Chicago Underground Film Festival

TUESDAY AUGUST 22

4 p.m.

Free Panel Discussion

DOT.COM OR DIE Filmmakers and distributors discuss and debate the merits of online distribution.

5 p.m.

MY CHAR-BROILED BURGER WITH BREWER Jim Sikora

Documentary. Video. 45:00. 2000. World Premiere.

In the tradition of Louis Malles’ “My Dinner With Andre” and Andy Kaufman’s “My Breakfast With Blassie,” L.A. poet Jack Brewer and former Minutemen and firehose guitarist Mike Watt meet for red meat and reminisce about the glory days of punk rock.

…AN INCREDIBLE SIMULATION Jeff Economy and Darren Hacker

Documentary. Video. 60:00. 2000. World Premiere.

When is a world-famous, million-selling band not a world-famous, million-selling band? When it’s a tribute band. Not the real thing, but … an incredible simulation. Dive into this tribute band netherworld where you’ll discover an entire subculture you never knew existed, inhabiting a parallel universe that looks and feels almost real.

5:15 p.m.

TREBLE WITHOUT A CAUSE (shorts)

NAYSAYER Amy Happ

Documentary. 16mm. 18:00. 2000. World Premiere

This is a film about Tommy Strange, musician, anarchist and office worker. It’s about his beautiful vision of society and what we have instead.

ED’S JUKE JOINT Kevin Wisor

Documentary. 16mm. 27:27. 2000. World Premiere.

Ed’s basement seems like an unlikely hotbed for underground music, but this eclectic mix of performers and spectators discover why Ed’s Juke Joint is the place to be. On a stage no bigger than a bathroom, performances ranging from gospel, folk, rockabilly and zydeco get this joint jumpin’.

LOOK BACK, DON’T LOOK BACK Randy Bell and Justin Rice

Documentary. 16mm. 30:00. 2000.

The Bob Dylan of D.A. Pennebaker’s seminal 1965 documentary “Don’t Look Back” had wit, charisma and energy. He was nervous and subversive. Fascinated by the mysterious power of that film, and obsessed with the image of Dylan, these Harvard filmmakers embark on a quest to talk with Dylan in person. En route, they brilliantly capture the look, feel and spirit of cinema verite’ a la Pennebaker, and affect us with their contagious enthusiasm and persistence of vision.

6 p.m.

BENJAMIN SMOKE Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen

Documentary. 16mm. 70:00. 2000. Chicago Premiere.

Benjamin was the lead singer of Smoke, a band based in the Atlanta neighborhood known as Cabbagetown. The band (cello, trumpet, drums, banjo and electric guitar) played a wild Southern mix of country, blues, jazz and punk. Benjamin was a singer whose drag-queen background and visceral approach to life and music both cemented the band’s fame and guaranteed its limits. While Smoke had frequently been cited as one of Atlanta’s best bands, Benjamin’s extraordinary persona, his utterly uncompromising performances and his HIV-positive status created a mixture too volatile for the mainstream and the record industry The film is a portrait of an extraordinary individual, band and neighborhood that asks the questions: How does a poor musician with AIDS balance his illness and renegade lifestyle with the need to create? What would be the sound of a queer Southern blues? How do changing landscapes affect the creative lives of people within them? On a broader level, the documentary’s value is in its exploration of something uniquely American about these colliding forces: the parallel traditions of folk and punk as the homemade music of marginalized outsiders, and the story of how an individual’s wit, passion and art are born out of reaction to surroundings which forced him into its fringes.

6:45 p.m.

PUT THE CULT BACK IN CULTURE (shorts)

LANGUAGE SIGN DUALITY IS ASSYMETRICAL Andrey and Julia Velikanov

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999. Russia.

“The author found the unknown folk with very interesting culture. Due to extraordinary artistic, intellectual and musical endowments they have very refined language. The author doesn’t speak this language and having no possibility to communicate with the people, he gathered the exceptional collection of the local folklore. This film is the account of the work that has been done. Russian folk songs and the texts of the modern art theorists are used.” – Andrey Velikanov

VIRTUAL BODY OF GOD Andrey and Julia Velikanov

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999. Russia.

