My third day covering this year's online Chattanooga Film Festival featured two Sasquatches, a bizarre beauty shop, and one of my favorite directors.
First, I screened The Vice Guide to Bigfoot, director Zach Lamplugh's comedy about a reporter for Vice (Brian Emond) who gets assigned to spend a few days in the woods with a Bigfoot hunter. The creature of the title is actually a minimal part of the story, which focuses more on the reporter's dissatisfaction with the type of stories he's made to cover. This movie is an example of the anti-humor trend that's popular in some quarters. The idea is that there aren't really a lot of jokes; the anticipation of a punchline that never arrives is what's supposed to be funny. I don't quite get that style, so I found The Vice Guide to Bigfoot more of a curious experiment than a laugh-fest.
Later in the day, I watched the recording of an interview with director Joe Dante, who was the recipient of CFF's Lifetime Achievement Award this year. It aired live on Saturday, but I wasn't able to catch it at the time. Dante is a filmmaker whose work I've long admired, and the conversation didn't disappoint. He went through his entire career, discussing hits like Gremlins, movies that found their audience on DVD (Innerspace, The Burbs), and pictures that were marred by studio interference (Explorers, Looney Tunes: Back in Action). Dante was always candid and often very funny. This retrospective of his career offered an exceptional look at how an idiosyncratic director fares in the Hollywood system.
Finally, I spent a little time diving into the short films. Beauty Juice is about a young woman who goes to a secret invitation-only beauty shop. Something about the clientele in the waiting room seems sinister to her – for good reason. Director Natasha Halevi sets a darkly funny atmosphere and delivers a wicked payoff. I liked this one a lot.
Low is a short film/music video for the band Smoke Season. It features a Bigfoot trying to fit in at a house party. The cheesy Sasquatch suit is funny, and the song is pretty catchy. Disco Graveyard, meanwhile, is 1.5 minutes of strange images (creepy dolls, stuff burning) followed by 1.5 minutes of stylish disco-related imagery. I'm a fan of weirdness for its own sake, so I dug this, even if I'm not entirely sure what it was about.
For Day Four, I plan another feature, some more shorts, and hopefully a look at the "top secret" live event taking place. I'll file a report soon. For more on the Chattanooga Film Festival, or to purchase passes, please visit ChattFilmFest.org.