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DIGITAL UNDERGROUND

SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2000

No to Low Budget Digital Film Panel
3pm Cell FREE

Sit down with a panel of digital filmmakers to find out how they make movies. Find out about finding the money and resources, surviving the grueling production schedules, the technical aspects of production, the seemingly never-ending quest to finish, and getting your film screened. Panelists will show their work and discuss their approach to digital filmmaking.


Disturbances shorts program
3:30pm ATA

Disturbances focuses on the bizarre, the disconcerting, and disorderly experiences. These shorts disturb our normal expectations of reality. Nitwit Predelick assaults conventional logic, while Susana Donovan's Haunt #451 confronts conventional understanding of space, time, and the history of the Universe. The Collector, The Flocculus, Jeff, and Charm expose us to disturbed characters, who react to their circumstances in abnormal ways, perceived as psychotic. Hangman and Let's Get Medical animate innocuous objects in an eerie, almost malevolent manner. The Halflifers (including Whitney Biennial artist Anthony Discenza) video Mess Hall, perverts the normal operation of video technology and narrative structure to create a distorted spectacle of mundane actions. Similarly, Close to the Edge abducts a banal television character (naming him would be telling) and places him in a smack-ridden sleazy plot.


Youth Shorts
5pm Cell 90 min, FREE
This collection of youth-produced videos includes works created as part of projects organized by TILT, Youth in Action, Portrero Hill Neighborhood Center, Just Think and the Yerba Buena Center. Check out what kids in the Bay Area have to say.


Fucked in the Face
5:30pm ATA
Shawn Durr, 2000, 70 min, West Coast Premiere

Ever feel like queer culture is walking sedately down a straight path of "be normal" messages and bland points of view? Well, if you're thinking gay has grown tiresomely politically correct, WATCH OUT! 'Cuz here comes Shawn Durr's FUCKED IN THE FACE, the all-digital, bad-ass first feature from the award winning director of last year's MEAT FUCKER. A cinematic melding of gay serial killer slasher flicks, FUCKED IN THE FACE is the story of Henry Normal, a young gay man who is not having a good week. First, his abusive boyfriend kicks him out of his apartment leaving him homeless, penniless and without a single ounce of crank. As if all that weren't bad enough, a gang of fag-hating, cock-loathing lesbians is hot on his trail, stalking and taunting him without mercy. At the end of his rope, Henry begins to believe his only hope for salvation lies in finding the man of his dreams- a cute, blond gay serial killer on the run from the FBI. His search for the love of his life plunges him into the seamy, cum-drenched ghetto of the queer subculture, where the currency of choice is sex, drugs, beauty and expensive cars, and where the need for control leads to use, abuse, rejection and violence. Brace yourself- this edgy, rude, hilarious and ultimately horrific bent film will slap you with gay sex acts, brutal killings, lots of penis and piles of crystal meth. What more could you ask from queer cinema?? Like a chocolate dipped in tarantula venom, this lusciously evil "hard" candy offers a much-needed kink in the straight and narrow path.

preceded by:

Pigskin Orgasm
The Pigtail Sisters, 1999, 3min


The Eye of Rudra
7:30pm Cell
Dean Mermell, 2000, 85 min, Premiere

Premiere as befits a happening of the Information Age, Burning Man's yearly excesses have been trumpeted by media from Wired News to C-SPAN, as well as by a growing number of documentaries. Coverage tends to focus on the gee-whiz aspects of Burning Man, dwelling more upon bared bosoms and fire than deeper aspects of the desert festival that every year draws thousands of artists, musicians and modern-day hippies. But one digital documentarian has tried to tell a bigger story in The Eye of Rudra, a feature-length documentary about the Burning Man opera staged at the event each year. Filmmaker Dean Mermell shows viewers what went into creating The Eye of Rudra's giant operatic spectacle in order to take a closer look at what he calls "chaos culture" -- the ways of a loose-knit cadre of participants. "The opera is a window into the chaos culture," Mermell said. "Burning Man is so filled with radical random imagery that those who try to document it never get to the human side." Instead of focusing on the eye-catching visuals that other documentaries record, Mermell wondered why performers, set builders, choreographers, and costume-makers spent the better part of a year creating and rehearsing a massive event for a single performance in which the sets are lit on fire and destroyed. Mermell shot 50 hours of digital footage that emerges in the final film as a coherent picture of what went into staging the performance -- a lot more coherent, in fact, than the made-up mythology that formed the opera's theme for the 1999 performance. Opera creator Pepe Ozan envisions a future human race that's cross-bred with insects to survive environmental disaster. In a tribal ritual, hundreds of costumed performers, giant pyres, and stage sets formed of steel mesh and desert mud create 30-foot towers and human-insect figures. We get a glimpse of the people who made it happen as they discuss their roles, create their costumes, and prepare for what seems more like a religious ritual than a theatrical performance. Mermell believes participants in this chaos culture are looking for ritual and meaning in modern life and that both Burning Man and the opera are merely vehicles for these desires. Media capture the costumes, the infernos, and the oddities of Burning Man but don't understand the real purpose of the event, he says. "People need a connection with something deeper than day-to-day life," Mermell said. "We've lost touch with that need in modern time and that's the nerve that a ritual like Burning Man and the opera has touched." On the surface, Burning Man may look like Woodstock-gone-21st-century and the opera a confusing melee of fire and dancers, but to participants it's almost a sacred experience, Mermell said. That was what he hoped to showcase for those who have made the trek to the desert and others who are just wondering what it's all about. "What is this need for ritual?" he asks in a voice-over. "In a society where technology has become the white man's ethnic culture is it any wonder so many are embracing chaos and disorder as a means of worship? Blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light."
-Joyce Slaton
http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,34342,00.html www.storyfarm.com

