Kevin Monahan has come a long way since being just a kid with a video store card and a penchant for grungy VHS tapes. Actually, not really. As artistic director of the Boston Underground Film Festival, Monahan selects which wonderfully weird films to screen for BUFF’s audience of horror hounds and sci-fi fanatics. After studying film at UMass Amherst and volunteering at local festivals, Monahan was invited by BUFF founder David Kleiler to partake in his celebration of genre cinema in 2005. We caught up with Monahan before the 20th annual festival on March 21-25, which kicks off with Gus Krieger’s My Name Is Myeisha.
What criteria do you have during the film-picking process? We’re looking for stuff that’s just strange and bizarre, off-the-beaten-path type of films that probably wouldn’t have a wide release around here anytime soon. A lot of festivals relegate the type of films that we show to their late-night slots, and ours is an entire festival of midnight movies. There’s something for everyone in the festival, but not everything is for everyone.
How would you describe the BUFF experience? It’s a roller coaster that’s constantly smacking you against the sides of the car, giving you whiplash the whole time. We can show really heavy political content and then something really gross and stupid in the next slot. We’ll have a party that goes really late Friday night, a midnight showing that goes until 2 am, then we expect you all to come here bright and early at 10 am in your pajamas. It can be erratic and hectic and also be as low-key as you want it to be.
If you could watch one film for the rest of your life, what would it be? David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. It’s such a gorgeous and haunting film.
THE IMPROPER’S 2018 SPRING ARTS PREVIEW: COMEDY | PODCASTS | MUSIC | PERFORMING ARTS | VISUAL ART | DANCE