The CHATTANOOGA FILM FEST Is Going Digital And Their Lineup Rules

Joe Dante! Ice-T! GWAR! Phil and Meredith! Get in here!

Team BMD has never attended the Chattanooga Film Festival, but for years now we've been hearing good things. Fun premieres, amazing guests, cool rep programming. In a way, the CFF sounds a lot like Fantastic Fest (the reigning king of preferred BMD film festivals), and I mean that as a very high compliment. Cannes sounds cool, we guess, but what Team BMD really needs is a film festival where GWAR performs and Ice-T appears as a special guest. That's way more our speed.

This year's CFF has, like so many other events, been wildly thrown off-course by the ongoing COVID-19 debacle. The good news is, the good folks in charge of the CFF have regrouped and come up with an online version of the festival, one you'll be able to attend from the comfort of your very own home (no masks required, presumably!). And wait'll you see what kind of goodies they've lined up for "attendees".

Take it away, press release...

"The Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) along with its presenting sponsor Gunpowder & Sky’s ALTER and media partner, are thrilled to announce their innovative lineup of features, panels and live events set for May 22 to May 25. In unprecedented times, the festival is offering a full-access badge price of $30 and divvying up a portion of the proceeds back to participating filmmakers.

A mix of iconic guests are taking part in the festival, including LAW & ORDER: SVU star, hip-hop visionary, and frontman of the heavy metal band Body Count Ice-T, who will be  joining acclaimed filmmaker and cinematographer Ernest Dickerson (DO THE RIGHT THING, DEMON KNIGHT, JUICE), for a rare conversation revisiting their cult classic SURVIVING THE GAME.

CFF also welcomes the return of its patron saint Joe Bob Briggs for a timely talk with filmmaker/producer Mick Garris on the making of Stephen King’s pandemic classic: THE STAND. Defying genres, CFF will feature a most excellent discussion from acclaimed filmmaker Alex Winter, who will offer a deep dive into the years-long process of making his new documentary ZAPPA. Also in store is a one-of-a-kind appearance from GWAR, who will be taking live questions directly from the fans, as CFF honors the 30th anniversary of their legendary metal record SCUMDOGS OF THE UNIVERSE.

One of the festival’s highlights this year is filmmaker Joe Dante, who will be presented with CFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award. With an iconic and beloved filmography, including classics such as THE HOWLING, GREMLINS and THE BURBS, fans won’t want to miss the in-depth discussion of his storied career."

"On the features side, CFF is thrilled to present the world premiere of Nicholas Ashe Bateman’s THE WANTING MARE, executive produced by Shane Carruth (UPSTREAM COLOR) and Lawrence Inglee (SWISS ARMY MAN). This hauntingly beautiful film revolves around an imaginary world and a line of women that pass a recurring dream down through multiple generations. Bateman will also present World-Building in Independent Film: Visual Effects Tools for Low Budget Filmmakers, in which he will trace the production process and the digital journey of bringing THE WANTING MARE to life.

For the bloodthirsty crowd, CFF will be unleashing the world premiere of SKULL. Born out of the pioneering genre festival Fantaspoa and its first-ever marketplace, this mystical Brazilian bloodbath covers the Sao Paulo streets with splatter to spare. Filmmaker Kapel Furman channels his inner Jason Voorhees with the story of an ancient mask that possesses the human form to commit visceral sacrifices of vengeance for the incarnation of its god.

The festival will also showcase one of its favorite up-and-coming film distributors, Dark Star Pictures, with a selection of celebrated films that stand among the best and most unique works thus far in 2020. First of those titles is JUMBO. Starring Noémie Merlant (PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE), the film debuted at Sundance and earned rave reviews. The team behind Fantastic Fest, one of the world’s best genre festivals that has been like family to CFF, is on board to present an audience favorite from its 2019 festival, filmmaker Mickey Reece’s CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER.

Longtime CFF collaborator Shudder is offering a special director’s commentary from FX legend Greg Nicotero on his CREEPSHOW episode “Gray Matter,” and is also getting in on the act with a handful of frightening flicks, including THE BEACH HOUSE. Jeffrey A. Brown’s film is the kind of smart sci-fi horror sure to please fans of Richard Stanley’s recent COLOR OUT OF SPACE adaptation and Stephen King’s THE MIST alike."

"CFF is proud to have FANGORIA, one of the most beloved brands in horror, as part of their panels with editors Phil Nobile Jr. and Meredith Borders presenting How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Publish the Summer 2020 FANGORIA.

CFF 2020 will see the triumphant return of screenwriter and author Clay McLeod Chapman, who will be back to present THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW, an event that was without a doubt the sleeper hit of last year’s festival. Chapman will also conduct a writer’s workshop. Also returning are CFF fan favorites Dr. Rebekah McKendry, Rob Galluzzo, Elric Kane and Ryan Turek with their Shock Waves Podcast, the Junkfood Cinema Podcast with critic Brian Salisbury and Marvel Studios screenwriter Robert Cargill, and the maiden CFF voyage of the popular Screen Drafts Podcast. Additional events like Cowboy Who and Scripts Gone Wild are also a part of the fun.

Behind the scenes, CFF is excited to welcome Josh Goldbloom, founder of Cinepocaylpse, as Artistic Director, whose passion for genre cinema is eclipsed perhaps only by his sense of anarchy. “We’ve always prided ourselves not just on the quality of the films we showcase, but also the live events and the community they created,” Executive director and lead programmer Chris Dortch II says. “Josh understands this, and has helped us turn our virtual version into something we are confident attendees will never forget.”

Equally exciting is that Tim Reis, Paul Katzman, Mike Bremen, John Manfredi and Mike Morgan of Media Team are joining the CFF family. The team will be collaborating with Silver Scream’s Shane Morton, (creator of MANDY’s ‘Cheddar Goblin,’) to design and build an unforgettable set for the live studio and official HQ for virtual CFF. “When we knew we wanted the live elements of this project to be something truly special, Media Team was our first call,” Dortch says. “They share our desire to make this event feel like something no one has ever experienced before and we can’t wait to lay their work on our 2020 audience.”

Viewers in the United States will be able to purchase badges via Badges will be available for purchase on Friday, May 15th, with All-Access Badges priced at $30 and a VIP option for $100 that comes with some additional titles and special events. Single-Day Access badges will be available for $10, and are good for 24 hours from the time of purchase. On Friday, May 22, the CFF 2020 Virtual Fest will go live at, where badge holders will log in and watch features, shorts and live events with their peers. To be alerted when badges go on sale, sign up at"

All of this stuff sounds exciting to us. GWAR? Ice-T on SURVIVING THE GAME? Joe frigging Dante? Hell, they've even got our ol' pals Phil Nobile Jr. and Meredith Borders in there. This is gonna be a treat, and we look forward to checking it out when it starts going live on May 22nd. If you, too, would like to see what the CFF's up to this year, don't forget to grab an online badge when they go on sale tomorrow (May 15th) via the link embedded above.