Chicago Underground Film Festival

SUNDAY AUGUST 20

Noon

Free Panel Discussion EXILE UNDER GUYVILLE: WOMEN IN THE UNDERGROUND

A discussion on women in underground, experimental and independent filmmaking.

12:30 p.m.

SUBACULTCHA (shorts)

COLESLAW WRESTLING Hayley Downs Documentary. Video. 3:00. 1999.

In a wading pool full of coleslaw, sun-kissed Central Florida beauties fight so dirty they make WWF look like a JV cheerleading squad.

MAGIC CITY David Wilson Documentary. 16mm on Video. 2000.

Moberly, Missouri, known as the Magic City, is a boomtown gone bust. In this filmzine, David Wilson goes there looking for his lost friends but stumbles into the weirdness of small-town subculture. Covering youth culture from skateboarding to heavy metal to crystal meth, “Magic City” cuts and pastes beautiful scenes from a dying downtown with hilariously real interviews of local kids. Virgins, cowboys and punks all tell the world what’s wrong and right with rural America.

UNDESIRABLES Marianna Yarovskaya Documentary. Video. 23:00. 1999

In the summer of 1998, as a part of a major drive to clear Moscow’s streets of tramps and beggars of all ages before the International Youth Olympics, government officials conducted mass deportation of those they consider “undesirable.” “Undesirables” exposes Russia’s deportation of runaway teen-agers from well-off Moscow to the impoverished Russian provinces. The film depicts Moscow’s juvenile detention center, where the police herd children during official events to keep them off the streets. It documents the children’s eventual deportation from Moscow back to their abusive families, or to reform schools in the provinces. We also see the story of the child in the provincial town, thousands of miles from the capital.

BEYOND THE SCREAMS Martin Sorrendeguy Documentary. Video. 27:00. 1999.

A powerful and uplifting documentary about the U.S. Latino punk scene and the DIY movement from the former vocalist of Los Crudos. Featuring live performances from Husinpungo, Los Crudos, Subsistencia, Sbitch and more.

1 p.m.

RUINS Jesse Lerner Documentary. 16mm. 78:00. 1999

Ancient Maya and Aztec objects have been shown in circuses, art galleries, World’s Fairs and natural history museums. This experimental documentary suggests how diplomacy and Pan-Americanism recast archeological objects as art. Part faked newsreels, part travelogue, part drug-induced hippie rant and part home movie, “Ruins” features Brigido Lara, a master forger whose latter-day “Pre-Columbian” objects were exhibited in New York’s Metropolitan Museum and suggests parallels between the documentary film and the fake.

Preceded by:

RESTRICTED Jay Rosenblatt Experimental. 16mm. 1:00. 1999.

Take a chance. Don’t do it. This is America. Do it.

1:30 p.m.

30 FRAMES A SECOND: THE WTO IN SEATTLE Rustin Thompson Documentary. Video. 73:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Former freelance network news cameraman Rustin Thompson takes the viewer into the fray of tear gas, pepper spray, and police brutality; behind the lines and inside the convention center and press rooms; and along on the marches, sit-ins and demonstrations. Dynamic up-close footage captures the passion, the confusion, the anger and the courage of everyone involved, from protestors to police to delegates to bureaucrats. This is the story of how one man’s objective intentions quickly evolved into a subjective search for truth.

Preceded by:

LITTLE FLAGS Jem Cohen Documentary. Video. 6:30. 2000

Everyone loves a parade, except for the dead.

2:15 p.m.

WE ARE TRAFFIC Ted White Documentary. Video. 50:00. 1999.

A chronicle of the history and development of the Critical Mass bicycle movement from its beginnings in San Francisco in 1992 to its spread to over 100 cities in 14 different countries across the globe. The bicycle activists of Critical Mass have taken on perhaps the century’s most sacred cow: the automobile. A unique grassroots, leaderless, celebratory “happening,” Critical Mass has also breathed new life into public spaces and redefined our notions of what a political protest should look like. “We Are Traffic!” goes beyond the realm of transportation issues and politics to investigate vibrant examples of guerilla art created and displayed in public places, focusing on the work of mural artist Rigo, who uses bold traffic-sign motifs to raise questions rather than give commands. Also, the work of the unofficial “San Francisco Department of Public Art,” Jim Swanson, Beth Verdekal and other artists are highlighted. “We Are Traffic!” illustrates the amazing geographic spread of Critical Mass and provides glimpses of Critical Masses in Austin, TX, Eugene, OR, Chapel Hill, NC, New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Copenhagen, London and Sydney. Provocative and action-packed, this documentary presents a side of Critical Mass not seen in mainstream media. “We Are Traffic!” celebrates grassroots politics, free expression and the wonderful potential for public spaces.