Prayers to God in the form of contemporary advertising. Searching for something sacred, the anguished individual can only find the banal-sublime products of mass culture

A COLDBLOODED LOOK AT YOUR LAST 60,000,000,000,000 YEARS! The Institute for True Purpose Technology

Short. Video. 15:00. 2000.

Past-life traumas, intergalactic conspiracies, gigantic holographic movie theaters and the evolution of clams into human beings. How much do you really know about the teachings and beliefs of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology? This education filmstrip explains it all.

HELL HOUSE Dewey Nicks

Documentary. Video. 26:00. 1998.

An exceedingly scary tour of Hell, an agit-prop theme park run by the religious right in Colorado.

THE MAGNIFICENT ANDERSONS Julie Morrison

Documentary. Video. 31:00. 1999.

Deep within the borders of Nevada, alongside the mountain range that cloaks Area 51, sits the small town of Overton. Backed by friends, discouraged by government, Terry and Gerri Anderson raise a family that knows what it sees, and sees what is to come. It’s this secret knowledge and family support that not only brings them close, but consequently separates them from the rest of society. Take a look into their double-wide trailer home and their perception on family, world domination and the ever-existent presence of aliens that live among us.

7:15 p.m.

SCRATCHING THE SURFACE: FILMS FROM THE AVANT-GARDE
Curated and Introduced by Patrick Friel

A program of films which look at, beyond and beneath the surface(s) of things.

FLAG Anonymous/Courtesy of Tom Whiteside

Found Film. 16mm. 2:00. 1970s.

MICROMOTH Julie Murray

Experimental. 16mm. 6:00. 2000.

Insects and a microscope. Light and motion writ small.

LETTERS, NOTES Stephanie Barber

Experimental. 16mm. 3:00. 2000.

A simple but stunning film in which mini-narratives are created using mostly found photographs and letters.

OONA’S VEIL Brian Frye

Experimental. 16mm. 8:00. 2000.

Composition meets decomposition.

THE PARANTHETICAL TRAP Emily Cronbach and Elizabeth Day

Experimental. 16mm. 7:00. 1991.

Are they twins or not?

DELAMINATION Luis A. Recoder

Experimental. 16mm. 9:00. 2000.

Sections of emulsion are peeled off a print of “Brian’s Song,” fragmenting any sense of narrative and focusing attention on the physical nature of the film strip.

DOMAIN Julie Murray

Experimental. 16mm. 6:00. 1999.

The image changes but the surface stays the same.

DITHERCUMBER Bruce McClure

Experimental. 16mm. 12:00. 1999.

The filmmaker attacks a piece of an Orson Welles jungle adventure.

FRIENDLESS FACELESS Anonymous/Courtesy of Scott Stark

Found Film. 16mm. 23:00. 1970s.

A truly bizarre artifact from the not-too-distant past in which “Tommy” is searching for his identity in more ways than one.

MIRROR, MIRROR Peggy Ahwesh

Experimental. 16mm. 3:00. 2000.

“Made from outtakes discarded by Boston filmmaker Tracey MacCullion. An offering to Tracey and another chapter in our ongoing conversation.” (PA)

Patrick Friel is the Program Director at Chicago Filmmakers

8 p.m.

BORN TO LOSE: THE LAST ROCK N ROLL MOVIE Lech Kowalski

Documentary. Video. 90:00. 2000.

