The Overlook Film Festival 2024 Highlights, Part 1: Fasterpiece Theater, Exhuma, All You Need is Death, Me | Festivals & Awards

You can tell that the Overlook’s organizer have already cultivated a receptive audience for their programming given how engaged and focused theatergoers’ questions were after each screening. People were really excited to find out more about whatever they just saw, including a special screening of “Me,” Don Hertzfeldt’s trippy, unsettling 23-minute long musical. Most people in the audience were already familiar with Hertzfeldt and his idiosyncratic style: before the movie played, festival programmer Landon Zakheim joked that the four people who were unfamiliar with Hertzfeldt’s work were in for a real treat.

“Me” still feels very much like its own thing, despite some similarities to Herzfeldt’s earlier work. It’s a mostly dialogue-free science-fiction saga about technology, family, and self-absorption, and it follows cranky-looking potato-shaped stick figure people who spend way too much time killing each other and/or staring at techno-mediated images of themselves. “Me” is strange and enchanting, the perfect choice for a one-afternoon-only festival screening.

After the screening, Hertzfeldt entertained questions from eager fans. He joked that we were the fourth audience to see his new short, which isn’t quite #1 or even #2, but still has some kind of appeal. Hertzfeldt also provided some welcome insights about the making of “Me” which thankfully never explained away its unique mix of nightmarish imagery and silver-lined optimism. It was thrilling to listen to Hertzfeldt talk about subtle musical influences, like Klaus Nomi and the “JFK” soundtrack. He also spoke with guarded excitement about his next project, an Ari-Aster-produced animated horror movie (Hertzfeldt’s feature debut). That screening of “Me” felt like an event, not because we only thought we knew what to expect, but because that movie and the Overlook in general were clearly designed with the curious in mind, and not just pre-initiated cultists.

Coming up: “Dead Mail,” “Infested,” and other Overlook Film Festival highlights.