar at CFF and create a bigger and better festival by bringing quality films to the Chattanooga area.” The last two years have shown that film fans can trust him at his word.
To kick things off, the festival is opening with I Saw the Light, a Hank Williams biopic starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. Dortch says: “Over the last two years at CFF, we’ve come to realize just how much folks love killer programming about music and musicians. In that spirit we are proud to kick off year three with a film we think folks are going to love.”
The film, like most biopics about musicians, follows the rise and fall of a touchstone cultural icon, examining the highs and lows of international success. The strength of the cast alone warrants inclusion and its inclusion gives Chattanooga residents an opportunity to, for once, see a fantastic film before its national release.
But I Saw the Light is just one of the announced films. The full list (as well as ticket information) can be found at chattanoogafilmfest.com, but below are a few highlights of the first wave of films.
It wouldn’t be the CFF without some exceptional genre film. Bad Blood is a creature feature in which a horrific amphibian attack leaves a woman infected with a mutagenic disease. She returns home with the cure, but the antidote to her affliction is mistaken for party drugs. Locked in her room without her medicine, she transforms into a hideous monster to give everyone a taste of their own.
Embrace of the Serpent
This film was an Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film and tells the story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman, and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant. It’s the type of film usually not seen in the Scenic City.
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Raiders! is a film that has existed in the wings of the internet for years, but should be seen by everyone. After Steven Spielberg’s classic film Raiders of the Lost Ark was released almost 35 years ago, three 11-year-old boys from Mississippi set out on what would become a seven-year labor of love and tribute to their favorite film: a faithful, shot-for-shot adaptation of the action adventure film. They finished every scene except one—the film’s explosive airplane set piece.
More than two decades later, the trio reunited with the original cast members from their childhood in order to complete their masterpiece. Featuring interviews with John Rhys Davies, Eli Roth and more, Raiders! is the story of the project’s culmination, chronicling the friends’ dedication to their artistic vision-mixed in with some movie magic-to create the greatest fan film ever made.
Boy & the World
This film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature Film and an indication of just how varied the festival is. The film tells the story of a little boy named Cuca who goes on an adventurous quest in search of his father. The CFF always includes films for fans of all ages.
The CFF is unique in that it is truly a festival for the people. It isn’t just the variety of films that set it apart from other festivals—it’s that the focus has always been bringing great films to Chattanooga so that anyone can see them. In an age when high quality entertainment is frequently reserved for people with a lot of disposable income, it’s great to see the variety of packages available for those of us with limited budgets.
From festival and day passes to individual ticket sales, anyone that wants to see these films has a chance. The CFF is, without a doubt, the best annual event in Chattanooga.