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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Film fest to showcase UA grad’s horror movie

    Savannah Douglas
    Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat The Arizona Underground Film Festival will be taking place from September 13, 2013 until September 21, 2013 at The Screening Room. This will be the sixth year celebrating this cult film festival.

    Eller graduate Jonathan Higgins has always aspired to work in film, even if the degree he has now isn’t any indication.

    However, the 2010 accounting graduate has already made his first film. Higgins’ horror movie, “Truth Or Dare,” is set for a showing at the sixth annual Arizona Underground Film Festival, which begins Friday at The Screening Room in downtown Tucson.

    “After seeing some of my friends who were struggling after they graduated with a film degree, I started to look at the film industry [in] a different way, view it from a business angle, so I decided to go to business school instead,” said Higgins, who worked as the film’s producer and co-writer.

    Higgins moved to his current home of Los Angeles the summer after his 2010 graduation. In early 2012, he was introduced to Jessica Cameron, the film’s director, co-writer and star, via a mutual friend.

    “An instant connection happened,” Higgins said.

    The two wrote “Truth or Dare” in late 2012, and the movie was shot in April and May of this year.

    The sixth iteration of the Underground Film Festival will run from Friday through Sept. 21. When it launched in fall 2008, the now nine-day festival was only three days long. Since its inception, it has grown more and more every year. In its current state, sold-out shows are virtually a guarantee; several distributors are present, and the overall quality of the films improves on a year-to-year basis, said David Pike, the festival’s founder and director.

    “The festival’s growing [in] leaps and bounds,” Pike said. “It’s premiering Japanese film, and it’s premiering world premieres … It’s definitely a growing festival, definitely one to watch.”

    With locales like The Loft Cinema, Casa Video and The Screening Room, Tucson has become an artists’ community, enabling cinema outside of the mainstream to flourish.

    The trend stems from the relatability of the independent movies that local venues show, said Michael M. Hojjatie, executive assistant of the festival.

    “I think when you talk about art-slash-independent-slash-underground cinema, a lot of people — like myself — relate to the narratives, relate to the plot points, relate to the characters,” Hojjatie said. “I don’t relate to an Adam Sandler film.”

    As director, Pike said he likes to see the edgier side of filmmaking at a festival like this one.

    “I love supporting what filmmakers do, that they can push the envelope, and I allow that,” he said.

    But with “Truth or Dare,” Higgins said he wanted to destroy the envelope entirely.

    “We are definitely going for the end goal of shocking, and essentially, offending people,” Higgins said. “As my grandfather said, you don’t know where the line is unless you cross it.”

    What: “Truth Or Dare” at the Tucson Underground Film Festival

    When: Friday, 9 p.m.

    Where: The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St.*

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