2013 Full Program

Click on a Date/Time to order tickets via Ticketfly. Festival passes are also available!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 8:00 PM
OPENING NIGHT!

Untitled - Gibson & RecorderUNTITLED
Chicago Premiere!
Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, Olivia Block, 50 min., Double 16mm projector performance with live audio, 2008-2012, USA
During the first half of the performance, the projectors are “filmless”: their white light seems to move purely via the refracting medium of a glass plane fogged via a humidification system; In the second half, minimalist monochromatic film loops are introduced, first on one projector, then on the other projector. The planular drift of the projected frame alters its course, bending here, diffracting there – keystoning its way through the darkness of a cinematic abyss.

Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, and Olivia Block have been collaborating as expanded cinema artists since 2007. In 2008, their limited edition DVD Untitled was released on the independent SoS Editions label. In 2009, Sundance Film Festival featured the world premiere of Untitled as a work for high-definition digital projection. Live 16mm projector performances of Untitled in 2009-2012 include the TATE Modern in London, Redcat in Los Angeles, Ballroom Marfa in Texas, and Morra Foundation in Naples, Italy. (G&R)

“In their collaborative film performances, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder employ simple mechanical means to hypnotically elaborate ends. 16mm loops, spray bottles, colored gels, unfocused lenses and hand-shadows combine, through rehearsed recipes, into slowly mutating light-sculptures: morphing color-fields, angel-white auras, fusing penumbrae, pulsing vertical lines. Built upon occulted rhythms of film projection, their work retains a personal, human scale, even as the viewer succumbs to its transportive powers. Their performances melt the projector’s machine materialism into ethereal experiences.” – Ed Halter, Live Cinema: A Contemporary Reader

“Recoder and Gibson’s approach to cinema hews closer to Plato’s shadows than it does to the hyper-digital everything we can’t seem to escape anymore. It’s streaming cinema of a very different kind.” – Patrick Friel, Cine-File

Preceded by:

WREADING - JESSE MALMEDWREADING
Jesse Malmed, 18 min., Video, 2012, USA
Reading as writing, a romp through meaning-making and diffuse divination. The clouds hold secrets. Tuli Kupferberg is not the beluga, but the beluga sings human. Charles Bernstein. The world is a word is a world. Cloud covers. (JM)

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THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 6:30 PM

SHORTS PROGRAM: “SPECTRUM” – TALKING ABOUT THINGS
92 min.

Eleven Forty SevenELEVEN FORTY SEVEN
Marika Borgeson, 12 min., Video, 2012, USA
Granite, metal, conifers, glass, and K-spar crystals. (MB)

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STONESTONE
Kevin Jerome Everson, 7 min., Video, 2013, USA
Stone is getting his hustle on, often and early. A lot of talk, a lot of action… (KJE)

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Waves of Grain

WAVES OF GRAIN
Keith Skretch, 2 min., Video, 2012, USA
To create this strata-cut animation, a block of wood was planed down one layer at a time and photographed at each pass. The painstaking process revealed a hidden life and motion in the seemingly static grain of the wood, even as the wood itself was reduced to a mound of sawdust (KS)  …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Gold PartyGOLD PARTY
Nellie Kluz, 17 min., Video, 2012, USA
Gold is a commodity that thrives in uncertain economic climates, and rising gold prices have created a boom industry around precious metal scrap. There’s a harvest every day as scrap dealers comb through excess metal from flusher times, buying up discarded gold to resell to refineries. Watching as these dealers buy and process gold, this documentary is a window into one small corner of a global economic market. (NK)

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Salt LinesSALT LINES
Cade Bursell, 5 min., 35mm on Video, 2012, USA
A salt line cycle, hand salted and painted 35mm film leader meant to bring to mind the process of salt extraction and the hard repetitive labor of those who bring us this commodity. (CB)

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10-19 RETURN TO BASE
Cameron Gibson, 18 min., Video, 2012, USA
A response to History Channel mini-series Vietnam in HD, 10-19 Return to Base searches for empathy within representational cliches. (CG)

 

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AncestorsANCESTORS
Douglas Urbank, 5 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, USA
Handmade 16 mm film incorporating scans of century-old photographs of unidentified ancestors of mine from a box my sister found after our mother died. I adhered their images to leader film, cutting and blending their features together, creating manual dissolves and adding color, patterns, and bits of text from old letters. The film is an exploration of physiognomy, gender, and the mystery of inherited identity. (DU)

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Memorial LandMEMORIAL LAND
Bill Brown, 28 min., Video, 2012, USA
In the decade since the events of 9/11/2001, the United States has been engaged in a national act of memorial making. Some of these 9/11 memorials are contested sites, where conflicting visions and voices clash. But most are quiet and deeply personal. This short nonfiction film examines some of these memorials, and the reasons why seven people made the unlikely decision to build them. (BB)

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THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 7:00 PM

RETROSPECTIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: HOW TO STOP BEING A MASON
Selected by Bryan Wendorf
88 min.