Preceded By:

PEDALPHILES Brian Standing Documentary. Video. 35:00. 2000.

S.C.A.B. (Skids creating apocalyptic bicycles) are a roving gang of bicycle-artist-philosophers hell-bent on ridding the world of automobiles. Using trash from the Madison streets, S.C.A.B. recycles junked 10-speeds and kids’ scooters into nightmarish vehicles of urban terrorism. In between infiltrating events sponsored by tamer bicycle enthusiasts and wedging ill-fitting huffies together with hacksaws and butter knives, S.C.A.B. members find time to muse on anarchy, consumer culture, proper bunny-hoping technique, the failure of the media and the purpose of art.

“It’s an exercise in phenomenology and it’s also nice to piss off cars.” – S.C.A.B. co-founder Michael Spelman

3 p.m.

SONGS FOR CASSAVETES Justin Mitchell Documentary. 16mm. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

“Songs For Cassavetes” takes a look at the do-it-yourself world of underground music from the perspective of those who make it happen. The film documents 10 underground bands making music in the wake of the “alternative” media explosion of the early nineties. Shot in black-and-white 16mm film in locations from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Berkeley to Olympia to Washington, D.C., “Songs For Cassavetes” includes performances and interviews with Sleater-Kinney, the Make-Up, Unwound, The Peechees, Henry’s Dress, Further, Tullycraft, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Dub Narcotic Sound System, and the Hi-Fives. Inspired by a quote from late director John Cassavetes, filmmaker Justin Mitchell , co-producer Marvin Miranda and a skeleton crew of friends and family took four years to independently produce this feature-length documentary.

3:30 p.m.

CINEMANIACS (short)

STANDARD INDUSTRY Robert Stoetzel Experimental. 35mm. 6:00. 1999.

A young man’s internal division becomes externalized as he makes the journey from desire to destruction.

SLIDIN’ OFF THE EDGE OF THE WORLD Mark Street Experimental. 35mm. 7:00. 1999.

“A meditation on the fluid nature of experience. Fleeting images burst onto the screen only to recede from view just as quickly, suggesting transition, change and decay. My kids flutter around me; their activities enthuse and infuse my own daily rhythms, affording great joy but also making it clear that all things change all the time.” – Mark Street

EMBRYONIC Robert Banks Experimental. 35mm. 7:00. 2000.

The second installment of Cleveland underground director Robert Bank’s trilogy looking at the role of women at the turn of the millennium.

SUGO Hannes Langeder Experimental. 35mm. 3:00. 1998. Vienna.

Fry onions and pork belly cut into cubes in oil. Cut ham in short strips and add. Now add sour cream, egg yolk and spices. Make sure that the sauce does not come to a boil. In the meantime the spaghetti should be cooked al dente and strained. Mix with sauce, add parmesan and serve.

THE DROWNING ROOM Patrick Jolley and Reynold Reynolds Experimental. Super8 on 35mm. 12:00. 2000.

Everyday life in the sunken suburbs. In the house the stagnant atmosphere has slowly thickened to liquid. The inhabitants try to carry on as normal but beyond the borders of asphyxiation; communication is limited and expression difficult. Filmed completely underwater this film creates an atmosphere unlike any other.

ROUTEMASTER Iippo Pahjala Experimental. Super-8 on 35mm. 16:10. 1999. Finland.

A film about the filmic portrayal of speed. It is a montage of racing car speed, a merging of the subject with the film material, and is also about the use of human cadavers in crash tests. “Routemaster’s” soundtrack (featuring music composed by Merzbow and Non) uses computer-manipulated electric-violin sounds, rhythmic pulse and noise loops to convey a sense of ever-faster motion and speed. “Routemaster” is a film that resembles a physical experience.