preceded by:

Sower

Yung Duk Jhun, 2000, 3 min


Poetic License
7:30pm Cell
David Yanofsky, 2000, 57 min, Premiere

Poetic License, focuses on the emergence of spoken word and performance poetry as a captivating and powerful form of expression for American teen-age youth. The film offers a glimpse into the bright young minds and voices of a burgeoning youth cultural movement as it unfolds. There is a teen poetry and spoken word movement rapidly gaining force in the nation, one which encourages young people to express themselves honestly and creatively, and to aggressively break down the stereotypes which have thus far defined their generation. Much of this expression takes place at poetry slams, what poet Bob Holman calls "the most exciting grassroots cultural movement in the country." Started ten years ago in Chicago, slams have quickly spread to evey part of the country, leaving a new American poetic in its wake. Through compelling live performances and interviews with dozens of teen poets, Poetic License captures the energy and intelligence of this new poetic movement. The film also connects these young writers with those who have come before, such as the Last Poets, the Beats and leading literary figures such as Genny Lim, Sherman Alexie and saha bandele.

preceeded by:

THE Magnificent Andersons
Julie Morrison, 1999, 31 min, West Coast Premiere

The Magnificent Andersons Julie Morrison, 1999, 31:00, West Coast Premiere Deep within the borders of Nevada, alongside the mountain range that cloaks Area 51, sits the small town of Overton. Backed by friends, discouraged by government, Terry and Gerri Anderson raise a family that knows what it sees, and sees what is to come. It's this secret knowledge and family support that not only brings them close, but consequently separates them from the rest of society. Julie Morrison's new documentary The Magnificent Andersons takes a look into their double-wide trailer home and their perception on family, world domination and the ever-existent presence of aliens that live among us.

Both directors in attendance.


GodAss
9:30pm Cell
Esther Bell, 2000, 88 min

A digital feature with a classic punk spirit, GodAss is a dark coming-of-age comedy about how having a gay father can be the least of a girl's problems. Watching her idol give himself fellatio is hardly the most disturbing event Teri has encountered growing up. GodAss follows Teri's flight from her unbalanced family and secluded punk-rock circle in South Carolina to New York, where she is determined to bring her zine to a more sympathetic audience. But the Big Apple is also home of her estranged father. In meeting him, Teri discovers that the secret to confronting her troubled young life is interlocked in understanding her gay father. Starring Fred Schneider ( of the B-52s) and Julianne Nicholson, with Anna Grace (Girlstown, I Shot Andy Warhol), Tina Holmes (Edge of Seventeen) and David Ilku (Liquid Sky), with cameos from underground filmmakers Bill Plympton and Sarah Jacobson, and a soundtrack by Lunachicks, Sleepyhead, Hammerbrain and many more.
-New York Underground Film Festival

preceded by:

Special Report
Bryan Boyce, 1999, 4 min


In the Dark
9:30pm Cell
Clifton Holmes, 2000, 100 min, West Coast Premiere

Jane's bored. As the new librarian in the public library, she finds there's not much to do in the late evening. But one night, she returns to her desk after stacking books and finds a note on her chair - a $50 bill along with an invitation to play a game. The signature reads, "Master of Games (MOG)." Mystified, she follows the direction to Look Homeward, Angel and pulls out the Thomas Wolfe book of the same name. Nothing. Hearing a sound behind her, she turns to find Brace, a grad student who suggests she look inside the other copy of the book. Another note, another game that's a little more difficult. And this time, $100. Feisty Jane is sure Brace is behind the whole thing -- that it's a ploy to get to know her. He denies it over and over, claiming he doesn't have that kind of money to throw around. Jane's not convinced, but she's sort of attracted to him and definitely attracted to the game -- it's not only intriguing, but each time she follows the instruction, the money increases exponentially. The game grows more demanding, more dangerous, more perverse -- and more lucrative. Brace anxiously orders her to quit playing but Jane's no pushover and now the money's getting way too good. And she really wants to find out who MOG is. Brace? The weird late-night jogger? The seemingly clueless neighbor she visits in response to a game instruction? Beautifully shot in atmospheric black and white, "In The Dark" is truly mysterious, creepy and ultimately shocking -- you'll never find this game on a shelf at Blockbuster.
--Chicago Underground Film Festival


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