For Johnny Thunders, the party was never over. Born John Anthony Genzale, Jr., Thunders lived the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll life, originally as a cofounder and lead guitarist for New York’s pioneering glam-punk band The New York Dolls. The Dolls originated of a back-to-basics style of rock ‘n’ roll that was ballsy, noisy, tough, funny, sharp, young and real. After two acclaimed but unsuccessful albums, the Dolls broke up and Thunders formed the Heartbreakers, churning out tough, sarcastic, monster-chord rock. Thunders continued making a series of records that inadvertently documented his descent into heroin addiction. His bad boy image exploited heroin’s significance: his publicity photos had syringes in them and he frequently mimed jamming needles into his forearm on stage. In 1991, after years of abuse, Johnny Thunders was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a New Orleans hotel room. Director Lech Kowalski (director of the Sex Pistol’s documentary “D.O.A.”) brings his rock ‘n’ roll film cycle full circle. To the soundtrack of a buzzing tattoo needle, Kowalski shows rare footage of the New York punk scene and interviews with Thunders’ family, friends and fellow performers, including Dee Dee Ramone, Wayne Kramer and Sylvain Sylvain. No other rock and roller ever lived as hard as Johnny Thunders.

“Johnny Thunders is the rock ‘n’ roll Dean Martin of heroin.” – Richard Hell

8:30 p.m.

NASTY GIRLS AND DIRTY BOYS

FEMMINIST FATALES Gritt Uldall-Jessen

Experimental. Video. 3:30. 1999. Denmark.

A shocking and disturbing look at the sundry practices of the Danish underground movement Mohawk Beavers. Filmed from the very inside of their cunts. These girls are out there! To fuck! To fuck it up!

HATEMAN Joaquin delaPuente

Experimental. 16mm on Video. 4:00. 2000. World Premiere.

An scene shot but unused for the feature film “Straightman.” Two young actors portray gay lovers attending an actual death metal show. Music by Hatewave.

PACIFIER O. Perez

Short. Video. 10:00. 1999.

At age 13, the director wrote a letter to Penthouse Forum in an attempt to impersonate an adult and get published. Not being able to find the address, he put the stories away. Thirteen years later, the story was found and reinterpreted by the filmmaker into an absurdly campy PG-13 porno.

KISS XXX Akira Shimazaki

Short. Video. 12:00. 2000.

A detective pursues a murderer-by-castration, who attempts to transplant her victim’s organs to herself.

THE FALL OF COMMUNISM AS SEEN IN GAY PORNOGRAPHY William Jones

Documentary. Video. 20:00. 1998.

Ambiguous images taken from gay erotic videos produced in Eastern Europe since the introduction of capitalism, beggars on the streets of Moscow, performers cursing at the camera, and of course, plenty of Communist kitsch. Most importantly, a look at young men attempting to adapt to an unfamiliar world where money, power and sex are interconnected.

GANG GIRLS 2000 Katrina del Mar

Short. Super 8 to Video. 27:00 min. 1999.

Renowned East Village photographer Katrina del Mar presents the world of cinema as you’ve never seen it! In Glorious Glittervision! In Luxurious Leatherama! What these girls do you will not believe! Bike riding Chikettes! Truck Driving Sluts! A token blonde in every gang! Starring Kembra Pfahler, Melanie Vesey, Theo Kogan, Viva Knievel, Miss Kelly Webb and more than TWENTY other I-wish-knew-HER New York superstars!

9:15 p.m.

STYLES OF BEYOND (shorts)

THE HANGNAIL Shane Acker

Animation. 16mm. 1:58. 1999.

The story of a man, man’s best friend and a small piece of skin that eventually tears them apart.

PIE FIGHT ’69 Christian Bruno and Sam Green

Documentary. 16mm. 7:00. 2000.

In 1969, a group of underground filmmakers staged a messy pie fight during opening night of the San Francisco International Film Festival. A self-proclaimed publicity stunt, it was also a statement about their artistic plight.

MIND CONTROL MADE EASY (OR HOW TO BE A CULT LEADER) Carey Burtt

Short. 16mm. 13:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Easy to follow step-by-step instructions for any aspiring Charles Mansons, L. Ron Hubbards or Lyndon Larouches who might be in the audience. Take notes, there’ll be a test.

BLOW ME Marcel DeJure

Short. 16mm. 10:00.

Boy meets girl. Boy smokes pot. Girl gives boy blow job. Boy smokes pot. Girl gives boy another blow job. Boy smokes pot. Girl finds herself. Boy smokes more pot.

BORED TO PIECES Jamie Ruddy

Short . 16mm. 5:30. 1999.

