Chicago Underground Film Festival

MONDAY AUGUST 21
3:45 p.m.

Free Panel Discussion DOES SIZE MATTER?

Calling cards or art? Often treated as a mere stepping stone to that first indie feature, short films and videos are rarely given the respect and visibility that they deserve in a feature driven “market”. But the short subject has been experiencing a revival of sorts thanks in part to online distribution and digital technology. Even so, the age-old question remains: Are short films the means to furthering your career, or an end in themselves?

4:45 p.m.

DGA SHORTS PROGRAM

Director’s Guild of America member Matthew Harrison presents this program of early underground work by some of today’s best-known Guild members. Films will include Harrison’s own “Around Town With eddie Z,” featuring the return of Christopher Grimm in the role he created in “Bystander From Hell.” Martin Scorsese’s NYU student film “The Big Shave,” John Waters’ first sound film “The Diane Linkletter” and other surprises. Presented by the Director’s Guild of America.

5 p.m.

AUTISTIC DEVELOPMENT (shorts)

2 SPELLBOUND Les Leveque

Experimental. Video. 8:00. 1999.

A Hitchcockian Rorschach test.

BOUNCING IN THE CORNER 33DDD

Dara Greenwald

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999.

A late ’90s feminist looks back on the seminal work of Bruce Nauman. A take-off on “Bouncing in the Corner” where everything is taken off.

TERMINATOR III Andrey and Julia Velikanov

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999. Russia.

“A parody of a music video with the participation of two famous Russian action artists.” – Oleg Kulik and Alexander Brener.

SHAH MAT Mike Pellano

Animation. Video. 9:00. 1999

Two strange-looking Goths play a bizarre game of chess for possession of a church.

ELECTION COLLECTIBLES Bryan Boyce

Experimental. Video. 5:00. 2000. World Premiere.

Everyone knows politicians can be bought, now you can purchase a complete presidential campaign on the Home Shopping Network.

A MINUTE WITH THE ELDERS Alvin Tsang

Experimental. Video. 4:00. 1999

A chance meeting between the artist’s family and a friend is slowed down to allow the viewer to examine subtle details.

A MAN AND HIS PANTS Chris Tenzis

Experimental. Video. 4:00. 1999.

Parodying the motion studies of Martin Arnold, a man struggles to put on a pair of pants.

GUIDED BY VOICES Stom Sogo

Experimental. Super-8 on Video.

An intensely pulsating melange of color and image set to a pounding techno rhythm.

UNTITLED #29.95 The Video Aktivists

Experimental. Video. 15:00. 2000.

Why should only wealthy people have access to the important ideas in art? This is a video about video. It is a story about reproduction. It is a story about money and about public vs. private. And it is about who controls art. It is also a call to action. “Untitled #29.95” tells the history of the commercial art establishment’s attempt to turn video into an object like sculpture or painting in order to increase its value in the marketplace. The Video Aktivists call for high-priced limited edition videos to be “liberated” from commercial art galleries and given to the internet. Share the ware. www.rtmark.com

5:15 p.m.

WIRED ANGEL

Sam Wells

Feature. 16mm. Chicago Premiere.

The story and legend of Joan of Arc is told using striking and unusual means in this provocative and gorgeous experimental narrative. Far from a conventional ‘biopic’ or Hollywood interpretation, “Wired Angel” penetrates the veil of history visually and distills the essences of this story in a silvery nocturnal landscape that is post-industrial but enmeshed with medieval iconography. With shots of Joan in her prison cell forming a visual core and with echoing voices narrating excerpts from her interrogation, the dark claustrophobic shots give way to visionary and hallucinatory images that trace Joan’s career through dangerous journeys, from childhood visions and into sacred and profane spaces; battlegrounds, churches, the prison where doubt and truth collide, and finally into the flames at the stake.

“I hesitated to make yet another film about Joan of Arc, as I would be following in the footsteps of film masters such as Carl Dreyer & Robert Bresson. But artists have been drawn to this material for five centuries, and the first film on Joan – by George Melies – although now lost, was made in 1900. My approach to cinema is for EVERYTHING on the screen to emerge from shadow into light. This pattern happens first, before narrative, before character. Not only in the process of shooting, but in the process of discovering the narrative.” – Sam Wells

” ‘Wired Angel’ is not a film for the faint of heart.” – David Campbell, Princeton Packet

6 p.m.

