Boston Underground Film Festival returns to Harvard Square with five days of cinematic treasures including an array of shorts, music videos, features, and much more. Ashlea Wessel’s haunting INK provides a strong aperitif of pregsploitation horror to opening night feature film Prevenge, by Alice Lowe. Gabriel Olson’s stunner, The Bridge Partner, stars Beth Grant (Donnie Darko, No Country for Old Men) as a timid housewife jolted into a fight for her survival or sanity, a pitch perfect pairing with closing night feature film, Marianna Palka’s Bitch.
Computer Fighters, gets big-screen treatment, the latest comedic jam from YouTuber’s Neil Cicierega, Kevin James, and Ryan Murphy. Our all-New England mainstay shorts block brings attention to, Homegrown Horror, featuring Anna Gravél’s harrowing Fractal, Stee McMorris’s gooey Strange Harvest, and Ben Swicker’s fantabulous The Dissolving Man. BUFF is also proud to host two shorts in the lineup from horror maven Izzy Lee: For a Good Time Call can be found creeping around the Trigger Warning transgressive midnight shorts program, and her latest, Rites of Vengeance precedes Skip Shea’s equally unholy feature debut, Trinity.
Other programs in this year’s lineup explore fantastic feats of animation (Shorts Block: Get the Balance Right), collection of international shorts examining the human condition (Shorts Block: Disordered States), a block dedicated to intensely funny shorts, Don’t Look Back into the Sun, hosted by comedian Kevin Harrington, and a dazzling array of genre-bending music videos.
BOSTON UNDERGROUND SHORTS LINEUP
Shorts Block DISORDERED STATES:
A TOWN CALLED THEOCRACY
Jehad Al-Kateeb, Syria/USA, 15 min.
Boy and girl meet cute through the magic of municipal overreach.
Carrie Drzik, USA, 4 min.
The delightful tale about a plucky young heroine left to her own devices.
MARGINAL CIRCUS EMBASSY
Oliver Kowalczyk, Spain, 10 min.
We can’t always hide our anxiety and loneliness with costumed pool parties.
Brooke Paxton, Australia, 14 min.
A German Expressionist ode to pantomime and our desperate need to please another at our own expense.
Marinah Janello, USA, 5 min.
Krampus can spy you. But that doesn’t mean you can spy on Krampus.
Giannis Vlahopolous, Greece, 14 min.
Those who control the money may also be controlling your outrage.
YOU CAN’T ESCAPE
Goirick Das, USA, 3 min.
Ding dong ditching—or the endless cycle of running from our fears and ourselves.
Stephane Lapointe, Canada, 12 min.
After he hears a man scream within the calming sea of a relaxation radio station, sleep deprivation is the least of Henry’s problems.
BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION
Tim Woodall, UK, 15 min.
The brief hijacking of a TV signal leads a lonely, grief-wracked video archivist onto an obsessive quest for meaning.
Comedy Shorts Block DON’T LOOK BACK INTO THE SUN:
Chris McInroy, USA, 5 min.
A metalhead gets passed down a satanic guitar that riffs to shreds.
CALLING IN DEMONS
Porcelain Dalya, USA, 8 min.
Instead of calling out of work sick, Daphne finds that she has demons in her home.
Alex Grossman, USA, 11 min.
After her bizarre addiction to eulogize is discovered, a troubled young woman fights to prove her sanity while attempting to survive group therapy.
Tara Price, USA, 5 min.
A lonely man does battle with a relentless piece of music.
IDIOMS ORIGINS ANOTHER TALE
Jim McDonough, USA, 6 min.
According to the legend, each and every idiom came to be after happening in real life. These stories have never been told. Until now
Kevin James & Neil Cicierega & Ryan Murphy, USA, 22 min.
When the local rich kid begins to hog a new groundbreaking video game at the arcade, it’s up to Ryan, Neil, and Kevin to stop him.
Eric Maira, USA, 8 min.
