PollyGrind. It's not just for homicidal maniacs anymore.
"This year it's, I think, a little bit more diverse," founder Chad Clinton Freeman says of his third annual film festival. "It's getting to be more where I think filmmakers understand it's not just horror movies."
There's still plenty of horror to be found at PollyGrind, which kicks off its "warm-up weekend" at 5:30 p.m. today at theatre7, 1406 S. Third St. (For a complete schedule, visit pollygrind.com.) But Freeman prefers to describe it as either an underground or a cult-and-genre festival.
"I think when you blend lots of different genres, and if you're one of those that doesn't really fit in with horror, but you're not going to fit in with mainstream dramas either, that's the kind of stuff that I really kind of look for."
Of the more than 140 films that will be screened at this year's PollyGrind, 13 of them will be celebrating their world premieres. That's more debuts than in the festival's first two years combined.
"Every year, it keeps growing and getting bigger and bigger," Freeman says. "I actually didn't want it to be quite as big as it ended up being this year, but I just ended up having so many different world premieres."
For the first time, PollyGrind is expanding into an actual movie theater, with a handful of showings set for Rave Motion Pictures at Town Square, 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
And all of the screenings are free, with a suggested donation of canned goods to benefit Three Square food bank. Freeman hopes to collect more than 1,000 pounds of food for the organization.
Given the subject matter of many of the films, that probably will be the last time festival attendees will think about food for a while.
The selection Freeman is most excited for audiences to see is the U.S. premiere of the Australian revenge film "Daddy's Little Girl" (10 p.m. Oct. 19, theatre7).
"For the people that say that, you know, 'torture porn' films are garbage or whatever," Freeman says, "this is one that shows you it has a heart."
He predicts "President Wolfman" (8:35 p.m. Oct. 18, Rave) will be another audience favorite.
Taking the found footage style of filmmaking one step further, "President Wolfman" relies on "recycled footage." Filmmaker Mike Davis cobbled together public-domain film and video clips to form a story, then had actors come in and voice the dialogue.
"It's like a new way of filmmaking that not too many people are doing," Freeman says. "It's almost animation."
The filmmaker who's getting the biggest platform, though, is Albert Pyun, the Las Vegas-based director of "The Sword and the Sorcerer" and "Cyborg."
"He's the perfect PollyGrind filmmaker," Freeman says, as a tribute to the director's diversity.
Pyun's "Road to Hell" (7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Rave) is "basically one long music video," Freeman says. "Bulletface" (7:15 p.m. Oct. 26, theatre7) is "a very brutal crime film," while "Cool Air" (7 p.m. Oct. 27, Rave) is "a more traditional horror film."
That's just the sort of variety Freeman has been seeking from filmmakers. And, this year, they didn't disappoint. The schedule even includes an animated short from a sixth-grader: Elizabeth Herrick of Plantation, Fla.
"There's some stuff that's kind of, basically, family-friendly," Freeman says, before quickly adding: "Not that I would suggest anybody bring their families to PollyGrind."
Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@review journal.com or 702-380-4567.