An Evening with The Blair Witch: A 20th Anniversary Celebration
Directed by: Dan Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez
USA, 1999, 81m, R
*Talent in attendance
It was 20 years ago today…
We all remember the storyline: three student filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Joshua Leonard) make a deep excursion unto the Black Hills of Maryland to shoot a documentary about an eerie local legend, a woman named Elly Kedward who was banished from the Township of Blair in the late 1700s for witchcraft. For the next 150 years or so, Blair was plagued by sporadic disappearances, gruesome unexplained deaths, and a series of brutal, ritualistic child murders in the 1940s. Things have been pretty quiet since then, and to the ill-fated trio of documentarians, it seems like an ideal time to chip away at the folklore and discover the truth. But the truth may have discovered them first. Several days into the project, they disappear without a trace, never to be seen again. One year later, their footage is found, revealing the terrifying events leading up to their mysterious vanishing. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Employing vérité-style camerawork, boasting ultra-realistic performances by the three leads, and utilizing the internet as a key promotional tool in sparking interest regarding the veracity of the story, The Blair Witch Project brilliantly reinvented the horror genre and has become one of the most influential films of our generation. Its team of creators—directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick; producers Mike Monello, Gregg Hale, and Robin Cowie; and production designer Ben Rock—are all UCF Film graduates (as well as Enzian alumni, in a couple of cases), and the film became the first Orlando-produced feature to ever play Sundance, where it was acquired for major distribution. It went on to win an award at Cannes, appear on the cover of both Time and Newsweek, and eventually gross nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Early versions of the film were test-screened at Enzian, and The Blair Witch Project had its east coast premiere and second US showing as the opening night film of the 1999 Florida Film Festival. To this day, it is still the highest grossing film ever in the 34-year history of the theater. Enzian and FFF are proud to have been even a little part of the journey for this innovative piece of cinema history and the artists behind it.
Join us for this very special 20th anniversary celebration with a rare 35mm screening of the low-budget supernatural chiller that started a revolution. Then stick around for a post-film reunion featuring cast and crew members.