Burn

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSUMED PART 5
James Fotopoulos, 5 min., 16mm, 2001, USA
[The final part of] a quintet of films that explore the energy of sex, shifting appearances, shadow, and color. The filmmaker’s intent, as with all of his films, is total realism through balancing chaos and control, to match the concrete of living in a human body with the inner abstract. (JF)

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WÜSTENSPRINGMAUS
Jim Finn, 3 min., Video, 2002, USA
The gerbil has long been associated with New World capitalism because of its incessant energy. The Golden Age of Hollywood takes on the history and evolution of this delightful household pet. (International Film Festival Rotterdam)

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THE VYROTONIN DECISION
Matt McCormick, 7 min., 16mm, 1999, USA
A postmodern disaster epic composed of 36 appropriated television commercials from 1971. The Vyrontonin Decision mocks the formula of current Hollywood blockbusters while reinventing some of television’s most embarrassing moments. (MM)

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BURN
Reynold Reynolds and Patrick Jolly, 10 min., 16mm on Video, 2002, USA
Burn is a stunning evocation of those unspoken,unconfronted somethings, those secrets, worries, and lies, forming a force which is always a part of the fabric of everyday interactions; at first niggling at the edges, then – provoked by a word or a gesture – suddenly searing through everything and everyone in its path. (Belinda McKeon, The Irish Times)

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THE STAIRWAY AT ST. PAUL’S
Jeroen Offerman, 9 min., Video, 2004, The Netherlands
My piece is based on the hysteria that surrounded certain music recordings of the 1960s and 70s. Some rock bands, like the Beatles, Judas Priest, and Led Zeppelin, were supposed to have put hidden messages in their records that could only be heard when played backward. These messages would subconsciously be picked up by the listener who would then react in response to them. (JO)

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THE FABULOUS STAINS: BEHIND THE MOVIE
Sam Green and Sarah Jacobson, 12 min., Video, 1999, USA
A savvy excavation of an early-80s rock movie (almost) lost to obscurity. Sam and Sarah’s tribute revisits the checkered film history of a clumsy, cursed Hollywood effort, The  Fabulous Stains, to capitalize on the rising visibility of girl power in the punk movement. Mixing a cast of teenage innocents (including 14-year-old Diane Lane) with a motley crew of drug-addled metal, glam, and punk rockers (including members of the Tubes, Clash, and Sex Pistols), Lou Adler’s finished feature was initially shelved by Paramount after chilly previews. A decade later, it was rediscovered and accorded cult status by a younger generation of riot grrls inspired – and amused – by accidental exposure on late-night cable-TV. (Other Cinema)

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GUIDED BY VOICES
Stom Sogo, 10 min., Super-8 on Video, 2000, USA
An intensely pulsating melange of color, image, and sound.“This kid searches and what he always wants to feel doesn’t come. Oh well, shake it then.” (SS)

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THE MOSCHOPS
Jim Trainor, 13 min., 16mm, 2000, USA
The first motion picture set entirely in the Permian era. The Moschops had thick skulls and short hind legs. Scientists believe the Moschops were capable of interior tenderness, which it expressed, ironically through incessant fighting. (JT)

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SWINGERS’ SERENADE
Danny Plotnick, 24 min., 16mm, 1999, USA
A tawdry tale of suburban sexual malaise plus a lesson in arcane film history rolled into one sin-tillating package!(DP)

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THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 8:30 PM

ApeAPE
Joel Potrykus, 86 min., Video, 2012, USA
There are a myriad of young directors who have decided to focus their attention on the failures of their peers, daring to show the western white male as immature and antisocial, exposing his contradictions, neuroses and anxieties. Welcome to economically depressed Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we find the listless Trevor Newandyke (a brilliant Joshua Burge), a sociopath, failed comedian, and arsonist. His jokes embody a desperate, sarcastic vision, expressing a true punk sense of humor that is lost on his audiences. When he’s not trying to perfect his routine in front of his bathroom mirror, Trevor likes to set fire to rubbish bins and gets off on the sound of Molotov cocktails hitting his neighbors’ homes. Trevor’s life is a concentration of trouble, absurd meetings and discussions, public humiliation, solitary wanderings, and long moments of exhaustion spent between the walls of his small room. One day a man dressed as the Devil offers him a deal.

A nightmarish, nihilistic tale, the ultra-low budget Ape has all the qualities to become a standard for a generation that has no future, and is also a political manifesto for the best of new American cinema. Burge’s character is an authentic rebel and Potrykus is an innovator, and should be an example for all proletarian artists who really want to make a “guerrilla film.” (Olivier Père, Locarno Film Festival)

Preceded by:

Black MetalBLACK METAL
Kat Candler, 9 min., Video, 2013, USA
After a career spent mining his music from the shadows, one fan creates a chain reaction for the lead singer of a black metal band. (KC)

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THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 9:00 PM

School of ChangeSCHOOL OF CHANGE
Jennet Thomas, 52 min., Video, 2012, UK
School of Change is a sci-fi experimental musical film based in a distorted reality that satirically mirrors our own. Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, we are led through a day in the life of the New Girl – kidnapped into this alternate time-space in which changes – mutations in the workings of reason itself – threaten the viability of humanity. As the New Girl joins her class an exact replica of her joins three identical classes. The School appears to be one of a franchise of SCHOOLS OF CHANGE – attempting to shore up against the Breakdown, to educate and prepare a new generation to adapt. While behind everything, the all-pervasive power of The Sponsor is constantly enforced… School of Change is a celebratory, complex critique of fears and desires for radical change, speculating on the future of technology, the marketization of education, the weirdness of physics and crisis, both financial and ontological. Inspired by traditions of absurd British satire, and with original music by composer Leo Chadburn, the film’s playful strangeness delights in disruptive editing rhythms, choreographed movements, unusual special effects and songs, colliding the everyday location of the artist’s former school with an extraordinary, skewed logic. (JT)

Preceded by:

Them OraclesTHEM ORACLES
Alee Peoples, 7 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
Them Oracles is a skeptic investigation of what an oracle can be and what it would sound like. Human desire and blind faith allow, and maybe even will, these mystic soothsayers to exist. (AP)

 

 

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RendezvousRENDEZVOUS
Emily Kuehn, 5 min., Video, 2012, USA
A surprising inquiry turns a typical rendezvous into a melodious interspecies encounter. (EK)

 