WESTWAY TO THE WORLD

Don Letts

Documentary. Video. 80:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

They were the band who made punk real, they were the last great British rock ‘n’ roll band, and in “London Calling” they made arguably the album of the 1980s. And then they disbanded in 1984. Now 15 years later, the people who were there at last tell the story of The Clash. Blasting away the parochial concerns of the London punk scene of the late 1970s, the Clash pushed the boundaries of music and mixed reggae, soul, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll. They wrote lyrics about issues that were important to them and never stopped attempting to raise the nation’s consciousness. For the first time Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon, Mick Jones and Topper Headon discuss in detail their extraordinary careers accompanied by acres of previously unseen footage of the very beginning of the band to its very end. Don Letts has filmed the band since the ’70s and in this, his director’s cut, the full story of one of rock’s legendary acts unfolds.

“Each generation needs a soundtrack and the Clash provided mine.” – Don Letts

6:45 p.m.

BIZZARO-A-GO-GO (shorts)

MONKEY VS ROBOT Nathan Pommer

Short. Super-8/16mm/35mm on Video. 3:00. 1999.

A whimsical, yet profound, examination of the strained relationship between technology and nature.

BAD NEWS FROM BONZO BEANS Jason Moran

Short. Video. 5:30. 1999.

Don’t screw with bad-ass Bonzo Beans, missy. He might kidnap your loving sock-puppet boyfriend.

NITWIT PREDELIK Xan Price

Short. Video. 8:12. 1999.

An introduction to the world of Nitwit. In the “Predelick,” we meet Hootus and Minoltuh on a day when they have a fit of licking. Saliva drips and tongues rake across the pages of a book filled with pictures of horses. Meanwhile, a wig giggles anxiously in the corner.

DEEP AFRICA Steve Hall and Cathee Wilkins

Short. Video. 30:00. 1998.

Combine two sex-starved girls, a hardworking African hunter, a sadistic Korean tattoo artist, one slimy exploitive agent, America’s favorite extra-terrestrial, one bloody tampon and huge dick and you get “Deep Africa,” the newest must-see underground classic.

MONKFISH DREAM Naoko Nozawa

Short. Video. 31:00. 1999.

A spurned virgin finds an attractive corpse and attempts an act of necrophilia. Pussy comes to life, separates from the body and starts a live-in love affair with the geeky leading man. The weirdness is relentless but pleasantly hysterical in this love story between man and vagina. They laugh. They love and eventually she is able to free him from his shyness in bed! Hurray.

7:15 p.m.

JUNK

Roddy Bogawa

Feature. 16mm. 85:00. 1999. Chicago Premiere.

In a mundane future of arrested technology, Warholian surveillance and aberrant weather patterns, max r. and Christina meet and attempt a brief, doomed love affair. max r. lives a life of familiar routine, an obsessive collector of urban debris, while chance and chaos govern Christina’s existence. Their inability to reconcile these differences will eventually tear them apart — one will die, and the other will be forever transformed. Featuring cinematography by Benjamin Speth (“The Delta,” “Dresden”), with music by Steel Pole BathTub, Chavez, Seam, Come and Codeine.

“I wanted it to look as if Andy Warhol had done a remake of Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky (the glorious and the grand banal). I wanted to explore a cinema that might collapse in on itself with the next edit. I wanted to make a film that could go away in a blink or speak across an eternity.” – Roddy Bogawa

“It’s equal parts raw energy and ennui, guitar-fuzz and Godard.” – Ed Halter, New York Underground Film Festival

8 p.m.

SANTA SANGRE

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Feature. 35mm. 120:00. 1990.

“Santa Sangre” is a throwback to the golden age, to the days when filmmakers had bold individual visions and were not timidly trying to duplicate the latest mass-market formulas. It is a wild kaleidoscope of images and outrages, a collision between Freud and Fellini. It contains blood and glory, saints and circuses, and unspeakable secrets of the night. And it is all wrapped up in a flamboyant parade of bold, odd, striking imagery, with Alejandro Jodorowsky as the ringmaster. Not since Psycho has a story riveted our attention to the mother/son union gone awry. Guy Stockwell stars as Orgo, a sadistic circus master who brutally disfigures his wife after she catches him with another woman. Witness to the horror is their young son, Fenix. Traumatized, he is committed to an asylum. Freed by his armless mother 12 years later, they forge an unholy alliance. He “gives” her his arms, she takes control of his mind. Together they feed a mounting obsession of desire and revenge.

