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2013 Chicago Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

Trippy poster for the Chicago Underground Film Festival painted by Robert Beatty

The mighty  and all-powerful Chicago Underground Film Festival has done the absolute unthinkable: Reached their 20th year of operation! How many underground festivals have accomplished that feat? None, until now! Well, “now” being March 6-10 at the fest’s new location: The Logan Theatre.

Obviously, there are a lot of people who have worked with the fest over the years to help make it last for exactly two fantastic decades, but, truly, there is one special person who has to be specially lauded for his tireless dedication to the advancement of underground film and its makers. Especially because CUFF hasn’t just been around for 20 years: It’s been fucking awesome for 20 years.

That person, of course, is Artistic Director Bryan Wendorf, who has been with the fest for the very first edition to it’s most recent, mind-blowing one. Year after year, Wendorf has guided CUFF into defining, challenging, provoking and prodding the entire notion of what “underground film” actually is.  Wendorf has solidly run CUFF all these years and typically doesn’t get the public lauding he deserves. It’s difficult to think of any film festival director who has run any fest — underground or mainstream — for so long. It’s nearly inconceivable. Yet, he’s done it.

And looking over this year’s CUFF lineup below should be enough to make any underground film fan positively squee with delight with its uncompromising mix of hypnotic expanded media performances, brain-blasting documentaries, uncompromising fictional narratives and positively sick retrospectives of some of the greatest underground films of the past two decades.

Here’s the highlights:

Opening Night Film: Untitled, a unique expanded media performance light show and live audio from the boundary-pushing trio of Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder and Olivia Block.

Closing Night Film: The World Premiere of the first feature-length film by Drew Tobia, one of the current kings of surreal and disturbing imagery and subject matter. See You Next Tuesday is a grotesque swirl into the sewer-filled lives of a pregnant girl, her alcoholic mother and her “party girl” sister.

Not To Be Missed: March 8 will see the masterful return of one of underground film’s biggest names: Jon Moritsugu, who will be World Premiering his latest cinematic atrocity, Pig Death Machine, about two sexy women who develop strange and magnificent mental abilities. On March 10, Mike Olenick will present his obsessive media appropriation epic All the Memory in the World.

Underground Film Journal picks: We are absolutely drooling about the many fine retrospectives of underground classics, many of which can’t be seen anywhere else. For us, the absolute highlight of the fest is a screening of Shawn Durr’s Meat Fucker, an undeniable classic that can’t be seen anywhere else, but will be screening as a part of Jack Sargeant’s curated revue that will melt all attendees eyeballs on March 9 with brilliant work by Usama Alshaibi, Carey Burtt and more. Bryan Wendorff has also programmed a fantastic retrospective on March 7 featuring gorgeous films by James Fotopoulos, Matt McCormick, Reynold Reynolds and more.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more info, please visit the official CUFF website. The full lineup is below:

March 6

8:00 p.m.: Untitled, dir. Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, Olivia Block. This will be an expanded media performance with dual 16mm projectors and live audio. The first half of this event will feature projected white light refracted through a “glass plane fogged via a humidification system,” while the second half will feature “minimalist monochromatic film loops … keystoning [their] way through the darkness of a cinematic abyss.”
Screening with:
Wreading, dir. Jesse Malmed

March 7

6:30 p.m.: “Spectrum: Talking About Things”
Eleven Forty Seven, dir. Marika Borgeson
Stone, dir. Kevin Jerome Everson
Waves of Grain, dir. Keith Skretch
Gold Party, dir. Nellie Kluz
Salt Lines, dir. Cade Bursell
10-19 Return to Base, dir. Cameron Gibson
Ancestors, dir. Douglas Urbank
Memorial Land, dir. Bill Brown

7:00 p.m.: “How to Stop Being a Mason” (Retrospective Program 1: Selected by Bryan Wendorf)
Consumed Part 5, dir. James Fotopoulos
Wüstenspringmaus, dir. Jim Finn
The Vyrotonin Decision, dir. Matt McCormick
Burn, dir. Reynold Reynolds & Patrick Jolly
The Stairway at St. Paul’s, dir. Jeroen Offerman
The Fabulous Stains: Behind the Movie, dir. Sam Green and Sarah Jacobson
Guided By Voices, dir. Stom Sogo
The Moschops, dir. Jim Trainor
Swinger’s Serenade, dir. Danny Plotinick

8:30 p.m.: Ape, dir. Joel Potrykus. A failed comedian with an arsonist streak makes a deal with the Devil.
Screening with:
Black Metal, dir. Kat Candler

9:00 p.m.: “School of Change”
Them Oracles, dir. Alee Peoples
Rendezvous, dir. Emily Kuehn
The Invisible World, dir. Jesse McLean
Island Light, dir. Andrew Rosinski
Releasing Human Energies, dir. Mark Toscano
School of Change, dir. Jennet Thomas

March 8

6:30 p.m.: A Body Without Organs, dir. Stephen Graves. This documentary captures Graves’ father’s very real struggle with having his colon removed.
Screening with:
In Search of Lost Time, dir. Jason Younkman

7:00 p.m.: “Summarize Proust Competition” (Retrospective 2: Selected by Jay Bliznick)
Crosley Fiver, dir. Guy Benoit
Images, dir. Jeff Velencia
Andre the Giant Has a Posse, dir. Helen Stickler
Monday 9:02 A.M., dir. Tyler Hubby
Killing Time, dir. Adam “Tex” Davis