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The Invisible WorldTHE INVISIBLE WORLD
Jesse McLean, 20 min., Video, 2012, USA
A deceased hoarder, reconstituted through technology, recounts a difficult childhood as inhabitants of a virtual world struggle to reconcile materialistic tendencies. A scientist leads an effort to understand the passage of time, but the data is unreliable. The question remains, what happens to our things after we are gone? (JM)

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Island LightISLAND LIGHT
Andrew Rosinski, 3 min., Video, 2012, USA
A story of a summer night on a lake, where I paddled a boat to an island. (AR)

 

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Releasing Human Energy

RELEASING HUMAN ENERGIES
Mark Toscano, 6 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
A film about control. A refinement of energy for purposes of conserving resources, materials, impetus, potential, so they might all be narrowly channeled toward an unquestioned goal of maximum profit with minimum waste. Capitalism, in this example, as a process of understanding how to make use of someone as efficiently as possible to get the most out of them that is desired. Instructions for keeping people on task. (MT)

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FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 6:30 PM

Body Without OrgansA BODY WITHOUT ORGANS
Stephen Graves, 81 min., Video, 2012, USA
A Body without Organs speaks in a continual present tense, unfolding as a day in the lives of my parents. This tense is a supple present, allowing space for all of the dreams and all of the pasts, real and imagined, which together inform our experience of any present moment.  How does one conceive of the present in a body steeped in dreams, when the dream worlds refuse to lift, refuse to dissipate upon waking, but instead cling on as a veneer? And what is the present to a body undergoing an eternal, internally imposed incarceration, whose friends are all ghosts in dreams, whom nobody visits, who sleeps all day and paints all night?

Thirteen years had passed since the operation in which my father’s colon was removed. Thirteen years since he had shuttered his practice as a physician, and the start of the pain caused by conditions resulting from and exacerbated by the surgery. I was eight years old at the time of that operation, and twenty-one when we started to film together.

My mother also stopped working, instead devoting herself full-time to taking care of her crippled partner and growing son. As years passed, once-vibrant relationships outside of the marriage faded away. Faced as we were by a tragedy we could neither properly perceive nor articulate, there was a general turning inward. This film seeks to reverse that process. (SG)

Preceded By:

In Search of Lost TimeIN SEARCH OF LOST TIME
Jason Younkman, 8 min., Video, 2012, USA
My life recapitulated as a phantasmagoria of nostalgia and neurosis. Capricious memories and sensory impressions collide, coalesce, and collapse. (JY)


 

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FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 7:00 PM

RETROSPECTIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: SUMMARIZE PROUST COMPETITION
Selected by Jay Bliznick
90 min.

Hello.

My name is Jay Bliznick and I am the founder and one-time director of the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Or so I am told. The whole thing is kind of a distant blur as a result of events that transpired some time in the late 1990s.

I can’t be entirely accurate but I’ve been told that it happened as a result of a festival visit by Alejandro Jodorowsky, during which events transpired that I am legally barred from talking about. After this particular festival I, apparently, was no longer the jolly, happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care personality that one expects an underground film festival director to be. No, I was reduced to a quivering, twitching heap of a person, or as Bryan Wendorf, the current director of the festival would say, “Jay was unwell.”

It’s all a little fuzzy but apparently in the American legal system being partner with somebody in a film festival trumps one’s spouse’s legal rights. So all I really remember was my crying wife and an almost eerily gleeful Bryan signing the papers committing me to one of the City of Chicago’s NOT AT ALL DEPRESSING AND VERY CLEAN AND WELL MAINTAINED mental facilities…So, yeah, I’m told that I’m OK now.

Anyway, Bryan mentioned something about this being the 20th year, and did I want to be involved again with the hideous bitch goddess known as underground film.

Against my doctors’ advice I said OK and cobbled together a program compiled mostly from residual snippets of images left in my brain after several sessions of electroshock treatment. I hope you enjoy my selections as much as I think I might have enjoyed them and remember them better than I do now.

Nonetheless, have a good time at the festival, and if you see me in the lobby or I come up and try to talk to you, just smile and nod, remembering that what underground film did to me could happen to you.

Jay

CROSLEY FIVER

Guy Benoit, 18 min., 16mm, 1993, USA
A black comedy concerning the exploits of a man confronted with the threat of having everything he values mercilessly severed from him. (GB)

IMAGES
Jeff Vilencia, 11 min., 16mm, 1994, USA
A tribute to the early days of experimental filmmaking. A film about art, how the moving image works in the theater, and LSD. (JV)

ANDRE THE GIANT HAS A POSSE
Helen Stickler, 15 min., Video, 1997, USA
It started out as an inside joke between two skate punks and grew into an international underground phenomenon. There are an estimated 400,000 Andre The Giant Has A Posse stickers in distribution, appearing on guitars, skateboards, school books, road signs, and houseplants around the world. This documentary tells the story behind the sticker and its creator, Shepard Fairey. (HS)

MONDAY 9:02 AM
Tyler Hubby, 11 min., 16mm, 1996, USA
Inspired by Michael Snow’s Wavelength and made in real time in one take. This film asks, “how long does it take for everything and nothing to happen?” (TH)

KILLING TIME
Adam “Tex” Davis, 28 min., 16mm, 1996, USA
What do you do when you’re bored? Some people watch TV or call a friend while others might read a book or catch up on chores around the house… Or, if you’re like “Tex” and “Weasel”, two bored slackers, you decide to kill a random stranger. This film is a parable about violence in modern day society and the effects of a nihilistic social strata in decay… just kidding. It’s a dark comedy about two morons with too much time and not enough brains. Written, directed and starring Adam “Tex” Davis, writer of Just Friends, and also starring Todd “Weasel” Phillips, director of The Hangover. See the stupid shit they were doing before they went Hollywood! (AD)

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FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 8:30 PM

Pig Death MachinePIG DEATH MACHINE
John Moritsugu and Amy Davis, 84 min., Video, 2012, USA
The Chicago Underground Film Festival is totally psyched to present the World Premiere of Jon Moritsugu and Amy Davis’s Pig Death Machine, the first film from the notorious cult filmmakers in a decade!

