Chicago Underground Film Festival

THURSDAY AUGUST 24
5 p.m.

BEST BAD BEHAVIOR (shorts)

MEAT Dylan Griffin

Documentary. Video. 3:20. 2000. Canada. World Premiere.

A portrait of a man and his passion for taxidermy.

SHE-WOLF Frank Zirbel

Experimental. 16mm on Video. 6:04. 1999. World Premiere.

An abstract narrative constructed from found footage. “And a she-wolf came… that relentless beast; coming toward me, slowly, step by step, she forced me back to where the sun is mute.” – Dante’s Inferno

LOVE GUN Joe Winston

Experimental. Video. 7:20. 2000.

A desperate young man recounts his experience having sex with an older woman for money. Is he ashamed? Is he frightened? What the hell does he look like anyway?

BASIC RULES OF RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE Jim Jacob

Short. Video. 8:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Jim Jacob explains rules of behavior to be used while dining in restaurants.

4 WAYS HE TRIED TO TELL YOU Jennet Thomas

Experimental. Video. 7:00. 1999. U.K.

“This is a video about the thing that won’t go away, it has been trying to contact me by altering bits of my reality for several years now and this seven minutes is a clear demonstration of that. My 8-year-old nephew got drawn into the whole thing and that’s why his voice is on the tape. I’m not sure if its dead now, we’ll just have to see.” -Jennet Thomas, The Exploding Cinema

URBAN SCRAWLS Jamie Shenck

Documentary. 16mm on Video. 30:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Everybody reads it, some say they don’t but they do… While using a lavatory at the University of Michigan, Jamie Schenk became intrigued by the writings on the wall. Sex, graphic images, war. Love. Strong words. Free thought. Through candid interviews in graffiti-covered bathrooms of three Midwest cities Schenk attempts to answer the perpetual question: “Who would write/draw something like that?”

5 p.m.

SHADOWS AND LIGHT (shorts)

THE ONE HUNDRED YARD DASH FILM (and the record belongs to…) Kenneth Eisenstein

Experimental. 16mm. 10:00. 1999.

Equal parts diary film and formal exercise, this film is a race, measuring 100 yards from start to finish that explores movement in all aspects of the filmmaking process.

THE VYROTONIN DECISION Matt McCormick

Experimental. 16mm. 7:15. 1999.

A post-modern disaster epic composed of 36 appropriated television commercials from 1971. “The Vyrontonin Decision” mocks the formula of current Hollywood blockbusters while re-inventing some of television’s most embarrassing moments.

GRAND CENTRAL Jeff Scher

Experimental. 16mm. 15:00. 1999.

An old window in Grand Central Station was opened up after being sealed for close to 40 years. Enchanted by the way this new/old light flooded the station during rush hour, filmmaker Jeff Scher (director of past CUFF selections “Bang Bang” and “Yours”) captured it using an antique Bell and Howell, orthochromatic film and an old uncoated lens from the thirties.

01-03-73 Christopher Bravo

Experimental. 16mm. 15:00. 1999.

An experimental animation piece drawn from concepts of musical composition, such as velocity, improvisation and counterpoint. The film was created frame by frame on a computer and transferred to film using a hand-cranked Mitchell.

FILM (KNOUT) Deco Dawson

Experimental. 16mm. 9:00. 1999. Canada.

With the use of rapid cutting and lyrical movement, “Film(knout)” concentrates on a young woman who sets down to the task of tying rope. Meanwhile, she has the same idea, and a confrontation of self endures.

THE ESCAPADES OF MADAME X Kerry Laitala and Isabel Reichert

Experimental. 16mm. 10:00. 2000.

Esther Williams meets Maya Deren in this dreamy, mysterious examination of women’s roles in early Hollywood. A 2000 Chicago Underground Film Fund recipient.

LES FANTOMES DE LUMIERE Ray Harmon

Experimental. 16mm. 13:00. 2000.

A 16mm film performance utilizing a vintage stag loop negative. More cool-looking porn.

5:15 p.m.

FREESTYLE Kevin Fitzgerald

Documentary. 16mm on video. 60:00. 2000.

Filmed in the streets and underground open mikes of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, “Freestyle” is a documentary film that explores the lyrical world of a particularly African-American form of storytelling: Rap. Like the griots of Africa, the hip-hop MC shares the same need to communicate a poetic story to an open community. “Freestyle” explores how rap brings about a spiritual transformation of frustration into beauty through catharsis. The amazing improvisational nature of freestyle poetry creates a channel of startling immediacy and power analogous to the trance-like explorations of hip-hop’s forebears such as jazz poets like Amiri Baraka, H. Rap Brown and Gil Scott Heron and The Last Poets, as well as some of the most respected artists of today: Freestyle Fellowship, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Medusa, Supernatural, Divine Styler and Cut Chemist. These artists shape the form of this film with their own words and performances. “Freestyle” employs the B-Boy idiom to tell its story through a rhythmic montage of the various disciplines of hip-hop, including rapping, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti art.

