Chicago Underground Film Festival

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 23
4 p.m.

Free Panel Discussion DIGITAL FILMMAKING: THE NEW UNDERGROUND

A discussion of the freedom and limitations offered by digital video.

5 p.m.

THE SEEDLING Thomas Campbell Documentary. 16mm on Video. 63:00. 2000.

A timeless documentation of traditional longboard riding, and a glimpse into a log riding tribe of young Californians. Gliding in a seamless fashion and shot entirely on 16mm film, in Campbell’s first surf film we are reminded once again that surfing is, above all else, fun. Featuring the surfing talents of Tudor, Farberow, Gamboa, Quinn and Nakamura. Locations include: Mexico, France, California, Hawaii, New York and the Canary Islands. Musical waves furnished by Tommy Guerero, Tortoise, Isotope 217, Friends of Dean Martinez, Ray Turbee and Sandy Bull. “The Seedling” is a movie in full trim. Enjoy.

5:30 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.

6 p.m.

GODASS Esther Bell Feature. Video. 90:00. 2000. Chicago Premiere.

A digital feature with a DIY spirit, “Godass” is a dark coming-of-age comedy about how having a gay father can be the least of a girl’s problems. Flash back to 1988, the era of Reaganomics and punk rock. In this atmosphere – full of violence, drugs, parties and sex – 17-year-old Terri is in over her head when she makes a trip to New York to distribute her ‘zine “Skid Marks.” Facing the recent loss of her stepfather, Terri’s venture to New York is full of surprises. When her car goes missing she and her friends have only one person to turn to, Terri’s “Uncle Henry.” Uncle Henry is actually her biological father who she believes abandoned her at birth. In meeting him, Terri discovers that the secret to confronting her troubled life is interlocked in understanding her father and the real reason he left. Starring Fred Schneider (B-52s) and Julian Nicholson, with Anna Grace (“Girlstown,” “I Shot Andy Warhol”) Tina Holmes (“Edge of Seventeen”) and David Ilku (“Liquid Sky”). With cameos from underground filmmakers Bill Plymton (“I Married A Strange Person”) and Sarah Jacobson (“Mary Jane’s Not A Virgin Anymore”) and a soundtrack featuring music from The Lunachicks, Sleepyhead, Speedball Baby and more.

Preceded by:

“AEROBICIDE” BY JULIE RUIN Kathleen Hannah and Sadie Benning Experimental. Video. 4:00. 1999.

An agit-pop music video which critiques the cynical music marketers of corporate America.

6:30 p.m.

SYSTEM NOISE Josh Ferrazzano Feature. Video. 70:00. 1999.

Everything was perfect until he turned on the TV. But now Gilgamesh Jones is losing his grip on reality. The drugs don’t help. God knows the flesh-eating zombies only make it worse. He can’t shake the image of Starlett, that sexy singer on TV. Her siren song is driving him mad. It lures him to New York City, a concrete symphony of lust, violence, cannibalism and insanity. Everywhere he looks, he sees Starlett. She stalks him from posters, billboards, TV screens. He is alone. Fate drags him ever closer to doom. When the world explodes, the film implodes. Or is it all in his head?

Preceded by:

“THERE’S ANOTHER ONE” BY TV POW Doug Lussenhop Experimental. Video. 6:00. 2000.

TV POW’s sound uses noise, structured improvisation and aspects of music concrete, creating scenes rather than songs. This video aims to create a visual counterpart to their sound using stuttering, layered images and found footage.

7 p.m.

ZONA Pierre Desir Feature. 16mm. 94:00. 2000.

A vision of the near future that draws on present politics and the workings of the unconscious mind. A fundamentalist government has come to power and young people, desperate for something else to believe in, trade rumors about a place known as the “Zone.” Only a few people have been there and returned. One is Doc Derance, a jazz musician who has been imprisoned for his refusal to give up his condemned music. “ZoNa” is an exploration into the elusiveness of memory and perception, crossing through the illusion of hallucination, dream and desire.

8 p.m.

ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN Todd Verow Feature. Video. 90:00 min. 2000. Chicago Premiere

Anti-Matter is the queen of nothing, the ruler of nowhere, the monarch of cyphers. She’s too cool for you — but can you put her up for the night? Drifting through the Lower East Side, she’s on a desperate, desolate mission to get her band together and finally conquer something, anything. Her manic manipulations and chaotic philosophies never seem to gel in the present — she’s either a step behind or two steps ahead but never where she really sees herself to be, wherever that is. Bored with the dangling fly strip tease of fame that has eluded her throughout her whole life, she’s nevertheless only alive on stage, dreaming of a place where no one will unplug that amp, threaten her life or shovel her out the door in the morning. If you’ve ever felt used and abused, under-appreciated, scraped off the sidewalk or simply horny, Anti-Matter has some advice for you. She’s been there, done that and didn’t give a shit. Or so she says. Featuring a powerful and brave star performance by Verow superstar Philly and a supporting cast combining your favorite Bangor Film regulars (Eric Sapp, Brenda Velez) with notorious figures from the Lower East Side underground scene (Kid Congo Powers, Jennifer Blowdryer). Don’t even think of missing this! “Downright stunning …Cute movies like “Smithereens” should be formally interred under well-worn tapes of Once and Future Queen.” – Peter Hall, New York Independent Film Monitor

8:15 p.m.

SEARCHING FOR ROGER TAYLOR Aaron Barnett Documentary. Video. 89:00. 1999.

Traveling from Canada to the United Kingdom to the United States, filmmaker Aaron Barnett searches for his childhood rock idol. What he discovers is a much larger story, re-evaluation of the music of the 1980s, and an era that created an incredible number of icons who rocketed to superstardom. It gave witness to the explosion of New Wave and perhaps most importantly, the birth of the music video. Who were the players involved in the creation and popularization of music as a visual medium? How did this new art form impact on commercials, feature films and dramatic television? How did it relate to the image conscious New Wave? In his quest to answer these questions, Barnett seeks to not just understand the disappearance of a man, but also an entire decade of music.

Preceded by:”FRUSTRATION” BY ASSHOLE Thomas Patterson Experimental. Video. 3:43. 1999.

New York City pulses to the sound of an infectious hip-hop beat.

9 p.m.

JOURNEY TO YOUR MIND’S EYE

EDGEWAYS Sandra Gibson Experimental. 16mm. 4:00. 1999.

A journey of color, rhythm and sound, this animated piece explores the literal limits of film.

MEDIAN STRIP James Schneider Documentary. 16mm. 8:00. 2000.

The from the maker of “Oasis” and “Blue is Beautiful” comes this experimental documentary that looks at the freedom represented by America’s highways and the privatization of the American prison system.

THE QUEST Francois Miron Experimental. 16mm. 9:00. 1999. Canada.

Experimental film about making experimental films, the process is the film, the film is the process, the two are the same. Complex color separation techniques are used to create the images of that film with a 60s psychedelic aesthetic and groovy music by Reuben Wilson. Get hip to it. Alternate title: “La Poursuite De L’Art.”

THE ULTRAWORLD Francois Miron Experimental. 16mm. 16:00. 1997. Canada.

Organic, trance-like experimental film. Natural landscape transformed into moving abstract paintings. Multi-layered traveling mattes and kaleidoscopic, trance-inducing colors. All the images for this film were shot outside in the summer and then treated with optical printing. Music by EAR and The Spiritualized.

FEY EYES PIN HOLES DRUMS HUM Thomas Comerford Experimental. 16mm. 14:00. 1999.

Created with a pinhole camera and found/homemade noise-recording devices, this film is a collection of astonishing moving sound-pictures. The film reveals textures of particles, waves currents and examines themes of obsolescence.

ABANDONED DOLLS Karl Staven Animation. 16mm. 6:30. 1999.

Ethnic hatred as evidenced in the ongoing interactions between two types of dolls. In a debris-filled urban world, glances are exchanged, violence occasionally erupts and communication can’t be completed.

STANLEY Suzie Templeton Animation. 16mm. 7:00. 1999.

Stanley has grown a lovely cabbage. It is hearty, full of life and beautiful, unlike Stanley’s dour wife. A wife that has a hankering for corned beef and…

FAMILY PORTRAIT Chris Harris Animation. 16mm. 13:00. 1999.

“Family Portrait” analyzes a dysfunctional family through a series of surreal events surrounding a teddy bear given as a gift to the son at the beginning of the film. Through a series of sometimes horrific accidents we see the abuser not as a monster, but as someone who means well, but has a difficult time expressing himself.

10 p.m.

WAITING Patrick Hasson Feature. Video. 90:00. 2000. Chicago Premiere.

