Underground Film Journal

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Flashback: 2nd Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival: Award Winners + Full Lineup

By Mike Everleth ⋅ July 23, 2017

Guy with dreadlocks and no shirt driving a convertible

The second annual Chicago Underground Film Festival was held in 1995, at multiple locations in the city, from Thursday, July 20 to Sunday, July 23.

The festival opened on July 20th at the International Cinema Museum with the film What About Me?, directed by Rachel Amodeo. Other highlights included a retrospective of the work of Kenneth Anger, who attended the fest and screened Fireworks (1947), Scorpio Rising (1963) and KKK (Kustom Kar Kommandos) (1965) at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan, on Friday, July 21. Winnipeg filmmaker Guy Maddin also attended and screened films on July 23; while the Reverend Ivan Stang of the Church of Subgenius screened films on July 22.

Also, Charles Pinion screened the world premiere of his feature film Red Spirit Lake, which was preceded by the short film The Operation, directed by Jacob Pander and Marne Lucas. Other short films that screened were Desktop and a preview of Monday 9:02 am, both directed by Tyler Hubby.

The full festival lineup is below, which may have changed from the initial Chicago Reader article to the actual screenings, based on comments made to the Journal by Charles Pinion. Pinion vividly remembers The Operation preceding his Red Spirit Lake, but the lineup says Joe Christ’s Sex Blood and Mutilation was scheduled to precede. Not specifically mentioned, but it appears The Operation was scheduled to precede Christopher Haydon’s Out of Bounds.

We know of two films that won awards at the 1995 festival:

The Four Corners of Nowhere, directed by Stephen Chbosky, won the Best Narrative Feature Award. This was an ensemble film about eccentric characters visiting and living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

So Wrong They’re Right, directed by Russ Forster, won the Best Feature Length Documentary Award. Forster, the publisher of the zine 8-track Mind, traveled the U.S. and profiled several 8-track cassette collectors.

It’s not clear if The Four Corners of Nowhere ever had a traditional theatrical or video release, but on October 8, 1997, the film screened at the Cleveland Museum of Art as part of the museum’s “Wednesdaypendents” screening series. A trailer for the film indicates that it was intended for a Summer 1994 release that most likely didn’t happen. Despite the lack of screenings, director Chbosky would go on to a successful writing and directing career. He wrote the popular novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower; then wrote and directed the novel’s film adaptation. Chbosky also created the cult CBS TV series Jericho; and co-wrote the live-action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

So Wrong They’re Right was initially released on DVD by Other Cinema, but is currently out of print. However, the film is currently streaming on Amazon and Fandor.

July 20

What About Me?, dir. Rachel Amodeo

July 21

Redneck, dir. Shane Kuhn
Screening with: The Room, dir. Relah Eckstein

“Short Videos 1”
Videos by Danny DeLoach, Marq Morrison, Bartoz Rawilak, and Saul Vest

When Tomorrow Hits, dir. Jordan Ellis
Screening with videos by Christopher Hepburn and Aaron Vanek

“Short Films 1”
Films by Dan and Paul Dinello, Craig Smith, Guy Benoit, and Aaron Sutherland

“Magick Lantern Cycle”. Films by Kenneth Anger, who was in attendance.

Taurobolium, dir. Larry Wessel
Screening with an experimental short video by Christopher Hepburn

Chicken Village, dir. Cyrus Amini
Screening with: Critizen, dir. Michael LaHaie

Out of Bounds, dir. Christopher Haydon
Screening with experimental short videos by Annabel Lee and Jacob Pander

July 22

“Short Films 2”
Films by Anjali Sundaram, Jarek Kupsc, Michael Cavanaugh, and Michael Burlingame

“Short Videos 2”
Videos by Bridgette Murphy, Marq Morrison, and Pat Bishow

Which Way Is East: Notebooks From Vietnam, dir. Dana and Lynne Sachs
Screening with: Love Stories My Grandmother Tells, Part One, dir. Dana Plays

Dika: Murder City, dir. Michael D. Moore

Half-Cocked, dir. Suki Hawley (Read the Underground Film Journal review)
Screening with shorts by Gary Prusaitis and Gretchen Hildebran

Hooked on Comix, dir. David P. Moore
Screening with shorts by Christopher Hepburn and Helen Stickler

So Wrong They’re Right, dir. Russ Forster
Screening with a short by members of the Super 8 Union, Local 60

“The Pre-‘Bob’ Films of Rev. Ivan Stang”. Films and videos (both shown on video) made between 1978 and 1991 by Stang before he served as sribe and spokesperson for the Church of the Subgenius.

Pop Love, dir. Kyle Henry

Four Corners of Nowhere, dir. Steve Chbosky

Horrorgirl, dir. Raoul Vehill
Screening with videos by David E. Mumford and Michael D. Moore

“Short Films 3”
Animated, experimental, documentary, and narrative works by Skizz Cyzyk, Jeff Vilencia, Relah Eckstein, John Ando, Robert Lurie, and Robert C. Banks Jr.

Flesh, dir. Mike Johnson
Screening with videos by Christopher Hepburn and Mary DiLullo

Sonic Outlaws, dir. Craig Baldwin
Screening with three experimental shorts by Bump Stadelman

Red Spirit Lake, dir. Charles Pinion
Screening with: Sex Blood and Mutilation, dir. Joe Christ; and a short video by Dante Tomaselli

Hub Cap World, dir. L.K. Noller
Screening with an experimental short film by Rick Danielson

July 23

The Dear One, dir. Timothy Ryerson
Screening with films by Rodney Asher, Michael Garon, and Saori Miyazaki

Blond Fury, dir. Lee Bennett Sobel
Screening with videos by Christopher Hepburn, Lizzie Donahoe, John Binninger, and Jaquline Turnure

“Short Videos 4”
Videos by Diane Titmarshe Alexander, Melinda Roenisch, Joe Wall, Frank McCafferty, Tyler Hubby, Laurie Little, and Michael Burlingame

Baptism by Fire, dir. Timothy J. Elliot
Screening with a short film by Franz Berner

“David ‘The Rock’ Nelson’s Cavalcade of Trailers”

“Short Films 4”
Films by Christian L. Saghaard, Paolo Gregori, Paulo Sacramento, Erin Sax, and Gi Young Rhee

“Short Videos 5”
Videos by Les LeVeque, Kevin S. Lee, Richard Baylor, Perry Finch, and Sean Ivory

“Films by Guy Maddin“. Two short films.

Hawgwild in Sturgis, dir. Chris Iovenko

(Above information comes from a 1995 article in the Chicago Reader; a 1995 “Summer Guide” listing in the Chicago Reader; an Illinois Arts Council residency program booklet; Kim Adelman’s Making It Big In Shorts; a Cleveland Museum of Art press release; and Facebook comments by Charles Pinion and Tyler Hubby.)

Watch the trailer for The Four Corners of Nowhere: