CUFF Announces 2017 Award Winners

CUFF Announces 2017 Award Winners

The Chicago Underground Film Festival wrapped up its 24th Edition on Sunday, June 4 after a successful week of screenings of an array of films with subject matter that scanned the spectrum of even the wildest imaginations. As usual, CUFF did not disappoint, nor did the CUFF award winners that reflect the diversity of independent filmmaking. “Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians” had a victory with viewers and took home the Audience Award. “All the Rage” and “Neighborhood Food Drive” were close behind. Other award categories include six “CUFF Jury Awards”, three “CUFF Honorable Mentions” and the “Made in Chicago” Award.

“This year CUFF had a 20% increase in attendance, so we are extremely happy with the turnout and the growing popularity of the festival,” said CUFF artistic director and programmer, Bryan Wendorf. “With so many great films submitted each year, it is always a challenge to decide what films should receive each award. We are not surprised that “Manlife”, which sold out, won the Audience Award and are happy that the star, 97-year old Merle Hayden, was able to attend,” he added. There are 6 "CUFF Jury Awards", and 3 "CUFF Honorable Mentions" along with the one "Made in Chicago Award".

The Made In Chicago Award went to: “How to have your / own television show / (you already do)” by Jesse Malmed.

Six CUFF Jury Awards went to: “INAATE/SE [it shines a certain way, to a certain place/ it flies.” falls./] by Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil; “As Without So Within” by Manuela de Laborde; ”The Pink Egg” by Jim Trainor; “Indefinite Pitch” by James N. Kienitz Wilkins; “Steven Go Get Me a Switch” by Jared Buckhiester; “See A Dog, Hear A Dog” by Jesse McLean

Three CUFF Honorable Mentions went to: “Ark” by Lynne Siefert; “Sea With No Name” by Emi Linnakoski; “Luna E Santur” by Joshua Gen Solondz.

Trophies were pop up books designed by Theresa Vishnivetskaya. Theresa Vishnevetskaya is an artist and writer of children's books. She draws inspiration from the dollar store and Investigation Discovery. Besides compulsively building shrines for her beloved French grandmother, she aspires to one day build mazes full-time.

“Now that we have wrapped up 2017, we are setting our sights on the 25th Anniversary celebration,” said CUFF programmer and artistic director Bryan Wendorf. “We will be making an announcement soon about the upcoming festivities and anniversary activities. This is an exciting milestone for us, so we are going to host more special events and have a lot of fun looking back at 25 years of underground filmmaking,” added Wendorf.

Other 2017 Feature and Short Film selections included 13 feature length films, including a world premiere, an International Premiere and 11 regional premieres of films running the gamut from narrative, documentary and experimental work that is as diverse and hard to categorize as the festival itself.

“CUFF was such a wonderful experience for everyone involved with “Manlife”, said “Manlife: The Last of the Lawsonians” producer Susan Kerns and director Ryan Sarnowski. “We all had a terrific time, and the reception to the film has been wonderful. The star of Manlife, 97-year old Merle Hayden, was thrilled to hear about the audience award. We couldn’t have asked for a better gift to give him,” they added.