Before the Parade Passes By
Just listen to a room full of filmmakers at CUFF and you'll realize that there's more than just movies being discussed: genuine opinions are tossed into the ring; they want to be heard and experienced, not glorified.
The 8th annual Chicago Underground Film Festival has decreed this year's moving pictures "fantastical." This is where you find the uncensored mind at work, folks, originality redefined, and courageous visual expression often outweighing its celluloid medium. Bold, daring and in-your-face, CUFF gives home to those fabulous freaks of cinema that are more cult than commercial—thank God—and adhere to a higher standard of uprightness: their own personal visions realized: Period!
Nobody's waiting to sign the mega-million dollar deal or waiting for industry vultures to tell them they are indeed marketable; screw that rhetoric! Just listen to a room full of filmmakers at CUFF and you'll realize that there's more than just movies being discussed: genuine opinions are tossed into the ring; they want to be heard and experienced, not glorified. Not that anyone's ego is left at the door, but the all mighty buck doesn't sway what's being said before, during, and after every presentation. This is Sundance before the candy-coated hype.
This is what the festival's director, Bryan Wendorf, has accomplished: a tribute to the free thinkers who express themselves through moving pictures, NOT because it's fashionable, but because they have to; the artistry they flaunt is something they were born with—it's an inherent desire, not something pulled from the pages of the latest indie rag and then assimilated.
But enuf...more about the fest. CUFF's guest of honor, 2001? When it comes to out-of-pocket veracity, no one beats the pandora's box of "exploitation films": the reclusive Doris Wishman. The only female director to surface from the boy's club of exploitation cinema, Wishman's inexhaustible career as screenwriter, producer, director and editor spans nearly half a century. Twenty-eight films and still going, her work includes Hideout in the Sun, Nude on the Moon, Bad Girls Go To Hell, Another Day Another Man, Double Agent 73, Let Me Die A Woman, A Night To Dismember and, her return after 20 years, Satan Was A Lady. And to think you almost missed this endearing salute to the under-indie film queen of the 1960s and '70s.... What the hell were you thinking?
So, forget blockbuster for a moment (the Starbucks of video manipulation) and take your sorry butt to something that's just once-in-a-while and now n' then. And the cool part is, you can bring a date and drink if you wanna—this isn't some snotty cultural event, this the Chicago UNDERGROUND Film Festival! Instead of reading about it on the web, come join this pageant of indie-under misfits and see what filmmakers really look like: you and me, of course.