CELEBRATES SIXTH BIRTHDAY BY EXPANDING TO SEVEN DAYS
HONORS BLAXPLOITATION LEGEND MELVIN VAN PEEBLES
AUGUST 13-19, 1999 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JULY 16, 1999
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: JAY BLIZNICK OR AMY BESTE
The Chicago Underground Film Festival celebrates its sixth birthday with 16 features over seven days to become the largest underground film event in the country. In addition to its feature slate, this year’s barrage from below will fire off 14 documentaries and over 135 shorts on three screens at the Village Theater, 1548 N. Clark St from August 13-19, 1999.
Dedicated to all the brothers and sisters who’ve had enough of the man, this year’s fest is bigger, badder, and bolder than years past. Says festival director Bryan Wendorf “CUFF 99 covers the expanse of the underground, from rigorously experimental to blatant bad taste. This year’s fest also has a large international contingent-from films shot in Japan to videos made in Bulgaria.” As part of this anarchic spirit, CUFF 99 will honor underground pioneer and father of blaxploitation, Melvin Van Peebles with its annual lifetime achievement award. The fest will screen two of his works – the infamous SWEET SWEETBACK’S BADASSSS SONG and his most recent celluloid tour of Hollywood racism, CLASSIFIED X.
Since its inception in 1994, CUFF has continually programmed subversive and important work from around the world in an effort to bring the best of the underground to Chicago. CUFF has presented local and world premieres of such groundbreaking work as SONIC OUTLAWS, Craig Baldwin’s experimental documentary about the band Negitivland; THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, PART 3, Penelope Spheeris’ self-financed, thought-provoking glimpse into the world of street punks; CHARLIE’S FAMILY, Jim Van Bebber’s ten-years-in the making dramatization of Charles Manson’s life and followers; and MARY JANE’S NOT A VIRGIN ANYMORE, Sarah Jacobson’s unabashed look at teenage sexuality. Moreover, CUFF has paid its respects to the history of the underground, honoring such celluloid renegades as John Waters, Jack Smith, and Richard Kern. As Roger Ebert has said, CUFF is populated with films “grittier, more anarchic, less eager to please, and more willing to outrage” than your average film festival-a sensibility ever more important in the wake of indie mainstreaming.
CUFF is not just an underground event, but a locus point for the underground scene. Filmmakers like Peter Hall (DELINQUINT) and John Michael McCarthy (THE SORE LOSERS) site the fest as the spawning ground for creative collaborations and future projects. Hall recently stated “At CUFF, I have communed with filmmakers I merely encountered at (other festivals).” The result of this kind of interchange between filmmakers makes CUFF a ground zero for the radical visions of tomorrow, provoking George Kuchar to say “CUFF gave me hope for the future.”
OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHTS
CUFF 99 kicks off with the Midwest Premiere of AMERIKAN PASSPORT. Winner of the Documentary Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival, the film chronicles filmmaker Reed Paget’s incredible shoestring odyssey through twelve warzones and across five continents. On a quest to visit the seven wonders of the world, the 23-year-old filmmaker found himself in the midst of the crackdown on Tienanmen Square. Forced to flee, Paget embarked upon an adventure of a lifetime and captured the most important events of the decade in intimate detail. Ironic, funny, and true, AMERICKAN PASSPORT is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
The U.S. Premiere of Australian crime shocker REDBALL closes the fest. Denounced in Aussie papers as “the work of vandals,” REDBALL is a shocking and utterly nihilistic drama about corruption among the lieutenants on the moral frontlines of the Melbourne Homicide & Vice squads. The film is the second by Jon Hewitt whose first feature–the infamous horror/exploitation flick BLOODLUST-is the only Australian to have been banned in Britian.
To facilitate the community feel that CUFF is known for, the festival will take over Germania Place, 108 W. Germania, and turn it into its hospitality lounge for the week. The lounge will include a bar and information center and will serve as an informal gathering place for filmmakers and festival attendees to meet and share ideas.
- CUFF 99 FEATURE SLATE
- The U.S. Premiere of SHABONDAMA ELEGY-Dutch outsider Ian Kerkhof’s ambitious, sexually graphic genre-bending digital art-noir featuring Thom Hoffman from Kerkhof’s WASTED! and Japanese erotic film star Hoshino Mai.
- The U.S. Premiere of PERFECT BLUE-Satoshi Kon’s surreal, eerie anime in the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock and Dario Argento.