#11 [MAREY MOIRE] Joost Rekveld Experimental. 35mm. 20:00. 1999. Netherlands.

A composition of light and sound inspired by the abstract European animators of the 1920s and the American avant-garde films of the 1960s and ’70s in which the mechanics and optics of cinema are not the means but the end. Images are generated using long stroboscopic exposures, resulting in a neo primitive kind of pop-art. A tribute to the scientists who laid the foundations for the film medium.

4:30 p.m.

EL REY DE ROCK N ROLL Marjorie Chodorov Documentary. Video. 65:00. 2000. World Premiere

On stage, he wears an open shirt, gold chains and tight pants that flare out at the bottom. He is known for hits such as “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Chihuahua,” and to his fans everywhere he is simply El Vez, the Mexican Elvis. This rockin’ documentary introduces us to the man behind the myth, Robert Lopez. “El Rey” features footage from the past 10 years of concerts and news with the gaps filled in with interviews of friends, family, fans and El Vez himself.

“If there’s hope for America it lies in Revolution, if there’s any hope for Revolution it lies in Elvis Presley becoming Che Guevera.” – Phil Ochs

Preceded by:

FLAMING LIPS HAVE LANDED Bradley Beesley Documentary. Video. 29:00. 2000

The Soft Bulletin, the latest release from psychedelic pop experimentalists The Flaming Lips, was hailed by the British press as the NME Album of the Year. This film chronicles the band’s inception in 1983 to their current tour of this remarkable work. Through personal interviews, countless photos, live footage, and music videos, the film tells a comprehensive story of the band’s sometimes bizarre but always engaging history.

5 p.m.

MIGRATING FORMS James Fotopoulos Feature. 16mm. 80:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

A man has a casual sexual encounter with a woman, and tries to create an emotionless relationship with her in an attempt to separate his mind and emotions from his body. To do this the act is repeated over and over, but gradually the woman stops playing along. She has her own goal, to create her own pornography; maybe that matches what he wants, or maybe the power is shifting. They meet in his apartment, a sparse, tawdry and eerie throwback to old film noir. The sex acts are repetitious, formalistic, intense yet distant. It’s an addiction; a struggle — pleasure is definitely not the end point. They barely speak; a watching cat grows increasingly disturbed. It is a desire not explained, not defined. Murky, sophisticated and ambiguous, “Migrating Forms” is a stark exploration of human dark sides, innovative in its technique and quietly ominous in tone.

“Migrating Forms” has a formal purity and obsessive power that’s all too rare these days.” -Amy Taubin, The Village Voice

“The film never succumbs to today’s typically asinine film school trendiness and is always beautifully cheap in every good sense of the word.” -Ed Halter, New York Underground Film Festival

“Provocative and disturbing…if David Lynch and “Eraserhead” could spontaneously reproduce, its offspring would resemble Fotopoulos’s tribute to sexual anxiety.” -Aaron Krach, indieWIRE

Preceded by:

TWO CATS James Fotopoulos Experimental. 16mm. 00:47. 1999.

Two cats, red curtains and light from the window.

5:30 p.m.

BORN TO LOSE: THE LAST ROCK & ROLL MOVIE Lech Kowalski Documentary. Video. 90:00. 2000. Chicago Premiere.

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

6:30 p.m.

FUCKED IN THE FACE Shawn Durr Feature. Video. 80:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Ever feel like queer culture is walking sedately down a straight path of “be normal” messages and bland points of view? If you think gay has gone tiresomely politically correct, WATCH OUT! ‘Cuz here comes Shawn Durr’s “Fucked in the Face,” the all-digital, bad-ass first feature from the award-winning director of last year’s “Meat Fucker.” A cinematic melding of gay serial killer slasher flicks, “Fucked In The Face” is the story of Henry Normal, a young gay man who is not having a good week. His abusive boyfriend has just kicked him out of their home. Life on the street is hard enough, but when a gang of fag-hating, cock-loathing lesbians stalk and taunt him without mercy, Henry decides his only hope for salvation lies in finding the man of his dreams — a cute, blond, gay serial killer on the run from the FBI. His search for the love of his life plunges him into the seamy, cum-drenched ghetto of queer subculture, where the currencies of choice are sex, drugs, beauty and money, and where the need for control leads to use, abuse, rejection and violence. Brace yourself — this edgy, rude, hilarious and ultimately horrifically bent film will slap you with gay sex acts, brutal killings, lots of penis and piles of crystal meth. Like a chocolate dipped in tarantula venom, this lusciously evil “hard” candy offers a much-needed kink in the straight and narrow path.

