AUSTIN, Texas—If you’re not a unchanging Fantastic Fest attendee or a footman of folks like Richard Linklater or Wes Anderson, it may warn you just how much Austin, Texas, loves film. Just know there’s a reason major film outfits like the Alamo Drafthouse and Mondo started and attain here.
Within this disreputable cinema town, maybe no eventuality outpaces the annual Austin Film Festival Conference. It’s a non-profit-led, eight-day film adore event with panels clinging to screenwriting (both unsentimental attention recommendation and folks like the organisation behind Arrival pity discernment on crafting plausible sci-fi) and a wide-reaching film program. This year, buzzy A-list work like Armie Hammer’s Call Me By Your Name or Margot Robbie’s I, Tonya shared the report with “documentaries” about Apollo 18, tangible documentaries on famed domestic cartoonists, and a slew of eccentric filmmakers (from both Texas and beyond).
That last difficulty held a eye in sold since of an unexpected overarching theme—curses. Among the handful of films we managed to catch, many relied on an inexplicable, abnormal feeling to bring the story together. Luckily, nothing of ‘em left us muttering the four-letter accumulation on the way out. Instead, any took a informed code of meaningful abuse and used it within a new context.
Time for all the films in Time Trap
Ben Foster and Mark Dennis, the Texas organisation behind Time Trap (and former festival heavenly Strings), evidently grew up on the same ‘80s cinema many of us did. An educational archaeologist has a dangerous office in mind that may or may not engage an illusory relic. A organisation of kids takes on an journey incomparable than they could fathom in sequence to save a friend. And as partial of a school project, students inadvertently finish up with people from mixed time durations using around within the same space.
Those ideas happened in apart ‘80s films, of course—but Time Trap audaciously strives to brew ‘em all together in a not-so-straightforward journey flick. The Indiana Jones-ish highbrow here is named Professor Hopper, and he knows of a internal civic fable that involves an whole family left blank while exploring a cavern somewhere nearby. Hopper tells a organisation of his best students that he thinks he’s recently found the spot. And when the highbrow shortly goes wordless for several days, the students (along with their child kin and her friend) unexpected must take up the search, too.
Time Trap wears its inspirations on its sleeve and has fun doing it. For instance, the younger sibling’s companion is a rotund, long-haired, irritating child nicknamed Furby. When he expresses a bit of excitability about dropping down into a cave, tyro Taylor has a winky line prepared and waiting. “Relax,” he tells Furby. “It’s not The Goonies.” (“What’s The Goonies?” the child asks. “You do demeanour like Chunk,” another tyro replies.) The film also references the Holy Grail/fountain of youth, and at slightest one impression possesses an Indiana Jones-and-snakes-like fear of spiders.
The abuse in Time Trap comes into play late in the film after the organisation of students successfully deciphers accurately what is happening to people when they enter this cave. (That routine happens by some crafty deductive logic around smart phone footage.) It doesn’t spin the film tonally into a horror; it doesn’t substitute for any surpassing lesson. Instead, Time Trap’s abuse is eventually what allows its dizzying array of sundry genre-inspirations to co-exist within a singular story. Without spoiling anything, even if you can envision this twist, you can’t envision how it winds up for a present-day heroes. As a awake story, it mostly works. But what you’ll walk divided admiring many is the film’s ambition.
Time Trap is now within the film festival circuit, including a Jan screening at Japan’s Yubari Fantastic Fest. Follow its Facebook page for future screening dates, placement news, and evidently an publicity from Kathie Lee.
Listen and die with Chasing The Blues
Stop us if you’ve listened this one before—a accursed piece of media causes bad things to start to anyone who comes in hit with it. However, Chasing The Blues is clearly not like The Ring. Instead, this film takes the same simple abuse judgment and transports it into a comedy about vinyl-obsessed music nerds.
Back in the late 1980s, Alan taught music story at a internal Chicago school. And his favorite shop in the city, located on the other side of town, belonged to Paul. The two share of a adore of blues, and it’s fast clear they’re frenemies at best. “This is the people’s music,” Paul tells Alan as the latter flips by the stacks and complains about the asking cost for what he sees as walking records. “A blues posh is an oxymoron; a white blues posh is just a moron.”