Preceded by:

EYEDOLLARTREE Brian Beletic and Blood of Abraham

Experimental. Video. 9:50. 1999.

“Focus on the truth never focus on the lie, Look at all the shit in your town and ask why, Focus on the camera hanging in the sky.” “EyeDollarTree” is an underground propaganda film on awareness. Powerful imagery, cinematic beats. One in 90 palm trees in Los Angeles are fake. Paranoia is awareness.

And

STATE OF PLAY Milan Spasic, Tom Oldham and Shirley Hopkins

Documentary. Video. 28:00. 1999.

An upbeat and positive look at the rise and current state of British hip-hop. Hosted by the charismatic MC Ty and featuring interviews with Afrika Bambaataa, Busta Rhymes, Shortee Blitz and The Cookie Crew, “State of Play” explores rapping, DJing, break-dancing and graffiti art to demonstrate that hip-hop is a lifestyle.

6:30 p.m.

MINDBOMBS (shorts)

TRICK OR TREAT Ian Haig

Animation. Video. 1:40. 1999.

Ghouls, mutants, zombies, bloodsuckers, ghosts, freaks, vampires and demons are brought back from the dead and reanimated into ectoplasmic goop.

MUFFIN Usama Alshaibi

Experimental. Video. 2:30. 1999.

Muffin is sweet. Muffin is soft. Muffin will spit and cut your head off.

“An eerily stylized deconstruction of exploitation and violence in life and cinema.” – Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader

LAST NIGHT Brian Trecka and Paloma Boiles

Animation. Video. 2:30. 2000.

A minimalist exploration of sound and motion. Geometric shapes executed almost entirely with index cards and self-adhesive stickers loosely synchronized to found and manipulated sounds.

CAN I GET YOU SOMETHING? Janice Inskeep

Experimental. Video. 6:42. 2000.

Abject chicken/bat sex and dismembered women wielding knives and singing songs of retaliation.

UNDIVIDED ATTENTION David Ellsworth

Experimental. Super-8 onVideo. 4:00. 1999.

Edited completely in-camera on one 3:20 super-8 roll, this film uses still photographs, postcards, newspaper headlines and a time-lapse sequence shot in the director’s back yard.

THE FIELD FAR AWAY Ann Steuernagel,

Experimental. Video. 8:00. 1999.

Archival footage of student calisthenics is recycled to access metaphorical truths in this short experimental video, a meditative remembrance of a time gone by.

DO NOT RUIN YOUR CREDIT Paul Kell and Faisal Lutchmedial

Experimental. Video. 6:30. 1999.

Mind-bendingly altered footage of a television ministry reveals “the socio-religious significance of good credit.”

PIGSKIN ORGASM 2: SIX AND INCHES Jennifer and Amber Cluck

Experimental. Video. 5:00. 2000. World Premiere.

More gay sports action from the Sisters Cluck.

P Yuri A.

Experimental. Video. 6:00. 1999.

Take a colorful and happy look at the process of elimination and the world of number two.

THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT DAUMIER Matt Konicek

Experimental. Video. 4:10. 1999.

A manipulation of vintage educational filmstrips. A succession of image and sound twisted to provide an expressionistic memory of mid-sixties education where we all advanced one frame at the sound of the beep.

SHARONY Jennet Thomas

Experimental. Video. 10:00. 2000. U.K.

Two young girls dig up a microscopic woman from their back garden. They incubate her in their mouths, under their pillows and lock her in a doll’s house wallpapered with pornography to make her grow up faster. When she is life-sized and ready to play they take her to a disco.

NEST OF TENS Miranda July

Experimental. Video. 27:00. 2000.

Four alternating stories which reveal mundane yet personal methods of control. These systems are derived from intuitive sources. Children and a retarded adult operate control panels made out of paper, lists, monsters and their own bodies.

7 p.m.

MONDO EDUTAINMENT
Curated By Danny Plotnick

“Mondo Edutainment” is a sin-sational collection of educational (?) films from the personal collection of Danny Plotnick. Taken from the vaults of the public schools and beyond. Included in this program: “Vicious Cycles,” LSD and Other Psychedelics,” “A Day In The Life of Donny B.” and “Narcotics: The Pit Of Despair.”

7:15 p.m.

SUMMER OF SURVEILENCE (shorts)

WE THE LIVING SMX

Experimental. Video. 2:36. 2000.

As our hero slips further into insanity, he struggles to maintain contact with his loved ones and the world around him. Meanwhile, the people around him also fight to communicate with him as he slips from reality.