“Campy, erotic, perverse and unrelenting (Hey, I see a poster quote) … rips the ahole out of this Ozzie and Harriet PC world.” – Rob Leddy, www.indiefilmpage.com

Preceded by:

FLUFF William Jones Experimental. Video. 3:00. 2000

An oscilloscopic analysis of narration from gay porno trailers.

7 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.

TIM AND ANDY FIGHT AND THEN GO BOWLING John Tagamoilila Short. 16mm. 7:00. 1999.

A film in which Tim and Andy Fight and then go bowling.

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!

7:30 p.m.

THE HOLY MOUNTAIN Alejandro Jodorowsky Feature. 35mm. 114:00. 1973

Continuing “El Topo’s” themes of transcendence and enlightenment, “The Holy Mountain” begins with nine of the most powerful industrialists and politicians on the planet on a quest to obtain immortality. An Alchemist tells them of the Holy Mountain of Lotus Island where nine immortals dwell. At one time they were mortals as well, but now are more than 30,000 years old. “Some men join forces to assault banks and steal money,” the Alchemist tells them. “We must unite our forces to assault the Holy Mountain and rob its wise men of their secret of immortality. But to conquer the secret of the immortals, we too must become wise men.” The Alchemist takes them on a pilgrimage, practicing many kinds of spiritual exercises and visiting many masters until they reach enlightenment.

“I ask of film what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs.” -Alejandro Jodorowsky

8:30 p.m.

JEFF KRULIK PRESENTS: A TRIBUTE TO THE SCOTT AND GARY SHOW Jeff Krulik Shorts. Video. 90:00. 2000.

“Spring 1985. A pal gives me a small review from OPTION MAGAZINE talking about a NYC show that hosts live music dance parties on screen. Sounded good to me. Weeks after I write the address, a big box of 3/4” tapes arrive. The first one I pull is the Butthole Surfers, circa 1984 (obviously tripping). It was one of the most bizarre public access spectacles I had ever seen. I loved it. What else was in that box? Half Japanese. The early Beastie Boys. Bands I had never heard of. People having fun in the TV studio. It was all perfect material for my quest to dominate the local cable airwaves. Little did I know, a collaboration was born. See, Scott Lewis and Gary Winter turned out to be guys much like me, and when they got kicked out of every New York studio they taped in, I invited their production down to my studio. The first one, featuring the Velvet Monkeys (with producer Don Fleming) and 75 guests, turned into an “American Bandstand from Hell” when the “live” button was mistakenly pushed. Five hours of a live television audience running amuck and management never called. I sure was naive back then and it was a good thing. We hosted five more tapings over a two-year period. In my opinion, these guys were way ahead of their time, and I am proud to have collaborated on some of their work. They hung up their television show in 1990. The last episode featured singer/songwriter Ben Vaughn being interviewed in a men’s room. Now, 10 years later, it is with great pride and pleasure I present to you a retrospective of The Scott and Gary Show.”- Jeff Krulik

9 p.m.

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFIN (shorts)

BLOODLUST (Blutrausch) Thorsten Fleisch Experimental. 16mm. 4:15. 1999. Germany.

An attempt to constitute a human/machine dialogue. It shows the filmmakers blood as seen/heard with the eyes/ears of a film projector.

SADISINFECTENZ Giulia Frati Experimental. 16mm. 2:00. 1999. Canada

A short and bitter attack of visceral and psychedelic images designed to open a door into a world where passion depends on the whims of clinical rationality and where hope is reduced to a mere daydream.

THE DEATH OF SEX Carey Burtt Experimental. 16mm. 4:00. 1999.

Chicks with knives and bloody sex organs are invoked in a cinematic ritual designed to eliminate the director’s nagging sex drive.

ECSTASY IN ENTROPY Nick Zedd Experimental. 16mm. 15:00. 2000.

