Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Haven Underground Film Festival Come to University of Hartford

The Fifth Annual New Haven Underground Film Festival
Takes Place On September 27 at the University of Hartford

WEST HARTFORD, CT, AUGUST 18, 2008 – The Fifth Annual New Haven Underground Film Festival is returning to Connecticut on Saturday, September 27, with a full-day slate of provocative, entertaining and just plain odd movies. The festival, which claims, “it is so underground that’s in not in New Haven,” will be held at the Wilson Wilde Auditorium at The Gray Conference Center at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. The program will run from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, and admission for the full-day event is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for seniors and students with ID.
This year’s event takes a different programming approach by offering three different categories of films. Part One celebrates “Skewered Perceptions,” with films that question how we see each other and ourselves. Among the titles being presented are “The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck,” the latest feature from veteran underground filmmaker Michael Legge, and “Icons,” Neal Thomassen’s wicked send-up of legendary pop culture figures.
Part Two of the festival explores “Reinventing the World,” which determines how people and places take on new identities in response to changing times. Among the films presented here are “Plan 9 from Syracuse,” the critically acclaimed documentary feature from Ryan Dacko, and “Greetings from Havre de Grace,” Mark Scalese’s off-beat documentary short.
Part Three of the festival is the “Directors Showcase,” honoring the work of two highly esteemed underground film artists. The festival will offer a very rare public screening of the “Harsh Light,” an award-winning 1997 short drama from E.B. Hughes, and the world premiere of “London Betty,” the latest feature from Thomas Edward Seymour.
University of Hartford student filmmaker Ryan Davis has a short appearing in the festival. “This is a chance to showcase the work of the Cinema Studies program at UHart,” Says Leslie Dallas, the festival’s managing director and an adjunct instructor in Cinema Studies. Ms. Dallas is a graduate of the prestigious UCLA film school and brings credits in features and television to her work with students. “It’s a pleasure to see students acknowledged.” Sarah Lasley, a student at Yale, also has a short in this year’s festival. The directors hope more students will submit work and use the festival as a showcase for up and coming creative talent.
“This year’s festival offers a rich mix of dramatic, comic, non-fiction and surreal offerings,” says Phil Hall, festival director, Film Threat contributing editor and author of the books “The Encyclopedia of Underground Movies” and “Independent Film Distribution.” “We are bringing in the finest new talent in underground cinema, including a pair of student filmmakers enjoying their first major exposure. Plus, we have major underground talent such as Michael Legge, E.B. Hughes and Thomas Edward Seymour represented here. The festival literally offers something for everyone.”
For more information, visit the festival’s web site at

(Full festival schedule is attached; high-res photos are available upon request).

The 2008 New Haven Underground Festival Schedule

Films that question how we see each other and ourselves

12:00pm Introduction by festival director Phil Hall.

12:05pm "The Pod" (Directed by Jeremiah Kipp, New York City). A young couple finds their relationship severely tested when they are introduced to a dangerous new drug. A disturbing psychological drama, starring cult filmmaker Larry Fessenden ("Habit," "Wendigo") as the unsavory drug dealer.

12:30pm "Icons" (Directed by Neal Thomassen, Manchester, CT). A distraught Santa Claus, financially strapped due to "outsourcing," tries to make ends meet by bringing in a pair of new roommates: the Easter Bunny and Cupid. A wickedly funny satire of cultural symbols, with unlikely guest appearances by various fairy tale, cartoon and comic book legends.

12:50pm "Dark Room" (Directed by Ryan Davis, Danvers, MA). A young would-be Romeo discovers that his latest conquest forgot to mention something important...she has a jealous husband! Student filmmaker Ryan Davis creates a taut, jolting mini-thriller.

1:00pm "The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck" (Directed by Michael Legge, Weymouth, MA). Veteran underground filmmaker Michael Legge's latest feature finds a mad scientist and his zombie sidekick in a new line of work: hosting a TV horror movie program. The film also includes an eye-popping 3-D sequence (special 3-D glasses will be provided for the screening).

Films that discover how people and places take on new identities

2:30pm "Gloria Mundi" (Directed by Sarah Lasley, New Haven, CT). Student filmmaker Sarah Lasley helmed this bold, audacious experimental short about a group of college students whose communication skills redefine the concept of person-to-person interactions.

2:45pm "Greetings from Havre de Grace" (Directed by Mark Scalese, Fairfield, CT). In this charming documentary, an unusual town name on an I-95 exit sign in Maryland leads filmmaker Mark Scalese to discover an enchanting seaside location that has repeatedly reinvented itself over the years.

3:10pm "Exposed" (Directed by Noah Cooper, New Haven, CT). A journalist who authored a harsh expose on corrupt cops suddenly finds himself running from the very, very long arm of the law. This compelling short film is fraught with stylish paranoia (and just who is that sexy lady in the sports car?).

3:20pm "Plan 9 from Syracuse" (Directed by Ryan Dacko, Syracuse, NY). How far would you go to get a Hollywood contract? Indie filmmaker Ryan Dacko took the long way – running from Syracuse, NY, to Hollywood in a bold attempt to gain the attention of a prominent producer. Along the cross-country route, he discovered an America he never knew existed – and an inner strength that he never tapped before.

A celebration of the finest in underground cinema

5:00pm "Harsh Light" (Directed by E.B. Hughes, Ocean City, NJ). One of the best short films of the past decade returns for a rare public screening. This gritty, award-winning 1997 production follows a washed-up boxer who finds himself in the middle of a drug ring turf battle. Harsh black-and-white cinematography and Stan Hunter's haunting jazz score beautifully frame this notable work of art.

5:25pm "London Betty" (Directed by Thomas Edward Seymour, Plainville, CT). Thomas Edward Seymour, whose "Land of College Prophets" won the Best Picture Award at the 2005 New Haven Underground Film Festival, returns with the world premiere of this enchanting comedy-adventure. Broadway actress Nicole Lewis ("Rent," "Hair") makes her feature film debut as a plucky British journalist whose first American assignment involves the investigation of a corrupt, perverted small town mayor. Daniel von Bargen ("Super Troopers," "Malcolm in the Middle") plays Betty's reclusive publisher, while Seymour co-stars as her petty thief boyfriend.

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