Chicago Underground Film Festival

Tuesday August 17

5:00

MORE FILMS ABOUT TOYS AND FOOD

I, SOCKY Danny Plotnick

U.S.A., Short, Super-8, 7 min., 1998

A rogue sock monkey hits the town on a big day out. Says our festival programmer “if you don’t like this movie there’s something wrong with you.”

XAVIER Todd Lincoln

U.S.A., Short, Super-8, 6 min., 1998

Vengeance must be served, in retaliation for the misdeeds done by a young boy with a sharp pair of scissors to a Cabbage Patch Kid doll, even if it comes years later during those unsuspecting college years.

STREET SERVICE Chris Combs

U.S.A., Short, Video, 29 min., 1999, World Premiere

Follow a young couple as they struggle to survive the comic and sometimes bizarre schemings of a network of roving food service personnel. A fast-paced, disturbing journey through the streets of Chicago.

MEAT FUCKER Shawn Durr A

U.S.A., Short, Video, 32 min., 1999, World Premiere

It’s a literal thing. Mother always said, “Boys who even think about meat are bad.” But what’s a poor meat-fearing boy to do when his street-trade roommate and his sleazy girlfriend are in the next room slopping around naked in “Mr. Feed’s Universal Meat Sauce, and that raw whole chicken in the fridge is just beggin’ for it… MEAT FUCKER, the brand new all digital bad ass film from Shawn Durr, local sickie and gay filmmaker extraordinaire.

5:30

NIGHT TRAIN

Repeat Screening – See Monday 7:30

6:00

QUEASY, UNEASY FEELINGS

Repeat Screening – See Saturday 11:00

7:00

HILL STOMP HOLLAR Bradley Beesley

U.S.A., Video, 60 min., 1999, Chicago Premiere

“It’s a shotgun marriage only the blues could broker: a young white hustler sets up shop with a bunch of stubborn, septuagenarian black musicians in a state whose history of race relations is a national disgrace. The result: Fat Possum Records, the only blues label that matters.” So opens Bradley Beesley’s HILL STOMP HOLLAR, a year-in-the-life documentary of Fat Possum Records and three of its key musicians, the masters of Mississippi Hill Blues: R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford, and Cedell Davis. Raised in poverty and crime in the Deep South, each musician has had his share of hard living: the first time Fat Possum head Matthew Johnson met R.L. “every goddamn warning light in his car was on and flashing at him, he was totally fucking drunk, and I was like ‘Wow!’ He was such a bad sonofabitch.” After recruiting Burnside and the others, Johnson’s label began to garner critical acclaim, leading to a business partnership with the San Francisco punk label Epitaph and artistic partnerships with the likes of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Beastie Boys, and Beck. Despite these successes, Fat Possum remains stubbornly underground, squeaking by with true-grit talent and limited releases. Beesely reveals the raw talent behind the label with candid interviews and impromptu performances which demonstrate why the blues on Fat Possum is arguably the best in the world.

Shown with:

KID DYNAMITE Dan Protess

Documentary, Video, 11 min., 1999, World Premiere

An affectionate, humorous look at a local Chicago blues man and his band, which explores the fine line between commenting on a legend and contributing to it.

7:30

RADIATION Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky

U.S.A., Feature, 35mm, 90 min., 1998

Unai began booking shows for indie rock bands at a young age to divert his attention from the harsh politics surrounding him in the northern region of Spain. Now, a little bit older, and a lot more jaded, he struggles with the realities of low income and a speed habit. After a band abandons an ill-promoted tour that Unai arranges, he meets Mary, a performance poet from New York City. He convinces her to take over the tour. As her popularity grows, his stability decreases.

Shot entirely on location in Spain during a travelling film festival which the filmmakers set up, RADIATION stuides the art of survival and is largely based on Michael Galinsky’s experiences while on tour with bands Sleepyhead and Laptop. Bands such as Stereolab, Come, Will Oldham, and El Inquilino make appearances in the film, which is notable for the filmmakers’ knowledge of the indie music scene.

“One of the most original films about the music biz-directors Suki Hawley and Michael Galinski clearly know whereof they film.” Austin Chronicle

8:00

AMERICAN CHAIN GANG Xachary Irving

U.S.A., Documentary, 16mm, 56 min., 1998, Chicago Premiere

Abolished in the 1960s as cruel and unusual punishment, the chain gang has seen a recent revival around the United States. Filmmaker Xackery Irving’s insightful and accomplished documentary follows this phenomenon, focusing on the Limestone Prison in Alabama and the Estrella Jail in Arizona-the site of the world’s first all-female chain-gang. Interviewing both inmates and prison staff, Irving presents a complex portrait of the gang and the politics surrounding it-from the volatile tensions created by forced intimacy to its dubious role in the prevention of recidivism. Irving also documents profound differences in attitude between male and female prisoners toward the gang: the women, under heavy lock-down, view the gang as their only opportunity escape their 8×10′ cells, while the men point out the gang’s human rights violations and the correctional system’s larger failure to implement truly successful rehabilitation programs. Balancing these interviews are real-life events and archival footage.

