Five Chicago features, two Sundance selections in Chicago Underground Film Festival Aug. 18-25

A heavy dose of hard-hitting politics joins the staples of transgressive and experimental cinema at the 12th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival, which runs Aug. 18-25 in its new home at the Music Box Theatre.

CUFF 12 includes 13 narrative features, nine documentary features, 18 narrative shorts, 29 documentary shorts, 89 experimental shorts, and six animations.

Five Chicago filmmakers have features in CUFF:

“The Ant Hill” by experimental multi-media artist and underground fest standby James Fotopoulos (“Esophagus”) is a twitching, abstract look at the emergence of a cult leader. “The Ant Hill” has its Midwest premiere Aug. 20 at 5:45 p.m.

John Knoll’s “Late Breaking News” follows late-night TV news stringer Ken Herzlich as he shoots tragedies like the E2 disaster and the Lincoln Park porch collapse.

“I thought people would be surprised and intrigued that so many images, interviews, facts and stories come from a freelanceer who essentially sells to whomever wants to buy, often selling the same product to all the competing stations in town,” Knoll said.

“I thought this would provide people with an easy starting point to examine how certain stories make the air and why.”

“Late Breaking News” has its official world premiere Aug. 21 at 8 p.m.

“Kings of the Sky” by Deborah Stratman (“In Order Not to Be Here”), a documentary portrait of tightrope walker Adil Hoxur, an icon for the oppressed Uyghur people of Chinese Turkestan. “Kings of the Sky” has its local festival premiere Aug. 21 at 5:45 p.m.

First time filmmaker Emir Eralp trailed a group of Northwestern University students to protests at the Republican National Convention in New York last year for his documentary “The Whole World is Watching,” which portrays the disconnect between protesters’ convictions and their portrayals on TV news.

“The Whole World is Watching” has its Chicago premiere Aug. 22 at 8 p.m.

John McNaughton’s seminal “Henry: Portrait of Serial Killer” gets a 20th anniversary screening Aug. 20 at 10 p.m.

Two films that debuted at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, “This Revolution” and “Who Killed Cock Robin?” have their Chicago premieres at CUFF.

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