The very first edition of the North Bend Film Festival has announced its first wave of features to be screened in August. North Bend, Washington might not seem like the most exciting location for a film festival, but fans of David Lynch will recognize the town as the original shooting location for Twin Peaks. In true Lynchian fashion, films were selected based on their surrealist nature and multi-dimensional storytelling.
The festival will open with Profile, a computer screen thriller similar to Blumhouse’s Unfriended, based on a real life online ISIS investigation. Making their world premieres are Model Home, a story about a low-income family that descends into madness, and Annabellee, a chance for audience members to experience the world of a soothsayer (played by Ava Lee Scott) either in virtual reality or in-person. Speaking of which, there will be a VR showcase featuring disturbing—and informative— short films. Finally, there will be an Extra Ordinary showcase of short films that might have been inspirations for the bizarre eighth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return.
The North Bend Film Festival will run from August 23rd to the 26th. For more information, you can visit their website. And keep your eyes open for the second wave of films to be announced soon!
The titles and descriptions of the films and showcases can be found below.
Profile (Directed by Timur Bekmambetov)
West Coast Premiere
Amy, a struggling freelance journalist looking for her next big story, pitches her editor on investigating the recruitment of European women by ISIS. Pretending to be recently converted to Islam and using an alias, she creates an incriminating Facebook profile where she begins to like and share posts themed around islamic extremism. It doesn’t take long for Bilel, a Jihad fighter in Syria, to set his eyes on this seemingly vulnerable prey.
Black Mother (Directed by Khalik Allah)
Pacific Northwest Premiere
As Black Mother begins, like something out a dream, you’re thrust into some of the most intimate areas of Jamaica. What you’re met with volleys from educational to surreal. A large swath of folks ranging from religious leaders to sex workers and wide-eyed children engage with you directly; sonically, deeply introspective narrations from unidentified speakers are constant, with voices and unwieldy visuals sometimes totally out of sync with each other. Breathe easy, though: you’re in the hands of documentarian Khalik Allah, an emerging master of the form.
Braid (Directed by Mitzi Peirone)
West Coast Premiere
Two fugitive women elude capture and seek refuge at the estate of their rich and very much psychotic childhood friend (an unhinged Madeline Brewer in peak form) where they enter a terror-fueled game of make believe in a bid to rob the woman’s safe. A candy colored and hallucinogen-fueled lunacy binge, writer-director Mitzi Peirone’s feature debut takes you on an entrancing journey of insanity through its gorgeously framed imagery, vibrant palette and cryptic narrative riddles. An absolute visual feast, this tale of nefarious women trapped in a spiraling nightmare, caught between reality and fantasy, deftly balances themes of childhood connection, experience and the inescapable circular nature of life, all from an exciting new voice in genre cinema.
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Model Home (Directed by Patrick Cunningham)
A deserted housing development post-market crash sets the stage for this unique thriller based around “live-in staging,” where developers hire low-income families to decorate and maintain properties to attract potential buyers. For a Latina single mother and her imaginative young son, being allowed to live in a dream house rent free seems too good to be true. As the cruel summer rages on and the mother’s obsessive and unstable mental state emerges, so too does living the American Dream devolve into a waking nightmare. An unusual mix of dark comedy, woman-on-the-edge tropes and a dash of Twin Peaks weirdness, director Patrick Cunningham’s fascinating debut uses a diverse cocktail of genres to tell a tragic and singular vision that speaks to Hispanic American identity.
‘The Extra Ordinary’ Short Film Showcase
All My Life (1966)
Directed by Bruce Baillie
Directed by Matthias Müller
In Absentia (2000)
Directed by Stephen & Timothy Quay
Directed by Bruce Conner
VR Showcase (sponsored by AltSpaceVR and Microsoft MR)
After a couple’s car breaks down on the side of the road, they are forced to seek refuge in an ominous hotel manned by a mysterious bellhop. As they explore the dark crevices and secrets of its halls, the girlfriend begins to feel that something is off. As she dives deeper into the darkness, she fears that there is more than just getting their car fixed at stake.
Based on true events, this experience tells the story of Barney and Betty Hill, an interracial couple who in 1961 broke national news as the first reported extraterrestrial abduction in history. Trying to cope with the residual scars of their experience, they unexpectedly decide to seek out answers from an old tape recorder while hosting a dinner party.
Meeting A Monster
With a past steeped in hatred and prejudice, a former white supremacist journeys back in time and invites us to experience both the stereotypes and bigotry that lured her into the white power movement as well as the encounters that led her back out. Before she can help others change their ways, she must come to terms with a true monster: herself.
Museum of Symmetry
An absurdist mind-and-body romp through the highest clouds to the ocean deep, Museum of Symmetry is the explosive feel-good alter-universe of cartoonist and animator Paloma Dawkins—a room-scale VR experience with 2D animation in a 3D playground.
In this social VR experience, users will discover the oracle of AltspaceVR: Annabellee. Each Querent will be invited to her sacred space where, through the Major Arcana Tarot cards, she will reveal their past, present and future. This VR experience is one branch on the tree of life that makes up the Annabellee Experience, taking place across the festival weekend.
We’re Still Here
Struggling to preserve his cultural identity, an artist and historian from Boise, Idaho takes viewers on a journey to learn about what it means to be “Two Spirit,” a cultural term describing the fluidity of gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles across First Nations.