SUFF 2016: 8 films to see at the Sydney Underground Film Festival

Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) 2016

Sydney Underground Film Festival poset - Ralph SteadmanTo paraphrase Ben Folds, we could be happy underground. The Sydney Underground Film Festival is back for another weekend of batty films at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, including 16 features, 20 documentaries, 6 shorts, and a cartoon and cereal morning. The selection this year features a number of films that have either slipped through the distribution cracks or are just too weird to get a theatrical release.

Below is a hand-picked selection of films that fit in with our own peculiar wheelhouse, fetishes and quietest wishes in the middle of the night. Feel free to share your own attendee lists and thoughts in the comments below.  It’s on from 15 to 18 September, so only a week to go until you can get your freak on.

A full program can be found at the festival website. Tickets are on sale now. You can follow our full coverage on the site. We’ll see you at the Factory, unless we are hiding in the corner being all underground and stuff.


Do you like films? Because this is a film lovers film about a filmmaker, directed by two other notable filmmakers. Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow explore the life and works of Brian De Palma, as De Palma personally takes us through his career via conversations and clips from little films like Scarface, The Untouchables, Carrie, Body Double, and Mission: Impossible. A versatile filmmaker, having made accomplished pieces in the realm of noir, thrillers, biopics, and action films. This is essential viewing for anybody visiting this site.


Grabbing attention from screenings at Sundance, Dead By Dawn and the Dallas International Film Festival, ANTIBIRTH has been described by The Guardian as an “entertaining grossout riff on Cronenberg-style body horror.” Sold. Starring Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, and Meg Tilly, it’s an America-Canadian production from Danny Perez (Oddsac) about a Michiganian who takes a strange drug and begins an even stranger pregnancy. If you miss it at the festival, IFC Films has picked it up for video on demand distribution from the start of September.


We’ve mentioned this once or twice before, but we love Sion Sono here at The Reel Bits. This is one of a whopping SIX features the Japanese filmmaker released in 2015, and along with The Whispering Star, continues to show us why he’s one of the premier avant-garde voices working today.  There is no possible way we could sell this better than the IMDB description: “After receiving a cosmic blast while masturbating, a virginal teenager gains psychic powers and joins a group of ESP virgins in order to defend the world from evil psychics.” Unless, of course, you watch the trailer..


Having already screened at the Perth’s Revelation film festival and MIFF, it’s Sydney’s turn to witness the beauty of Anna Biller’s lovingly recreated tribute to the soft horror-porn of the 1960s and 1970s, as the Viva filmmaker faithfully replicates the heightened look and feel of the era with lush 35mm “Technicolor.” Following her modern day witch Elaine through a series of scenarios that stepped right out of period schlock horror, you’re in for a treat here. READ: Full Review >>


Everybody loves Back to the Future‘s Doc Brown, right? Here Christopher LLoyd continues to subvert his nice guy persona, if he hadn’t already done that with the Piranha films. Bill O’Brien directs and co-writes (with Christopher Hyde) an adaptation of Dan Wells 2009 novel of the same name. It focuses on a a teen boy who believes he is destined to be a serial killer, and hunts down a deranged murderer in his Midwestern home after sensing a connection with him. Premiering at SXSW this year, and with screenings around Australia from late September, this is one we’re sure will make a few favourites lists along the way.


Not to be confused with Weiner, the documentary about the disgraced US politician that’s been doing the festival rounds this year, WIENER-DOG is the latest from director Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness). It’s actually been billed as a spin-off to Welcome to the Dollhouse, with Greta Gerwig taking on the Heather Matarazzo role of Dawn Wiener, following four stories that intersect around the titular pup.


Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present rocked the festival circuit a few years ago, depicting the artist preparing for a major retrospective. This time director Marco Del Fiol follows Abramovic as she travels through Brazil, searching for a kind of personal healing and artistic awareness.


The product of a successful Indiegogo campaign, director Jason Pine takes us on journey through the history and legacy of the desert/stoner rock music genre. Chronicling the scene from the early 1980s and 1990s, it features interviews with and footage of Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters), Joshua Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag), Brant Bjork (Kyuss), Myke Bates, and Sophia Possidon.