Thursday August 16 8:00pm


Memorable Movie Moments
a slide show by Rodney Ascher (with a few slides created by Trisha Golubev) inspired by an old idea by Rodney & Syd expedited on company time by Len Borruso (showing continuously throughout the festival)

Drowning James Fotopoulos

Experimental. 16mm. 2:30. 2000.

“An attempt to discover psychic energy in controlled sexuality.”- James Fotopoulos

Back Against the Wall James Fotopoulos

Feature. 16mm. 94:00. 2001. Midwest Premiere.

“One of the most interesting young independent filmmakers in America today, Fotopoulos is also among the most marginal in terms of both the methods of his production and distribution.” – Travis Crawford, Filmmaker Magazine

“The films of James Fotopoulos examine heady esthetic and existential concerns through a unique hybrid of contemplative, delicate avant-garde formal effects and brutal low-budget body-horror, set within meticulously plotted structures that eschew typical experimental serendipity in favor of calculated auteurist rigor…. like the unlikely progeny of Stan Brakhage and Richard Kern, set in dingy urban environments that would make Ed Ulmer proud.” – Ed Halter, NY Press

“Here is a filmmaker clearly in control of an assured, original style: his discovery alone validates this festival and others like it.”- Andrew Lewis Conn, Film Comment

The Chicago Underground Film Festival is extremely honored to present the Midwest premiere of “Back Against the Wall,” the latest feature from prolific yet still little-known 25-year-old Chicago filmmaker James Fotopoulos. Set in the uniquely Midwestern, working-class segment of the sex industry known as ‘lingerie modeling,¹ the film portrays the inner workings of a strange but real subculture populated by grizzled old men and attractive young women who each use a ritual of various kinds of sex and violence to obtain power over one another. Expanding upon his previous feature-length works Zero and Migrating Forms, Fotopoulos¹ latest effort again explores his ongoing interests in sexual anxiety and interior/exterior realities. With a more complex structure, larger cast and more expansive settings than his previous films Back Against The Wall is simultaneously Fotopoulos’ most conventionally narrative and his most experimental feature to date. Furthering his recurring stylistic motifs such as ominous sound design, rigorous formal repetition and grainy black-and-white cinematography, Fotopoulos solidifies his reputation as one of the most daring and skilled filmmakers to emerge from the current “underground” scene.

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