- The Chicago Premiere of THE TROUBLE WITH PERPETUAL DEJA VU-digital-video pioneer Todd Verow’s harrowing and hilarious conclusion to his “Addiction Trilogy” which include LITTLE SHOTS OF HAPPINESS, and SHUCKING THE CURVE.
- The Chicago Premiere of BURY ME IN KERN COUNTY-Julian Nitzberg’s self-proclaimed white-trash black comedy.
- The Chicago Premiere of THE LOVE MACHINE-A scathing satire of sex and love over the internet from Gordon Erickson.
- The Chicago Premiere of THE ACID HOUSE-Paul McGuigan’s tripped-out take on Irvine Welsh’s book of the same name featuring TRAINSPOTTING stars Ewen Bremmer and Keven McKidd and Gary McCormick of U.K. punk legends The Exploited.
- The Chicago Premiere of SUCKERFISH-experimental filmmaker Brien Burroughs’ (AQUAMORPHEUS, CUFF 97) completely improvised black comedy about the cutthroat tactics of pet supply salesmen.
- The Chicago Premiere of CLEOPATRA’S SECOND HUSBAND-Jon Reiss’ disturbing and wickedly comic debut feature about a sadistic power play between a supplicating hypochondriac and his live-in guest.
- The Chicago Premiere of SLEEP-A dreamy, experimental journey into Los Angeles’s nightscape with an insomniac, a sleepwalker, a narcoleptic, and a compulsive sleeper from filmmaker Peter Calvin.
- The Chicago Premiere of LAST DAYS OF MAY-George Spyros’ brilliant and poignant dissection of the relationship between a mother and her mentally ill daughter-made entirely through cast improvisation.
- The Chicago Premiere of NIGHT TRAIN-A dark, hypnogogic journey into Tijuana’s snuff film underworld from Les Bernstein.
- The Chicago Premiere of RADIATION-Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky’s chronicle of a jaded promoter on tour through Spain.
- The Chicago Premiere of THE EDEN MYTH-A grotesquely gothic tale about dangerous family secrets from Mark Edlitz.
- CUFF 99 FEATURE DOCUMENTARY LINE-UP
- The Chicago Premiere of THE TARGET SHOOTS FIRST-Christopher Wilcha’s grungy insider’s take on Columbia Record and Tape Club’s 1993 alternative-rock marketing campaign.
- The Chicago Premiere of WADD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN C. HOLMES-A revealing and startlingly intimate portrait of the man behind porn’s biggest muscle from Cass Paley.
- The Chicago Premiere of BETTER LIVING THROUGH CIRCUITRY-Jon Reiss’ second CUFF entry is a hypno-tronic break-beat trip into techno subculture. Reiss is the first CUFF entrant to have two feature length films screening in one year.
- The Chicago Premiere of RED, WHITE, & YELLOW-A year on the competitive eating circuit with hot-dog champion Ed Kratchie, “The Maspeth Monster,” from filmmakers Mark Littman and Marshall Dostal.
- The Chicago Premiere of UN GA NAI-A dreamy, poetic portrait of fear and fearlessness in Japan 1995-the year of the earthquake in Kobe, the AUM Shinrinko subway killings, and the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki-from Christoph Draeger, Martin Frei, & Thomas Thumena.
- The Chicago Premiere of THE GODS OF TIMES SQUARE-Photojournalist and street photographer Richard Sandler’s compelling document of the Square’s strange and pious preachers, pre-Disney-fication.
- The World Premiere of N.Y.H.C.-Frank Pavich’s window into New York Hardcore–the rawest underground music scene today–with music by Crown of Thornz, 25 Ta Life, Madball, Agnostic Front, 108, Vision of Disorder and others.
- The Chicago Premiere of HILL STOMP HOLLAR-Bradley Beesley’s year-in-the-life documentary of true-grit blues label Fat Possum Records and its key musicians-R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford, and Cedell Davis.
- The Chicago Premiere of AMERICAN CHAIN GANG-An insightful and thought-provoking examination of the recent revival of Chain Gangs by Xachary Irving.
- The Chicago Premiere of MY FRIEND PAUL-Jonathan Berman’s intimate look at the life of his childhood friend Paul, a parole-breaking bank robber who suffers from manic depression.
- The World Premiere of SUMMER LOVE-THE DOCUMENTARY-Mike Andaluz, Joely Collins, & Al Flett’s delicious, delirious rave-doc.
