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24th Chicago Underground Film Festival - DAY 4


Saturday June 3
2:00 PM

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Athyrium-Filix Femina
Kelly Egan
5 min., 2016, Canada

The second in a series of “quilt films” that pay homage to the work of pioneering female artists, Athyrium filix-femina reimagines Anna Atkins’ founding work in photography as a moving image. In 1843, Anna Atkins published the first book of photography, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, an exploration of regional botany that classified different kinds of algae using direct prints of the plants. The cyanotype process was a relatively short-lived as a dominant form of photography, however, it found refuge in the domestic sphere where it was used to decorate fabric for pillows, drapes and clothing. By combining filmmaking and quilting, this film extends from the “domestication” of this photographic art by exploring experimental narrative and structural forms through the use of traditional “women’s work.” The “narrative” in this film is told through the symbolic patterning in quilt-making practices.

Étude 1a: Release (I)
Russell Sheaffer
5 min., 2016, USA

Exploring the musical concept of "release," this film is a haunting found-footage study in the plurality of visual and auditory meanings of the term. A series of collaborative works pairing artists working in visual and auditory mediums, the Études meditate on individual musical concepts through experiments with sound and film.

Not Even Nothing Can Be Free Of Ghosts
Rainer Kohlberger
11 min., 2016, Austria

Rainer Kohlberger´s audio-visual compositions are always fierce attacks on the human system of perception. His algorithmic works have little in common with conventional film and video. What binds him with the avant-garde movements of the 20th century is the constant search for point zero.

Heliopolis Heliopolis
Anja Dornieden and Juan David Gonzalez
26 min., 2017, Germany

Heliopolis Heliopolis was the name of a metropolitan simulacrum devised as a training tool for urban planning at the NoUn School of Architecture in Egypt in the 3rd century BC. Heliopolis Heliopolis was created by an insurgent priest (whose name has been lost) as a tool to train students in the design of a revolutionary city meant to surpass the ancient city of Heliopolis. This in spite of the fact that the priest and his students appear never to have visited Heliopolis and based their model exclusively on texts and secondhand knowledge. Eventually this became a source of pride within the school and descriptions of Heliopolis gained a fantastical nature, becoming both meticulously elaborate and wildly implausible. Heliopolis Heliopolis is a cinematic interpretation of the simulacrum and the hypnotic, trance-inducing ritual connected to its use.

Oblong Box
Robert Todd
8 min., 2016, USA

Resting places: The weight of distances between lives brought together via passageways through and to the ends of things.

The Place I Will Have Left
Lena Ditte Nissen
15 min., 2016, Germany

“The Place I Will Have Left” was shot around Rio Catatumbo in Venezuela, the area where most lightnings in the world strike down. The film is about the experience and absorption of something non-digestible. Something foreign and other, that does not assimilate, that remains within our selfs as a foreign body and provokes rejection reactions.The short and destructive energy of a lightning is delated into a state of stasis as an overreaction.

Deborah Strattman
15 min., 2016, Greece/USA

The Greek island of Syros is visited by a series of unexpected guests. Immutable forms, outside of time, foreign observants to human conditions.

Saturday June 3
3:00 PM

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CPS Closings & Delays
Kristin Reeves
7 min., 2017, USA

The Chicago Board of Education made history in 2013 approving the closure of 50 schools, the largest public school closing to date in the United States. I shot all 50 schools on a 100’ roll of 16mm film while my DSLR caught vignettes of their communities.

Robots For Illinois
Ben Kolak
5 min., 2017, USA

This film depicts Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner fantasizing about replacing the people of Illinois with robots.

Exodus: Sounds of the Great Migration
Lonnie Edwards
12 min., 2017, USA

Award-winning filmmaker Lonnie Edwards gives an avant-garde look into how the Great Migration gave birth to many artists that fueled "the new negro" movement which influenced and empowered Black culture moving forward, as well as, the link between the present and the past as many artists are still affected to this day.

To The Right
Agnes Starczewski, Ben Kolak and Yana Kunichoff
10 min., 2017, USA

To the Right chronicles the events of Poland’s unfolding constitutional crisis through the lens of Chicago’s local Polish TV station, Polvision, and the diaspora community the station serves. The unfolding situation in Poland could help illuminate the situation at home.

