WBEZ | Chicago Underground Film Festival http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-underground-film-festival Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Raw, shocking and beautiful: the Chicago Underground Film Festival holds nothing back http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/raw-shocking-and-beautiful-chicago-underground-film-festival-holds <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/100_4284.jpg" style="float: right; height: 308px; width: 280px; " title="PIG DEATH MACHINE John Moritsugu and Amy Davis, 84 min., Video, 2012, USA. (cuff.org)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The term &quot;independent filmmaking&quot; means something completely different today than it did 20 years ago.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When most people say, &quot;I love indie movies!&quot; nowadays, they&#39;re usually referring to those quirky, slightly lower-budget films distributed by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_film#The_.22Indie_Film.22_Movement" target="_blank">subsidiaries</a> of studio giants like Fox, Universal and Paramount Pictures (Fox Searchlight&#39;s&nbsp;<em>500 Days of Summer,&nbsp;</em>Focus Features&#39;&nbsp;<em>Moonrise Kingdom</em>, &nbsp;Paramount Vantage&#39;s&nbsp;<em>No Country for Old Men, </em>etc.), not old classics like <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390384/" target="_blank"><i>Primer</i></a>&nbsp;or &quot;no-budget&quot; films like <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390538/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv" target="_blank">Tarnation</a>&nbsp;</em>that were made on iMovie for $218.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, genuinely&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_film#Underground_versus_cult" target="_blank">independent</a>&nbsp;features and shorts&nbsp;that unions qualify as &quot;ultra-low budget&quot; (made for less than $200,000) are hardly ever released in theatres, and far too often vanish into obscurity.&nbsp;Some indie projects strike festival gold and get picked up by major distributors, like Oscar darling&nbsp;<em>Beast of the Southern Wild</em>&nbsp;at Sundance 2012 or Lena Dunham&#39;s <em>Tiny Furniture</em>&nbsp;at SXSW 2010. But unfortunately, most independently released films&mdash;especially those that push boundaries and challenge audiences with a more <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_avant-garde_films" target="_blank">avant-garde</a> storytelling style&mdash;rarely see the light of day.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Luckily for the <a href="http://www.deadline.com/2012/09/lesson-of-toronto-indie-filmmakers-better-keep-budgets-low-as-distribs-grow-stingier/" target="_blank">die-hard indie</a>&nbsp;film&nbsp;buffs of Chicago, we have a festival that celebrates true independent cinema and visual invention outside the Hollywood mold. In 1993, the <strong>Chicago Underground Film Festival </strong>(CUFF) was founded by Jay Bliznick, a Columbia College film student <a href="http://cuff.org/about/" target="_blank">fed up</a> with the exclusivity of the festival circuit. 20 years later, the festival has grown into a cutting-edge film event with national press coverage and participants from around the globe.&nbsp;</div><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dinosaurs-2-tjl.jpg" style="float: left; " title="DINOSAURS Terra Long, 12 min., Video, 2012, Canada (cuff.org)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This year&#39;s fest,which runs March 6 through March 10 at Logan Theatre, will exhibit an <a href="http://cuff.org/2013-fest/2013-full-program/" target="_blank">eclectic mix</a>&nbsp;of independent features, shorts, documentaries and experimental films augmented by <a href="http://cuff.org/afterparties/" target="_blank">nightly parties</a>&nbsp;and concerts. Instead of the slick &quot;indie&quot; films shown at high-brow festivals like Sundance, CUFF showcases works of unconventional artistry that eschew the status quos of market safety and monetary gain.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When John Waters received the Director&#39;s Tribute Award at the 1997 Deauville Film Festival, he said, &quot;I like the word &#39;underground,&#39; as in the Chicago Underground Film Festival. The word &#39;independent&#39; carries a stigma of whininess. &#39;Underground&#39; means a good time. &quot;</div><p>CUFF 2013 kicks off <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoUndergroundFilmFestival?fref=ts" target="_blank">tonight</a>&nbsp;with the Chicago premiere of <em>Untitled, </em>a&nbsp;double 16mm projector performance with live audio from experimental filmmakers Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder and Olivia Block. The show will be preceded by an 18-minute video short called <em>Wreading</em> from director Jesse Malmed, then followed by a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/163915733759308/" target="_blank">free afterparty</a>&nbsp;at The Owl with a vinyl set from <a href="http://www.chiboulevards.com/post/18851545995/stacks-o-wax-wednesdays-at-the-owl" target="_blank">Stacks O Wax</a> DJ Dan Maloney!</p><p>For the full program schedule, which includes festival guides, trailers and event listings, visit <a href="http://cuff.org" target="_blank">cuff.org</a>&nbsp;and get your tickets now.</p><p>Also, check out the film that I&#39;m most looking forward to seeing at this year&#39;s fest--<em>Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis</em>, directed by Roddy Bogawa:&nbsp;</p><p><em><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="300" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/37905092" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></em></p><p><em>Follow Leah on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>&nbsp;or add her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/raw-shocking-and-beautiful-chicago-underground-film-festival-holds