Whilst numbers were once again quite modest (this truly is an underground event) they built on last year’s and marked the festival as one of the strongest, most promising new annual events in Ireland. If there is one thing the team behind Yellow Fever lack; ambition, determination and motivation aren’t it. Festival organiser and founder of Yellow Fever Productions, George Clarke once again reiterated throughout the weekend why he set up the event - to support and promote local independent filmmakers and provide them with a platform to showcase their work and get some recognition; as well as giving those in attendance the opportunity to see what other independent filmmakers from around the world are producing. The festival is modelled on the Freak Show Film Festival in Orlando, a pilgrimage Clarke has made for the past few years to spread the Fever…
Kicking things off was a Zombie Aid Charity Walk – a first for Belfast – in which participants dressed as the living dead and shuffled their way towards the steps of local government buildings at Stormont, before chowing down on a Dead Meat BBQ. All money raised from the walk went to Make A Wish Foundation and The Billy Caldwell Foundation.
This year’s festival also played host to a myriad of premieres including the world premiere of Snow Blind, a visually stunning post-apocalyptic Western in which a lone gunman must deliver a woman with mythical powers to an evil Governor. Unfurling against the backdrop of a frozen, inhospitable earth, Snow Blind is Germany’s first full-blown green-screen movie and a virtual visual feast that had to be seen to be believed. The film received the award for Best International Film – Belfast-born/Berlin-based star Stephen Patrick Hanna was in town to say a few words about the film and pick up its award.
Speaking of all things ‘post apocalyptic’ (a term that was used quite a bit throughout the festival!), also receiving its Irish premiere was The Sky Has Fallen, an enticing concoction of visual and thematic ideas reminiscent of Hellraiser, City of the Living Dead and The Road; the whole of which is a highly unusual, compelling and strangely poetic film which can only be described as a post-apocalyptic love story. A couple must do battle with mysterious figures who threaten their existence in a plague-ridden world almost devoid of humankind. And speaking of couples in extreme situations, this year’s YFIFF had the world premiere of bleak philosophical Italian drama Maimed Howl, in which two young disaffected lovers in the midst of an existential crisis procure a gun and attempt to find meaning in life by revisiting places that were significant to them, filming events on a camcorder as they go…
|The Sky Has Fallen|
One of this writer’s personal favourite moments from the festival came with the screening of Marcus Koch’s broodingly dark drama Fell, a psychological character study following the tormented Bill as he descends further into depression and psychosis after a painful break-up. Fell is a challenging and relentless exploration of psychological turmoil, the fragility of the human mind and a startling depiction of tragic mental breakdown that echoes Polanski’s Repulsion. Equally harrowing was moody US drama Absence (another world premiere), in which the lives of three lost and restless souls collide violently in an intense and gripping drama about a kidnap plot, gone awry. Very fucking awry. Told from three separate points of view, it unfolds in three vignettes which tie together a larger storyline, culminating in an unforgettable and devastating climax. Also receiving its world premiere was Rhineland, the gutsy character driven tale of a struggling young soldier whose only guides as he comes to terms with the brutality of war during the final bloody months of WWII, are a disillusioned lieutenant and a bitter sergeant. Rhineland is an ambitious, gripping and effectively realised exploration of the futility and horror of war.
here), How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse is a hilarious one stop shop to the world of zombie survival techniques. Aided by a dedicated team of specialists from the School of Survival, attendees learned everything they needed to know when coping with the undead as they rise from their graves and begin eating their way through the world’s population. Unfortunately, this writer discovered – much to his chagrin – that he wouldn’t last NEARLY as long as he initially believed he would in the aforementioned zombie apocalypse. Damn my indecisiveness - damn it in the face! Hey, at least I’ll outlive the vegans…
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