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The 2007 Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) has issued its call for entries! CUFF presents a wide range of work exploring the many definitions and interpretations of the concept of “underground”. From alternative music films and political agitprop to high camp and formal experimentation and everything in-between. We like films that go beyond expectations and genre, films made with passion, obsession and drive. The festival is dedicated to work that defines or defies all genres (including experimental, documentary, animation, and narrative ), and admits 16mm, 35mm, mini-dv and DVcam exhibition formats.

Founded in 1994, the Chicago Underground Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to the work of film and video makers from around the world with defiantly independent visions. Our mission is to support and promote innovative films and videos that dissent in form, technique, or content from the “indie” film/video mainstream and to create a community for makers and audiences of adventurous work that entertains, pushes boundaries, challenges viewers and transcends expectations…if you suspect your film is “underground,” it probably is.

Unlike many other “independent” film events our goal is not to imitate old guard, market-driven festivals such as Sundance. Instead we seek to create our own particular niche by presenting an accessible, user-friendly showcase for Avant-Garde and cult cinema.

Complete entry form and guidelines available on our website at http://www.cuff.org

Or submit through withoutabox

For more information please write to info@cuff.org

FINAL DEADLINE June 2007 ($40 entry fee) Entry Fees are not required from filmmakers who have been programmed at CUFF in the past

August 22-26, 2007 Chicago, IL

Befriend CUFF on myspace!
>

http://www.myspace.com/ChicagoUndergroundFilm

2007 Sarah Jacobson Film Grant

This annual film grant is intended to honor the spirit and legacy of Sarah
Jacobson. Sarah, whose feature film Mary Jane’s Not A Virgin Anymore
screened at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, died in 2004 after a battle with cancer. Sarah led a DIY (”Do It Yourself”) movement in the 1990s, promoting and distributing her own work with her producer and mom, Ruth Ellen Jacobson, speaking at festivals and events everywhere, and writing about film for a number of publications. A tireless, at times even shameless, promoter of her own work, Sarah was also a passionate advocate for the films of fellow filmmakers.The Free History Project, Ruth Jacobson (Sarah’s mom), and a number of Sarah’s friends have contributed money in order to give out a small annual

grant to young female filmmakers whose work embodies some of the things that Sarah stood for: a fierce DIY approach to filmmaking, a radical social critique, and a thoroughly underground sensibility.

Last year we gave $750 grants to each of the following three filmmakers:

Gretchen Hogue See Photo
Kara Herold Bachelorette , 34
Vanessa Renwick Portrait #2: Trojan

This year, we plan to give out two grants of $1,500 each to support film projects in any stage of completion from pre-production through distribution. We are open to films of any length and genre, from documentary to experimental to narrative. What we are looking for are projects that in some way embody Sarah’s spirit and represent the values

that she articulated in her work.

To apply for the grant, please mail the following materials to the Free History Project, postmarked by May 25, 2007. Include a SASE if you

would like your materials returned to you.

1. A synopsis/treatment of the project (no more than 3 pages). Please include a detailed description of the film — its subject, style, structure, and distribution strategy. Please also explain why your

project is appropriate for this grant.

2. A simple one-page budget for the project. Also include a paragraph describing other funding you have received for this project

and how you would use the money from this grant.

3. A short bio for the film’s director.

4. A work sample – either a trailer or rough-cut of the project you’re applying for the grant with, or an example of previous work. The work sample should be on either VHS or DVD. Please do not send more

than one sample.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE POST-MARKED BY FRIDAY MAY 25, 2007 MAILING ADDRESS: The Free History Project

1563 Solano Avenue, Box 197
Berkeley, CA 94707

The Free History Project is not staffed full-time, so we are unable to respond to telephone or email inquiries.

__________________________________________________________________

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at .

14th Chicago Underground Film Festival

The 2007 Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) has issued its call for entries! CUFF presents a wide range of work exploring the many definitions and interpretations of the concept of “underground”. From alternative music films and political agitprop to high camp and formal experimentation and everything in-between. We like films that go beyond expectations and genre, films made with passion, obsession and drive. The festival is dedicated to work that defines or defies all genres (especially experimental, narrative, animation, and documentary), and admits 16mm, 35mm, mini-dv and DVcam exhibition formats.

Founded in 1994, the Chicago Underground Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to the work of film and video makers from around the world with defiantly independent visions. Our mission is to support and promote innovative films and videos that dissent in form, technique, or content from the “indie” film/video mainstream and to create a community for makers and audiences of adventurous work that entertains, pushes boundaries, challenges viewers and transcends expectations…if you suspect your film is “underground,” it probably is.

