Chicago Underground Film Festival

SATURDAY AUGUST 19
12:30 p.m.

Free Panel Discussion
ALTERNATIVE MUSIC/ALTERNATIVE FILM

Whether it’s Kenneth Anger and ’60s girl groups, Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, The Cinema of Transgression and the New York Punk scene or digital video looks at today’s rave culture, underground film has been consistently linked to underground music. Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis joins a group of musicians and filmmakers (often both at once) to discuss why this has been the case and how the changing music and film culture will affect such collaborations in the future.

1 p.m.

DREAMS OF LIFE (shorts)

THE WARHAUL Tim Vierling

Animation. 16mm. 7:00 1999.

Marilyn Monroe, in a failing marriage to Joe Dimaggio and unhappy with her self-image, takes matters into her own hands to improve her situation. Assembling an army of “close” friends she wages war on 1940s portrait photographer Raoul Gradvohl, one of the first to actively airbrush and manipulate the female form in his finished prints.

LUCY’S DREAM Relah Eckstein

Experimental. 16mm. 12:30. 1999.

Lucy is a cute dog who dreams she’s a woman, who’s in love with her master and fantasizes she’s the drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band. Lucy is currently undergoing therapy.

SINCERELY, JOE P. BEAR Matt McCormick

Experimental. 16mm. 4:00. 1999.

Polar bears, ice queens and lost love… appropriated news clips from the 1960s combine with hand-painted film to tackle the momentous issue of how polar bears cope with heartbreak and rejection.

THE LESTER FILM Heather McAdams

Documentary. 16mm. 15:00. 2000.

THE MOSCHOPS Jim Trainor

Animation. 16mm. 13:00. 2000.

The first motion picture set entirely in the Permian Era. The Moschops had thick skulls and short little hind legs. Scientists believe the Moschops was capable of interior tenderness, which it expressed, ironically, through incessant fighting. A new film from the director of “The Fetishist” (CUFF ’97) and “The Bats.” (CUFF ’99).

KING OF THE JEWS Jay Rosenblatt

Documentary. 16mm. 18:00. 1999.

An exploration of the filmmaker’s “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ as a Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn. The film deals with fear and transcendence, while at the same time examining the roots of Christian anti-Semitism.

1:30 p.m.

GAMES BEYOND FRONTIERS (shorts)

OREGON Rafael Fernandez

Short. 35mm. 11:23. 2000

In a world where evolution has blurred the line between man and computer, the gears of an advanced society click into motion as a breakaway agent is tracked down and efficiently dealt with.

ENDGAME Luis Camara Silva

Short. 35mm. 8:00. 1999

The mating habits of the homo sapiens are explored when a friendly game of chess between a man and woman becomes a battle of the sexes.

GRACE Lorelei Pepei

Animation. 16mm. 7:00. 1999.

A lovely short animation constructed in four parts utilizing multi-media techniques to create a layered and flowing poem of visual metaphor. Exploring flesh and soul, spirituality and sensuality, the incandescent body in space transforms as it reclaims itself.

NIGHT DEPOSIT Monika Mitchell

Short. 16mm. 10:00. 1999.

Night Deposit is an updated twist on the world’s oldest profession. Paid by a diverse group of women, Clare earns her living as a serial seducer of men.

LIFE HISTORY OF A STAR Jennifer Gentile

Short. 16mm. 13:50. 1999.

A glimpse into the warped realities of Angie and Dave, a pair of young lovers on the road to Hollywood with dreams of stardom. When the couple encounter the mysterious Claire their lives are forever changed.

LINDA CALIFORNIA Felicia Michaels

Short. 16mm. 25:00. 2000.

What would you do if you were constantly pushed to the edge? Would you fold? Or would you decide that maybe the edge isn’t such a bad place to be as long as you were there by your own choice?

2:30 p.m.

PLANET KRULIK 2000 Curated by Jeff Krulik

Shorts. Video. 90:00. 2000.