While at a classmate’s slumber party, Joey, the class outcast, spies some suspicious goings on at the neighbor’s. Can she get her young friends to believe her?

HARRY KNUCKLES AND THE LEGEND OF THE AZTEC MUMMY Lee Demarbe

Short. 16mm. 27:00. 1999.

Harry Knuckles (aka Special Agent Spanish Fly) returns in a two-fisted archeological adventure that doesn’t pull any punches. In the course of his quest to unearth an unholy treasure and save his daughter’s life, Harry goes mano a mano with everything from beatnik bank robbers to the insidious hordes of the undead. Harry Knuckles is back, and this time he’s gone bananas!

9:30 p.m.

SLIDIN’ BRIGHT AND SHINY WORLD

Reinhard Sud, Barbara Albert, Michael Grimm

Feature. 35mm. 94:00. 1998. Austria. Chicago Premiere.

Three stories by three directors, three interrelated journeys into the world of teenagers and countercultures. Major characters in one story turn up as minor characters later on while supporting characters later become the leads. This casual approach mirrors real life where people frequently cross paths by chance. First we meet Petra and Nicole, who in live in the bright, shiny world of the mall, loafing around, bumming and teasing guys. When they decide to go off with a stranger that they meet there it causes a rift in their close friendship which can’t be easily repaired. For the rest of the night they try individually to catch up with their own ideals. Act two features parties, sex amphetamines and clothing fetishism, as well as frustration and the feeling of oppression. Billie likes to break rules and avoid emotional commitment. She is determined to really live on the edge unlike her friends, who she sees as posers. Finally, a carload of city kids on their way to a rave ! get stuck in the middle of nowhere. They are confronted with a rural society with which they are unsure how to react. Unexpected incidents are heat up their emotions until they erupt in violence. What they are left with is a remembrance for them and the taste of a rather exciting story.

10:15 p.m.

CITY KIDS (shorts)

SQUAT Savin Yeatman-Eiffel

Animation. Video. 7:20. 1999.

An invasive drag queen, a fetishistic lawyer, a naive raver, an aggressive biker, an acidhead artist and a rebellious Pakistani girl converge on an abandoned house in a residential suburb. Based on the experiences of the filmmaker, all the characters portrayed exist in real life.

THE COLLECTOR Benton Jew

Short. 16mm on Video. 7:00. 1999.

Two men who bump into each other on the street. The incident escalates into a war of wills between the two men. Both have strong wills, neither give in.

DUTY NICKLES
Short. 16mm on Video. 10:00.

What does a superball that kills people, a graveyard caretaker who falls in love with corpses, and a mother who is a resident barfly have in common? Narrated by Deborah Harry, Joey Ramone, and Vin Scelsa, with music by Chris Stein.

253-b Carlos Eduardo Nogueria

Animation. Video. 14:00. 1999. Brazil.

Dagmar works as a prostitute to pay for her medical studies. When she is unable to pay off her growing debt she meets two very different men both of whom change her situation drastically.

THIS CLOSE TO NOTHING Scott Saunders

Short. Video. 14:00. 2000.

After engaging in some hot cybersex, a man and woman decide to move their relationship from the virtual to the real world.

” ‘This Close to Nothing’ is about many things (cybersex, infidelity, vagrancy) but ultimately about nothing but rhythm, performance and of course, DV.” – Ryan Mottesheard, indieWIRE

GEORGIE PORGIE Benjamin Meyer

Short. 16mm on Video. 23:00. 2000.

Sam and Susan spend a fine Sunday morning spring cleaning their small, cluttered apartment. However, it’s the struggle to remove the emotional debris that lies between them that is the real challenge.

10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

FESTIVAL CONCERT Phyllis’ Musical Inn 1800 W. Division (773) 486-9862

Admission $5

Lightning and Thunder (Neal Diamond/ABBA tribute band featured in “…An Incredible Simulation”) and Eager Meat (featuring Philly star of “Once and Future Queen”).

Back to the Program Index

On to Wednesday
Home