After eating rotten meat, a brainless brunette is transformed into a dangerous genius, while in a Doctor Doolittle twist, a misanthropic-punk-rock-botanist-babe gains the power to talk to plants. Dreams become nightmares as they choke on the sweet nectar of envy and desire. Starring Amy Davis, Hannah Levbarg, Victor of Aquitaine, and Tucker Bennett. With music by Monte Cazazza, Meri St. Mary, I Am Spoonbender, Deerhoof, Dirty Beaches, Polvo, Early Man, and Low On High. (JM)

“Everyone who has half a brain and even a milligram of taste knows that Jon Moritsugu is a LIVING FUCKING UNDERGROUND MOVIE GOD” (2003 New York Underground Film Festival)

See Low on High, Jon and Amy’s band Saturday night at Township!

Preceded by:

WrestWREST
Kent Lambert, 5 min., Video, 2012, USA
Footage courtesy of Chicago Film Archives. Music by CAVE. Video assembly by Kent Lambert.

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FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 9:00 PM

SHORTS PROGRAM: IT’S THE ARTS
89 min.

Wingdings Love LetterWINGDINGS LOVE LETTER
Scott Fitzpatrick, 2 min., 16mm on Video, 2011, Canada
noun \ˈwiŋ-ˌdiŋ\ 1. A lavish or lively party or celebration. 2. A real or pretended fit or seizure; a rage. An ode to a misunderstood font is rendered by laser printing directly onto 16mm film. Made in MS Paint. (SF)

 

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CastsTHE CASTS
Darrin Martin, 6.5 min., Video, 2012, USA
Three shirtless bearded men attempt to describe a series of cast objects in their hands.  Relying only on their sense of touch and peripheral vision, metaphors flow as fluid as the water that acts as backdrop to both their circularly framed images and the floating objects in question. (DM)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Persian PicklesPERSIAN PICKLES
Jodie Mack, 3 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
Fractal phonics accompany a delicate study of psychedelic paisley patterns (JM)

 

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FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE
Adam Paradis, 12 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
Anarchy, robots, Cat Stevens, and job-related trauma. A power struggle at hand and what we face when our history catches up with us. (AP)

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Byun

BYUN, OBJECT TROUVE
Marie Losier, 7 min., Video, 2012, USA
Acclaimed mixed-media artist Chong Gon Byun uses found and discarded objects to create intricate sculptures that explore the clash between postindustrial civilization and the present consumerist culture in his surrealist oeuvre. (ML)

 

 

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21 CHITKAROOT21 CHITKAROOT
Shambhavi Kaul, 9 min., Video, 2012, USA
A land, as ancient and ideal as nature, is called up through the chroma-key backdrops of one of the world’s most viewed mythological television series. Spectacular images spring forth from a glorious, more magical time. But, as nostalgia turns into melancholia, hostility is the inevitable result. There is no option but a war to destroy everything, after which trace impulses toward a narrative are the last surviving markers of the material past. (SK)

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The Time That RemainsTHE TIME THAT REMAINS
Soda_Jerk, 12 min., Video, 2012, Australia
In this gothic melodrama, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis perpetually wake to find themselves haunted by apparitions of their older and younger selves. Isolated in their own screen space, each woman must struggle to reclaim time from the gendered discourses of ageing that mark her as ‘past her prime’. Comprised entirely of sampled audiovisual material, this experimental found footage work is the third séance fiction in Soda_Jerk’s ongoing Dark Matter Cycle. (S_J)

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The TwinTHE TWIN
Mike Lopez, 10 min., 2012, USA
The Twin is an animated short of subtitled stills, inspired by 1950s horror comics, that depicts the origin and supernatural demise of a disabled police officer living in an aggressively cruel and mysterious world. The simple presentation of the dense narrative in a disjointed manner, coupled with the loose soundtrack, create a chilling tale that includes executions, transformations, and betrayal. (ML)

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KesslerTHE KESSLER PLOT
Josh Thorud, 8 min., 2012, USA
This mock-documentary focuses on an imprisoned artist (and perhaps terrorist), Owen Kessler, whose final work of art — his ‘masterpiece’ — was a foiled plot to suicide bomb the Museum of Modern Art in New York City at the opening day of his new art space. (JT)

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7wondersTHE SEVEN WONDERS  
Paul Tarragó, 19 min., 2012, UK
The tenth episode in the ongoing Badger series. Themes? Living in the culture of the copy; originality and ownership; inexplicable illness; life on other planets. And wonder, times seven. (PT)

 

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SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2:00 PM

Hit and StayHIT & STAY
Joe Tropea & Skizz Cyzyk, 98 min., Video, 2013, USA
On May 17, 1968, the Catholic activists who would come to be known as the Catonsville Nine entered Selective Service Local Board No. 33 in Catonsville, Maryland, and removed 378 draft files for young men considered available for immediate and unrestricted military service. The activists set the files ablaze with homemade napalm, recited a prayer, made statements to the press, and waited peacefully to be arrested in a textbook “hit and stay” action. Their actions shaped the antiwar movement and helped end the draft.

