Underground Film Journal

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Calls For Entry: Melbourne Underground, Montreal Underground, Calgary Underground & Middle East In San Fran

By Mike Everleth ⋅ January 4, 2012

Melbourne Underground Film Festival

Blurry text logo for the 13th Melbourne Underground Film Festival

It’s lucky 13 for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, one of the longest running, most prestigious, most controversial underground fests in the world. If you want to be a part of this historically crazed event, then now’s the time to get your film in! (Official dates have not been set, but will run late August/early September.)

While MUFF strongly promotes alternative cinema from its home country, they do also accept fare from all over the world — as long as it’s demented and wild enough. This is the festival that has seen it’s founder and directed arrested for screening banned films. Then, last year, it screened the controversial A Serbian Movie that would go on to be banned from the anti-free speech fringe that whispers in the government’s ear.

MUFF takes only the most challenging, frenetic work. To get a sense of what the fest likes and if your film might fit in, please check out last year’s lineup. There’s only one deadline:

Final Deadline:
June 22
$45 (Australian)

For more information, please visit the official Melbourne Underground Film Festival website.

Montreal Underground Film Festival

Film festival logo that includes a pink skull

Although their submission guidelines don’t explicitly say it, the Montreal Underground Film Festival is traditionally a shorts-only fest. Their seventh edition will screen this year on May 17-19.

This MUFF is all about experimental film, which they describe thusly:

As the term suggests, the experimental film is often but not necessarily made to test an audience’s reaction to certain performances or types of presentation not normally found in mainstream cinema. Such films are usually avant-garde and may shock or surprise their viewers, intentionally or otherwise. Of all of cinema, experimental film tends to have the closest relationship to the other visual arts and their avant-gardes.

In that regard, they are mostly looking for purely artistic works, although at times they do express an affection for genre material, as long as it plays with formalities. And, since the Early Deadline is a free one, it can’t totally hurt to try them out. (The later Final Deadline has a fee.) Check out last year’s lineup to get a feel for what they like.

Early Deadline:
Jan. 31

Entry Fee: Free

Final Deadline:
Feb. 29

Entry Fee: $15

For more info and a submission form, please visit the Montreal Underground Film Festival submission page.

Calgary Underground Film Festival

Text logo for the Calgary Underground Film Festival

The Calgary Underground Film Festival is another free fest to submit to and they accept both features and shorts. Their 9th annual edition will run April 16-22.

CUFF tends to lean towards the indie film side of the underground, screening lots of genre films and documentaries, but also accepting quiet dramas and other challenging work. Plus, CUFF always has their extremely popular 48-hour movie making challenge every year.

And, once again, submission is free. To get a feel for what they like to program, please check out last year’s lineup.

Final Deadline
Feb. 12

For more info and a submission form, please visit the Calgary Underground Film Festival submission page.

Middle East & North African Films

This last listing is for a very special event to be held at San Francisco’s legendary ATA Center that will feature films from the Middle East, North America and their diasporas.

Below is their official call for submissions statement:

The Arts at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, a visual arts exhibition program, is planning a Spring 2012 program of experimental film and new media from the Middle East, North Africa, and their diasporas. Inspired by the Arab Spring and its potential for a radical redress of oppressive structures of power, the program explores ways in which power determines frames of social and cultural visibility. Drawn from work both invited and solicited through this call, the program examines marginalized subjectivities. Submitted work should address gender and sexuality, (cross) border identities, counter-cultural practices, or other experiences not commonly reflected in mainstream narrative films.

This program is co-sponsored by Artist Television Access and the San Francisco Arab Film Festival. There are no limitations on length and no fees for submitting your film. For submission form and guidelines please send an email to “menaexperimental at gmail dot com.” Deadline for submissions is Feb 1, 2012.