Chicago Filmmakers announces Onion City lineup

Chicago Filmmakers is pleased to announce the full lineup for the 30th anniversary edition of the Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival, which will take place Thursday, March 12 to Sunday, March 15 at Chicago Filmmakers’ Firehouse Cinema in Edgewater.

Featuring an array of beautiful, timely, and formidable works that transcend borders from Chicago and beyond, Onion City continues to celebrate avant-garde film and video.

Countries represented in this year’s program include Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Iran, Israel, Palestine, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The opening night presentation will take place on March 12 at 7:00pm at Chicago Filmmakers and showcase the work of London-based artist Beatrice Gibson, who is scheduled to attend the screening. This event is presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Conversations at the Edge series.

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Challenging and important
“This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the festival by screening 44 experimental, moving-image works both international and local, as well as two special programs and a collaboration with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s programming series Conversations at the Edge,” remarks Onion City Programmer Emily Eddy. “Between themes of global politics, racial and gender identity, family history, the archive, and personal narratives, Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival 2020 brings an incredible group of challenging and important contemporary media artworks to the Chicago Filmmakers’ Firehouse Cinema.”

The richness of the Chicago experimental film and video scene is on full display with the inclusion of twelve local filmmakers, both seasoned and emerging: Lilli Carré, Kenny Reed & Ben Popp, Caitlin Ryan, Victoria Vanderpool, Rebba Moore, Pegah Pasalar, Danny Carroll, Jose Luis Benavides, Lori Felker, Tirtza Even and Amir George.

Land Mine premiere
Of special note is the Chicago premiere of feature documentary Land Mine by Tirtza Even, local filmmaker and professor of Film, Video and New Media at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Screening on Sunday, March 15 at 5:00 pm, Even is scheduled to attend.

Land Mine is an astute example of experimental documentary that swiftly and didactically takes on the dense and complicated history of Israeli-Palestinian border conflicts through the micro-cosmic perspective of filmmaker Tirtza Even’s childhood apartment building in Jerusalem, and the tenants currently living there.

Kevin Jerome Everson shorts premiere
Another festival highlight is the Chicago premiere of two short films by award-winning multimedia artist Kevin Jerome Everson: Black Bus Stop (a collaboration with Claudrena N. Harold) and Music from the Edge of the Allegheny Plateau, screening as part of the program ‘Listening Under The Surface’ on Sunday, March 15 at 8:00 PM.

Everson’s prolific body of work, which has been exhibited at some of the world’s top festivals and museums, provides a fresh and highly nuanced perspective on Black American life.

Barbara Hammer tribute
For the second year in a row, Onion City will champion legendary feminist experimental filmmaker, the late Barbara Hammer with a presentation of Lynne Sachs’ A Month in Single Frames, which repurposes footage and materials created by Hammer during a 1998 artist residency.

A Month in Single Frames screens as part of the program Re:Re:Re:Remembering on Saturday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m.. More works centering on feminist themes can be found in ‘Immaterial Girls’, a program of entirely female artists screening on Friday, March 13 at 9:00 p.m.

For more information, please visit the official festival website.


All festival screenings will take place at Chicago Filmmakers’ Firehouse Cinema: 5720 N. Ridge Ave. Chicago, IL. 60660.

General Admission
$15 opening night
$8 regular shows
$50 festival pass

Student Admission (with valid student ID)
$10 opening night
$6 regular shows
$40 festival pass


Pictured above: still from Land Mine by Tirtza Even

Send your festival updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,