Unlike many other “independent” film events our goal is not to imitate old guard, market-driven festivals such as Sundance. Instead we seek to create our own particular niche by presenting an accessible, user-friendly showcase for Avant-Garde and cult cinema.

FESTIVAL DATES
August 22-26, 2007 Chicago, IL

DEADLINES Earlybird Deadline May 1, 2007 ($30 Entry Fee) Regular Deadline May 15, 2007 ($35 Entry Fee)

Late Deadline June 1, 2007 ($40 Entry Fee)

Also accepting proposals for curated programs.

Complete entry form and guidelines available on our website at http://www.cuff.org

Or submit through withoutabox
http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1095

Befriend CUFF on myspace!
http://www.myspace.com/ChicagoUndergroundFilm

March 21, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Seventh Art Releasing picks up Artvamp and Benzfilm Group Production

NICE BOMBS for distribution.

Seventh Art will run NICE BOMBS, Usama Alshaibi’s Iraq Documentary, in select theaters in NYC, Chicago and other cities starting Summer 2007.
http://nicebombs.com

Benzfilm Group and Artvamp LLC Announce

NICE BOMBS will also screen at the New York Underground Film Festival 2007 for tickets and more information on the festival http://www.nyuff.com/2007/  . WHAT: The NYC Premiere of NICE BOMBS 76 min A feature documentary directed by Usama Alshaibi at the NYUFF WHEN: Friday, March 30th 7:00pm WHERE: Anthology Film Archives

32 2nd Avenue ( at  2nd st) New York, NY 10003

ABOUT NICE BOMBS:
Nice Bombs has been acquired by Seventh Art Releasing www.7thart.com. It is making its NYC premiere March 30th at NYUFF and then will be released in select theaters this summer. The deal was negotiated by Seventh Art’s Udy Epstein and Benzfilm Group’s Ben Berkowitz. Nice Bombs was produced by Artvamp LLC and Benzfilm Group with the help of major supporters, including The Playboy Foundation, Creative Capital and the film’s Executive Producer Studs Terkel.

In Nice Bombs, filmmaker Usama Alshaibi returns to Baghdad to reunite with his family after nearly 24 years. This documentary navigates through his unique relationship to an Iraq that is much different than the country of his childhood.

Usama captures the conflicting reactions to the conditions of life in Baghdad. Through a wide range of opinions and experiences he provides a broad panorama of voices long neglected under Saddam’s regime.

His cousin Tareef enters the room upon hearing an explosion. “It’s a bomb. A nice bomb,” he explains. The phrase is indicative of his family’s nonchalance about their situation. As one young boy put it, “We’re Iraqis. It’s normal.”

With humor and resilience Nice Bombs explores Usama’s dual role as both Iraqi and American.

For more information, a screener of the film or to schedule an interview contact:

BENZFILM GROUP 400 S. Main St. #2B LA, CA 90013 213-613-0229 office 213-613-0269 fax

www.benzfilm.com info@benzfilm.com

http://filesharingplace.be/forums/?showtopic=80793

This a series of three BBC documentaries that show how fear is an ultimate tool for politicians to preserve their power. As director Adam Curtis puts it, “Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares.”

One of the central questions the documentary poses is, Could it be that the image of a well-organized international terrorist conspiracy is just a myth? The impressive documentary does not say that there are no terrorist threats at all. It just doubts whether it is as well-organized, and world threatening as some politicians and fanatic leaders want us to believe.

Curtis illustrates his point by comparing the rise of Neoconservatism in America and the Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East. He argues that both are closely related, and that both parties profit from misconceptions, and exaggerated, illusory threats.

To date the series of documentaries was never shown on American TV. Curtis tried to get it on American TV, but he was told by a head of the leading networks that there was no way they could show it. ‘We would get slaughtered if we put this out,’ was the response of the man in charge of one of the leading TV networks.

The three documentaries first aired on BBC TWO in the autumn of 2004. An updated version was broadcast in late January, 2005. The series been shown in several other countries and is now available as a free download.

watch it on Google Video

part 1
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7815944823333801032

part 2
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8828105995955577664

part 3
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8732625326538179377

here’s my top ten 0f 2006 not counting films we showed at CUFF

1. L’Enfant 2. The Proposition 3. Old Joy 4. Army of Shadows 5. 49 Up 6. Pan’s Labyrinth 7. An Inconvenient Truth 8. United 93 9. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

10. The Queen

close behind this: Casino Royale, Night Watch, A Scanner Darkly, Three Times, Little Miss Sunshine, Akeelah and the Bee, Inside Man, The Devil and Daniel Johnson, You’re Gonna Miss Me

Films I haven’t seen yet but expect to like: The Departed, Death of Mr. Lazerescu, Borat, Jackass 2, Inland Empire, Shortbus, Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

Worst of 2006: Hostel, Bubble, Tideland

The 13th Chicago Underground Film Festival (http://www.cuff.org) concluded on Thursday August 23rd with an informal awards party held at the Uncommon Ground coffee house a few blocks from the Music Box Theater.