Today, in the midst of another endless war, this bit of history is worth revisiting not only because it highlighted the connection between the peace, poverty, and civil-rights movements, but also because many of these same activists are still working among us. As (one of the nine) George Mische says, anyone could do what the members of the Baltimore Four and Catonsville Nine did. And even at a time when there is no draft to motivate young people into taking action and we have an African American president, rather than congratulate ourselves on how far we’ve come, it might benefit Americans to remember just how connected things like poverty, race, violence, prison, and war in fact are and how far we still have to go. (JT)

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SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 3:00 PM

RETROSPECTIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: APOLOGY FOR SEX AND VIOLENCE
Selected By Jack Sargeant 
89 min.

Psychotic Odyssey

With the Cinema of Transgression manifesto, Nick Zedd affirmed the relationship between the post-punk underground film scene and transgression. Celebrating the potentialities of crossed boundaries, the manifesto lauded movies that broke rules and affirmed vital existence: “There will be blood, shame, pain and ecstasy, the likes of which no one has yet imagined. None shall emerge unscathed.”

Linking the underground and transgression in the popular imagination, Zedd’s manifesto reached far beyond the initial scene it described and influenced a whole generation of young filmmakers to follow their own visions and create their own movies, often regardless of the consequences. This program celebrates those filmmakers whose work engaged with transgression as a boundary-crossing affirmation of unconscious urges, directors who wanted nothing more than to poke greasy fingers deep into the fantasies, desires, and horrors that lurk just below the surface, directors who wanted to explore new forms of fetishistic sexual representation, and directors who just didn’t give a shit and wanted to outrage and shock as much as entertain and inform. (JS)

MADBALL
Charles Pinion, 6 min., 16mm, 1988, USA
This rarely seen short is an exercise in fun by the director best known for the features Red Spirit Lake and We Await. (JS)

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BOVINE VENDETTA
Bob Judd, 4 min., Video, 1997, USA
Mixing together a cow and a cult leader to create a nightmarish babbling beast that has a special plan for the world. (JS)

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CHEESECAKE
Huck Botko, 7 min., 1998, USA
Audiences still watch in utter shock and disbelief anytime this – perhaps the best of Botko’s culinary movies – screens. Perhaps one of the most profoundly unsettling (and all the better for it) works made. (JS)

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DEATH JERK-OFF 2000
Usama Alshaibi, 3 min., Video, 2000, USA
A cut up exploration in film-kink and video-noise fetish for the children of the millennium. (JS)

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SLOW DEATH OF A LARGE ANIMAL
Mark Hejnar & T M Caldwell, 6 min., Video, 2000, USA
Chicago-based filmmaker Hejnar has carved a unique cinematic reputation thanks to the depth of his unsettling visions and obsessive fascinations. Here he creates a work that echoes with an unsettling imminent darkness. (JS)

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THE PSYCHOTIC ODYSSEY OF RICHARD CHASE
Carey Burtt, 6 min., 16mm, 1999, USA
The true story of the killer, told in a unique fashion. (JS)

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THE OPERATION
Jacob Pander, 13 min., 1995, USA
Shot on a borrowed infrared camera, the illuminated vagina and luminous penis of the two leads redefined the representation of sex in cinema. This deeply erotic short film offers a uniquely personal exploration of desire, sexuality, medical fetishism, and genuine love. (JS)

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MEAT FUCKER
Shawn Durr, 32 min., Video, 1999, USA
A great, greasy, slop of meat sauce, gravy smothered flesh, pounds of meat, a few eggs, and forbidden desires all converge in this joyous celebration. (JS)

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SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 6:00 PM

Taken By StormTAKEN BY STORM: THE ART OF STORM THORGERSON AND HIPGNOSIS
Roddy Bogawa, 95 min., Video, 2011, USA
For over forty years, using 12” x 12” album covers as his canvas, Storm Thorgerson has produced some of the most visually arresting images in popular culture — Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy — relentlessly pushing the boundaries between art and commerce. Spurning hi-tech manipulation in his quest to ‘do it for real,’ Thorgerson has created some of the most enigmatic images in the music industry, often building site-specific sculptures or tableaus, or staging performances and photographing them live. Using Thorgerson’s own reflections, his personal archive of never-before-seen photographs and films, and firsthand narratives from some of the most important musicians of our time (including David Gilmour and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel, and Dominic Howard of Muse), as well as the numerous artists who have helped execute the work from the days of Hipgnosis to his new company StormStudios. Taken by Storm documents Thorgerson’s idiosyncratic artistic process (like dragging 765 iron beds onto a beach for Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason) and also explores how one of the most powerful image-makers in rock and roll transcended the constraints of commercial marketing to realize his unique artistic vision, creating a powerful visual legacy that resonates throughout contemporary culture. (RB)

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SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 7:00 PM

SHORTS PROGRAM: HOW NOT TO BE SEEN
88 min.
The Sea is Still Around USTHE SEA [IS STILL] AROUND US
Hope Tucker, 4 min., Video, 2012, USA
Rachel Carson is dead, but the sea is still around us. This small lake is a sad reminder of what is taking place, in some degree, all over the land, from carelessness, shortsightedness, and arrogance. It is our pool of shame in this “our particular instant of time”. (E.B. White, 1964)

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Terre FamiliereUNE TERRE FAMILIÉRE
Mariana Milhorat, 18 min., Video, 2012, USA
Where is there to belong to?  To not feel strange?  To not ask permission? Ground.  Home.  A familiar land. (MM)

 

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Mosaic MOSAIC DO PORTO
Robert Todd, 3 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
How a place of love is observed, in small pieces, all at once: picture movement through and across the city – Porto, Portugal.. (RT)

 

 

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Should I Stand StillSHOULD I STAND AMID YOUR BREAKERS OR SHOULD I LIE WITH DEATH MY BRIDE
Marcy Saude, 5 min., Super-8 on Video, 2012, USA/The Netherlands
A line from a Tim Buckley song spawns an extremely literal film. Figures in a haunted landscape, mediated by nature and the individual frame, accompanied by field recordings from a broken tape recorder. (MS)