“When I go to the movies, one of my strongest desires is to be shown something new. I want to go to new places, meet new people, have new experiences. When I see Hollywood formulas mindlessly repeated, a little something dies inside of me: I have lost two hours to boors who insist on telling me stories I have heard before. Jodorowsky is not boring.” -Roger Ebert

8:30 p.m.

ALIEN LANDSCAPES (shorts)

SLOW DEATH OF A LARGE ANIMAL Mark Hejnar and TM Caldwell

Experimental. 16mm on Video. 6:00. 2000.

Film footage scavenged from the wastelands of Detroit. Shadows of emulsion-damaged 1930s circus footage juxtaposed with a brooding elegiac soundtrack by Larval to create a sinister and melancholic mood.

SOME LIKE IT WITHOUT SUGAR Andrey and Julia Velikanov

Experimental. Video. 3:00. 1999. Russia.

“I say I like ads and ads like me. Art, literature and all contemporary culture is nothing by comparison with ads. Love is better, but not much more. If I am sick, I just take ads as a pill (and it helps). When I am in low spirits, I keep saying “wriggly spearmint double juicy fruit without sugar” — and the pain is gone … Dmitri Shostakovich is a genius of mass culture. If he were alive now, he would compose the music for trailers…” – Andrey Velikanov

THE FLOCCULUS Jeff Warrington

Animation. Video. 8:00. 1999,

Vile mutations plague a colony of horse-eating, grasshopper-stewing survivalists.

SHORN Jeff Gate and Tony Roach

Short. Video. 13:45. 2000.

In the course of one long night, a hirsute man loves and loses his blow-up doll, shaves his entire body and submits to the machine.

WHY THE CANARY SINGS NO MORE Paul Terrago’

Short. Super-8 on Video. 14:00. 1999. U.K.

In a hermitic world of wonder and fear, a confused young man explains to Maldoror — the ultimate enemy of all that is good — how he fell from grace. Feigning friendship, Maldoror takes the young man under his wing and offers solace. He has, of course, a much, much darker motive… Based on a chapter from Lautremont’s 1868 anti-novel “Maldoror.” Paul Terrago is a member of the British underground filmmaking collective The Exploding Cinema.

SURFACE 2043 Meg Hannah

Short. 28:00. Super-8 on Video. 1999.

A campy, no-budget adventure that’s equal parts Ed Wood and George Kuchar. Fate deals a cruel hand to Targon, the supreme ruler of the Universe, when his wife delivers cesarean triplets – a girl, a boy and a mutant who inherited the leftover DNA. Targon hopes for a firstborn child to be his successor are dashed. Twenty years later his daughter and son confront him and demand to know who will inherit the throne. Targon assigns each of them a remote colony on opposite ends of the universe, promising the throne to the first who can rally their subjects and return home. The race is on and it’s only a matter of time before Targon is reunited with all three children. Each of them believing that it is their destiny to rule.

9:15 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 were 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.

10:30 p.m.

ROCK OPERA

Bob Ray

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

The comedic tale of 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.

“Genuinely warped… scathingly hilarious… a spot-on quasi-parody of the day-to-day existence of struggling Austin musicians and their wayward ways.” – Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

“If every pot user goes to see this movie, I think you’ll have a hit on your hands.” – Richard Linklater

Preceded by:

SHE-BEAST! SCENES FROM HER GREATEST FILMS

Julie Covello

Short. Video. 9:00. 1999.

Death Metal DJ She-Beast presents highlights from her thrilling B-movie career.

10:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

JOHNNY THUNDERS/CLASH PARTY

Delilah’s 2771 N. Lincoln (773) 472-2771

Celebrate the Chicago premiere’s of “Westway To The World” and “Born To Lose.” Kathy Koch, the world’s greatest Clash/Joe Strummer fan, will DJ at this renowned Chicago rock bar.

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