3 Unique Film Festivals To Look Out For in October

October brings rare VHS tapes, local feature films, and Japanese horror flicks to Philly big screens.

Found Footage Festival

john johnnyThe Found Footage Festival (FFF), currently in its 10th year, is coming to Johnny Brenda’s Thursday, October 2nd for two showings at 7:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. This special event is a guided tour through wacky and weird found VHS footage, hosted by curators Joe Picket and Nick Prueher, who provide commentary and “where are they now” stories from the videos’ stars. FFF has been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and NPR.

Highlights from this year’s show include footage of the strangest home-shopping hosts you’ll ever meet: John & Johnny. As part of the festival’s 10-year anniversary celebration, Pickett & Prueher did some investigating into this crowd-pleaser from years past. Not only did they dig into old footage to find some never-before-seen John & Johnny clips, but they hired a detective to reunite the two hosts: “They’re living on opposite sides of the country, but we reunited them for the first time in 26 years,” says Prueher. “We videotaped it, so we’re showing not only the long-lost John & Johnny footage, but we’re showing the reunion.”

The shows are part of Brooklyn Brewery’s MASH festival, a weeklong Philadelphia-meets-Brooklyn celebration featuring food, drink, and comedy events. Tickets for the Found Footage Festival are $12 and can be bought online at foundfootagefest.com or at the door.

New Wave of J-Horror Film Series

its a beautiful dayPresident of Tidepoint Pictures and producer of Japanese indie films, Tetsuki Ijichi, brings his expertise to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute throughout October. Ijichi is curating a three-part series of Japanese horror films in order to showcase new talent, introduce Japanese film trends to the Philadelphia area, and inject a bit of terror into local Halloween festivities.

David Shin, a Korean-American living in Tokyo, directed The Room, the first film of the series. Making his feature debut, Shin tells the story of a woman left alone in her apartment—that is, except for the ghost that she’s convinced lives with her. Viewers will be treated to a virtual Q&A with Shin from Toyko after the screening.

Shady, about an awkward teen courted by a popular, but sinister new friend, is an award-winning feature debut by Ryohei Watanbe. Watanabe produced the film with just $15,000 using a production crew he found using Craigslist.

The final film of the series is an homage to the American slasher, written and directed by female filmmaker Kayoko Asakura. The story of a South Korean exchange student on a dangerous road trip, It’s a Beautiful Day (pictured) makes its Philadelphia debut October 30th.

For more information about the film series, which runs October 16th, 23rd, and 30th, and to purchase tickets, visit brynmawrfilm.org.

FirstGlance Film Festival

southern comfortThis indie film fest started off in 1996 in the basement of a small theater in Center City with a rented video projector and a few TV screens. Now in its 17th year, the FirstGlance Film Festival has grown into a bi-coastal event, holding screenings in Los Angeles and taking over 250-seat venues.

Many local filmmakers are featured in this year’s lineup, including Bill Crossland, a graduate of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. Auditions for his short film, Catching Up, the story of a physically disabled high school teacher who falls for an able-bodied coworker, were held at Walnut Street Theatre.

Closing out the festival is feature film Southern Comfort (pictured, right), the tale of a young artist trying to find himself in the South while dealing with a catastrophic turn of events. Multi-talented Chris Mammarelli, the co-writer, co-producer, co-editor, and cinematographer of the film, is a Greater Philadelphia native.

Screenings will take place at Franklin Theater in the Franklin Institute from October 17th to 19th. Visit firstglancefilms.com to purchase tickets and to view the full festival schedule. 

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