A date night turns ugly when a persistent boyfriend offers to buy his girlfriend a monkey.
Zachary Fleming, USA, 12 min.
Rob just wants some quality alone time. So does the apartment he rented.
Laurence Rosier Stanies, Australia, 7 min.
if the fourth dimension is time, what would a real 4D printer look like? A time machine? A black hole?
Mark Kuczewski, UK, 6 min.
One man’s quest to rekindle his love with his zombie bride.
Jeanne Jo, USA, 7 min.
When Miranda makes bad decisions about her love life, a possessed tampon enters to take care of business.
Brandon Daley, USA, 10 min.
Will Gillman sets out to impress his date by bringing her to a chicken photography competition at a local bar. From the director of last year’s Savasana.
Animated Shorts Block GET THE BALANCE RIGHT:
THE PAST INSIDE THE PRESENT
James Siewert, USA, 12 min.
A couple replays the same encounter day after day.
Veselin Efremov, Sweden, 6 min.
A criminal wakes to find he has been stripped of his body and placed into a machine.
Luke Liberty, USA, 2 min.
Strange things are afoot in the dark of the forest.
Renee Zhan, USA, 11 min.
A bird and her boyfriend are seemingly happy until she wants more.
Eileen O’Meara, USA, 3 min.
Maybe you did leave the coffee on; maybe your house plants are gaslighting you.
LILLY HITS THE ROAD
The Bum Family, Canada, 5 min.
An adventure of a 10 foot tall orange monster and her friend Fluffle.
ROGER BALLEN’S THEATRE OF APPARITIONS
Emma Calder & Ged Haney, UK, 5 min.
The theatre of the subconscious; sex and death cavort for the audience’s amusement.
Adebukola Bodunrin & Ezra Claytan Daniels, USA, 13 min.
On a distant space station, a scientist becomes obsessed with the pocket universe she is monitoring.
THE HISTORY OF MAGIC: ENSUEÑO
Jose Luis Gonzalez, USA, 5 min.
In a small Texas town, a teenage girl’s imagination transforms her bike ride home.
Dianne Bellino, USA, 15 min.
A wolf just wants to party with some bunnies, but there is something under her skin.
John F. Quirk, USA, 3 min.
Lookout! Space alien Attack!
Midnight Shorts Block TRIGGER WARNING:
Brian Harrison, Japan/USA, 11 min.
The soul of a sadistic killer posses the body of his identical twin, and is out for vengeance.
Jean Claude Leblanc, Canada, 9 min.
Can a man resist the pull of the suicide chair?
Izzy Lee, USA, 12 min.
Maybe you shouldn’t.
Bruce James, USA, 14 min.
Faith will do some crazy thing to you, down in the buckle of the bible belt.
Celine Held & Logan George, USA, 11 min.
Two cokeheads come up with an uniquely opportunistic way to stick it to the man. Held and George are a filmmaking duo to keep an eye on.
THE LOWER RACE
Graham Roberts, USA, 10 min.
In the near future, when our toxic earth is ruled by giant ants, one part-human warrior is all that stands against total Insecta domination.
Francisco Lacerda, Portugal, 17 min.
Get ready for the trashiest sequel of the year!
Jonty Williment-Knowles, USA, 5 min.
A troubling love story told through a broken lens.
Salamo Manetti-Lax, USA, 15 min.
As an Alien walks the sun drenched landscape of Los Angeles, it encounters a slew of angry inhabitants mirroring various facets of LA society. A nice little message picture.
New England Horror Shorts Block HOMEGROWN HORROR:
Hannah Neurotica, Vermont, 3 min.
A little girl’s nightmares manifest in her toy collection.
Kyle Johannessen, Massachusetts, 10 min.
A scorned woman has a special plans for her lecherous harassers.
Anna Gravél, Maine, 14 min.
A woman’s return to her childhood home releases terrible memories.
Stee McMorris, Massachusetts, 6 min.
