A Strange and Unusual Weekend: The Medusa Underground Film Festival


January marks not only the beginning of a new year but also the addition of a new film festival. The first Medusa Underground Film Festival will take place from January 11-13. Launched by Las Vegas’ own Heidi Moore, this event will showcase “crazy underground films that women in the industry are making.” (Watch the festival trailer here, and buy tickets here.)

Moore’s background as a filmmaker, longtime supporter of many film festivals, and Ax Wound Film Festival judge has primed her to tackle this project. She chose Las Vegas as the festival’s home due to the city’s natural charisma. Most of the activities will take place at The Artisan Hotel, a fitting venue for an event curated to instill an appreciation for the film industry’s lesser-known wonders. According to Moore, one such standout is Isolated Crows of Solitude, directed by Sahar Soleimani. This movie-short reframes the viewer’s concept of utopian and dystopian ideals using imagery deftly and disturbingly.

Attendees will have a packed and engaging schedule, starting with films, vendors, and performances during Friday’s opening night at Backstage Bar & Billiards. Proceeds from the evening will be donated to the local nonprofit Street Teens, which helps homeless and at-risk teens. Saturday’s itinerary includes a party featuring a “Perfect Strangers” lip sync, as well as the Erotic Block of films, among many others. On Sunday, the festival will wrap up with a brunch at the Thunderbird Hotel with Women In Media, an organization that champions gender balance in the film and entertainment industries.   

With the Me Too movement’s reckoning, grand gestures of penance now permeate Hollywood production decisions. However, there is more than one way to ensure women have a voice in one of the world’s leading industries. Supporting women-led, intersectional endeavors that seek to recognize and lift creators is a great way to help shape the media we all consume. Attending Medusa Underground Film Festival checks all those boxes while providing a singular experience for artists and their audience. It’s also a fun way to spend your weekend.

“I would love for guests to walk away from this feeling inspired, and ready to seek out more underground films,” Moore says. “As for the filmmakers, I hope they walk (away) also feeling inspired and ready to take on new projects with new working relationships created at the fest.” Considering the lineup and the many opportunities to forge new connections, it seems likely she will get her wish.

Looking ahead, Moore had some advice for those planning to submit for next year’s festival: “Get weird! We're here to show the world everything strange and unusual.” 

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