8:30 p.m.: Pig Death Machine, dir. Jon Moritsugu & Amy Davis. The first film by underground film legend Moritsugu in a decade! A dim-witted brunette suddenly becomes a genius while a punk rock botanist develops the ability to actually communicate with plants.
Screening with:
WREST, dir. Kent Lambert

9:00 p.m.: “It’s the Arts”
Wingdings Love Letter, dir. Scott Fitzpatrick
The Casts, dir. Darin Martin
Persian Pickles, dir. Jodie Mack
Fire in the Fireplace, dir. Adam Paradis
Bryun, Object Trouve, dir. Marie Losier
21 Chitrakoot, dir. Shambhavi Kaul
The Time That Remains, dir. Soda_Jerk
The Twin, dir. Mike Lopez
The Kessler Plot, dir. Josh Thorud
The SEVEN Wonders, dir. Paul Tarragó

March 9

2:00 p.m.: Hit & Stay, dir. Joe Tropea & Skizz Cyzyk. This documentary recounts the story of the Catonsville Nine, a group of anti-war activists who committed the major act of burning hundreds of draft files in Maryland during the Vietnam War.

3:00 p.m.: “Apology for Sex and Violence” (Retrospective Program 3: Selected By Jack Sargeant)
Madball, dir. Charles Pinion
Bovine Vendetta, dir. Bob Judd
Cheesecake, dir. Huck Botko
Death Jerk-off 2000, dir. Usama Alshaibi
Slow Death of a Large Animal, dir. Mark Hejnar and T M Caldwell
The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase, dir. Carey Burtt
The Operation, dir. Jacob Pander
Meat Fucker, dir. Shawn Durr

6:00 p.m.: Taken By Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, dir. Roddy Bogawa. This documentary examines the artwork of Storm Thorgerson, who has created numerous iconic album covers, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

7:00 p.m.: “How Not to Be Seen”
The Sea [is still] Around Us, dir. Hope Tucker
Une Terre Familière, dir. Marianna Milhorat
Mosaic Do Porto, dir. Robert Todd
Should I Stand Amid Your Breakers Or Should I Lie With Death My Bride, dir. Marcy Saude
Oaxaca Tohoku, dir. Pablo Mazzolo
primitive, dir. Benjamin Balcolm
Arm Pit, dir. Teohua Villalobos
Hay Algo Y Se Va. (There is something. Now it’s gone.), dir. Kimberly Forero-Arnias
Our Summer Made Her Light Escape, dir. Sasha Waters Freyer
Picaresques, dir. Mariah Garnett

8:00 p.m.: A Band Called Death, dir. Jeff Howlett & Mark Covino. This documentary profiles the unlikely history of what may be the world’s first punk band.

9:00 p.m.: “The Day of Two Noons”
The Sight, dir. Jeremy Moss
The Creation As We Saw It, dir. Ben Rivers
Corn Mother, dir. Taylor Dunne
The Day of Two Noons, dir. Mike Gibisser

10:00 p.m.: “Elizabethan Pornography Smugglers”
Hex Suffice Cache Ten, dir. Thorsten Fleisch
Holiday, dir. Tony Lawrence
Miss Candace Hilligoss’ Flickering Halo, dir. Fabio Scacchioli & Vincenzo Core
The Grand Design, dir. Midi Onodera
Story of the Eye, dir. Nicole Jefferson Asher
Substance: Jam, dir. Merkulova Natalia
The Last Blood Orgy, dir. Kenny Reed

March 10

2:00 p.m.: Vigilante Vigilante: The Battle for Expression, dir. Max Good. This documentary explores the world of graffiti art, from those who put it up to those who hope to permanently cover it up.
Screening with:
Road Show, dir. Bryan Boyce

3:00 p.m.: “Flying Lessons” (Retrospective Program 4: Selected by Amy Beste)
Bouncing in the Corner, #36DDD, dir. Dara Greenwald
The Devil Lives in Hollywood, dir. Amy Lockhart
Sharony!, dir. Jennet Thomas
Getting Stronger Every Day, dir. Miranda July
Letters, Notes, dir. Stephanie Barber
Then a Year, dir. Kelly Reichardt
Silence, dir. Vanessa O’Neill
The Lester Film, dir. Heather McAdams
It Will Die Out in the Mind, dir. Deborah Stratman

6:00 p.m.: “Hitting on the Head Lessons”
Mountain Lying Down, dir. Lorenzo Gattorna
dinosaurs, dir. Terra Long
?????? (Ornithes), dir. Gabriel Abrantes
Ben: In the Mind’s Eye, dir. Iva Radivojevic
The Name Is Not the Thing Named, dir. Deborah Stratman
17 New Dam Rd., dir. Dani Leventhal
Por Dinero, dir. Brendan & Jeremy Smyth

7:00 p.m.: All the Memory in the World, dir. Mike Olenick. A compilation film cobbled together from “over 400 feature films … focusing on cinema, memory, photography, identity, and dreams.
Screening with:
The Broken Altar, dir. Mike Rollo

8:00 p.m.: See You Next Tuesday, dir. Drew Tobia. A pregnant young woman with a loose grip on reality involves her alcoholic mother and “party girl” sister into her increasingly chaotic life.
Screening with:
Chubby Bunny, dir. Stuart Laws

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