After spending the past two years at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, the Chattanooga Film Festival is moving to Songbirds and plans to exploit the museum/venue's "sense of history" and "punk rock attitude," two things that festival founder Chris Dortch says are part of the film series' ethos.
This year's festival, for example, will conclude with the world premiere of filmmaker Rob Grant's "65 Days of Static," and not only will it be the first time that anyone in the world sees it, it will be the last.
After the screening, Grant will destroy the only copy of the film. The movie is a commentary on process versus product, according to Grant.
"I wouldn't call it 'destroying' a film," he said in a news release, "but with the amount of media available at our fingertips, I've just been getting this dread about how disposable it all feels. This is an experiment in taking that to an extreme conclusion.
"We aren't destroying a film, we are making it 'disposable'; we get to have a one-time-only experience on this planet with the people who make the effort to get out of bed and offer their time, money and energy at a festival that I think is at the forefront of championing unique projects, and that to me is special. I couldn't think of a better partner for this than the Chattanooga Film Festival, as they champion the same anarchistic/artistic flair I keep chasing."
Dortch said the festival, set for April 16-19, will use both the upstairs museum space and downstairs music venue at Songbirds, and that they are still figuring out ways to create a unique experience for attendees.
"Film screenings are the anchor, but every year we have tried to do something called sonic cinema where we feature music and film. We've had films like 'Saturday Night Fever,' 'American Graffiti,' 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' but also documentaries."
He said he believes people who have not been to Songbirds will immediately get the connection that music and history have in many films.
"That sense of history isn't lost on our guests, and they will literally be walking into an institution that is steeped in that. The energy of the Songbirds space is interesting because it has always had a DIY or punk-rock ethic to it."
Museum vice president Jimmy Kelley said Songbirds "is always looking for new ways to be a part of the community and to do cool things, really, and this will be fun."
In addition to the film screenings, the festival includes special guests. This year, Dr. Rebekah McKendry, host of the "Nightmare University" podcast, which takes a scholarly and entertaining deep dive into the topics and filmmakers that genre film fans love to talk about, will attend.
McKendry will be doing a "Nightmare University" presentation on the man some think of as the PT Barnum of film, director William Castle ("The Tingler," "House on Haunted Hill," "13 Ghosts").
Also, for the third year in a row, the "Shock Waves" crew is returning to CFF for a live taping of their popular horror podcast.
VIP badges are $200 and are on sale now at Chattfilmfest.org. Film-only badges for $140, day for $75 and individual tickets for $12 for films and events will be available in the coming weeks.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.