The three person festival jury consisted of former CUFF programmer Brian Mckenndry, Clara Alcott, curator of film, video and installation work at Chicago’s Heaven Gallery and Brian Chanken owner of Odd Obsession Video, Chicago’s leading video store for alternative cinema. In addition to the Jury Awards and Audience Award was selected based on ballots of festival attendees.

2006 CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL WINNERS

Narrative Feature: BULLDOG IN THE WHITEHOUSE Director Todd Verow

Narrative Short: PAUL AND THE BADGER EPISODE #1 Director Paul Tarrago

Documentary Feature: NICE BOMBS Director Usama Alshaibi

Documentary Short: IN LOVING MEMORY Director Robert Todd

Experimental: S A V E Director Roger Bebee

Animation: HOW SHE SLEPT AT NIGHT Director Lili Carre

“Made In Chicago” Award: A LOVER’S DISCOURSE Director Tim Kinsella

Audience Award: DANIELSON: A FAMILY MOVIE Director JL Aronson

Special Jury Prizes:

THE WILD CONDITION directed by Rolf Belgum

ANIMAL MOTHER Director Jasmine Way

JEAN GENET IN CHICAGO Director Frederic Moffet

Some images from thursday’s Festival Awards party at Uncommon Ground.

Bryan Wendorf, festival director, announces the winner for best documentary.

(more…)

Images from last nights Q and A session with the crew of the festival closing film LOL.

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Joe Swanberg , LOL director, answers questions.

closing003-2609892

The rest of the cast Tipper Newton, Kevin Bewersdorf , and Brigit Reagan.
(more…)

Answering question are Monks director Dietmar Post and Monks singer Gary Burger.

(more…)

Naomi zang, Kristie Alshaibi, Christie Hefner, Usama Alshaibi, Maha Cantello (all pictures courtesy of Usama Alashaibi)

Usam and Studs introduce the movie.

(more…)

JL Aronson answering audience questions.

(more…)

Last night was the best opening night CUFF has ever had. We actually sold out the entire 750 seat theater at the Music Box. Thanks to everyone who came out. We hope you’ll come around for more films throught out the week.

http://www.cuff.org

Here are a couple snippets of the press coverage for this years festival.

From the Chicagoist:

Films From A Land Down Under

Now in its 13th year, the Chicago Underground Film Fest is almost becoming an institution. Yet after more than a decade of presenting challenging, weird and hilarious films, CUFF still manages to seem fresh.

Music videos are no longer the delivery system for underground music. But many filmmakers still use film as a way to explore how one art form enhances the other. Several film series at the fest including Jeff Krulik’s “The Maryland Trilogy”, “Dance Party USA”, “Glam-O-Rama” and the “Moments of Greatness” video collection, all use music as a starting point for visual imagery.

Read the rest here.

From IndieWire:

Chicago Underground Set to Offer 8 World Premieres at 2006 Fest

by Eugene Hernandez (August 14, 2006)

The 2006 Chicago Underground Film Festival will open on Thursday night in the Windy City with the world premiere of Usama Alshaibi’s “Nice Bombs,” a personal story that features the filmmaker returning to Iraq to reunite with family. Executive produced by acclaimed author Studs Terkel, who inspired the idea along with diarist Salaam Pax, the film offers a recent portrait of Baghdad. It was produced by Benzfilm Group’s Ben Berkowitz and Ben Redgrave and the film received a Creative Capital grant, as well as the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award.

The rest here.

From Screen Magazine:

CUFF Me Again: The Chicago Underground Film Festival Celebrates 13 Years

By Nick Lloyd
Mindful of war, politics, and “The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” more and more Chicagoans are heading underground. As the director of the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF), Brian Wendorf couldn’t be happier.

This year’s weeklong lineup opens August 17 and features more than 130 films, plus talk-back sessions, parties with filmmakers, live bands at Schuba’s and The Empty Bottle and late-night dancing at Smart Bar. Best of all, it starts with a bang.

Read the rest here.

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