Originally presented at The American Film Institute in Washington D.C. “Planet Krulik 2000” presents a potpourri of bizarre delights from the creator of “Ernest Borgnine On Tour” and the legendary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” Included in this program: “Obsessed with Jews”: Meet suburban DC accountant Neil Keller, who has amassed a remarkable collection of over 7,000 trading cards, photographs, matchbook covers, pins and autographs of prominent Jewish people. “The Brady Brunch”: Brendan Conway and Paul Starke travel to Hollywood to have a power brunch with Robbie Rist, a.k.a. Cousin Oliver, the legendary lost Brady. “King Of Porn 2: The Retirement”, “Harry Potter Parking Lot” (The franchise continues…),

“Three Hour Cruise”: Krulik and Conway stalk the castaways at a “Gilligan’s Island” reunion. As well as encore presentations of underground favorites like Jennifer and Amber Cluck’s “Pigskin Orgasm,” Nick Zedd’s “Tom Thumb and the Land of the Giants,” “The Manipilators” and more!

“Hollywood could use a guy like Krulik…(he demonstrates) a loving eye for American eccentricity.”
-Richard Leiby, Washington Post

2:45 p.m.

METAL Christopher E. Brown

Feature. 16mm. 88:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

Unadorned, straightforward and inarguable, “Metal” is a black-and-white “hood” movie that uses Bach cello solos, not hip-hop, to set its emotional tone. Having grown up in a home wracked with violence and an absentee father, Ray promised himself he would never inflict such a curse on his own household. Now comes his greatest test, a prolonged stretch of unemployment from his job as a mechanic. Drawing a humiliating government benefit, forever tinkering in his driveway at a stalled pickup that refuses to be fixed, law-abiding Ray must watch as gangbangers and grifters drive past, jeering and successful, at the top of the food chain. As one of the few husbands visible in the ghetto, “Mister Ray” has a responsibility to uphold, but privately he grows sullen and distant from his wife and children. Not since Michael Roehmer’s “Nothing But a Man” or Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep” has there been such a cinematic tribute to the African-American working poor and their dreams deferred.

3:15 p.m.

LOST IN THE PERSHING POINT HOTEL Julia Pierrepont II

Feature. 35mm. 100:00. 2000. Chicago Premiere.

A screen adaptation of Leslie Jordan’s award-winning off-Broadway play, “Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel” is a quirky, funny and touching insider’s look at the lives of three mismatched runaways who ride the razor’s edge and misbehave to entertain themselves. These errant misfits are a charming Truman Capote type (The Storyteller) who has fled his born-again parents for the pleasure of bad boys in the big city, a rebel southern belle (Miss Make Do) sick of the rigid life her frosty mother had planned for her and now indulging in “self-medication,” and a handsome, brooding, skirt-chasing guy who makes his living selling drugs — and boys (Tripper). They’re lost, figuratively and literally, in the Pershing Point Hotel, a crumbling, infamous Atlanta mecca for druggies, artists and whores. In Hollywood vernacular, this movie is Tennessee Williams meets “Trainspotting,” with a touch of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and a dash of “The Birdcage.” In realspeak, it’s fierce, touching and funny, a look at love, death and a bit of spiritual transformation.

4:30 p.m.

SIX EASY PIECES Jon Jost

Experimental. Video. 68:00. 1999. Italy

Considered by many to be the founding father of independent filmmaking, Jost took up digital video in the late ’90s, after relocating to Europe. “Six Easy Pieces” is the result of three years of shooting images which, according to the artist, have come together with their own sort of gravitational pull, forming a commentary on aesthetic history and its impact on today’s world. Starting with a Godardian view of the moving image as the true archive of our age, he goes on to create chapters on the technological, social and creative energies evident throughout civilization. With this elliptical non-narrative work, outspoken maverick Jost breaks new personal ground.

4:45 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 role 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.

5:30 p.m.

