The 30th Chicago Underground Film Festival Is Here

The 30th edition of the Chicago Underground Film Festival–the longest-running underground film festival in the world–Opening night for CUFF30 is tonight at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., in the Chicago Loop. The fest leads off with Soda Jerk’s Hello Dankness. The Opening Night After Party will be at The Bottom Lounge with performances from Another VU and visuals by Hydrosonic Light Show.

After Opening Night, CUFF will leap to Chicago’s South Side Harper Theater, 5238 S. Harper Ave., through September 17th.

For the full schedule and to purchase your tickets, click right here.

A global champion of the underground scene, the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) showcases and celebrates some of the most original films and video art being made today–all supplemented through screenings, panels, and nightly after-parties. Highlights of this year’s festival include three locally-produced world premieres, an after-party at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave., curated by Eric Williams of the Silver Room, and an underground art market at The Kulture Museum, 629 W. Cermak Rd, 2nd Floor. This is alongside a number of curated panels and events, several new films from festival alumni, and a plethora of other genre-bending and boundary-pushing features and shorts. 

“The Chicago Underground Film Festival’s move to Chicago’s South Side and its transition into an independent 501(c)3 organization mark transformative milestones in our journey,” said Artistic Director Bryan Wendorf with unwavering enthusiasm. “By embracing Hyde Park’s rich cultural mosaic, we ignite a vibrant tapestry of diversity, inviting artists and audiences from all walks of life to experience our boundary-pushing cinematic offerings. This pivotal moment empowers us to create a more inclusive and impactful festival where stories transcend boundaries, challenge perceptions, and empower underrepresented voices. As a non-profit entity, we amplify our commitment to alternative filmmaking, cultivating a vibrant community of filmmakers, cinephiles, and artists who push boundaries and provoke meaningful dialogues. Together, we revolutionize the way we perceive the world, harnessing the power of underground cinema to inspire, provoke, and foster artistic freedom.”

Programming highlights include the aforementioned Opening Night’s Hello Dankness (Soda Jerk), a fable-like collage film depicting the psychotropic spectacle of American politics from 2016 to 2021, making its Chicago debut after premiering at the Berlinale in February, and Closing Night’s For Kicks (Sean P. Fahey), a world premiere documentary feature about the extraordinary life of a semi-retired security guard and his 10-year stint as an internationally famous martial-arts-film star. Click here for SCREEN’s Dan Patton’s exclusive interview with Fahey and your preview of For Kicks.

Other world premieres include the documentary features Jan Terri: No Rules (Fred Hickler, Darren Hacker), concerning the star of the viral “Worst Music Video Ever” and her ensuing career, and Melomaniac (Katlin Schneider), about Aadam Jacobs “Chicago’s Taping Guy” and the impact of his mass archive of 80’s and 90’s live music.

Other notable features are the music documentaries Stand By For Failure (Ryan Worsley), Even Hell Has Its Heroes (Clyde Petersen), Dope, Hookers and Pavement (Otto Buj), and What You Could Not Visualize (Marco Porsia), as well as CUFF alumni films Back Home (Nisha Platzer), Still Film (James N. Kienitz Wilkins), and You Can’t Stay Here (Todd Verow)…

Additional features include Satan Wants You (Sean Horlor, Steve J. Adams), Relict: A Phantasmagoria (Melissa Ferrari), Warm Blood (Rick Charnoski), and Sweetheart Deal (Elisa Levine, Gabriel Miller).

Here is your first look at Sweetheart Deal

To purchase your tickets, visit https://cuff30.eventive.org/schedule. Individual Tickets are $12 and All-access Festival Passes can be purchased for $150.

CUFF 2023 Poster Art by Corrine Halbert.

Be sure to check back here at SCREEN Magazine for news from the film festival circuit. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

Leave a Reply