A Taste of Middle Coast Film Festival (21 – 23 September 2018)

Written by Fiona Underhill

After four years in Bloomington, Indiana Middle Coast Film Festival has packed up and moved to Chicago where they’re putting on a killer programme that they can’t wait to share with a new audience.

Middle Coast Film Festival is hosted by The Davis Theatre, 4614 N Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL 60625

They show films in six categories:

  • Narrative Features
  • Narrative Shorts
  • Documentary Feature
  • Documentary Shorts
  • Episodic
  • Experimental

Their focus is to connect their filmmakers to a smart audience, who will for sure question what they just watched…which is why they come to film festivals in the first place. Middle Coast’s goal is to provide an inclusive, uplifting, and affirming community to makers and audience members alike. Join them on September 21-23 for great cinema from local, national, and international makers and irreverent panels.

Thank you to Programming Director Mylissa Fitzsimmons for providing the screeners to JUMPCUT – Mylissa is the gatekeeper of the festival, who brings the best submissions forward, places them in the perfect spot and then brings all these filmmakers together. Unfortunately we at JUMPCUT ONLINE do not have a Chicago correspondent yet, so our festival coverage has been done remotely. We have watched three narrative shorts and one episode from a web series, from the following categories:

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Getting Sh*t Done – Characters confronting all life’s obstacles thrown at them.

Gaze (dir. Farnoosh Samadi, Iran/Italy) – a woman witnesses a crime on a bus and faces a choice as to whether to speak up or hold her tongue. She must then live with the consequences of this decision. This is a very well acted short, with a good amount of tension to hold the viewer’s attention.

 

Funny Ha Ha – All things funny and absurd with shorts, web series and music videos.

Local Air – web series available on YouTube (dir. Josh Raby, USA) – this is a comedy series of 10 episodes about a morning TV show called Local Air. It brilliantly captures the cringey ways in which they try to fill the time with local news stories and ‘people of interest.’ The show is presented by married couple Gil and Sandra Cotton and in the first episode is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, when Sandra has some shocking on-air news for her husband. The best aspect of this show is the local commercials that come on during Local Air and a series that Gil does where he tries out local eateries. This is in the same vein of awkward TV as The Office and is really funny. Definitely worth giving it a shot on YouTube.

 

It’s Not That Scary Creepy, Freaky and Scary shorts.

Doris (dir. Hayder Hasen, UK) – a short that lulls you into a false sense of security before going completely batsh*t crazy – this horror is funny, shocking and goes in an unexpected direction. It is well constructed for a short and paces each of its sections well.

 

Lean into SexyAlluring, Seductive, Suggestive, and other strong emotions.

Parthenon (dir. Frank Mosley, USA) – the most ‘arty’ of this selection of shorts, focusing on an incredible central performance by Lily Baldwin. This short is in two halves – the first is reminiscent of Madeline’s Madeline and makes for uncomfortable viewing, it is difficult to watch. The second half is amazing and focuses on the connection between an artist and model in a life-drawing class.


So – there is much to discover at Middle Coast Film Festival, with a focus on female and LGBTQ filmmakers. Make sure you check it out, if you can!

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Grimmfest 2018: 10 Must-Sees!

Written by Sasha Hornby

GRIMMFEST, Manchester’s Festival of Horror, Cult and Fantastic Film, scheduled to take place from Thursday 4th October to Sunday 7th October at the ODEON Manchester, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The line-up was announced on Monday 3rd September, and this year promises “the darkest, deadliest line-up yet of wild, weird, witty, thrilling, chilling, blood-spilling movies.” Each film shown is a premiere (of some sort) or cult classic, many with cast and crew in attendance.

To honour 10 years of it being Grimm Up North, we pick our 10 must-sees from the wicked roster:

 

AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

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Northern Premiere showing Thursday 4th October at 8:45pm
UK / English / 2018 / 91 mins

Director: Johnny Kevorkian 
Cast: Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, Abigail Cruttenden, Kris Saddler, Holly Weston, David Bradley

It’s Christmas day, and one family wakes up to discover they’re sealed in their house by a mysterious black substance. On the television reads a single line of text: “Stay Indoors and Await Further Instructions.” The dysfunctional family, described as “the university-educated son and his Asian girlfriend, the horrible racist Grandad, the control freak father, the simpering doormat of a mother, the chav sister and her meathead boyfriend” are tense and confrontational around each other, not at all prepared for the strangeness of their situation. Shot in Yorkshire, and featuring mostly practical effects, this biting satire promises an unforgettable festive flick.