- SPECIAL PROGRAMS
- YES, MS. DAVIS-a retrospective of the legendary drag diva, Ms. Vaginal Creme Davis’ spectacular body of work.
- UP CLOSE: FILMS FROM THE AVANT-GARDE-a program of new experimental films curated by Chicago Filmmakers’ Patrick Friel.
- The Chicago Premiere of experimental filmmaker Jon Jost’s first digital video work LONDON BRIEF.
- The World Premiere preview screening of CUFF Post-Production Grant-Winner, STRAIGHTMAN.
- A LARGE TURN-OUT BY CELEBRATED VIDEO AUTEURS, Including: Punk artist Miranda July’s THE AMATURIST, White-Trash Girl creator Jennifer Reeder’s NEVERMIND, underground legend George Kuchar’s THE ACRYLLIAC, Jeff Krulik’s I CREATED LANCELOT LINK, and the renegade art collective RTmark’s BRINGING IT TO YOU.
- A COLLECTION OF EASTERN EUROPEAN SHORTS: NEWFILM, CAMERAMAN, CSODA POK, TENNIS MATCH, NUCLEAR BODY.
- TWO BY HUCK BOTKO: GRAHM CRACKER CREAM PIE-the final installment in his sadistic family documentaries, and UNTIL THERE ARE NONE-a portrait of one man’s unique approach to the problem of the endangered bald eagle.
- CHICAGO ROCKS–Three films on Chicago’s varicolored music scene. THE ONE, THE ONLY JAN TERRI – a real Chicago original; GRAHAM SMITH MAN OF COURAGE – a suburban popster on the brink of fame; and the World Premiere of KID DYNAMITE – a Chicago’s blues legend.
- The World Premiere of DEBBIE DOES DAMNATION-Eric Brummer’s intense and transgressive story of a dead porn star’s adventures in hell.
- The Cinema of Transgression founder Nick Zedd’s latest, TOM THUMB IN THE LAND OF THE GIANTS. Features an appearance by the director’s son.
- The World Premiere of CUFF Post-Production Grant-Winner, SWINGER’S SERENADE-Danny Plotnick’s faithful interpretation of a script from a 1950’s amateur filmmaking magazine. Plotnick will also screen his super-8 short, I, SOCKY about a rogue monkey’s adventures in the big city.
- The U.S. Premiere of DIVIDED INTO ZERO-Mitch Davis’ harrowing portrait of one man’s descent into a personal hell of isolation, body mutilation, pedophilia, and murder.
- The anonymously submitted RAPING STEVEN SPIELBURG, a savage satire of one man’s attempt to penetrate the innermost sanctum of the famous director – without adequate lubrication.
- CUFF 98’s Experimental Prize winner Robert Judd’s return with the World Premiere of his latest JESSE HELMS IS CLEANING UP AMERICA. Featuring Larry Flynt as the voice of Helms.
- Other titles like: PHI-BRITE, MILLENIUM BUG, SPANK, HYPNO-CHICKEN 2000, THE GREAT COAGULATOR, NOCTURNU, MACHINE GUN TWIRL, PIGSKIN ORGASM, COMMANDER TONGUE AND BEST FRIEND VAJ, DANCE OF DEATH, and, and many, many more!
Major sponsors include: Stolichnaya Vodka, Camel Work In Progress, Newcity, Palm Pictures, Manga Entertainment, Studio Film & Tape, The Independent Film Channel, Goose Island Beer, Ifilm.net, and Altoids.
Media Sponsors include: Raygun Magazine, Filmmaker, Movieline Magazine, Indiewire, Popsmear, Punk Planet, Lumpen Magazine, WXRT Radio, and Imaginary Landscape.
A complete festival schedule is available on request.
Tickets are $6.00 per program and are available at The Village Theater box office the day of the show. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster outlets. To charge by phone call 312-559-1212.
Three types of Festival Passes are available: $75.00 Gold Pass includes admission to all festival screenings and parties; $25.00 Five-Admission Punch Pas and $15.00 Opening Night Film and Party Pass. Passes must be presented at the box office to claim tickets for screenings.
CUFF information is available by calling the Festival Hotline: 773-866-8660 (updated daily during the festival).
Many films are available for review both prior and during the festival. Press kits and photos are available on request. For more information please contact Jay Bliznick or Amy Beste