“Irving’s film offers a remarkably close investigation of the historical and cultural of the gang.”
    -The Independent Film and Video Monthly

Shown with:

ENDANGERED SPECIES E.J. Lockett

U.S.A., Narrative, 16mm, 34 min., 1997

The story of a small group of survivors in a modern day holocaust. The powers that be use fear and ignorance to remove what they call “inferiors” (i.e. non-whites) from the face of the earth. A small group of survivors, protected by a movement known as the Resistance, struggle to survive within the sewer system. They are the only evidence left of an ethnically diverse culture. Their desire and will for their own place in this world keeps them strong, and helps them go on with their lives.

9:00

WACKY WHITE BOYS

EXTREME MAN AND INSANE BOY Webster Colcord

U.S.A., Animation, Video, 5 min., 1999, World Premiere

Zombies are on the loose! And it’s up to Extreme Man, ex-actor turned superhero to save the town from the evil creations of his arch nemesis, The Screaming Skull.

DEADLY SQUIRREL Jason Walker

Australia, Animation, Video, 5 min., 1998

It’s squirrel vs. hillbilly in a fierce battle of who has control of the back yard.

THE ART OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING Allen Vee Goss

U.S.A., Documentary, Video, 15 min., 1999

Want to know what it takes to become a professional wrestler? What it takes is all you’ve got…and that’s just for the tryout. Take a look behind the scenes at The Powerplant training facility, where a new batch of dreamers attempt to survive the agonizing first cut. Featuring longtime pro wrestler George “The Animal” Steele recounting his own wrestling experiences.

JESSE HELMS IS CLEANING UP AMERICA Bob Judd

U.S.A, Animation, Video, 7 min., 1999, World Premiere

From the brilliantly twisted creator of BOVINE VENDETTA, winner of a 1998 CUFF Gold Award. A surreal look at what has got to be Jesse Helms’ worst nightmare. Featuring parts of drag diva Vaginal Davis.

ED Jan Dowjat

U.S.A., Documentary, Video, 11 min., 1999, World Premiere

Don’t let the opening few moments fool you. Ed’s life is far more than toting guns around and shooting at small creatures. He created controversy at his job at an animal testing facility, caring for the chimps, and bringing a small sense of order to their painful lives. A story in two parts, ED will make you think twice about judging a book by its cover.

GRAHAM CRACKER CREAM PIE Huck Botko

U.S.A., Documentary, Video, 12 min., 1999

In 1996 we brought you FRUITCAKE, in which Huck Botko had winos spit in the holiday treat he made for his father. In 1997, we showed you the roadkill he put in a BAKED ALASKA for his mother. Last year, in CHEESECAKE, he put the blood of junkies in the delicacy he whipped up for his sister. What family member will be the recipient of this year’s homemade creation, and what the heck can he think of this time to put in it? The grossest one yet in this series.

GLADYS NOLEN’S HOUSE Arthur Bradford

U.S.A., Documentary, Video, 28 min., 1999

When his brother strangled Walter Nolen’s mother Gladys to death it sent Walter into an alcohol-fueled depression. It’s three years later and he hasn’t stopped. The house has become a run-down, roach infested hovel marked for condemnation. Arthur Bradford (See How’s Your News) spent months interviewing Walter and his friends and neighbors for this portrait of the underbelly of America.

9:30

THE EDEN MYTH Mark Edlitz

Feature, 35mm, 88 min., 1999, Chicago Premiere

A grotesquely gothic blend of drama and black comedy, THE EDEN MYTH emphasizes good old-fashioned storytelling. The tale begins when a domineering patriarch, Vincent Speck, invites his grown sons and daughter to a rare reunion at the family’s isolated old mansion to make a mysterious announcement. Their mother is a bed-ridden invalid but Speck keeps a close eye on his offsprings’ every move. To everyone’s surprise, he announces that his eldest son is to be wed the next day. In the course of the strange family reunion, the children, sons Aldo, Edward, Roland and daughter Doreen find out more about the hidden history of their family tree than they want and stunning facts come to light. Music by Philip Glass. THE EDEN MYTH was shot in and around the mansion that F. Scott Fitzgerald once used as the setting for his novel The Great Gatsby.

“Maverick cinema. A truly weird, original tale.”
    -Boston Phoenix

“A cool movie for folks with a taste for mystery.”
    -Austin American-Statesman

10:00

SUCKERFISH

Repeat Screening – See Sunday 1:30

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