Paracinema Fest is the latest festival to claim space in Melbourne’s thriving cinema scene, and it’s here to open the city’s film lovers’ eyes to new boundary-pushing genre films from Thursday 29 November to Wednesday 5 December.
Embracing all forms of transgressive visual media culture, Paracinema Fest is the mutation of high and low art, conjoining cinema academia with (not) guilty pleasure films and everything in between.
The inaugural Paracinema Fest takes place over seven packed days at Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick, Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn, and Cameo Cinemas in Belgrave.
Highlights of the festival program include the Melbourne premiere of An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn starring Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, and Craig Robinson. Directed by Jim Hosking (The Greasy Strangler), the film tells the story of Lulu Danger, whose dissatisfying marriage is shaken up when a mysterious man comes through her town to perform an event called “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn; For One Magical Night Only.”
The zombie apocalypse hits World War II in the high-powered, pulse-pounding thriller Overlord. Following a team of American paratroopers in Nazi-occupied France with only hours until D-Day, Overlord has been described as Saving Private Ryan meets 28 Days Later after its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin. It was produced by J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and directed by up-and-coming Australian filmmaker, Julius Avery (Son of a Gun).
An unmissable title in the program is Luz, a German film that was director Tilman Singer’s thesis piece, and currently holds a 100% fresh rate on Rotten Tomatoes. An audacious feature debut, it tells the story of a young woman named Luz who works as a cab driver in a small town. Unfortunately for Luz, she has a demonic entity following her, determined to possess her. It won the Jury Award for Best Horror Feature at Fantastic Fest this year, and Paracinema Fest is its Melbourne premiere.
Paracinema spotlights the works of two very special underground filmmakers in two repertory double feature screenings. The first is The Films of Sarah Jacobson, which includes I Was a Teenage Serial Killer and Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore. A respected figure of the riot grrrl movement in 1990s New York, Jacobson wrote, produced and created her own films, which were praised by critic Roger Ebert as well as Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Featuring songs by seminal 90s punk bands including Heavens to Betsy, Mudhoney, Babes in Toyland, The Cosmic Psychos, and more, Jacobson’s films have been lovingly restored into 2K by the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA). This double feature is an international premiere.
The second double feature transports audiences to Wakaliga, a slum in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, affectionately known as Wakaliwood, and the birthplace of Uganda’s first action movie studio! The man at the heart of it all is filmmaker Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey (I.G.G), Uganda’s very own Quentin Tarantino. An action film fanatic, Nabwana has directed dozens of films with the help of his community, his DIY computing genius, and using materials from the local scrapyard. Screening at Paracinema Fest are his first film Who Killed Captain Alex? (reportedly made with a budget of $200), and Bad Black, which won the Audience Award for Best Feature at Fantastic Fest in 2016.
Paracinema Fest is proud to note that of the 18 films in the program, four are international premieres, six are Australian premieres, and three are Melbourne premieres. Significant premiere films include the AGFA Restoration international premiere of Something Weird directed by ‘Godfather of Gore’ Herschell Gordon Lewis; the Australian premiere of the MoMA 4K restoration of Basket Case; and the Australian premieres of The Dark presented by the Melbourne Horror Film Society, Keep an Eye Out directed by Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Mr Oizo), Possum directed by Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace), and You Might Be the Killer starring Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods) and Alyson Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
In addition to the exciting, avant-garde film fare, Paracinema Fest will also host a variety of fun events for audiences of all kinds. Kids who love putting things together and pulling them apart will delight in the robotics workshop presented by Young Engineers following a screening of the heartwarming animated film The Iron Giant (1999) on Sunday 2 December in the Lido Cinemas foyer. Later that day, there’ll be Dungeons & Dragons sessions running in the Lido foyer, and in the evening on Monday 3 December, the new Southside Jazz Room in Classic Cinemas will be broken in by Melbourne cult film night CineCultVHS with their compilation of nostalgic Australian VHS delights, titled ‘Video Tape Dreaming.’
To kick off the festival on Thursday 29 November, the screening of Quentin Dupieux’s Keep an Eye Out will be accompanied by complimentary champagne and oysters (audiences will understand the reference when they see the film!).
Boiling with energy, individuality, and fun, Paracinema Fest is ready to launch headlong into the abyss with the purest cinematic joy. Let’s get weird.
Dates: Thursday 29 November – Wednesday 5 December, 2018
Locations: Lido Cinemas Hawthorn, Classic Cinemas Elsternwick, Cameo Cinemas Belgrave.
Tickets: Standard: $21.50 / Concession: $17.50 / Pension: $13.50
Three film pass – $55 standard / $50 concession
Ten film pass – $160 standard / $145 concession
Full festival pass – $240 standard / $225 concession