After four years of attending PollyGrind, I’ve learned that it’s less a film festival than an invitation into the personal screening room of founder/director Chad Clinton Freeman. More than any film festival I’ve ever been to, PollyGrind represents one person’s unique vision. I’ve seen some truly terrible movies at PollyGrind, but the bad movies at PollyGrind are always far more interesting and distinctive than the bad movies at any other festival.
This year’s five-day lineup was a welcome reduction from last year’s five-week behemoth, although it was still unwieldy and overwhelming, with some screenings starting more than an hour behind schedule. Still, Freeman has done an excellent job of building a community of underground and experimental filmmakers (from across the country and the world) around his festival, and the small Theatre 7 was at times packed. For me, festival highlights ranged from micro-budget alien-invasion relationship drama Desolate to racially provocative ’70s-exploitation throwback The Minstrel Killer to goofy but highly polished slasher movie Billy Club. They’re all the kinds of movies that Vegas audiences would never get a chance to see if not for PollyGrind, and I look forward to being invited back into Freeman’s inner sanctum for another glimpse next year.