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OaxacaOAXACA TOHOKU
Pablo Mazzolo, 12 min., 35mm, 2012, Argentina
On March 11, 2011, there was an earthquake in the coastal region of Tohoku, Japan. The rupture of tectonic plates expanded through an area of 100,000 square kilometers. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in the coastal area of Oaxaca, Mexico, a tsunami alert was issued. (PM)

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PrimitivePRIMITIVE
Benjamin Balcom, 17 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
primitive is a small hand-processed film cycle, constructed from individual fragments, which represents a primordial experience of looking at the world.  Nothing has been encountered before and everything contains an immense energy.  The earth shivers in repose.  Objects exceed enumeration.  Form is embedded in the pathways connecting the palm of the hand to the branches of the tree. (BB)

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Arm PitARM PIT
Teohua Villalobos, 11 sec., Video, 2012, USA
A subliminal spoon feeding of expressions. (TV)

 

 

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Hay Algo

HAY ALGO Y SE VA. (THERE IS SOMETHING. NOW IT’S GONE.)  Kimberly Forero-Arnias, 3 min., 16mm, 2013, USA
Family footage is gathered and sifted to create a perpetual sea of bodies, gestures, and gazes that collide to create a familiar yet estranging reunion. (KF)

 

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Our Summer...OUR SUMMER MADE HER LIGHT ESCAPE
Sasha Waters Freyer, 5 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
A wordless, 16mm portrait of interiority, maternal ambivalence, and the passage of time. Sobful to the speaking beings, there is a breeding fever burnout, ou presque. Our Summer Made Her Light Escape explores both the beauty and the quotidian cruelties of the natural world right outside one’s door: a crippled bee, a mole in its death throes, a smashed robin’s egg. (SF) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

PicaresquesPICARESQUES
Mariah Garnett, 20 min., Video, 2011, USA
Picaresques experiments with documentary and fictional structures, weaving portraits of three seemingly disparate protagonists together to ultimately create a film about the act of making something. The filmmaker sets out to make a movie about Catalina de Erauso, a nun-turned-conquistador from the 16th century who wrote a memoir called Lieutenant Nun. She quickly becomes side-tracked, however, by a relationship she develops with a 10-year-old through the process of casting, and the film turns in on itself. Multiple strategies and media are employed to challenge the binary notions of documentary and fiction. (MG) _________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 8:00 PM

DeathA BAND CALLED DEATH
Jeff Howlett & Mark Covino, 98 min., Video, 2012, USA
Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols, or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early ’70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs, and even pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed. But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death’s music—and band name—too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album.Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger. Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell…the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers (JH) _________________________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 9:00 PM

Day of Two NoonsTHE DAY OF TWO NOONS
Mike Gibisser, 68 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, USA
An experimental essay regarding alterations in the progression of time. Space shrinks by collapsing the duration it takes for a body to traverse it—or a mind. A railroad redesigns the temporal system of a nation. A man photographs a horse. A woman hallucinates the past. Weaving together portraiture, travelogue, and landscape, The Day of Two Noons uses shifts in space, subject, and historical circumstance to investigate standardized time as a process of experiential normalization. Exploring the context in which a cultural experience of time is developed, an outline is formed of experiences that do and do not fit within such a standard. The film attempts a diagnostic on the nervous system of a country. (MG)

Preceded by:

The SightTHE SIGHT
Jeremy Moss, 4 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, USA
A song of creation: immaterial spawns volatile matter; obfuscated landscape emerges from splintering celluloid. Hand-processed July 2012 at Phil Hoffman’s Film Farm in Ontario, Canada. (JM)

 

 

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The Creation As We Saw It THE CREATION AS WE SAW IT
Ben Rivers, 14 min., 16mm, 2012, UK
Three mythical stories from the island nation of Vanuatu, in the South Pacific, concerning the origin of humans, why pigs walk on all fours, and why a volcano sits where it does. (BR)

 

 

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Corn Mother

CORN MOTHER
Taylor Dunne, 6 min., 16mm, 2012, USA
My mother’s last visit to her garden captured on a single cartridge of Super 8 and blown up to 16mm. Hand-scratched text borrowed from the Wabanaki legend ‘The Corn and Tobacco Mother.” (TD)

 

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SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 10:00 PM

SHORTS PROGRAM: ELIZABETHAN PORNOGRAPHY SMUGGLERS
95 min.

HexHEX SUFFICE CACHE TEN
Thorsten Fleisch, 12 min., Video, 2012, Germany
A surreal escape of a disintegrating mind into neon-lit nightmares from a discarded future. Suddenly interferences from subparticle proliferation occur within the protagonist’s body, a transformation can’t be avoided. This exploration of cinematic space within an implosion of cerebral space is a daring tale of aliens, experiments on humans, video games, and mutation. It is showering the unsuspecting viewer in handmade visual and aural stimuli from planet Fleisch. (TF)

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Holiday HOLIDAY
Tony Lawrence, 7 min., Super-8 on Video, 2012, Australia
A beautiful girl sees beyond her reflection in the mirror. This was shot on Black & White Super 8 film. Then projected through a home made Refraction Chamber. No digital effects were used in the making of this film. (TL)

 

 

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candaceMISS CANDACE HILLIGOSS’ FLICKERING HALO
Fabio Scacchioli & Vincenzo Core, 13 min., Video, 2011, Italy

