For More Information Contact:
      Amy Beste   773-281-9075

“I feel very strongly that in applying for a grant from CUFF, this is one of the very few applications where I can actually be sincere this film and the ideas and politics behind CUFF are enough in sync that I can lay my cards on the table.”
-2000 Chicago Underground Film Fund recipient, Sam Green

The Chicago Underground Film Festival is pleased to announce the recipients of its second annual Chicago Underground Film Fund: seven projects selected from over 100 submissions in an effort to foster the underground of contemporary media. Each winner selected receives a cash award between $500 and $2000 to go toward the completion of his or her project.

Established in 1998, the Film Fund intends to aid underground and independent filmmakers who wish to abandon the studio-minded mainstream of independent film for personal, avant-garde work. “As the independent film world becomes increasingly homogenized it has become difficult for truly cutting edge work to find funding,” says Festival Director Bryan Wendorf, “The Chicago Underground Film Fund exists to provide financial support for projects that aspire to be more than industry calling cards.” By cultivating new artists and supporting established ones, the Fund provides more encouragement and support to the type of media CUFF already seeks to foster in its year-round programming and Festival. Along with material support, the grant hopes to create a sense of artistic community among widely disparate but similarly adventurous filmmakers. After Ben Berkowits, director of the 1999 grant winner, Straightman, announced, “The CUFF grant was the first vote of confidence we got from anyone. The money helped us finish Straightman, but the recognition by our peers was equally as important to our film.”

Chicago Underground Film Fund 2000 Recipients:

Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music (Vivek Bald): There’s a new British Invasion, it’s helmed by artists like the Asian Dub Foundation, Fun Da Mental, Cornershop, and Talvin Singh. Mixing politics with the dance floor filmmaker and DJ Bald chronicles the way these children of immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, these artists combine the influences of their parents’ cultures with techno, punk, and hip-hop, to create a unique and powerful new sound.

The Monks-The Transatlantic Feedback (Dietmar Post): Five American GIs stationed in Cold War Germany billed themselves as the anti-Beatles, wrote songs mocking the military, sported strange haircuts, played with feedback and the electric banjo–and basically invented punk rock. German filmmaker Post takes on the legacy of the Monks.

The Escapades of Madame X (Kerry Laitala and Isabel Reichert): Experimental filmmakers Laitala and Reichert embark on a dreamy, mysterious examination of women’s role in early Hollywood.

Fucked in the Face (Shawn Durr): The first feature by CUFF’99’s Best of Chicago winner (Meat Fucker) tracks one man’s obsession with a serial killer and the overly-sensitive, acutely-insecure, compulsive clean-freak he ends up with instead.

A Cold-Blooded Look at Your Last 60,000 Years (The Institute For True Purpose Technology): A ‘film-strip’ revealing the secret cosmology of the Church of Scientology usually restricted to upper level initiates found in a broken projector in a Hollywood Salvation Army and restored by the institute.

The Weather Underground (Sam Green): The director of the award-winning documentary The Rainbow Man/John 3:16 takes on another controversial subject with his latest project on the rise and fall of the Weather Underground – a group of several hundred young men and women tried to smash American capitalism with widespread bombings in the late 60s and ’70s while evading one of the largest FBI manhunts in history.

Hellelujah (Martha Colburn): The scabrous animator brings her virulent vision back to the screen with an orgiastic mix of flickering skeletons, 1-800 Sex ads, dancing girls, and extreme evangelism.

In 1999 CUFF awarded prizes to six projects: Ecstasy in Entropy by Nick Zedd, I’d Rather Be Dead Than Mellow: The Life and Art of Robert Williams by Angi Glenn, Live! Nude! Girls! UNITE! by Julia Query, Straightman by Ben Berkowitz, Superstarlet A.D. by John Michael McCarthy and Swinger’s Serenade by Danny Plotnick. With the exception of Swinger’s Serenade, which premiered at CUFF99 and I’d Rather Be Dead Than Mellow, each of these films will play at CUFF 2000.

The 7th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival will be located at the Fine Arts Theatre, 410 S. Michigan Ave. The Festival Schedule will be posted on CUFF’s website August 8. For more information about the grant or this year’s Festival, contact Amy Beste at or 773.327.3456

Back to the 2000 Pressroom

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