Ah, February. With five days to go until Valentine’s Day, romance is in the air and some of that excitement starts with the first edition of the Reel Love Film Fest, a new virtual film festival featuring romantic films and “dedicated to honoring the future of love on screen” and is founded by festival veterans from the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival and North Bend Film Festival and plans to bring different love stories to U.S. screens.
The festival, running online from Wednesday, Feb. 10 to Sunday, Feb. 14, will be geo-locked to the U.S. You can check out what the festival has to offer with this program here. You can also buy festival badges here. The festival boasts 12 feature film presentations, three short programs, a couple special events and podcasts (called love casts) over its four days.
In this post, I’m going to highlight five films (four features and one short film) from the festival that I’m most looking forward to (in no particular order):
DINNER IN AMERICA
The festival opens up on Feb. 10 with a screening of Adam Rehmeier’s Dinner in America, which I was lucky enough to see earlier on in the film’s festival circuit while at Nightstream. (My review out of Nightstream can be found here.) It has an amazing original song and a big heart that I was super surprised by, especially with the unique pairing in the film of a punk rocker (Kyle Gallner) and a young woman, Patty (Emily Skeggs), obsessed with his band. I love the film and it’s one I’m looking forward to revisiting.
A buddy comedy about two women, Golden Arm follows Melanie (Mary Holland) and Danny (Betsy Sodaro), who hit the road and train for the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. I love anything that sounds unique and this surely has some things I love, including buddy comedies and the inspirational aspect of sports movies… As well, Mary Holland was one of the many highlights of Happiest Season (which she also co-wrote), so I’d love to see what she does with a leading role.
Jessie Barr’s Sophie Jones is a coming-of-age story about 16-year-old Sophie Jones (played by Jessica Barr, director Jessie Barr’s cousin) who, after her mother’s death, goes on a self-destructive path while trying to feel something again and make it through high school. It feels like a great exploration of grief and, while I love the funnier coming-of-age stories, it’s powerful when films get serious like this one, too. I’d be excited to watch this one.
BOY EATS GIRL: A ZOMBIE LOVE STORY (SHORT)
I wanted to highlight one of the short films coming to the festival and I chose Sarah Gurfield’s Boy Eats Girl: A Zombie Love Story, a short rom-com about two zombies who meet cute while fighting over a dead woman’s intestines… Okay, what’s more romantic than that? This sounds fun and creative, and if it has any similar tone to 2013’s Warm Bodies, then I think this one will be a winner for me.
The closing night film, Shiva Baby, is one I’m also anticipating as it premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival and I’ve heard nothing but great things since then. It stars Rachel Sennott as a college student who runs into her sugar daddy while at a Jewish funeral service with her family. I just chuckle when I read that premise, it sounds like a lot of fun.
Besides those five films, there are so many other options at this festival, which, again, you can find here. As well, you can also get your festival badges here. get festival badges. The festival’s geo-restricted to U.S. access with two festival passes on sale: a six-feature or shorts program package for $55 and an all-access package for $75. The podcasts and live events are free to pass holders. Individual tickets will be on sale at $10 for features and short programs, and $13 for spotlight films (Dinner in America, Funny Face, Shiva Baby).
What are you looking forward to watching at this year’s Reel Love Fest?