The Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival (MIFFF, for short) is a weekend long event dedicated to discovering and promoting the sort of independent and international genre films appreciated by audiences but often ignored by the film festival circuit. MIFFF films include works in animation, fantasy, horror and science fiction, programmed by a team of experienced organizers who keep an eye on what’s going on in genre filmmaking around the world and here at home in Seattle.
This year’s MIFFF takes place once again at SIFF Cinema with a schedule packed full of fantastic shorts and full length-features. The festival kicks off Friday, 9/17, at 8 pm with an introduction to the festival and the opening night film, Blood River, a psychological horror thriller in which a married couple survive a near-fatal car crash in an empty desert where they encounter a sinister drifter whose malevolent agenda strains their relationship to the breaking point.
Saturday at noon begins a series of animated shorts with a variety of stories: Bill Plympton’s The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger tells the “tragic story of a bovine seduced by advertising led down the path of butchers and carnivores”; Kidnap features a Kung fu master chicken whose journey to school is interrupted by gunmen, aliens, and Jesus; Scottish Ninjas features…well, Scottish ninjas. Nine other shorts round out the program.
The festival continue Saturday at 2:30 with a program of fantasy shorts. The eight films in the program include Billy Baxter and the Mystery of Dr. Amazo, a young boy’s adventures with comic book toys; The Hatter’s Apprentice, a cautionary tale about dabbling with magic; and the choice between love and imaginary friendship, Manual Practico del Amigo Imaginario (abreviado.
Saturday’s 6:00 pm horror feature is Mørke Sjeler, a Norwegian feature film which begins with Johanna’s father receiving a phone call from the police informing him of her death just as she walks in the front door of her house. What’s behind her strange behavior and the continued attacks on others? Accompanied by Irish horror short The Hollow Girl.
See the MIFFF website for details on Saturday night’s feature.
Sunday at noon is the local filmmaker’s showcase featuring Temporal Studios’ tribute to Star Trek, Star Trek: Phoenix, a fan film with serious ambitions to join the official franchise. Taking place 42 years in the future from official Trek film Star Trek: Nemesis, ST:P begins with a major attack on the starship and a rescue team who need to be rescued themselves from the mysterious planet Katrassiii Prime. It’s paired with Matt Vancil’s comedic swords and sorcery spoof Journey Quest.
Three employees in a large bank are trapped in the men’s room with a bank robber in No Escape, which kicks off the Action & Science Fiction shorts program at 2:30 on Sunday. Six other films include Babylon 2084 in which a future Earth has been covered by water and Thy Kill Be Done in which three nuns are out for violent revenge.
At 6 pm there’s another round of Horror shorts: Sam gets to fulfill a lifelong dream when he becomes a vampire’s assistant in The Familiar; two vampire sisters race to save one’s unlife in Dracula’s Daughters vs. the Space Brains. Eight other films round out the program.
The festival closes Sunday night at 8:30 with a short called Flowers for Norma, based on a Stephen King short story and the Northwest premiere of The Presence which stars Oscar winner Mira Sorvino in a supernatural love triangle.