There is a distance (short, eternal) between us and our image of reality. Even between thought and action, between thought and language, there is a similar lapse, necessary to transmit the signal via electrical impulses from the brain to different parts of the body. This is a film about this distance, about the interval simultaneously separating and uniting, the silence between words, the black between pictures. It ‘s a film against the dialectical opposites in cinema, assembled according to the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the use of the phenomenon of retinal persistence as an expressive tool. (FS)
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Grand DesignTHE GRAND DESIGN
Midi Onodera, 9 min., Super-8 on Video, 2012, Canada
Filmed in scrumptious outdated super 8, The Grand Design is a glimpse into the reflections of a dying burlesque performer. Vintage black and white clips from stag films of the 1950s are juxtaposed against a muted Tuscan landscape, the home and final resting place of the unnamed woman. The Grand Design is an unapologetic look back at an unconventional life, lived to its fullest, in an almost forgotten moment of pop culture. (MO)

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Story of the Eye STORY OF THE EYE
Nicole Jefferson Asher, 12 min., Video, 2012, USA
Starring performance artist Kevin Blechdom, who is also the film’s composer, Story of the Eye is a feminist re-interpretation of Georges Bataille’s classic 1920s transgressive novella of the same name, set to opera. Our male, and very unreliable narrator, Georges (played by Graham Skipper), reminisces about his first sexual encounters with the enchanting vixen, Simone. As the encounters become increasingly perverse, the two characters struggle for power and dominance, bringing their tale to a horrific climax. (NA)

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Substance JamSUBSTANCE: JAM
Natasha Merkulova, 12 min., 2012, Russia
Sometimes people want get rid of something annoying. But the result may be unpredictable. It all started with a simple jar of jam… (MN)

 

 

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The Last Blood Orgy THE LAST BLOOD ORGY
Kenny Reed, 26 min.,Video, 2012, USA
A filmmaker travels to Chicago for the film festival that’s screening her latest work, but she soon discovers that the festival curators have an ulterior motive for inviting her. Things take a more sinister turn, as the title would suggest. (KR)

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SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2:00 PM

Vigilante
VIGILANTE VIGILANTE: THE BATTLE FOR EXPRESSION
Max Good, 86 min., Video, 2011, USA
Out on the quiet city streets, in the predawn hours, a battle is being waged. For decades, graffiti writers, street artists, and bill-posters have contended with police and city cleanup crews. Now they have a new enemy: the obsessive and self-motivated lone vigilante. These anti-graffiti vigilantes are themselves vandals, as they typically paint over graffiti without the property owner’s permission, often doing more physical damage than what they are covering up. Vigilante Vigilante starts with the partisan filmmakers’ attempts to unmask and stop the “Silver Buff,” a prolific anti-graffiti vigilante. Then, through interviews with psychiatrists, urban theorists, and especially the colorful and sometimes violent anti-graffiti vigilantes, it examines why people are motivated to do or undo graffiti, how it relates to the wider culture, and why it’s such a divisive issue. Ultimately, the film is about tolerance and creating a conversation with one’s opponents. The story and methods may be brash, but the arguments are rooted in reason and debate. The film is a unique appeal to reconsider some of our assumptions and recognize the importance of free public expression and the communicative use of public space. (MG)

Preceded by:

Road ShowROAD SHOW
Bryan Boyce, 10 min., Video, 2013, USA
A photographic journey through the streets featuring light, shadow, color and detritus. (BB)

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SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 3:00 PM

RETROSPECTIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: FLYING LESSONS
Selected By Amy Beste
75 min.

 Barber

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOUNCING IN THE CORNER, #36DDD
Dara Greenwald, 3 min., Video, 1999, USA
A late-90s feminist looks back on the seminal work of Bruce Nauman. A take off on Bouncing in the Corner where everything is taken off. (DG)

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THE DEVIL LIES IN HOLLYWOOD
Amy Lockhart, 6 min., 16mm, 2001, Canada
An animated dissection of our excuses and excesses, and it’s sad too. And funny. So sing along! (AL)

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SHARONY!
Jennet Thomas, 10 min., Video, 2000, UK
This is the story of two young girls who dig up a tiny woman from the back garden. They incubate her in their mouths, in their bed, they lock her in a dolls house wallpapered with pornography to make her grow up faster, feeding her through a tube in the door. When she is life-sized and ready to play they take her to the disco. A dark, comic, experimental fantasy on the implications of Little Girls Toys – with the existential melancholy of Frankenstein’s monster. (JT)
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GETTING STRONGER EVERY DAY
Miranda July, 7 min., Video, 2001, USA
This one is about being lost and found, from moment to moment, and over the course of a lifetime. The spirit realm manifests in lo-tech effects and remembered TV movies. Starring Richard Greiling, Carrie Brownstein, and Mia Cianciulli. (MJ)
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LETTERS, NOTES
Stephanie Barber, 3 min., 16mm, 2000, USA
A simple but stunning film in which mini-narratives are created using mostly found photographs and letters. (Patrick Friel)
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THEN A YEAR
Kelly Reichardt, 14 min., Super-8 on Video,  2002, USA
…a voice-over collaged from true crime shows and Super-8 picture that’s essential Reichardt: lyrical, ominous, and evocative of how horribly love can hurt. (Amy Taubin, Village Voice)
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SILENCE
Vanessa O’ Neill, 13 min., 16mm, 2001, USA
Ambient soundscapes and lush colors limn the boundary between noise and its absence. (VO)
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THE LESTER FILM

Heather McAdams and Chris Ligon, 15 min., 16mm, 2000, USA
The Lester Film is an experimental portrait film featuring one of
Chicago’s colorful cross dressing artists who we used to see making
the club scene back in the 1980s and 1990s. We wanted to give Lester
his 15 minutes of fame and dig a little deeper into his personality
but what we really wanted to capture on film was his visually
arresting female persona Lestushka who oftentimes looked like
someone’s elementary school teacher back in 1950s Denmark.. (Cine-File)
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IT WILL DIE OUT IN THE MIND
Deborah Stratman, 4 min., Video, 2007, USA
A short meditation on the possibility of spiritual existence and the paranormal in our information age. (DS)
“Time isn’t a thing, it’s an idea. It will die out in the mind.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

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SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 6:00 PM

SHORTS PROGRAM: HITTING ON THE HEAD LESSONS
96 min.

