Cinedelphia Film Festival curates an annual esoteric cinematic collection

5 minute read
The Legend of the Stardust Brothers premieres as part of the festival. (Photo retrieved via IMDB.)
The Legend of the Stardust Brothers premieres as part of the festival. (Photo retrieved via IMDB.)

Beginning April 11 until April 20, the Cinedelphia Film Festival is hosted in the neighborhood known as the Eraserhood,said to be the inspiration for David Lynch’s 1977 film, Eraserhead. If that doesn’t pique your interest level, maybe the venue, The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA) will. As a former showroom of tombstones and crypts, there probably is not a more perfect venue to screen alternative cinema, from eccentric rarities to outlandish romps.

This is a festival run by cinephiles for cinephiles, curated by PhilaMOCA’s programmer and director, Eric Bresler. Audiences get the chance to view many films that are not only making their Philadelphia premieres, but are immensely difficult to track down. Unlike most fests that induce anxiety over scheduling conflicts, Cinedelphia offers a different program each night so viewers can attend every screening, if so inclined.

What really makes Cinedelphia Film Fest unique though, is the special guest appearances from the filmmakers and actors. This is the fest where I finally caught a screening of indie filmmaker Trent Harris’s scarcely available movie, Rubin and Ed and even had the good fortune of meeting him. This year’s fest definitely does not disappoint when it comes to exciting opportunities for Philly film nerds. Where else can you catch one of the best worst movies, Troll 2, and then have a meet-and-greet with the star, dentist-turned-actor George Hardy? Where else could you be lucky enough to watch a digital restoration of eighties horror cult classic Splatter University on its 35th anniversary, with a live, in-person reimagined score by the film’s composer, Chris Burke?

With such a great lineup, picking which flicks to see is a bit daunting. Those who follow my ramblings and reviews over at Moviejawn may know that I have eclectic taste in movies. I will truly watch ‘em all, because I never know when I am going to see "the one." Here are some of my picks for the Cinedelphia Film Fest.

Hail Satan?
Thursday, April 11, 7:30pm

I first heard about this flick during my trip to Sundance this past January. It received a lot of buzz during the fest. Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to catch it. Fortunately, a few weeks ago, I scored an advance copy and found myself intrigued. This 95-minute documentary exposes viewers to the rise of one of the most misunderstood religious organizations in America: the Satanic Temple. Utilizing public forums and events to confront conformity and injustice, the group has provided an outlet for thousands to confront areal-life demon: ignorance. Satanic Temple members will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.

One Cut of the Dead
Friday, April 12, 7:30 PM

A group of friends are shooting a zombie flick at a former military base said to be used for experiments. Well, ta da: actual zombies appear and wreak havoc on the film crew. I may be suffering from a bit of zombie fatigue, but when given the opportunity to watch a movie within a movie, I’m all in. Apparently, the film opens with a nonstop one-take 37-minute shot… My eyes are ready.

Rock N' Roll Hotel was once a lost cinematic relic. (Photo via IMDb)
Rock N' Roll Hotel was once a lost cinematic relic. (Photo via IMDb)

Rock N’ Roll Hotel
Saturday, April 13, 10pm

When Rock N’ Roll Hotel was being filmed in Richmond, Virginia, in 1982, it was like Elvis was in town. Students skipped school and people called off work just to catch a glimpse of the first feature-length 3D music video being shot in the previous extravagant Jefferson Hotel. Set to star three up-and-comers, including pop star Rachel Sweet, the film was hit with multiple setbacks, including a change at the helm.

Story has it that the movie was considered lost until 2010 when, after searching for ten months, author and journalist Dale Brumfield uncovered a lone VHS copy in an architect’s closet in Culver City, California. The tape was later transferred to a digital format. One single copy of the film remains, and it belongs to Dale Brumfield, who will be in attendance for the Philadelphia premiere. I think I might be more fascinated with the story of how this flick turned up than the actual movie itself.

The Library Music Film
Sunday, April 14, 4:30 PM

This documentary will reveal the unknown and mysterious world of Library Music. Music once made as a cheaper option than spending top dollar for original material for films, television, and advertising has now amassed a cult following and is sought after by collectors. Despite hearing some of these tunes in my favorite movies and TV shows, I had never heard of this type of music until i saw the trailer.

Can’t wait to see which tunes I recognize!

The Legend of the Stardust Brothers and The Brand New Legend of the Stardust Brothers
Friday, April 19, 7:30 PM

This double feature had me at “inspired by Phantom of the Paradise,” a 1974 rock-n-roll opera film from Brian De Palma that tells the story of a musician and composer whosells his soul to the devil. This movie has become the ultimate cult classic, and it seems this can be similarly said for the Japanese film, The Legend of the Stardust Brothers.

What started as an imaginary film with a soundtrack recorded by TV personality Haruo Chikada became a reality after he met filmmaker Macoto Tezuka. The original 1985 film was recently picked up by UK distributor Third Window Films, and is now more readily available. At this screening, both the 1985 version and the director’s 2016 remake, featuring the same cast, will be shown. If you are not interested in seeing these silver robot outfits, I question your interest in cinema.

For tickets and additional information on the films and the festival, visit Cinedelphia online.

Sign up for our newsletter

All of the week's new articles, all in one place. Sign up for the free weekly BSR newsletters, and don't miss a conversation.

Join the Conversation