Sean McNutt is losing his mind. Customer complaints, 50-cent tips, raw chicken parmigiana and Mafioso management are gnawing away at what sanity he has left. Welcome to the world of “Waiting,” a comedy about the seamy underbelly of the restaurant industry as told through the eyes of Sean McNutt (Love God’s Will Keenan), a waiter trying to muster the ambition to move on in life. Recently dumped and still living at home, Sean drinks himself into oblivion each night until an impulsive visit to a fetish club to see his old flame (“The State’s” Kern Kenney) results in an ejection from the club and a taste of leather-clad justice. This is the last straw, and Sean soon embarks on a campaign of romantic retaliation. Including cameos by former adult film star Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo) and Troma topper Lloyd Kaufman, “Waiting” takes you into the heart of South Philly’ s most notorious eatery, Broccoletti’s Italian Bistro — where what goes on behind the kitchen doors is better left unknown!

10:15 p.m.

CELLULOID HEROES (shorts)

THE BIRTH OF CENTURY SAM Jesse Brown Animation. Video. 1:52. 2000. Canada.

The vibrating, pulsating, fucky-sucky organic machine goes into labor.

DEATH JERK OFF 2000 Usama Alshaibi Experimental. Video. 2:30. 1999.

A cut-up exploration in film-kink and video fetish with a pulsing noise composition by Craig Sorensen.

LEE HAZLEWOOD IN NEW YORK Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley Documentary. Video. 8:00. 2000.

Nancy Sinatra’s songwriting partner made a number of films in the late sixties with Swedish director Torbjorn Axelman including the concert film “Nancy and Lee in Las Vegas.” The directors of “Half-Cocked” and “Radiation” interviewed Axelman and Hazlewood during a 1999 retrospective at New York’s historic Anthology Film Archives.

ABANDON BOB HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE Kevin Kurytnik Animation. Video. 7:00. 1997. Canada.

A bastard satirical mutation of Gustav Dore’s Divine Comedy engravings of the inferno and those oversized “how-to” animation books that were put out by Hal Foster. See the hand of cartoon fate! Revel in the uncomfortable juxtapositions of high and low brow! Try to figure out why Bob Hope’s skull is in this film! Dante and Dore’ meet Disney in Hell.

JAPANESE COWBOY Michael Kang Short. Video. 3:10. 2000.

A yellow gigolo struts his stuff to indifferent tourists in Times Square.

BIG POW Vanessa Buccella Experimental. Video. 4:00. 2000.

A frightened girl watches the circus go by outside her window with growing intrigue in the spectacle.

HOW TO BECOME A FILM FREAK IN SEVEN EASY LESSONS Harald Schleicher Short. Video. 7:00. 1999

Everything you need to know about filmmaking from the people who really know. From Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Robert de Niro, Woody Allen, Marcello Mastroianni and many other stars. They help to answer essential questions: What makes a good script? Wherein lies the task of a good director? Overcoming time and space a real dialog takes place. Here are the answers.

4 VERTIGO Les Leveque Experimental. Video. 9:00. 2000.

Alfred Hitchcock’s 128-minute classic is condensed into a kaleidoscopic montage where Oedipal narratives of desire and obsession are shifted and displaced.

THE PENNY MARSHALL PROJECT Greg Pak Short. Video. 12:30. 1999.

In August 1999, “The Blair Witch Project” became the most financially successful independent film of all time. The same month, three Hollywood filmmakers disappeared into the woods near Penny Marshall’s summer house in Nyack, New York. One year later CUFF broke its vow to not screen any “Blair Witch” parodies.

WHO NEEDS HOLLYWOOD! THE STORY OF VIDEO PIONEER JOHN DORR AND EZTV Nina Rota Documentary. Video. 27:14. 2000.

Decades before the digital video boom, LA-based film journalist John Dorr took a black-and-white surveillance video camera and a Betamax deck and made what was probably the first feature-length video. He went on to make four feature length movies on video — from science fiction oddities like “The Case of the Missing Consciousness” to a biopic about Dorothy Parker — and founded EZTV, a pivotal artist’s cooperative organization and theater that screened works using the then-unusual process of “video projection.” “Who Needs Hollywood” is a tribute to Dorr, who died of AIDS in 1993, and the legacy of EZTV, a multimedia center that remains active today, bridging the gap between fine art and Hollywood.

“Some of the core pioneers and advocates of digital technology in the moving image arts.” -American Film Institute

10:30 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.

10 p.m. – 2 a.m.

NEWCITY TAKES THE FILMMAKERS BOWLING Timber Lanes, 1851 W. Irving Park Road Admission $5

Newcity-sponsored party with food, booze and bowling.

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