'Aimee Semple McPherson' Heads Greatest Guerrilla Films List

Share Article

'Aimee Semple McPherson heads the IGFA List of the greatest low budget films. Director Richard Rossi hopes his triumph of will and creativity will inspire other guerrilla filmmakers. Other films on the list include 'Clerks' and 'El Mariachi.'

Auteur independent filmmaker Richard Rossi won the top spot on the International Guerrilla Film Association's list of 100 Greatest guerrilla films for his low budget movie "Aimee Semple McPherson," a biopic about a fabled female evangelist in the Roaring Twenties. The results were announced yesterday at the annual IGFA party in New York.

The top five runnerups in order were "Eraserhead," a 1978 David Lynch film, "Night of the Living Dead" (George Romero's horror classic shot in 1968 for $68,000.00), Kevin Smith's $28,000.00 first feature (1994)"Clerks," "400 Blows," a French New Wave film directed by Francois Truffaut in 1959, and "El Mariachi," a 1993 Robert Rodriguez film shot for $7000.00.

"We defined guerrilla films as movies shot for a budget less than $75,000.00," IGFA president Chris Lindley said. "With the advent of digital cameras, this movement is growing."

Richard Rossi shot his critically acclaimed movie on a $300.00 consumer camcorder, used clamp-on construction lights purchased at Home Depot for $48.00, and made "Aimee Semple McPherson" under a special Screen Actor's Guild experimental contract for films with budgets under $75,000.00

Rossi's film probes deeply into a female evangelist who can heal everyone but herself and self-destructs into dysfunctional relationships with men, legal controversies, and an eventual overdose of barbiturates. "Sister" Aimee is portrayed by newcomer Mimi Michaels. Rossi also acts in the film, playing Aimee's third husband, a womanizing con artist.

Other films making the list include "Detour," the 1946 grunge classic directed by Edgar Ulmer, "Faster, Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" a 1965 Russ Meyer film featuring well-endowed women, "Evil Dead," Sam Raimi's 1983 horror movie shot for $50,000.00, "And God Spoke" (1994) a mockumentary about two filmmmakers shooting a low budget biblical epic, and "My Date With Drew" (2005) a documentary shot for $1100.00 about a man's obsession to meet and go out with Drew Barrymore.

"We honor films that relied on creativity, not money, to tell a story," Lindley added. "Anyone can make a movie with millions of dollars. The ingenuity and courage to step out and make a film with no resources that still touches an audience requires a higher level of moxy."

IGFA secretary Gina Anderson added, "Films made independently on a wing and a prayer often have a stronger vision, unhampered by the suits in an office reading demographic charts."


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jack Bernstein