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2012 Chicago Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

2012 Chicago Underground Film Festival logo

Having been around for eighteen years, the Chicago Underground Film Festival has continually changed what it defines as “underground.”

So its 19th annual edition, which will be held on May 31 to June 7 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, feels like its most experimental edition in recent years.

While things kick off on the 31st with the Vice-produced anthology film The Fourth Dimension by Alexsei Fedorchenko, Harmony Korine and Jan Kwiecinski, the rest of the fest is packed with feature-length and short experimental work, documentaries and alternative narratives.

Some of the experimental feature highlights include the vastly prolific Robert Todd‘s Master Plan, which examines theories of modern housing from private residences to prisons; Australia’s two-person art collective Soda_Jerk‘s epic rip on media piracy, Hollywood Burn; Michal Kosakowski‘s compendium of murder fantasies, Zero Killed; L.A. filmmaker Daniel Martinico‘s meditation on the acting process, Ok, Good; Sabine Gruffat‘s study of Dubai vs. Detroit, I Have Always Been a Dreamer; and Ben River‘s acclaimed Two Years at Sea.

On the short experimental front, there’s Bryan Boyce‘s wildly popular Walt Disney’s Taxi Driver; a new short film by Reynold Reynolds, Secret Life; one of Kerry Laitala‘s Chromodepth experiments, Chromatic Revelries; plus work by Jesse McLean, Kelly Sears, Roger Beebe, Mark Toscano and lots more.

There are also several feature-length documentaries, including Brooklyn Underground Film Festival co-founder Josh Koury‘s Escape From Planet X, about two scientist/filmmakers; another scientist profile doc Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis by Peter Sasowsky; Ashley Sabin and David Redmon skin trade exposé, Girl Model; and Xan Aranda’s performance doc Andrew Bird: Fever Year.

Plus, there are a few international features, such as Germany’s Heavy Girls by Axel Ranisch and Headlock by Johan Carlsen; Portugal’s Palaces of Pity by Daniel Schmidt & Gabriel Abrantes; and from the U.S. Lindsay Denniberg’s Video Diary of a Lost Girl.

Tons of great stuff! The full film lineup is below. For more info about the fest in general, please visit the official Chicago Underground Film Festival website.

May 31

8:00 p.m.: The Fourth Dimension, dir. Alexsei Fedorchenko, Harmony Korine, and Jan Kwiecinski. Three different directors explore the concept of the “fourth dimension” in a trio of short films.

June 1

6:00 p.m.: “They Live By Night”
Christ Church – Saint James, dir. Stephen Broomer
Secret Life, dir. Reynold Reynolds
Hull, dir. Tara Nelson
Curious Light, dir. Charlotte Pryce
Forms Are Not Self-Subsistent Substances, dir. Samantha Rebello
Waking Things, dir. Melika Bass

8:00 p.m.: Heavy Girls (Dicke Mädchen), dir. Axel Ranisch. A put-upon bank teller spends his nights caring for his mother who is suffering from dementia and who escapes from his care one night.
Screening with:
The Night of the Moon Has Many Hours, dir. Mauricio Arango

10:00 p.m.: Journey to Planet X, dir. Josh Koury. This documentary profiles Eric Swain and Troy Bernier, two scientists and amateur sci-fi filmmakers currently working on their most ambitious project.
Screening with:
Chromatic Revelries, dir. Kerry Laitala

June 2

1:00 p.m.: “The Dead Talk Back”
For Adolfas, dir. Joel Schlemowitz
Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise, dir. Kelly Sears
Remote, dir. Jesse McLean
Deja Vu De Jour, dir. Mike Olenick
Waning, dir. Gina Haraszti
Bomb Shelter, dir. Colin Polombi
Maurice, dir. Patrick Kack-Brice
Ransom Notes, dir. Kelly Egan
Coming Attractions, dir. Peter Tscherkassky

2:00 p.m.: Master Plan, dir. Robert Todd. This experimental documentary examines modern theories on housing, from personal homes to prisons.
Screening with:
Cartography, dir. Sara Mott
Sing As We Go, dir. Marianna Milhorat
Slab City Prom, dir. Jordan Blady

4:00 p.m.: Girl Model, dir. Ashley Sabin and David Redmon. An analysis of the supply chain of young female models between Siberia, Japan and the U.S.
Screening with:
Strong Is Beautiful, dir. Dewey Nicks

5:00 p.m.: Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis, dir. Peter Sasowsky. This documentary profiles the quirky artist and scientist who has done such things as recording the sounds of micro-organisms and encoding Greek philosophy into fly DNA.

