Chicago Underground Film Festival
report by Juan David González Monroy
June 6, 2018
- Arrived in Chicago.
- Festival coordinated accommodation with a local filmmaker. Met him at train station. Dropped off bags at his apt.
- Went to the festival theater: Logan Theatre in Logan Square. Saw the opening night film, Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. Standard style bio doc but importance of Wax Trax! Records to underground music makes itself clear.
- Party at Elastic Arts with SuperKnova. From the catalogue: “SuperKnova is a Chicago-based transgender artist who creates QueerPop, a guitar-based sound that incorporates electronic drums, driving synths and virtuosic solos”.
June 7, 2018
- Visited the Art Institute of Chicago. High points:
- Flesh, Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago.
- Volta Photo: Starring Sanlé Sory and the People of Bobo-Dioulasso in the Small but Musically Mighty Country of Burkina Faso.
- Thorne Miniature Rooms.
- Ate deep dish pizza.
- Screened film in Shorts program 1: A map of an unknown territory.
- In the program was one of the last films (I assume) of the recently deceased Paul Clipson, a big loss for the bay area noncommercial/independent/artist film community.
- Guest of Honor at the festival: Craig Baldwin. Screening 16mm prints of most of his classic works. Prints definitely show their age. All the better for it. Great opportunity to see these films in all their handmade madness and glory.
June 8, 2018
- Filmmaker’s brunch at Lula Café.
- Went to a Chicago Cubs game. Cubs beat the Pirates 3-1.
- Festival highlights: 3 Peonies, Stephanie Barber. An empty Threat, Josh Lewis. Patches of Snow in July, Lana Z Caplan.
- Party at the Empty Bottle with Nobunny.
June 9, 2018
- Went to Myopic Books (very large used-books store).
- Festival highlights: The Space Shuttle Challenger, Cecilia Araneda. Sonic Outlaws, Craig Badwin. Tomorrow Never Knows, Adam Sekuler.
- Festival party at Reunion with 16mm chromadepth performance by Craig Baldwin.
June 10, 2018
- Went to Quimby Books (books store for unusual and independent publications).
- Festival Highlights: “3” from Zero, Jimmy Schaus. Between Relating and Use, Nazli Dincel. Rocketkitcongokit, !O No Coronado!, Craig Baldwin.
- Closing night film: Future Language: The Dimension of VON LMO, Lori Felker. Strange film about strange artist/musician. A film about obsessions.
- Festival Awards at Burlington. Festival was celebrating 25 years. Awards were modded dolls of Bryan Wendorf, the festival founder and director.
- Very important festival for the underground art scene in North America.
- Many local filmmakers and artists in attendance.
- Good opportunities for meeting and sharing with the local artist’s community.
- Strong and loyal audience. Screenings were generally well attended.
- Over 25 years it has built a bridge between the pioneers of underground cinema and newer generations that have followed in their steps and are forging new paths.