Home » Chattanooga Film Festival Returns Virtually For 2021, Announces Opening & Closing Film Screenings

Chattanooga Film Festival Returns Virtually For 2021, Announces Opening & Closing Film Screenings

Chattanooga Film Festival Returns Virtually for 2021, Announces Opening And Closing Titles

The Chattanooga Film Festival was one of the first festivals to go virtual as the world entered lockdown. The pivot allowed genre film fans to digitally come together for 4 jam packed days of shorts, feature screenings and special events last May. The virtual festival was a much needed boost of community in incredibly stressful times, and helped to keep the organizers’ non profit mission alive. Namely, to make a carefully curated selection of cinema more accessible in a city outside of “traditional” film centers, and inspire future filmmakers.

Chattanooga Film Festival returns to the virtual space they helped pioneer June 24th-29th 2021, with the first press release regarding what is sure to be an amazing program.  Opening night will see the premier of Onur Tukel’s thoughtful indie drama Scenes From An Empty Church, while the closing screening is Jacob Gentry’s noir inflected techno thriller Broadcast Signal Intrusion.
Chattanooga Film Festival Returns Virtually for 2021, Announces Opening And Closing Titles

As for the initially announced events, there are two fan favorite returning guests. Clay McLeod Chapman will be back with another installment of The Pumpkin Pie Show: Chattanooga Style, as well as a reading from his new novel. Author and screenwriter Grady Hendrix (Paperbacks From Hell) will also be in attendance to offer a first glimpse at his upcoming novel, slasher send up The Final Girl Support Group.

Events, opening and closing screenings will only be available to pass holders. Passes are on sale now for $65 and can be purchased at the festival’s official website. The full festival line up is still upcoming, but you can read the complete opening press release below:

Chattanooga Film Festival 2021 announces opening and closing screenings


The Chattanooga Film Festival returns virtually this year June 24 – 29, 2021, with world premiere of SCENES FROM AN EMPTY CHURCH and closing night film BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION.

Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 25, 2021) – After holding one of the first successful virtual film festivals in May of 2020, the Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) returns again virtually this year June 24 – 29, 2021.

Kicking things off opening night is the world premiere of Dark Sky Film’s SCENES FROM AN EMPTY CHURCH. Though audiences have already started to see films that take place during the pandemic or use the fear, loss of hope and isolation it has caused to inform their stories, no film has managed so brilliantly to ponder the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the human condition than this film. Director Onur Tukel also manages to find hope and humor along the way, and CFF is lucky to be able to set the tone for this year’s festival with such a smart and important piece of filmmaking.

Jacob Gentry is a filmmaker whose work CFF programmers have been following ever since his SXSW screening of The Signal in 2007. Closing out this year is his newest film, BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION. Gentry’s latest juggles genres with ease and will conjure up the same sort of mysterious and paranoid conspiracy-driven thrills as classic films like BLOW-UP and VIDEODROME while offering up truly nightmarish imagery sure to please horror fans.

Known for its events, the Chattanooga Film Festival will not disappoint in 2021 with both Clay McLeod Chapman and Grady Hendrix returning.

Clay McLeod Chapman, who was once referred to by The Scotsman as “Stephen King transmogrified into a post-punk preacher poet,” returns with another installment of THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: CHATTANOOGA STYLE:

From the ashes of the pandemic, one (virtual) rigorous storytelling session shall rise…

It’s The Pumpkin Pie Show, the 25-year-old theatrical skull-hump, ready to present a fresh steaming batch of story-performances for your corn-holes and ear-holes. Join raucous raconteur Clay McLeod Chapman as he rips through stories of madness and perversion, served up with a smile… plus a bonus reading from Chapman’s new novel Whisper Down The Lane.

Having previously wowed the CFF audience in 2018 with Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix is back for 2021 and will share his latest work in progress, WELCOME TO THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP: 

Bestselling author Grady Hendrix (Paperbacks from Hell, My Best Friend’s Exorcism) welcomes you to a very special support group, so have a seat, coffee’s in the back, and remember there’s no cross-talk. Also, please remember that unless you’ve fed them through a wood chipper or burned them to ashes, the killer is never really dead! Prepare yourself for a therapy session from Hell all about slasher movies and murder books, ranging from the 19th century to the modern era, with all the astrological assassins, dope-dealing neo-Nazi bodybuilders, and primal hamster trauma that has turned every Olympic training camp, summer camp, sleepaway camp, and band camp into a killing ground for very slow-moving killers armed with extremely inefficient weapons.

The full lineup of features and events will be announced soon. Badges are on sale now at chattfilmfest.festivee.com for $65. Individual tickets for certain films in the festival’s lineup will be available the first day of the festival. Opening and closing night films, the secret screenings and Welcome to the Final Girl Support Group will be open to badge holders only.


Opening Night Film


Director Onur Tukel  |  2021  |  98 mins  |  Comedy/Drama  |  US  |  English

In a locked-down NYC, two priests open their church doors to those seeking salvation during the most isolating of times. From the commonplace to the truly metaphysical, their visitors reflect the full spectrum of personal crises of spirituality. Throughout their encounters with the city’s sweetest, wildest and weirdest, the two priests learn the importance of connection, empathy and open-mindedness. Sometimes a little faith is all you need to make it through the bad times.

From writer/director Onur Tukel (Catfight), and featuring standout performances from Kevin Corrigan, Max Casella, and Thomas Jay Ryan, Scenes from an Empty Church is a uniquely timely and timeless spotlight on the search for life’s meaning, told with Tukel’s trademark wit and wisdom.


Closing Night Film


Director Jacob Gentry  |  2021  |  104 minutes  |  Thriller  |  US  |  English

For three years, James (Harry Shum Jr.) has been haunted by his wife’s sudden and inexplicable disappearance. His best distraction is work—specifically, archiving old videos. While watching decade-aged TV news footage one night, he sees a video interference that’s deeply disturbing. And it’s not the only interference he’ll see. As his obsession over these strange clips increases, and he submerges himself into their mysteries, James discovers troubling connections to his missing wife. Which will these broadcast intrusions bring him, though: long-desired answers or a never-ending nightmare?

About the Chattanooga Film Festival:

The Chattanooga Film Festival (CFF) loves everything about cinema: the films, filmmakers and the open-minded cinephiles that have watched films with us since early popup screenings as the Mise En Scenesters film club. The club evolved into the first-ever Chattanooga Film Festival, which began in 2014 and has been quickly making a name for itself among film lovers, filmmakers and the entertainment industry. Over the years CFF has been hailed as the Southern Sundance by Southern Living Magazine and was chosen as one of the Bloody Best Genre Fests in the World for three years running by MovieMaker Magazine.

CFF shares films and events that are unique, challenging, critically significant, and showcase a diverse roster of up and coming filmmakers from all over the world. Our ultimate goal is to remember, discover and cultivate cinema worthy of everyone’s love and respect. As always, CFF is proudly continuing its mission to “Respect Cinema,” in hopes of increasing film exhibition, education and production in the state of Tennessee.

For more information, visit chattfilmfest.org

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