2019 Chicago Underground Film Festival

"Empty Metal"

“Empty Metal”

CUFF opens June 5
with ‘Empty Metal’
and closes June 9 with
“Dollhouse: the
eradication of female
subjectivity from
American popular culture’

The Chicago Underground Film Festival has built a reputation for innovative, exciting, and provocative cinema since it was founded in 1993. Known as “the world’s longest-running” celebration of its kind, CUFF will expand these themes over its 26th annual run from June 5 to June 9.

The 2019 celebration begins with the Midwest premiere of Empty Metal and the ends with the “disturbingly entertaining” puppet satire, Dollhouse: the eradication of female subjectivity from American popular culture. In between are more than a hundred screenings chosen from an “ever-growing number of submissions and films that truly struck us at other festivals,” according to CUFF Founder and Artistic Director Bryan Wendorf.

“It is as diverse a slate as we have ever had, with films that will entertain in the purest sense, but also challenge and surprise our audiences whether it be through the stories told or the documentary subjects that are being focused on,” he says. “As always, we want to introduce everyone to films and filmmakers that gave us a thrill when we first saw their films, and inspired us to re-think what we just saw and perhaps debate about it with our friends.”

All told, CUFF’s 2019 program includes a dozen features, a dozen thematic shorts programs, and 104 additional films. More than 50 of the selections are regional or national premieres. To view the full schedule, click here.
 
 

SELECT FEATURES

OPENING NIGHT
EMPTY METAL
WEDNESDAY JUNE 5 – 8 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer’s Empty Metal is the story of a punk band is ensnared in a murder plot by an indigenous family whose mother communicates telepathically with a Rastafarian hacker and the Buddhist father of a secret militia operative. While this motley crew goes about their business, the drones fly overhead, seeing all. The film — which previously screened at Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real festival — also marks a return to CUFF for Khalil, who won a jury award in 2017 for INAATE/SE/.
 

CLOSING NIGHT
DOLLHOUSE
JUNE 9 – 8:30 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

Nicole Brending’s Dollhouse: the eradication of female subjectivity from American popular culture is a puppet animation satire that charts the rise and fall of fictional child pop star Junie Spoons. Sex tape scandals, 24-hour marriages, and a Patty Hearst-style kidnapping and bank heist ensue. The disturbingly entertaining feature — which won this year’s Best Feature and Spirit awards at Slamdance — is Brending’s directorial debut.
 

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
THE FOAMING NODE
SATURDAY JUNE 8 – 7 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

The Foaming Node tells the story of the last remaining observers who were members of a cult of sorts who followed the transmissions and evacuations of the mysterious Foaming Node, whose main project and mission was the distribution of the human body. This is their story. Director: Ian Haig. USA, Running Time: 65 min.
 

U.S. PREMIERE
WHERE DOES A BODY END?
FRIDAY JUNE 7 – 8:45 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

An intimate portrait of the Swans, from their roots as a post-punk band through their ill-fated bid at mainstream in the 90s indie-rock goldrush, through breakups and chaos to their current status as one of the most accomplished bands in the world. Director: Marco Porsia / USA, Running Time: 121 min.
 

MIDWEST PREMIERE
A BRIGHT LIGHT – KAREN AND THE PROCESS
THURSDAY JUNE 6 – 8:45 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

A music documentary, a cinematographic essay that travels across the United States in Karen Dalton’s footsteps. In search of one of the 1960’s most astonishing voices, worshiped by her peers, but unknown to the general public, the film also questions the process of creation, its frantic and mesmerizing paths. Director: Emmanuelle Antille / Switzerland, Running Time: 94 min.
 

MIDWEST PREMIERE
CHAINED FOR LIFE
SATURDAY JUNE 8 – 4:45 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

A beautiful actress struggles to connect with her disfigured co-star on the set of a European auteur’s English-language debut. Director: Aaron Schimberg / USA, Running Time: 91 min.
 

MIDWEST PREMIERE
THE PLAGIARISTS
SATURDAY JUNE 8 – 2:30 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

The Plagiarists follows a young novelist and her cinematographer boyfriend, who are caught in a snowstorm on their way to visit a friend in upstate New York. Needing shelter, a man puts them up for the night. However, months later a discovery puts the evening into a different context, bringing resentments to the surface. Director: Peter Parlow / USA, Running Time: 76 min.
 

MIDWEST PREMIERE
THE LAST OF THE MANSON GIRLS
SUNDAY JUNE 9 – 2:30 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

Convinced there’s more to the Manson murders than meets the public eye, counterculture journalist Paul Krassner embarks on an LSD tinged investigation of the last of Manson’s disciples: Sandra Good, Brenda McCann, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. Director: Lonnie Martin / USA, Running Time: 73 min.
 

DESOLATION CENTER
SATURDAY JUNE 8 – 8:45 P.M. | LOGAN THEATRE

The untold story of a series of Reagan-era anarchic punk rock desert happenings that still reverberate throughout our culture, Desolation Center transported punk and industrial music fans in rented school buses into the far reaches of the Mojave Desert for now-legendary guerilla performances. Directed by the principal organizer of the events, Stuart Swezey, the film tells the true story of how the risky, and at times even reckless, actions of a few outsiders unintentionally led to seismic cultural shifts. Director: Stuart Swezey / USA, Running Time: 93 min.
 

Festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, visit www.cuff.org.

 
ABOUT THE CHICAGO UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
The Chicago Underground Film Festival is an annual event showcasing independent, experimental and documentary films from around the world. Widely recognized as a world-class event, the festival showcases the best in new American and international cinema and provides the movie-loving public with access to some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers and emerging talent from around the world. CUFF’s mission is to promote films and videos that dissent radically in form, technique, or content from the indie mainstream and to present adventurous works that challenge and transcend commercial and audience expectations. 25 programs comprised of narrative, documentary and experimental features, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 20 countries, make up the main body of the festival, along with nightly parties and live music, discussions and other networking and community building events.

 
ABOUT IFP CHICAGO
IFP/Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non¬profit organization committed to the idea that independent film is an important art form and a powerful voice in our society. We provide information, community, education and professional development opportunities for independent filmmakers, industry professionals and independent film enthusiasts. We encourage quality and diversity in independent production and assist filmmakers at all levels of experience in realizing their unique vision. To find out about upcoming programs & events, or to sign up for the IFPChicago newsletter visit www.ifpchicago.org. Find IFP Chicago on Facebook IFP¬Chicago and Twitter @IFPCHICAGO.

 
Send your underground news to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.

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