 

PLEDGE

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European Premiere showing Sunday 7th October at 12:25pm
USA / English / 2018 / 75 mins

Director: Daniel Robbins
Cast: Zack Weiner, Phillip Andre Botello, Zachary Byrd, Cameron Cowperthwaite, Aaron Dalla Villa, Jesse Pimentel, Erica Boozer

American films set in or around University Fraternities and Sororities are hardly new. PLEDGE takes the “geeky social misfits vs. privileged jocks and preppies” set-up and presents a no-holds-barred, cranked-up-to-eleven, savage look at arcane hazing rituals.

 

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (VUELVEN)

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Northern Premiere showing Friday 5th October at 9:15pm
Mexico / Spanish with English subtitles / 2017 / 83 mins

Director: Issa López
Cast: Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Tenoch Huerta

11-year-old Estrella has one desperate wish: for her missing mother to return home. As she joins a Lost Boys (Peter Pan) style gang of orphaned children in the violent, drug-war-torn, Mexican town where she lives, she learns some ghosts can’t be left behind, and the hardest battle is with bereavement. Brutal reality is given a whimsical twist through a child’s imaginative eye. Guillermo del Toro called Issa López’s haunting, artistic, urban fairy tale one of the finest films of the year – the highest of fantastical endorsements.

 

RE-ANIMATOR

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Cult Classic showing Thursday 4th October at 6:30pm
USA / English / 1985 / 86 mins

Director: Stuart Gordon
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, Robert Sampson, David Gale

With an introduction by Grimmfest 2018’s guest of honour, star Barbara Crampton, this screening of the original unrated version of the cult comedy classic is a ghoulish and gory start to the festival. A re-imagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird pulp novella, Stuart Gordon’s blackly comic tale of a medical student and his girlfriend experimenting with reanimating the dead is a masterwork of the macabre.

 

ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE

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Greater Manchester Premiere showing Sunday 7th October at 8:30pm
UK / English / 2017 / 109 mins

Director: John McPhail
Cast: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu

Described as “Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land”, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE is a Scottish Christmas high school zombie musical. Bloody, festive, delightfully charming – watch Anna and her friends slash and sing their way to survival in the zombie apocalypse.

 

NIGHTMARE CINEMA

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UK Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 4:30pm
USA / English / 2018 / 119 mins

Directors: Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamura, David Slade
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Elizabeth Reaser, Richard Chamberlain, Annabeth Gish

In this twisted horror anthology, five strangers are drawn into an abandoned theatre and forced watch their deepest and darkest fears play out before them. Each film introduced by creepy projectionist, Mickey Rourke, all 5 grim moral tales represent the style of their director. From Joe Dante’s ‘plastic surgery gone sideways’ fable to Alejandro Brugués’ sly take on the cabin-in-the-woods trope, there’s something horrifying for everyone.

 

THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW

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Northern Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 7:00pm
USA / English / 2018 / 77 mins

Director: Andy Mitton
Cast: Alex Draper, Charlie Tacker, Greg Naughton, Arija Bareikis, Carol Stanzione

An estranged father and son visit a rural gothic farmhouse in Vermont that has been purchased to flip. As renovations begin, the malicious spirit of the deceased previous owner makes it clear she doesn’t want them there, but also never wants them to leave. Part subtle ghost story, part emotional family drama, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW plays on the hardships and fears of raising a child in 2018, and includes the supernatural to stress the situation to a “nightmarish and genuinely heart-breaking” conclusion.

 

PIERCING

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Greater Manchester Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 12:30pm
USA / English / 2018 / 81 mins

Director: Nicolas Pesce
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Wendell Piece, Laia Costa, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Bond

Adapted from the cult novel by Ryū Murakami, PIERCING spins the source material into a satirical, body-horror, rom-com. Deriving it’s aesthetic and aural influences from Italian giallo films of the 1970s, a man with a sinister plan, to commit the perfect murder, checks in to a hotel to meet a call girl. He meticulously rehearses every detail, but is unprepared for the disturbed blonde who walks through the door.