One day, Alan gets a tip that an aged black lady nearby Paul’s shop recently lost her husband… who left behind a giant vintage record collection. Even better, this collection is rumored to enclose a ultra-rare duplicate of Jimmy Kane Baldwin’s only single, “O Death, Where’s Thy Sting?” It’s one of just 4 pressings in dissemination because, well, the people in that studio back in the 1930s all mysteriously died shortly after the recording session. Unbeknownst to the studio exec or event musicians, Baldwin was wanted for murder in Louisiana when he beelined up to Chicago to record. Evidently, certain listeners can hear screams in the credentials of the chorus, and those people customarily humour tragedy shortly after.
Chasing The Blues mostly focuses on the love/hate attribute between Alan and Paul and how the twin encounters some-more and some-more absurd bad happenings in office of the accursed record. (Luckily, Grant Rosenmeyer, aka one of The Royal Tenenbaums kids, and Ronald L. Conner work together charmingly as Alan and Paul.) On the milder end, the twin ends up spending the better partial of a week vital with this aged lady in sequence to cater her for the manuscript (and safeguard the other man doesn’t do it first). “These aren’t worth much anymore, people are switching to compress discs—digital is the future,” Alan tells the lady at one point. “It sounds like you’re in the room with musicians, and we hear they last forever. In 100 years, you’ll still have the same albums you have today.”
The story bounces around time durations while crime and death occur. But Chasing the Blues keeps its assembly smirking via as these two adults try to screw any other over a record that would presumably hurt them anyway. “I can’t explain because this presumably cursed-by-the-devil record done me pierce into someone else’s apartment, done me desert my own life,” Alan tells someone on a train after in the film. Well, that’s simply what curses do, Alan. They work in puzzling ways.
Chasing The Blues is now within the festival scene, including an arriving screening at the Anchorage International Film Festival in Alaska. Follow its Facebook page for notices about arriving screenings or placement announcements (the film has also gathered its referenced blues marks in a Spotify playlist; you’ve been warned about “O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?”)
Life and curses in Meerkat Moonship
Meerkat Moonship may likely be the many normal abuse film we held at AFF 2017, or, at slightest it seems like a normal abuse movie. But South African filmmaker Hanneke Schutte’s still film offers some-more abyss and dexterity than other tales of the immature and ill-fated.
We meet immature Gideonette as she’s examination encampment museum with her father, and the prolongation tells the story of a internal beast that preys on immature kids in the woods. But the beast on theatre shortly appears to be a metaphor—off-stage, the internal encampment is assured the name Gideon is what’s cursed. Several before Gideons in city met early and hapless demises, so Gideonette’s preacher/father named her as such to denote to his parishioners that this was BS.
Gideonette primarily believes her father, but solemnly her certainty erodes. A series of hapless events leads Gideonette to fear some kind of beast constantly sneaking around the corner, conveniently looking like the troll-ish thing from the play. After being shipped to her grandparents to get divided from the poisonous community, she’s frightened to even step outside.
That is, until she meets immature Bhubesi. Bhubesi is a younger deaf child who lives down the street from Gideonette’s grandparents, and he has been operative with Grandpa on a longterm plan to build a spaceship that looks like a meerkat (and may be an impracticable treehouse to non-believers). Bhubesi constantly carries his space helmet and a cover with his illustrated wanderer plans around, fearlessly enjoying the many wooded areas in the area but fear of wildlife, creaky bridges, or sleazy rocks on the water.
Gideonette primarily only watches Bhubesi’s adventures from her window, but the kid’s desirable antics and consistent invitation eventually help shake the girl out of her fear of the unknown. The adventures these two go on—interspersed with behind-the-scenes conversations Grandpa and Grandma have about the encampment and Gideonette’s parents—represent the strongest tools of the film. (Meerkat Moonship filmed in a rain timberland in Limpopo, South Africa, and the environment is as lifelike as you’d expect). Imagination and fraternisation concede a immature girl to have her childhood back following tragedy, and her caring grandparents discuss how much reality to let trickle into this dream journey throughout.
But like all of these films, curses infer to be curses for a reason—bad things does suddenly happen. No beast has been after Gideonette this whole time, but life itself proves it can be monstrous: death lurks over everybody to several degrees, even the adults we trust many (and seem many sane) can tumble chase to illness or paranoia, and all adventures finish (even those involving hypothetical meerkat-like spaceships). Yet no matter how dim it gets for Gideonette, Meerkat Moonship does not allow to anarchy in the end. Instead, she perseveres by a severe patch with the support of friends and desired ones. Growing up can be both a abuse and a blessing, after all.
Meerkat Moonship is now on the festival circuit. Follow along with its Facebook page for future information on screenings and distribution; its South African premiere is Mar 16, 2018.
Listing picture by Film Factory