It’s August in Chicago. But, don’t let that stop you from coming out and feeling the heat affront the glow of the projector! This year’s Chicago Underground Film Festival--August 15-19, at the Chopin Theater (1543 W. Division) and Elegant Mr. Gallery (1355 N. Milwaukee Ave).--features films and videos from locals and beyond. The festival packs in as much fun as it can in five days. Check http://www.cuff.org for the entire schedule! Advance tickets are available at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/5499
The festival kicks of on Wednesday August 15th with the World Premiere of "Orchard Vale", the first feature from Chicago musician Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc), winner of the "Made in Chicago Award" at last year's CUFF. The film is an apocalyptic family drama that tells the story about five people in the near future living together in the ruins of the contemporary American suburban landscape. Cyan Walker stars as Sophie, a quiet 15 year-old girl, who provides material and emotional support to her family as they try to cope with the dangerous world around them. Says Kinsella of the film, "Orchard Vale raises more questions than it can possibly answer. Much of the story is told in between the moments other movies would have probably shown to tell the same story. This is done to invite the viewer to become an active participant, hopefully prompting the audience to expand upon the questions it raises. In a way, it might be like Planet of the Apes without the apes and in a different way like a zombie movie without the zombies." This screening is already close to sold out so get your tickets now!
The festival concludes on Sunday August 19th with the Chicago Premiere of Jim Finn's "La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo" the follow up to "Interkosmos" his internationally acclaimed debut feature from last year. "La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo" is a documentary styled political drama concerning women prisoners devoted to the Peruvian Maoist revolutionary-terrorist group the Shining Path and it's charismatic leader Chairman Abimael Gonzalo. As with "Interkosmos", the film features original music from Jim Becker (Califone) and Colleen Burke (We Ragazzi). This lo-fi feature reaffirms Chicago-native Finn as one of the most exciting talents in the current underground film scene. As The Rotterdam Film Festival wrote: "Jim Finn has made a name for himself...thanks to his feeling for irony and his capacity to shape something new from propaganda, news and other historic images. Not to forget his very dry sense of humor."
Other feature films in this year’s festival:
EVERYBODY IS HURTING (World Premieres) – Award winning photographer and videomaker Richard Sandler's first person look at New York City's emotional state during the first week following 9/11.
LIKK YOUR IDOLS (U.S. Premiere) – Angelique Bosio's documentary LLIK YOUR IDOLS documents the Cinema of Transgression and '80s downtown NYC scene. Featuring Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Jarboe, Richard Hell, Joe Coleman, Nick Zedd, Thurston Moore, Jack Sargeant, and many others, plus clips of BANNED and OUTRAGEOUS underground movies
GO GO MOTEL (World Premiere) – Feeling like a mix of vintage Waters' trash, Lynch surrealism and Selby sleaze; Baltimore filmmaker Dan Bell delves into the dark and foreboding world of strippers, hookers, bums, boozers and skid row criminals.
THAX (World Premiere)– Alex MacKenzie's portrait of Thax Douglas, Chicago's 'poet laureate of indie-rock.'
THE DESCRIPTION OF BANKRUPTCY (U.S. Premiere) – Kang-hyun LEE directs this documentary on the all-consuming nature of credit card debt in South Korea, and the lengths to which people go trying to get rid of it.
Other features screening in competition include:
BACCHANALE – A 'lost' adult arthouse film from 1970, released towards the end of the grindhouse era and at the dawn of XXX. Enlightened pornography is overwhelmed by a script chock full of low-budget surrealistic pretensions. New audio curated by Sam Zimmerman, Nick Hallett and Montgomery Knott of Brooklyn's Monkeytown
BEGGING NAKED – A documentary directed by Karen Gehres. In 1976 Elise Hill left home at the age of 15. In Union Square she met her first pimp. After leaving prostitution, Elise supported herself for 15 yrs creating art, but ,is slowly forced back into sex work and drugs to survive.
BLOOD CAR – In this horror-comedy directed by Alex Orr, gas prices are at an astronomical high. One man is determined to find an alternate fuel source. That alternate fuel source turns out to be blood...HUMAN BLOOD.
CELLULOID #1 – Steve Stasso's confetti of references/passions to the genius of Warhol, Fassbinder and the era of 'The Hustler' as well as the glory of black and white. Celluloid #1 is ultimately about celluloid and how it captures us.
EAST 3 – British filmmaker Mr. Young explores the Arctic town of Inuvik. This disturbing and surreal film investigates life in the sub-zero temperatures of the Canadian wilderness focusing on the hunting/trapping lifestyle, the community greenhouse, dog cruelty, traditional games and music.
EACH TIME I KILL – The 29th and final film by the late queen of sexpoitation cinema Doris Wishman, completed just months before her death in 2002. "Each Time I Kill" is a horror film about an unpopular high school girl who finds a magic locket that will allow her to exchange one physical feature with anyone she kills.
THE GOOD TIMES SKID – The second feature from Azazel Jacobs (son of avant garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs) is the story of two men with the same name who cross paths one day and the girl between them who gets the chance to escape her daily routine. A story about stolen love and stolen identities, shot on stolen film.
HELL ON WHEELS – Bob Ray (Rock Opera) directs this from-the-trenches look at the dizzying clash of athleticism, exhibitionism, egos, politics and business that is modern-era roller derby.
HOOKS TO THE LEFT – Frequent CUFF Alum Todd Verow's tale of a male hustler shot entirely on a cell phone camera.
MILK IN THE LAND- The second feature documentary resulting from collaboration between Ariana Gerstein and Monteith McCollum following their 2001 film "Hybrid." Milk in The Land weaves together a quirky, alternative history of America's most committed culinary choice.
OFF THE GRID: LIFE ON THE MESA - Jeremy and Randy Stulberg examine a loose-knit community of radicals who live in the desert, struggling to survive with little food, less water and no electricity, as they cling to their unique vision of the American dream.
RANDOM LUNACY: VIDEOS FROM THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED - Victor Zimet's documentary about the travels of a nomadic Dixie jazz-playing family. Led by the charismatic Poppa Neutrino, the family builds several rafts to sail the Mississippi, joins the circus, and plays in a band in Russia.
REVOLUTION SUMMER – Miles Montalbano's debut feature tells the story of three young people adrift in the city, their search for meaning, and the paths they choose over the events of one summer.
THE SKY SONG – Chicago's notorious avant-gardist James Fotopoulos says this long form video has "something to do with revenge (particularly in action films), American Indian tribes, goblin sharks and fragments of memories of the day the Chicago Cubs lost the playoffs in 1984."
URBAN EXPLORERS: IINTO THE DARKNESS - Filmmaker Melody Gilbert (Whole, A Life Without Pain) plunges into the world of urban exploration, a growing international subculture of adventure-seekers who explore places where most people would never dream of going.
VIVA– Anna Biller's ode to vintage sexploitation and swinging playboy-era sexuality. A suburban housewife in 1972 goes out to find herself in the middle of the sexual revolution.
In addition to these features CUFF will, as always, present a wide array of short films and videos from around the world including new work from Miranda July, Marie Losier and Guy Madden, Kent Lambert, Robert Todd, Deborah Stratman, Deco Dawson and many more.
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