A pair of strangers awaken to find themselves imprisoned in a bizarre alien goo.
Ben Swicker, Massachusetts, 20 min.
An aimless young adult finds his life literally disintegrating before his eyes.
THE PRICE OF BONES
Brandon Taylor, Massachusetts, 10 min.
A pair of women go to disturbing lengths to achieve a socially-desired body type.
THE CALL OF CHARLIE
Nick Spooner, Rhode Island, 14 min.
A Lovecraftian creature makes things awkward for guests at a dinner party.
Christine Louise Marshall, Maine, 13 min.
A funeral holds more than sadness for the spurned mourners gathered there.
Shorts Playing with BUFF Features:
Peter Bolte, USA, 11 min.
Walden sits on a park bench as an endless stream of religious proselytizers, process servers, and angry bartenders distract him from from finding peace and clarity to his repetitive and draining existence. From BUFF alum Peter Bolte (Dr. Sketchy’s) and starring David Yow of The Jesus Lizard.
Andrea Niada, United Kingdom, 25 min
A domineering mother and her inquisitive daughter engage in unusual acts of faith in an attempt to cajole an attic-bound pater familias back from the dead.
THE BRIDGE PARTNER
Gabriel Olson, USA, 14 min
A timid housewife is jolted into a fight for her survival or sanity by her new partner at a weekly bridge game when she thinks she hears a whispered threat.
FROM THE DIZZINESS OF FREEDOM: THE PHILOSOPHY VESSEL
A visualization of the strategies people incorporate to find meaning in their lives inspired by the mythology and functions of mazes and labyrinths across history.
THE QUANTIFIED SELF
Gleb Osatinski, USA, 16 min
Lozinski, Clare and their daughters Daniela1 and Daniela2 prepare for the girls’ first trip to a The Pillar, which gives meaning to their highly ordered lives. But The Pillar takes and gives and when it blesses the family with a new addition, it takes from them in ways they can’t anticipate.
Ashlea Wessel, Canada, 10 min
A traumatized woman seeks penance and personal transformation through tattooing after surviving a devastating pregnancy. One night, drenched in booze and ink, her deepest fears threaten to consume her.
THREE POINT DYNAMICS
Keaton Smith, USA, 15 min.
An alcoholic, theoretical physicist seeks to right the wrongs of his past by applying his unified theory to reality.
Michael Elliott Dennis, USA, 17 min.
A bereaved pet owner, on the suggestion of a stranger in a bar, resorts to a mobile app to help him find closure.
AN ELDRITCH PLACE
Julien Jauniaux, Belgium, 17 min.
Terror grips a man keeping watch over an erratic researcher’s late night experiments.
RITES OF VENGEANCE
Izzy Lee, USA, 5m
Nuns’ justice comes, their will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
TROLL: A SOUTHERN TALE
Marinah Janello, USA, 12 min.
An eccentric artist navigates self-expression through his experiences living and growing up in the South.
Lori Felker, USA, 15 min
When Tabitha moves back “home” to the house she shared with her long-distance boyfriend Stephen, their reunion is interrupted by communication problems, neighbors, and a clowder of cats.
BOSTON UNDERGROUND MUSIC VIDEOS
Carlos Lopez Estrada
Josh Thomas & Darcy Prendergast
“Ten Year Tenure”
Lara Jean Gallagher & Brian Kinkley
Bonobo & Nick Murphy
“Bury the Body”
Ruby Rose Fox
Ruby Rose Fox & Dave Brophy & Roger Metcalf
“Ya Ya Ya”
“Big Dead Heart”
Pat Breen & Cameron Keiber
“Overcame the Sun”
Julian Clark & Adam Hersko & Matt Twohig
“Dropped Bench Press”
“Back Around, Devil”
“Black Man In A White World”
Martin C. Pariseau
“Blood in Love”
Pierre Teulieres & Milo Gony
Ewan Jones Morris & Casey Raymond
“I Wanna Prove To You”