Mountain Lying DownMOUNTAIN LYING DOWN
Lorenzo Gattorna, 3 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, USA
The title signifies the Paiute name for the north rim plateau of the Grand Canyon, a massive gorge in the state of Arizona and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Turbulence and tranquility gain exposure at enthralling elevations. Strata are uplifted through edges of contrast caused by severe slants of the sun. The scope of the sacred site reaches translation in static brevity, unearthing billions of years of sedimentary rock sequences. (LG)

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DinosaursDINOSAURS
Terra Long, 12 min., Video, 2012, Canada
Latent in the dinosaur drawings of five year old Morgan is a narrative of power and the monstrous. As an adult Morgan finds his first-grade class assignment, and discovers in it an allegory for his father’s tyrannical cruelty and control over his family. Through stories, found, and original footage, Morgan’s memories of abuse are woven into the seemingly innocuous images of childhood. (TL)

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Birdsπουλιά (ORNITHES)
Gabriel Abrantes, 16 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, Portugal
Pagan folk myth is juxtaposed with ancient Greek comedy as three Haitian girls witness disparate forms of storytelling. An old man tells the tale of his wife’s transformation into a goat. In a local village, an elaborately costumed theatre group performs Aristophanes’ Birds in the original Attic language. (GA)

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BenBEN: IN THE MIND’S EYE
Iva Radivojevic, 13 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, USA
Ben is a diagnosed schizophrenic. Unable to fit into society’s mold or support himself, he finds home in music. It keeps him alive and gives meaning to his life. Wanting desperately to express himself, he lends his thoughts in this film.  (IR)

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TNINTHE NAME IS NOT THE THING NAMED
Deborah Stratman, 11 min., Video, 2012, USA
In support of experiences that are essentially common, but to which language does not easily adhere, the video passes through places that are both themselves, and stand-ins for others.  The title is taken from Aleister Crowley’s 1918 translation of the Tao Te Ching. (DS)

 

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17 New Dam Rd17 NEW DAM RD.
Dani Leventhal, 9 min., Video, 2012, USA
We are invited along on a house visit with a familial group. There’s trash in the garden, guns on the sofa, and martial arts in the living room. A photo session records a young woman throwing punches at a man, playacting for the camera, but sweating anyway. A kitten ignores the bullets littered on the ground. Despite the foregrounding of violent pursuits, lost teeth, and pool hall fights, there’s a rough camaraderie here, a feeling of loyalty and belonging. (Abina Manning)

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Por DineroPOR DINERO
Brendan & Jeremy Smyth, 31 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, Mexico/USA
An experimental documentary observing an undocumented Mexican immigrant, his indigenous family, and their dying language. The film is tied together by quotes from an ancient Mayan hero. (B&JS)

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SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 7:00 PM

All The Memory In The World

ALL THE MEMORY IN THE WORLD
Mike Olenick, 72 min., Video, 2013, USA
Memories, mirrors, madness and Memento collide in this experimental video essay focusing on the photographs and photographers in thousands of narrative films.  All the Memory in the World is a stream-of-consciousness meditation on cinema, photography, identity, memory and dreams narrated by an insomniac who obsesses over images. (MO)

 

 

Preceded by:
Broken AltarTHE BROKEN ALTAR
Mike Rollo, 20 min., 16mm on Video, 2012, Canada
The Broken Altar is a portrait of open-air theaters documented under the strange light of day, emptied of the once present hum of human voices, radioed-in soundtracks, and tires on gravel. Scripting the landscape and exploring the residue of a cinematic history, The Broken Altar forms a sculptural treatment of the architectural artifacts of these abandoned and barren spaces: speaker boxes rise from tall grass like grave markers and the screens themselves are monumental, sepulchral in their peeling whiteness. (MR)

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SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 8:00 PM
CLOSING NIGHT!

 See You Next TuesdaySEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY
Drew Tobia, 82 min., Video, 2013, USA
The Chicago Underground Film Festival is pleased to present the World Premiere of See You Next Tuesday, the first feature film from writer/director Drew Tobia (the one that makes movies like Leperfuck and Ladyfemmes, not the one that teaches bartending school in New Jersey.)
Mona (Eleanore Pienta) is a mentally unbalanced and very pregnant young woman in a hideous orange coat. Without any friends to speak of and alienated from her hoochie mama coworkers at a crummy Brooklyn supermarket, Mona maintains a strangely close relationship with her campy, recovering alcoholic mother May (Dana Eskelson). Mona’s sister Jordan (Molly Plunk) is an unemployable party girl, estranged from May and making life hell for her increasingly fed up girlfriend Sylve (Keisha Zollar). In the final days of her pregnancy, Mona draws her mother, sister, and anybody who happens to get caught in her wake into her hectic life as she drifts further from reality.

Featuring a tapestry of diverse characters with varying levels of sanity and awful taste in wardrobe, See You Next Tuesday is a dark comedy the whole family can enjoy cutting themselves to.” (DT)

Preceded by:

Chubby BunnyCHUBBY BUNNY
Stuart Laws, 9 min., Video, 2012, UK
Angela has broken the ‘Sunshine Youth Club’ record during a routine game of ‘Chubby Bunny’. Youth workers John and Jane arrive at her family home to deliver the news to her parents and take the time to inform them of some more difficult developments too. (SL)