More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters
Kelly Gallagher
7 min., 2016, USA

An experimental animated documentary exploring the powerful and inspiring life of revolutionary Lucy Parsons. This film illustrates her dedicated life to struggle, and her important, countless contributions fighting endlessly against capitalism, racism, and sexism.

The Magic Hedge
Frédéric Moffet
9 min., 2016, USA/Canada

“The Magic Hedge” explores a bird sanctuary located on a former Cold War Nike missile site on the north side of Chicago. Left to wander and observe, the viewer becomes aware of the park’s open secret: men looking for fleeting sexual contacts within the trees and shrubberies..

The 39th
Laura Fallsgraff
30 min., 2017, USA

26-year-old activist Will Guzzardi believes that he can mobilize a movement to upend Illinois’ dysfunctional political system. But he chose to run against the daughter of one of the best connected politicians in Chicago — and the establishment is not going to let her go down without a fight.

Saturday June 3
4:00 PM

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Sadhu In Bombay
Kabir Mehta
15 min., 2016, India

Sadhu In Bombay is a documentary portrait of a man, with ascetic origins, who has been radically transformed by city life.

The Modern Jungle
Charles Fairbanks & Saul Kak
71 min., 2016, Mexico/USA

The Modern Jungle is a portrait of globalization filtered through the fever dream of a Mexican shaman, don Juan, who falls under the spell of a pyramid-scheme-marketed nutritional supplement. Juan’s neighbor Carmen lives simply, in harmony with the land her martyred husband paid for with his life. This film documents their struggles and encounters with outside forces: from capitalism and commodity fetish, to the culture of cinema, and the directors of this film.

Saturday June 3
5:00 PM

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Way of the Gods
Lorenzo Gattorna
10 min., 2016, China/Taiwan,/Japan,/USA

"The mysterious stirs a reaction: an 'ah!' This 'ah!' is not an 'ah ha!' or 'Eureka'—that is, an exclamation of discovering an answer. The 'ah!' response to mystery is more a dumbfounded recognition and appreciation of an inexplicable power or presence ... For Shinto, though, the point is to accept the awesome as part of the world in which we live. To deny or try to eradicate the wondrous mystery is no less than to run away from home." - "Shinto: The Way Home", Thomas Kasulis

As Without So Within
Manuela de Laborde
25 min., 2016, Mexico/United Kingdom/USA

Conceptually informed by the artist’s active film going, "As Without So Within" takes as its point of departure prop sculptures which are transformed both through hybrid techniques of framing, lighting, and superimposition and by being projected in an enclosed, silent architectural space."As Without So Within" explores the possibility that the surfaces of things are entities worthy of their own depth for and in themselves, demanding to be seen and confronted as they exist.

Answer Print
Mónica Savirón
5 min., 2016, USA

"The fading that devastates color films occurs in the dark. It is accelerated by high temperatures and, to a lesser extent, relative humidity. Dye fading is irreversible. Once the dye images have faded, the information lost cannot be recovered"—Image Permanence Institute

Masochism of the Margins
Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
16 min., 2016, USA

Legendary experimental filmmaker, Craig Baldwin, faces eviction from his home of 31 years, and struggles to keep his weekly show Other Cinema alive.

Fuddy Duddy
Siegfried A. Fruhauf
5 min., 2017, Austria

“Fuddy Duddy” uses the motif of the grid to blow it to pieces. Being occupied with structural film, Fruhauf repeatedly draws "frame plans," using grid structures to precisely record the succession of individual images. This sometimes seems like a search for structures in an apparently chaotic world. The medium of film fulfills the need for orientation. So, then, it isn't merely a personal preference for a certain working method.

Indefinite Pitch
James N. Kienitz Wilkins
23 min., 2016, USA

A pathetic movie pitch slips into the murkiness of memory, and histories best forgotten or purposely ignored.