A group of Marxist warrior lapdancers debates the finer points of revolutionary theory in this latest transgressive masterpiece from the legendary Nick Zedd. Featuring Annie Sprinkle, Brenda Bergman, Mike Diana, Jennifer Blowdryer and Will Keenan. A 1999 Chicago Underground Film Fund recipient.

STRANGE LOVE Scot-Free Short. 16mm. 5:00. 1999.

Nick Zedd and Cynthia Demoss star as two jaded Lower East Side lovers fed up with the world who decide to spice up their sex lives by imitating some bondage action they see on television.

FABULOUS DISASTER Scot-Free Short. 16mm. 10:00. 1999

Underground film icon Rockets Redglare stars in this tale of a couple of true crime fans that are in the market for a new home. “FABULOUS DISASTER is really good.” – Nick Zedd

CHICKENBITCH Daniel Hartlaub Short. 16mm. 8:04. 2000.

One day in the life of a New York chick that turns into a grotesque nightmare. As though having Giulliani for a Mayor wasn’t bad enough.

CHUCK Alex Turner Short. 16mm. 16:00. 1999.

In a quiet 1960s suburb, a door-to-door salesman obsessed with “the end of linear culture” has more on his mind than magazine subscriptions. What Chuck is after is something much more substantial.

10 p.m.

SMACK Steve Sanguedolce Experimental. 16mm. 55:00. 2000. U.S. Premiere.

Part documentary, part fiction and highly experimental, Steve Sanguedolce’s “Smack” follows the story of three brothers (Antonio, Sybil and Zed) as they try to find their way in the world. The brothers exercise their youthful autonomy in defiant ways, exploring all that is forbidden (drugs, crime and violence). Their teenage years are filled with unhealthy, dangerous and criminal behavior that eventually begins to pull them apart. Actual subjects tell the stories talking about their own lives, ranging from religious transformation to heroin overdoses; they are funny, frightening, horrifying and all real. Toronto-based director/cinematographer Steve Sanguedolce matches these interconnected voice-over narratives with incredible hand-processed and vividly hand-toned images, creating a brightly colored world at once beautiful and threatening. The intensity of family relationships, the lure of danger and the hope for redemption are powerfully present in “Smack,” a fascinating, disturbing film, and Sanguedolce’s most ambitious work to date.

Preceded by:

MUSIC TO WATCH GIRLS BY Cynthia Cynn Experimental. 16mm. 20:00. U.K.

The fever dream of an insomniac housewife haunted by the ghost of her murdered mother.

10:30 p.m.

PLASTIC, FANTASTIC, INEVITABLES (short)

MICROWAVE Pin Pin Tan Experimental. Video. 2:30. 2000.

A curiosity satisfied.

HELLO KITTY Noel Dowd Short. Video. 14:00. 1999.

A woman goes out for an evening of fun and wakes up in a strange bed with more than just “morning breath.” As she creeps home on her “walk of shame” she slowly pieces together the tragic events of the night before.

THE BUSINESSMAN Evan Minsker Short. Video. 16:30. 2000.

A Lower East Side lowlife makes a $1,000 bet that he promptly loses. Things don’t look good when his girlfriend gives him the boot, but hey, he’s a “businessman,” he’s got a plan. Featuring punk rock cameos from Sergio Vega (Quicksand), Howie Pyro (D-Generation), Max Huber (Swingin’ Utters) and Johnny Tastemaker (Clowns For Progress).

HAIR BURNERS Ned Ambler Short. Video. 45:33. 2000. World Premiere.

Three bad-assed broads from the Bronx are released from a women’s correctional facility and open a “banji” hair salon in a haughty upstate neighborhood. Starring some of the hardest working women on the underground, Squid and Theo from the Lunachicks and Philly of Bangor Films fame.

10pm – 2am

GET JAPAN-EASY! Subterranean 2011 W. North (773) 278-6600

Sponsored by Manga Video and Supersphere.com. DJ sets from EZ Listener Sound System and “Pornioki” with Chicken John, former guitarist for GG Allin. Watch new anime from Manga and selections from Supersphere’s 15fps online film festival.

Back to the Program Index

On to Monday
Home