SUNDAY 10:42 AM Jonathan Green

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999.

A wrong number and a message left on the answering machine is the starting point for this atmospheric reworking of words and images. Damn kids! Get off the phone!

YESTERMORROW Brian Doyle

Experimental. Video. 5:10. 1999.

Welcome to Disney-created community Celebration, Florida. It’s a place that is caught between future and past. Where the present is eclipsed by fabricated nostalgia and techno-utopianism.

BIT PLANE Bureau of Inverse Technology

Documentary. Video. 13:00. 1999.

Bureau-guided miniature spy-plane mission into the glittering heart of Silicon Valley. An investigation into the progress of the information age.

BEST IN BEEF Britta Hosman and Rob Smits

Documentary. Video. 10:00. 1999. Netherlands.

A meditative study of the bloody goings-ons at a commercial beef slaughterhouse. While countless cows are killed, the unconcerned slaughterhouse manager consumes an apple in his far-removed and sterile office.

TARGET Animal Charm

Experimental. Video. 8:30. 1999.

Why is this super-injured man driving around and around a shopping center carpark? Just what is his Target?

PRESERVE YOUR ESTATE (LIVE) Animal Charm

Experimental. Video.9:30. 1999.

LaToya Jackson and a somersaulting chimp bookend this collage of subtly alienating television images which disseminate notions of happiness, the work ethic and social success. “Repeat with me: I now feel confident about opening to others and projecting charisma.”

PIXAVE: DENOMINATOR Matthew Biederman and Bart Woodstrup

Experimental. Video. 5:00. 1999.

An in-depth exploration of some basic image and sounds carriers. Abstract, geometric patterns and sounds are first created independently of one another, then the two artists merge them in the last phase. This process shows in detail their autonomy and poeticism of symbiosis.

THE HUMAN CAMERA Jaak Kilmi

Short. Video. 20:00. 1999.

Rainer’s relationship with his girlfriend Anna is doomed to collapse. He decides to document the end in the form of a video diary. The moment Rainer starts documenting, he becomes a voyeur in his own life. Although Anna is clearly against it, Rainer making his masochist chronicles goes to the extreme. Taking the role of the Human Camera he turns their relationship into a cruel fight and a series of revenge.

9 p.m.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM

SUPERSTARLET A.D. John Michael McCarthy

Feature. 16mm. On Video. 80:00. 2000. World Premiere

“Beneath the Planet of the Apes” meets “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”!

Set in the post-apocalyptic next millennium, “Superstarlet A.D.” is a wild romp packed with the sex and violence of a classic exploitation film. It’s the lost city of Femphis, where all men have de-evolved into deadly Neanderthals and all women have banded into marauding rival beauty cults: the dumb platinum blonde PhayRays, ruthless brunette Satanas and ill-tempered redheaded Tempests. At stake are rapidly dwindling supplies of lipstick and ammunition.

And the stakes get even higher when a fourth cult emerges: Superstarlet A.D. that combines the power of all three hair colors! They’re direct descendants of 1950s burlesque stars and in homage wear film reels mounted on their backs like halos. Ravishing brunette Superstarlet Naomi’s quest in life is to find and view her actual ancestral film, and this search leads to the danger of abandoned theaters, where threatening Neanderthals are known to lurk.

But cavemen aren’t the only problems — the other cults are vicious in defense of their turf and each other. When you’re faced with a cult of redheads who’ll kill a blonde for her blood (which enhances red hair color!) or kidnap a brunette and convert her via the brutal conditioning of a cruel dominatrix, a Superstarlet really has to watch her back. Resolute Naomi is pushed to the brink of everything she holds dear as she struggles to control the murderous urges she thought only belonged to men!

“If McCarthy weren’t so marginalized, many filmmakers could be modeling their work on his layered lyricism instead of Tarantino’s canned vacousness.” – Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader

“I make exploitation movies. The exploitation genre is an acquired bad taste. It is not so much the low budgets or bad acting that make our films so desirable, it is the uncanny ability of the exploitation film as a medium for personal expression that places it beside underground comix, punk rock, and, well, in my humble opinion . . . ART.” -John Michael McCarthy

Preceded by:

PSYCHO SAMBA Ian Haig

Animation. Video. 3:20. 1999.

“Suddenly a bolt of electricity sprang forth from the screen and hit me in the head, scorching my forehead with uncanny resemblance of a burn that looked like a human eye. I could hear a buzzing in my ears, my newly formed third eye then began to secrete a special metallic-tasting liquid, as I saw visions of atomic bomb mushroom clouds.” – Ian Haig

10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

AWARDS AND CLOSING NIGHT PARTY The Empty Bottle 1035 N. Western Ave. (773) 276-3600 Admission $6

2000 Awards Ceremony with musical guests Competitorr and The Demolition Doll Rods.

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