Saturday June 3
6:00 PM

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All The Rage (saved by sarno)
Suki Hawley, David Beilinson and Michael Galinsky
94 min., 2016, USA

Director Michael Galinsky’s father read Dr. John Sarno’s book “Healing Back Pain” in the 1980’s and was miraculously cured of the chronic whiplash he suffered for years. The book, which connects pain with emotions rather than structural causes, put Sarno at blunt odds with the medical system. When Michael was immobilized by excruciating back pain, he experienced the power of Dr. Sarno’s message and began a 12-year odyssey to make this personal narrative that weaves together his story of healing with the story of Dr. Sarno and his work. Though dismissed by peers, Sarno’s work changed the lives of millions, including luminaries like Howard Stern and Larry David. Dr. Sarno radically predicted that the medical system’s disregard for the true cause of chronic pain — repressed emotions — would lead to an epidemic. Unfortunately, he was right. Pain is the great health care cost in America by far. This artful and personal film braids Galinsky’s universal story of pain and emotion together with the story of Dr. Sarno’s work, connecting the audience to both the issues and the emotions at play.

Saturday June 3
7:00 PM

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Birds With Human Heads
Max Wilde
10 min., 2016, USA

On a little red planet, beneath a blue tree, surrounded by puppet animals, Beth gives Henrietta her first neck tattoo.

It Grows Dark
Benjamin Capps
10 min., 2016, USA

A demented, cyclopean teddy bear drawn on a scrap of paper leads Deke Lape to the Tele-C booth call where a voice on the other end gives him a message from Hell itself.

Our Own Private Universe
Ben Balcolm
11 min., 2016, USA

Our language is unreliable. Is meaning adding up or emptying out? We need these actors to play their parts in order to mask their fictions. What do they say? To have been is not enough for them. Let them converse calmly, since they are incapable of keeping silent.

The Dundee Project
Mark Borchardt
19 min., 2016, USA

In his long-awaited follow-up to 1997's 'Coven,' filmmaker Mark Borchardt steps behind the camera again with a documentary chronicling a small town UFO festival in Wisconsin. Featuring interviews with eccentric locals, the film explores the annual ritual, which is equal parts sky watching and heavy drinking, and leaves Borchardt wondering if it even happened at all.

Cave Small Cave Big
Joële Walinga
10 min., 2016, Canada

Jumping from character to character as they cope with the transience of ownership, Cave Small Cave Big, written by two five-year-old girls, captures that moment in a young mind when new muscles are stretched to grapple with ideas about possession and loss.

METUBE 2 - August Sings Carmen Burana
Daniel Moshel
5 min., 2016, Austria

After Elfie and her nerdy son August successfully proved themselves on their home webcam in MeTube 1, the odd pair venture onto the street to present the biggest, boldest, and sexiest operatic flash mob the internet has ever witnessed!

The Cure
Mike Olenick
20 min., 2017, USA

A mom cries, photos fly, cats spy, and bodies collide in this sci-fi soap opera that unravels the secret dreams of people who are desperately searching for ways to cure their fears of loneliness.

Saturday June 3
8:00 PM

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Batfish Soup
Amanda Bonaiuto
5 min., 2016, USA

Wacky relatives give way to mounting tensions with broken dolls, boiling stew and a bang.

Neighborhood Food Drive
Jerzy Rose
85 min., 2017, USA

Budding Chicago restaurateurs Naomi and Madeline know that image is everything for a new business. So, when a negative review says their restaurant Ciao “perfectly summarizes the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie”, they know just what they need to do to change people’s minds: host a neighborhood food drive. Tax exempt status! Unpaid interns! What could go wrong? With these two, just about everything.

At the nearby college, students Steven and Bianca are having relationship problems. They both feel that the other isn’t really seeing who they are. When David, their professor and ersatz couples counselor, suggests that engaging in an activity together – perhaps charity work – would allow them time and space to bond, they become integral parts of Naomi and Madeline’s party planning committee.

These five narcissists bond to form a touchy-feely collective of incompetence and it soon becomes apparent that the primary purpose they serve in each other’s lives is to monitor for stray rational thoughts and obliterate them. With each failure, the rallying cry is the same: “next time, it will be different!”. Ping-ponging between farce and tragedy, bland pop psychology flows effortlessly into negligent homicide as they are literally haunted by the ghost of rejected advice.- Rebekah Murphy, Boston Underground Film Festival

Saturday June 3
9:00 PM

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Chicken Tuesdays
Brandon Daley
10 min., 2017, USA

Will Gillman sets out to impress his date by bringing her to a chicken photography competition at a local bar.