SHADOW BOXERS Kataya Bankowsky

Documentary. 35mm. 72:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

A powerful and inspiring film that follows the exhilarating rise of Dutch boxing sensation Lucia Rijker as she pursues the world championship. Beautiful photography, stylish editing, a hypnotic original soundtrack and striking personal insight combine in a whirlwind of visual style that reveals the beauty and brutality of the sport through the eyes of the introspective fighter. “Shadow Boxers” smashes preconceptions, leaving the audience with an unexpected new hero for the 21st Century. First-time filmmaker Bankowsky, an occasional pugilist herself, spent five years filming in the world of women’s boxing. “Shadow Boxers” takes us inside that rare mix of Golden Gloves championship fighting and spirituality.

“A perfect film about women’s boxing… blows away stereotypes.” – Vancouver Sun

“Compelling and beautifully photographed… boxing hasn’t been shown this creatively on screen since “Raging Bull” – New York Post

6 p.m.

SKATE AND CREATE (shorts)

SKATE OR DIE Mike Finch

Short. Video. 7:10. 2000.

A story about killing the ones you hate. Two skaters go back to old hot spots only to find their public property has been co-opted. Hooligans, heretics and deck control.

SPONSORED Wing Ko

Documentary. 16mm and Video. 35:00. 2000.

The story of pro skateboarder Mike Vallely and his version of the American dream, a dream shared by an entire generation whose lives have been saved by skateboarding. From the days of parking lot handplant circles, to giant leaps of faith, and through heaps of sponsorship induced wisdom and woes, Vallely’s history has been skateboarding’s history – through all its glorious ups and downs. “Sponsored” is an inspiring and pure chronicle that creates a vivid mosaic of people Mike V. has touched, people he’s been touched by, and of the man himself.

FRUIT OF THE VINE Coan Nichols and Rick Charnoski

Documentary. Super-8 on Video. 45:00. 2000.

A personal documentary about skating in empty swimming pools. A collection of stories shot in 1999 while Buddy and Rick traveled from southern California to Seattle and around the East Coast in search of pools to ride. Featuring adventures, skating and interviews from Tony Alva, Lance Mountain, Steve Alba, Tony Farmer, Steve Baily and many others.

“Pool Skating is not hip, Tommy Hilfiger is not using it to sell clothes, no one is getting paid to ride them. It is the element of skateboarding that is overlooked for many different reasons. It’s illegal, pools are difficult to find, when found it takes a lot of work to empty them, they are difficult to ride and so on. For these reasons pool riding is also the most interesting element of skateboarding and you usually find the most interesting people skating them.” -Buddy Nichols and Rick Charnowski

6:30 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, 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.

7:15 p.m.

EL TOPO

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Feature. 35mm. 128:00 1971.

Upon its original release Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “El Topo” became the first major Midnight Movie.

Heralded as a brilliant mystical surrealist parable and reviled as self-indulgent and excessively repulsive, it remains a defiantlly confrontational film 30 years later. Starting out like a traditional spaghetti western, a lone gunfighter with child enters a massacred town and kills those responsible. Soon however, the film shifts gears into a soul-searching story with the gunfighter going to the desert to do battle with several “masters.” Filled with graphic violence and sex, “El Topo” melds the sacred with the profane. The Chicago Underground Film Festival is extremely pleased to present this rarely screened cult classic with our 2000 guest of honor Alejandro Jodorowsky in attendance.

“Glorious, amusing, shocking, dazzling… Jodorowsky’s movies are unforgettable.” – NY Post

“Hallucinatory brilliance… visionary and haunting.” – Rolling Stone

8 p.m.

ROCK OPERA

Bob Ray

Feature. 16mm on Video. 90:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

The comedic tale of a Toe, a drug-addled Austin musician struggling to put together a tour for his band. Through selling dirt weed, stabbing people in the back and double-crossing half a dozen of the meanest sons of bitches in Texas, Toe puts himself in a position to achieve his dreams. Featuring music and performances by some of Austin’s greatest bands: Honky, Ed Hall, Butthole Surfers, Cherubs, Pocket FishRmen, Voltage, Fuckemos, Nashville Pussy.