6:00 p.m.: Ok, Good, dir. Daniel Martinico. An aspiring Los Angeles actor spirals ever downward during the grueling process of trying to find steady work. (Watch online)
Screening with:
The Ghost of Fatty Arbuckle, dir. Melissa Friedling

8:00 p.m.: Hollywood Burn, dir. Soda_Jerk. An epic remix of hundreds of Hollywood media sources to tell the story of a band of video pirates fighting against the copyright commandments delivered by Moses. (Watch online)
Screening with:
Why Is the No Video Signal Blue?, dir. Andrew Norman Wilson
Migration, dir. Douglas Urbank
Unusual Red Cardigan, dir. John Smith
Rhythmus 21st Century (Straight), dir. Eric Fleischauer
A.G.O.D. 2012, dir. Thorne Brandt

10:00 p.m.: “Wild Rebels”
Fanfare for Marching Band, dir. Danièle Wilmouth
Damage Control (AKA-Bullwinkle Film), dir. Adam Paradis
Walt Disney’s Taxi Driver, dir. Bryan Boyce (Watch online)
The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, dir. Jillian Mayer
The Room With No Corners, dir. Jenna Caravello
Beginnings (Alpha & Omega), dir. Roger Beebe
The White Coat Phenomenon, dir. Kristin Reeves
By Foot-Candle Light, dir. Mary Helena Clark
Nature’s Voice, dir. Peter Jessien Laugesen
Flexing Muscles, dir. Charles Fairbanks

June 3

1:00 p.m.: Zero Killed, dir. Michal Kosakowski. This film combines a series of short filmed “murder fantasies” along with a questioning of the people who devised the fantasies on their feelings about killing. (Read the underground film review)
Screening with:
Elko, dir. Alexander Yan

2:00 p.m.: As Above So Below, dir. Sarah J Christman. This experimental documentary explores modern perceptions of transmutation, of transforming discarded material into new permanent forms.
Screening with:
First Law: Quail Ct., dir. Mike Gibisser
Scene Box, dir. Sheri Wills

4:00 p.m.: “Attack of the Eye Creatures”
February 2008 & June 1967, dir. Mark Toscano
Crusts, dir. Alexander Stewart
Keratin Reserve, dir. Joshua Solondz
(K)now (T)here, dir. Hey-Yeun Jang
This Must Be the Place, dir. Luis Arnías
Peril of the Antilles, dir. Fern Silva
Traces 1-6, dir. Scott Stark
Undergrowth, dir. Robert Todd
Jubilation, dir. Tommy Heffron
Flash Art (Circles and Rectangles), dir. Scott Wolniak
River Rites, dir. Ben Russell

6:00 p.m.: Palaces of Pity (Palácios de pena), dir. Daniel Schmidt & Gabriel Abrantes. Two pre-adolescent female cousins visit their ailing grandmother and fantasize about living medieval lives.
Screening with:
Leafless, dir. Nazlı Dinçel
The Evil Eyes, dir. Bobby Abate

8:00 p.m.: I Have Always Been a Dreamer, dir. Sabine Gruffat. This documentary compares and contrasts a city on the rise — Dubai, UAE — and a city on the decline — Detroit, U.S.A.
Screening with:
Century, dir. Kevin Jerome Everson

8:00 p.m.: Video Diary of a Lost Girl, dir. Lindsay Denniberg. An immortal female entity tries to form a new bond with the reincarnation of her former lover.
Screening with:
Derivation, dir. Hyun-Suk Seo

June 4

6:00 p.m.: Two Years at Sea, dir. Ben Rivers. Jake is a hermit who lives in the forest near Aberdeenshire, Scotland trying to complete his mysterious projects.
Screening with:
Tear It Up, Son!, dir. Ross Nugent

8:00 p.m.: Headlock, dir. Johan Carlsen. A desperate mother needs to prove to the world that her son is a genius and not mentally challenged.
Screening with:
And I Will Rise If Only to Hold You Down, dir. Jennifer Reeder

June 5

6:00 p.m.: “The Dead Talk Back”
For Adolfas, dir. Joel Schlemowitz
Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise, dir. Kelly Sears
Remote, dir. Jesse McLean
Deja Vu De Jour, dir. Mike Olenick
Waning, dir. Gina Haraszti
Bomb Shelter, dir. Colin Polombi
Maurice, dir. Patrick Kack-Brice
Ransom Notes, dir. Kelly Egan
Coming Attractions, dir. Peter Tscherkassky

8:00 p.m.: I Have Always Been a Dreamer, dir. Sabine Gruffat. This documentary compares and contrasts a city on the rise — Dubai, UAE — and a city on the decline — Detroit, U.S.A.
Screening with:
Century, dir. Kevin Jerome Everson

June 6

8:00 p.m.: Zero Killed, dir. Michal Kosakowski. This film combines a series of short filmed “murder fantasies” along with a questioning of the people who devised the fantasies on their feelings about killing. (Read the underground film review)
Screening with:
Elko, dir. Alexander Yan

10:00 p.m.: Journey to Planet X, dir. Josh Koury. This documentary profiles Eric Swain and Troy Bernier, two scientists and amateur sci-fi filmmakers currently working on their most ambitious project.
Screening with:
Chromatic Revelries, dir. Kerry Laitala

June 7

6:00 p.m.: Video Diary of a Lost Girl, dir. Lindsay Denniberg. An immortal female entity tries to form a new bond with the reincarnation of her former lover.
Screening with:
Derivation, dir. Hyun-Suk Seo

8:00 p.m.: Andrew Bird: Fever Year, dir. Xan Aranda. This concert film captures the final show of 2009 of musician Andrew Bird and his band.


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