 

SUMMER OF ‘84

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Northern Premiere showing Friday 5th October at 11:00pm
USA, Canada / English / 2017 / 105 mins

Directors: Fran­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­çois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Cast: Graham Vercher, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Grüter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer

From the directors or TURBO KID comes this 80s-set teen adventure with slasher-movie instincts. Echoing the structure of IT and STRANGER THINGS, four 15-year-old boys spend their summer investigating the policeman next door, who they suspect is a serial killer – because all serial killers have to be somebody’s neighbour, right? Featuring a synth score to ramp up the pastiche, SUMMER OF ’84 is more than just a re-tread of familiar themes, it’s actually scary.

 

GIRLS WITH BALLS

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European Premiere showing Thursday 4th October at 11:00pm
France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain / French with English subtitles / 2018 / 77 mins

 

Director: Olivier Afonso
Cast: Denis Lavant, Manon Azem, Dany Verissimo-Petit, Anne-Solenne Hatte, Camille Razat, Louise Blachére, Victor Artus Solaro, Tiphaine Daviot, Margot Dufrene

The Falcons, an all-girls volleyball team, find themselves stranded in the middle of cannibal hillbilly territory when their mini-van breaks down. Described as a “slyly feminist reinvention of the “Cheerleaders in Peril” scenario”, GIRLS WITH BALLS is a blood-soaked black comedy about the hunted becoming the hunters.

FRIGHTFEST: The Dark

Year: 2018
Directed byJustin P. Lange, Klemens Hufnagl
StarringNadia Alexander, Toby Nicholas

WRITTEN BY MEGAN WILLIAMS

The last film I saw at this year’s ‘Frightfest’ was an Austrian/British film called The Dark. The film is mainly set in one location and follows Mina, an undead girl who lives in the woods and feeds off human flesh. After meeting a blind abused boy called Alex that she decides to care for, she starts regaining human emotions, causing her to question herself.

I want to bring this up now before I continue the review: the plot details I was given before the film were a little misleading. I think, if I had gone in blind, I probably would have different opinions on it. Therefore, my review has been affected by this factor. The details I was given was that Mina is a ghoul that is cursed to haunt her childhood home. However, as you’ll see in the film, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Overall, I thought ‘The Dark’ was ok. The two main actors carried the film very well and they had good on-screen chemistry for the most part (although their acting was a little unbelievable in a couple of scenes). From the details I was given, I expected the film to be a fast-paced monster-esque movie. However, this film is a very slow paced, art-house style film. This works for the majority of the time, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this would’ve worked better as a fast-paced adventure. There were also a lot of shots that overstayed their welcome on the big screen, and this got tiring very quickly.

The Dark was an interesting idea that unfortunately didn’t completely work in its execution. The cinematography was beautiful but the shots stayed on-screen for far too long most of the time. This would be great to watch on the big screen, just for the cinematography, but that’s about it.

MEGAN’s RATING:

3

FRIGHTFEST: F.U.B.A.R

Year: 2018
Directed by: Ben Kent
Starring: Mark Heap, Sean Verey, Danny Kirrane, David Mumeni, Timothy
Renouf, Ewen MacIntosh

WRITTEN BY MEGAN WILLIAMS

Picture this: A weekend spent at a zombie-themed survival adventure with your best friends (and your Father-in-law) for your Stag do. Sounds great right? Nothing is going to go wrong at all…well, in Ben Kent’s new horror-comedy F.U.B.A.R (a military acronym for ‘F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition/Repair’), everything goes wrong!

This British film was fantastic and very funny; it has the humour and tone of Shaun of the Dead, which blends perfectly with the film’s premise. The cast were all great and they had fantastic on-screen chemistry. They also all had their own personalities and story arcs, making the film consistently entertaining and interesting, as we watched each character react and deal with the quickly unravelling situation differently. Mark Heap, who plays the straight-faced Father-in-Law and supposed ex-Navy veteran Gerald, was a standout, as well as Sean Verey, who plays the slightly awkward Groom-to-be Sam.

This scenario did unravel in a fairly fast-paced and humorous fashion, which worked to the film’s advantage, as it matched the crazy and on-going problems that the main characters faced.

The final act was where it started to falter a little, as the scenario became a little unbelievable, and the running time could’ve been cut by about 10-20 minutes. However, this film overall was a fun and hilarious ride into complete mayhem that echoes an Edgar Wright film. Make sure to check this one out when it is released.

MEGAN’S RATING:

4.5